Ooohh it feels good… we have just started to build the bed and in a campervan conversion that often means that you are getting near to completing the main build (not that they are ever really finished of course).
We have just got back from the 4th meet-up of the Dorset/Hampshire/Sussex Self Build Get Together FaceBook group in the New Forest which is run by Darren Thrower. It was great to see the people we knew from previous meet-ups and see how their vans are coming on and to also meet new members. And it’s great to be with other vanners who don’t glaze-over when you start talking van geek! To add to the excitement, we also had a local BBC film crew visiting on the Saturday morning to do a short piece for their early evening slot.
Great to Share Ideas
There were 9 vans at the meet-up this time and we are a motley crew – from smaller vans like a VW T4, Transit and our SWB Vivaro through to bigger vans like Sprinters and Movanos and all at different stages of build. It was so helpful to share ideas and get inspired by what other people are doing and the more tech-capable members of the group are kind enough to help DIY-virgins like us when we get stuck.
For us personally, we took our van to the next level this time as, not only did we manage to get the walls carpeted, we also acquired a slide out bed in a mysteriously perfect way.
And Then the Magic Happened…
Glyn and I really didn’t have any idea how to build a frame and bed that could pull out in some way at the front for night mode and then easily ‘contract’ for the daytime. We had some design ideas but couldn’t really work out the carpentry side. As there are several members at the group who have these skills (and Darren seems to know just what to do on almost ANYTHING) we thought we would wait until we got to the group so we could talk it through. We had a disassembled futon base with us that we had bought second-hand and some 2”x4” posts to cut up for the legs and frame but that was about it. And then the magic happened…
One of the other members. Ali, was at the same stage as us with her T4 transporter – she had lined the van but was needing to build a bed. I was telling her about the slats of futon base that we were going to try and hinge-up into a slide out bed and Ali mentioned that she had a 3-part slide out futon that she was going to take apart to build a bed platform across the back of her van.
And then it just clicked… Ali said why don’t we exchange materials and make it easier for both of us. Brilliant! We did a quick bit of a measure-up and found that her slide-out futon was the perfect width for our van and our futon slats were perfect for her van so we did a ‘bed-swop’ (no, not like that!!).
Got the Design Sorted Out
With the help of the tech-heroes her bed was built that day so that she could actually sleep on it for the second night’s camping.
Ours was a little trickier as we were trying to work out a slide-out bed that will work around a belted seat that we have kept in the rear of the van for an extra traveller and for sitting at to work on a laptop. With Darren’s help we managed to get the design sorted out and was able to build the base. By this time we had run out of weekend so we will need to carry on at home but I get the feeling it is going to work perfectly.
As you know, I do think our vans ‘talk’ to us and tell us what they want.
(See my previous post http://www.thecampercookie.com/does-your-campervan-talk-to-you#more-4992 )
But I am now beginning to suspect that they talk to each other too! I believe that, in the night, Ali’s T4 and our Vivaro had a bit of a chat and told each other that they each had the bed that the other needed and then the next day let us know in the subtle way that vans do. LoL
We have had this sort ‘magic’ happen so often with the conversion that I don’t worry now when we get stuck on something (we had been agonising over the bed for ages and couldn’t see our way forward with it) as I now know that Big Red will sort it out and, when we are doing what he wants, it will all flow perfectly. Am I a bit potty to think this, maybe, but I bet a lot of you other van owners and converters secretly think the same and I just love the fact that Big Red is helping.
So next time you are stuck with what to do with your campervan conversion just relax, take a breath and see what your van comes up with!
Luke Izard, one of our group members, is doing a vanlife blog on his conversion so do check out his YouTube channel for pictures and his van story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6y-puD77As