How I Set Up & Put Away My DIY Folding Bed for My Van

Dee | Lady Bugout
by Dee | Lady Bugout

Imagine living in a small van. There isn’t much extra space, but there is more than enough space to live in. People always ask me how I make up my bed in this van. So, in today’s video, I’m showing off my folding bed for my van.

Couch mode

Couch mode

Here the van folding bed is in couch mode. It’s very comfortable. Two people could sit on it and talk to each other. That’s the design I had in mind because when my bed was out, we were just kind of looking at the wall.

Bench as part of the bed

I actually have a bench here. This is part of the bed. Someone can sit here and have a conversation with me on the other seat.

Setting up the bed in the van

Setting up the bed

I love my pillows over here, so they’re out of the way. They have blankets inside them.

Bungee cords

These bungee cords are for when I travel, to keep this piece of plywood from sliding forward if I stop. I have to undo them now.

Pop-up shelf

This little white piece comes up. I got these on Amazon. They’re originally for a pop-up shelf or kitchen counter.

Storage for the folding bed

I originally had two of these metal L brackets hooked onto the plywood on either side. But, the rail on this side kept on bumping into my cabinet, so I had to take them off, and replace them with the Amazon pop-up pieces.

Metal brackets

These fit perfectly here. It’s another metal bracket, that’s basically a metal leg. You can get them in different sizes. There’s a metal square that fits on it and you can screw it into the plywood. It worked out perfectly, so I could move the legs wherever I needed them.

How to take out the folding bed

Now, I push my blanket up a little bit. It will come back down later, but this spot needs to be blank because the plywood will sit on top of it.

Pulling out the folding bed

I take out the little strap I will use to pull my folding bed for my van forward.

Setting up the bed

Sliding the bed out into place

I usually have to step out here in order to slide this out, and match it right into place. There’s a little lip on this plywood so it sets down flush and doesn’t cause any problems.

Laying out a tatami mat

Next, I take my tatami mat and spread it out. Boom! It’s done!

Using a poncho on the bed

Getting cozy

This is a poncho I have.

Small bed for van life

I can lean this end back down a little bit when the chairs are forward. I don’t have it all the way down. I don’t need it all the way down. This is plenty big for me.

Little pillow for the bed

I use this as a little pillow.

Lying down on the makeshift bed

I can lay down and it’s so comfy.

Pillow with blankets inside

As I said, my pillows have my blankets inside folded up. It’s like a warm sleeping bag with fuzzies on it.

How to put away the DIY folding bed for a van

Putting away the bed

In reverse, I just push the pillow back into itself.

Pushing the tatami mat in place

I step out and put the tatami back into place.

DIY folding bed for a van

I lift up the board and let the metal bars guide it so it doesn’t go all wishy-washy all over the place.

Sliding the bed back into place

It slides back into place. And it’s done.

Some people in bigger vans have their beds made all the time. I thought about doing that. I wondered if I’d really want to make my bed daily, but, then again, I make my bed daily at home. This folding bed for my van takes literally two minutes and then, I have a nice little sitting area.

The materials

The bed is made from two 40x30 half-inch sheets of plywood. The bottom is bolted down with the metal legs and the top is free and has glides on it. If you have room, I suggest putting glides on both sides to keep it in place.

Bench for the bed

I have a 10x40 piece for this bench, and I store my shoes and toilet under the bench.

When the whole bed is laid out, it’s 70x40.

When I initially made the bed I used MDF board. The guy at Home Depot suggested it for a pullout bed.

I think he was thinking it would be a bed at home, not one rocking around in a van all the time. It was beautiful and smooth, but it was just a pressboard, and the screws wouldn’t hold up.

The first time I lay down in it, it fell in, so that was not a good idea. This half-inch plywood is holding up. I wouldn’t jump on the bed or anything, but it works.

DIY folding bed for a van

I hope this gave you some ideas for a low-tech folding bed for a van. It really just required a drill to make it. Does this bed look comfortable to you? What type of bed do you prefer to sleep in on the go? Let me know in the comments.

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