There are hundreds of van layouts, with one being the most perfect for you and your adventures. How to you choose? We created a short list of our four most popular layouts for our vanlifers. The design of your van will assist you in ensuing that you are utilizing and creating the most efficient space in your van. When thinking about your van conversion, there are four major questions to think about:
Questions that will affect your van conversion layout –
- Will your bed be stationary or Tri Max Bed?
- Do you want your table to be fixed or portable?
- Are you going to have a kitchen? If so, what are your must-have appliances?
- Is a bathroom or shower necessary?
- Do you have oversized gear to bring? ie Bikes, surf boards, etc?
The Different Conversion Layouts
There are endless amount of design options to construct your camper van, and, trust us, we have built most of them. But from our expertise we typically see four popular layouts: raised fixed bed, dinette table, jack knife bed, and the pop top
A Raised Bed / Fixed Rear Bed Platform
This is probably the most common build type used among many full-time van lifers. This specific design is structured with a bed that is fixed/stationary, it is typically in the back of the van behind and is raised around 40” tall. It’s most commonly used because the layout is always ready to go and no additional setup needed. Storage space is very important when it comes to camper vans and underneath the fixed raised bed is the garage. The garage space is used to hold bikes, camping gear, coats, etc. If you’re a full-time van lifer and don’t want to make your bed every night, this is the best decision.
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- Bed takes up room for hangout space
- When you’re not using the bed, there is a lot of un-used space
- Takes up a lot of room for shorter wheel bases
- You usually lose space for a table
Dinette Table & Bed
Having the ability to walk all the way through your van and out the back is a feature that is enjoyed with a beautiful backdrop. The dinette layout is essentially a couch and table design that you can use as a work space, dinner table and entertaining area. Then you drop down the table to go in between the couch and it forms a bed. With this option, the back of the van functions as a dining area during the day and converts into a bed in the evening. If you’re looking for a hangout space to entertain guests, then this is the best option for you.
- You have to make and breakdown your bed every day
- You are typically giving up a lot of storage space
The TriMax Bed
This particular layout isn’t as popular compared to the others, but it works for certain van lifers. The bed is connected to one side of the walls and drops down when needed. Some have installed a Tri Max Bed which is basically a half dinette and can be used as a couch when not in “bed mode.” When the bed isn’t down the middle of the van is open from the front to back and usually has the bed on one side and the kitchen on the opposite side.
- One side of the van goes unused while not in use
- Not as aesthetically pleasing
- Could feel cramped when the bed is up
The pop top is the most nostalgic out of all of them, they became popular with the westfalia camper and the VW van. The pop top is extremely convenient for people on the road due to the low roof when driving. Having the bed integrated in the pop top allows for more space below and the ability to increase the number of passengers in the van. It adds ample amount of head space when relaxing in the lower section of the van and can double as a separate bed area. This option opens up space inside the van for other cabinetry and build features since the bed sits up high above them.
- Not conducive to a lot of storage
- Usually not the warmest option since no insulation
What’s your decision?
There it is, the most popular layouts for any van conversion. If you’re in the planning process make sure to weigh all your options and like we said, build it around your uses and behaviors. Are you looking for some help? If so, please reach out and we’ll be happy to educate on all these layouts as we’ve built them all. Lastly, if you have another idea for a completely different layout we would love to collaborate and help you with your vision. Send us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org