Good Day Folks From A Newbie

Introduce Yourself…

Hello everyone and thank you for the add. Long time camper, boater, hiker, hunter, and fisherman.

As a machinist I usually work with .0005/inch all day long. But I must say this van build thing is kicking my butt :smile: Nothing is even, square and trying to be precise is my biggest challenge lol I think I may need to loosen the tolerances.

So here I go…2015 Chevy 2500 Express low mile and perfect condition. Van is being build for road trip out west to hunt my two labs in Iowa, and South Dakota. Basically I need a bed and storage. Lots of storage. My idea is to somehow suspend the bed and have full capacity beneath.

Look forward to spending some time looking at all the great info here.

Thanks again,

Greetings & Welcome!

Re: Bed…

As in retract into the ceiling or a wall, or as in just clear space under a normal height bed?

Modular & portable rather than built in is a very popular choice that I totally agree with.

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller


Thank you for the reply.

I’d like a bed that runs east to west in the rear portion of the van that gives plenty of space for storage beneath and access from both the front and back. I’m considering the Skorva bed beams from Ikea but I’m not quite sure the best way to attach them to the internal frame work of my Chevy Express 2500

I’ve thought about framing long storage boxes on each side up tight to the wheel wells and then attaching the bed beams between the boxes with the brackets which would make the bed and beams removeable

Greetings!

How tall are you? Beds across the back usually aren’t long enough for most people & a pillow.

I prefer my bed to have legs rather than be attached to the walls. The legs on mine are a DIY version of the adjustable aluminum tent poles, made out of metal conduit. This allows me to easily make my bed level, even when my van isn’t.

If you look at the most comfortable camping cots or zero gravity recliners, they will have a tubular frame, with a cloth/mesh bottom suspended by springs or elastic cord to the frame. This makes an extremely lightweight, yet breathable, durable, and comfy bed. So I create a 6 legged metal cot out of conduit, and then suspend waterproof yet breathable fabric from the frame with the elastic cord.

I still add a 4" foam mattress on top, but let me tell you, mine is the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, and everybody who tries it out is amazed at just how comfy it is. It’s a cheap, easy, lightweight, durable, and comfy DIY project that is well worth the effort.

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller


For my Savana 2500 (almost the same as your express) I went minimalist. My bed is a sideways Murphy style, some think I overdid the frame but I built like a small box spring with a flat base, a 4" mattress, heavy duty door hinges, and hinged legs that drop when I open the bed. Went with side mount on the right sidewall taking up the length.
For wall framing, instead of fighting the curve with a jigsaw cuts matching the curves, instead I went to the half price warped wood pile at Lowes, and eyeballed the lengths I’d need with curves close enough that it matched the van’s interior.
My storage is minimal as I do more carrying my stuff to craft shows, instead of a built in toilet I use a Pyle brand portapotty, I have a desk, storage under a padded bench to the front, a sliding door separating front cab from back (where my dog sits as I drive), storage under the bed mount (wheel well section) and since it’s just me and my dog I don’t really need much else.
Jackery 1000, fold up solar panels, minimal 110 wiring, it’s been a learn as I go experience.

Thank you for all the input. I’m 6 feet, and the wife is much shorter. My big thing is that I also need room for two 24 X 24 X 36 dog crates for my two labs whom will be traveling with us out west on our hunting trip. Certainly I will look to see if turning the bed is an option and will still allow me to fit the other things I will need to carry.

I want to go minimal too. Thinking about a plywood wall behind the driver seat that will allow for wome sort of basket storage system as I have no interest in cabinets. I will also be using a Jackery unit for my power on the road. I need to find out which unit will power a 12V electric blanket through the night.

Water will be jugs and storage beneath the bed will be oversize clothes baskets.

My sub floor is in and next is the ceiling.

Having a blast!! Just not keen on fuel prices right now

Greetings!

Many of the camper vans I make have a lengthwise sofa/bed, and plastic drawers with a board on top to make a solid kitchen countertop/work bench. Then I use dishpans for sinks, and trigger spray bottles for water delivery. With the solid countertop, it is also campstove friendly.

The 12v electric blankets come in multiple flavors, some stay on constantly, and some have timers. Mine has a timer, 15/30/60 minutes, so it usees very little power. 15 minutes is all I ever need to get warm & cozy, then if I wake up chilly, just turn it back on for another 15 minutes. One that stays on constantly would use much more power, and be way too hot for me, but I also heat my van when needed.

I have a dedicated house battery, 100ah (1200w) deep cycle hooked up to an isolator. That’s 50ah/600w usable, and it will last me about a week charging my laptop, phone, lights, fans, and electric blanket. An electric fridge, or heater that also requires power would probably need more battery power.

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller


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In regards to insulation. Materials have been difficult to find at the local big box stores.

Few thing I did find though was a pile of 1/2" x 3/4" plywood on a job site that was all free!!! What a score!! it’s in perfect shape so that will now be my sub floor. I finally found some 1" Polyshield insulation that I purchased for the ceiling. It is foil on one side so I intend to cut panels that fit tight between the ribs. Does this foam insulation tend to squeak once installed? Should I use adhesive like so many videos show or is simply installing the panel tight sufficient?

The plan is for a T&G wood ceiling.

I’m a six foot side sleeper the new bed is snug but comfortable

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A window at the head and base of that bed will make a world of difference when it is hot. Something to think about. A fan to push air out the front or the roof will make it a very comfortable wind tunnel in the summer.

yes thank you, the wall to the right in the above pic is all glass, along with glass on the rear doors, and side doors. I’m not huge on cutting a hole in the roof although so many doo successfully. None of my glass opens.

I was going to mount a fan for sure. I’m kind of at a loss for a way to get some air flow. Certainly don’t want to bake in there lol

Greetings!

Most vehicles have hidden vents in the rear to let air escape and allow for flow through air.

You can build a box to fit a front window with a fan in it, and a PVC pipe coming out of it, that can be directed where you want it. When I wasn’t happy with dual roof vents in a cargo van, I left them closed and used this method quite successfully, combined with a second fan near me.

When it got really hot, my swamp cooler took care of me.

I think adding opening windows is always a far better solution than roof vents, but I hate putting any holes into the outside of a vehicle. Can you swap the existing windows for opening ones? I woulld probably try a wrecking yard first, looks like many years used the same glass.

Alternatively, try this link:

https://www.google.com/search?q=opening+windows+for+2015+Chevy+2500+Express

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller


Speaking of fresh air and fans, I stumbled across this yesterday. Van Conversion Air Conditioner - Best AC for Vanlife | Fresair. Appears to be a take on a swamp cooler. I might try this thing.

Thank you for the ideas and reply. I have also seen videos with “pop up” vents but I have no clue how they work.

I though about converting my windows to open, but have not gotten far enough to know it it’s feasible.

Greetings!

I’ve been using swamp coolers successfully for years and love them. I’ll bet that unit has a radiator in the base unit similar to mine too, so you don’t get moist air. 10 amps is much more than mine draws, more like 1-2 amps, but maybe it has a more powerful fan or water pump.

I do like the idea that it fits in a normal vent opening, mine sits in the passenger seat…

Kind of high priced, but not everyone is into DIY. My newest climate control system is both heating & cooling via peltier power, and powered by a liquid candle. Works good as A/C, but the heat really struggles if it gets down below 0°F, but then I keep wiindows cracked all the time. Of course that’s not a problem for many people, who don’t winter in the frigid & frozen North. All in all, I like it, even though I’ve kept my originals just in case.

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller


Greetings!

It’s also possible to put in various versions of side wall vents, which I much prefer over holes in my roof. :smiley:

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller


Hello again, although I’d agree that cutting a hole in the roof is not my best choice, I have found this product Flettner Slimline LPV™ Ventilator - Flettner I’d like to know if anyone has any experience with this vent??? I spoke with the technical help line and they were extremely helpful answering all of my questions

Greetings!

I’ve looked at those and the problem is they are very low CFM (cubic feet per minute) and really only work when you’re driving or there’s a stiff breeze.

My conclusion is that a fan in a window is a better & cheaper choice.

Cheers!


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller


The EVA foam floor is in and the LED strip light as well. Love the floor soft and quiet and simple to clean