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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am ready to build a camper but have no Van available to buy yet, due to the current market status. So, I am continuing my research.

I am particularly interested in a DIY option for a bed pulled from the ceiling upfront area, over the cab, or crew/front seat. For example, the below two videos show the two concepts that I am thinking about

Concept 1

Concept 2

What do you think? Has anyone tried or seen DIY pulled bed like those? Do you feel it is safe on the road?

Thanks
 

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It seems the videos don't show how someone is supposed to get in those beds.
I have a bed that retracts from the ceiling at the back of the van and sits on a 36" high counter and we need a step stool to get get into our bed. These beds look much higher and would need a ladder I would think.

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That Would interfere with airbags.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, it definitely needs a ladder, or some step cleat like the link below, attach to a counter and wall above the counter.

My original thought is that it would work best as a 2nd bed for two kids in a Cargo High Roof, so we don't have to play with the headliner. In the Crew High Roof, the bed would be smaller to fit the headliner portion. When it is pushed to the ceiling on travel, it is much higher than the side airbag and would not affect the airbag function, I hope.

Here is some more photo of the bed in concept 1
ktg-knaus-2020-2021-cuv-varianten-bett1-full.jpg
ktg-knaus-2020-2021-cuv-varianten-bett2-full.jpg


Here is the above mentioned step cleat
 

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Concept 1 looks very cool. I like that it would occupy mostly unused space in my current build. Those step cleats look like they'd rattle a lot when driving. might have to come up with a way to keep 'em quiet.
 

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I love this concept and would be excited if you (or anyone else) is able to implement it DIY. Best of luck with your continued research/planning - please keep us updated on your findings/progress!
 

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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
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The concept looks cool.

The dude standing under it in Concept Two would have to be pretty short if that were a Transit; Concept Two has a couple feet above it in that roof.

The other ones drop down over the entry door, so... sure... that's certainly possible. I'd wonder how much head-room you'd have by the time the bed is in there - even slammed up against the roof. Start with a high-roof, stay as minimal as possible on the floor - stock passenger, for example. Stay as minimal as possible on the roof - make it actually touch the cross-members. And then add the platform and a minimal mattress. 🤔 Maybe get it with 6' still left? Maybe? Probably optimistic... but maybe.

Other than "cool" I'm not sure I see the benefit versus raising the back bed and/or bunk-bed in the back.
 

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Start with a high-roof, stay as minimal as possible on the floor - stock passenger, for example. Stay as minimal as possible on the roof - make it actually touch the cross-members. And then add the platform and a minimal mattress. 🤔 Maybe get it with 6' still left? Maybe? Probably optimistic... but maybe.
Long shot for sure
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The concept looks cool.

Other than "cool" I'm not sure I see the benefit versus raising the back bed and/or bunk-bed in the back.
We want two permanent bed solutions for a family of 4. A bunk bed in the back is a good option with one limitation: garage space.

We want to have stealth set up to make unplanned weekend trips any time (i.e. just overnight in a neighborhood street since the campground required booking in advance). We also want to bring a couple of bikes for exploring. For stealth purposes, the bikes are better in the garage area. Also, at the same time, four people should use the 2 permanent bed setups without removing anything from the camper, meaning stop at night, sleep and quickly leave early in the morning.

For that reason, there is no space for a bunk bed in the back but a single elevated bed to increase garage space for bikes. The 2nd bed must be somewhere else in the front (like the two mentioned concepts). I have no concern about the headroom because of the Crew seat. Because of the extra seats, the area is mostly used when seating for hangout or dinette when front seats swiveled.

The big concern that I have with the pulled bed over the cab is safety. A heavy bed hanging over the head maybe not a good idea in any accident :).
 

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We want two permanent bed solutions for a family of 4. A bunk bed in the back is a good option with one limitation: garage space.
Two solid solutions: get a pop-top - lose headroom, but add a bed up top with no other losses; or movable beds in the back - moved out of the way (up?) for garage, lowered for sleeping.

Third option: a different "cot" style setup for the front.

Our queen N-S in the rear raises/lowers to change garage space. And the garage can be sleeping space if we've got 4 people. But to get both, gotta clear the gear out at night. But it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The first two are not stealth (pop top or need to move the bike to outside before the bed can be lowered). The stealth option is important for unplanned trip which is the big reason for Van conversion to us.
Third option is not permanent set up

However, I agree with you that if the pulled bed does not work, some compromise solution is required (like bunk bed and forget the bike, or not permanent solution like cot :) ).
 

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Both of your concepts would give me Claustrophobia
Then I wonder about air circulation. Some owners with a roof fan in front might find it to be to noisy being so close to is and the portion of the fan that protrudes inside the van will become a painful contact area.
 

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After installing my front upper console area, at the back of the front headliner in a HR van, you have about 14" that quickly reduces to about 8 inches because of the slope of the roof line. This indicates to me that a drop down front bed would need to start behind the front seats. Then you have to work around the sliding door, and would end up having a real interesting time getting in an out of the van. Climb down the back of the bed, duck under the bed, open the sliding door.
 

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the final best solution always seems to me to be a Happi-jac bed. especially when room for a motorcycle is needed.
 

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Just a weird observation that we hadn't encountered on the Sprinter nor anticipated on the Transit: since our bed raises/lowers this time - to accommodate a large garage, of course - we ended up laying bikes down on the slide-out tray because we're lower down at night - better view out the windows in bed. Hadn't considered that as an option - not as cool as them standing up in the tray and all that.

That said, couple thoughts: stealth; and Tetris. And another option to consider.

If you've followed the threads / posts over the years, you've seen this said many times now: there is no stealth anymore (hence, me ignoring it in the post). Maybe if one has an actual Hertz moving van with no windows or anything. But /everyone/ else knows the fan on the top is a dead giveaway. Plus solar and everything else. So... I'd skip that worry and use the space as best possible.

The other is the space thing: even that bed you posted isn't magic. You'd need to crawl out under it while it's in use. And where do you put a toilet (even a bucket)? You MUST have a toilet inside if you're "stealth" or even just anywhere in the city parking. Something's gotta give.

Viable option (gaining popularity FAST - get them while you can) is a box-truck / box-van. I've seen them on an old used service box and there's folks (on this board) doing them brand new as well. Some builders show that they're /technically/ the same width/length/height as a stock long/tall - and they have a lot more room inside. That said, my missus said they're all ugly... 😏
 

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We want two permanent bed solutions for a family of 4. A bunk bed in the back is a good option with one limitation: garage space.

We want to have stealth set up to make unplanned weekend trips any time (i.e. just overnight in a neighborhood street since the campground required booking in advance). We also want to bring a couple of bikes for exploring. For stealth purposes, the bikes are better in the garage area. Also, at the same time, four people should use the 2 permanent bed setups without removing anything from the camper, meaning stop at night, sleep and quickly leave early in the morning.
The front drop-down bed is a great idea, unfortunately it will be short on height for those sleeping in it (see your Concept 1 video). And you’ll give up a lot of headroom in the front cabin when it’s stowed, this area will be your only place to stand and put on clothes. I’d also recommend prioritizing your sleeping space over garage space. Squeezing a family of 4 into a van is hard enough without bikes inside—we tried everything, but ultimately bought a rack and kicked the bikes out. An extended body van would help but there’s nothing stealthy about an extended van anyway.

You have the right idea with permanent beds. Nothing worse than 10 hours on the road then trying to get two cranky kids into a bed that isn’t even made yet. The only way to do this is with a bunk arrangement, either drop down bunks hung from the sides or a smaller kid bed over the adult bed. A Happi-jac bed would work too.

Plan the beds first, then plan storage prioritized by how often the item is used throughout the day (clothes are first). Make sure everything has a place, or it will end up on the floor.
 

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How about a fixed bed in the back over a garage that is deep/high enough to accommodate your gear and a passenger seat directly in front justified to the passenger side. A galley could run from the bed to to drivers seat, or short of it if you wanted a swivel. A second bed could be stacked on top of the rear bed that would allow it to slide forward. If you wanted a narrower bed to allow an aisle in front of the passenger seat, some sort of fold out legs could accommodate that. Or you could have 24"ish wide twin beds with a center aisle.
 

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Since this topic is talking about overhead/drop down beds, thought this pic was interesting....from a Transit HR (Rover Vans)

 
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