On the happy day when I got my van, July 30, 2015, it already had a bed in it. It had this built-in base of heavy solid wood that had heavy drawers. One drawer opened from the front, inside the van, and the other from the back when the doors are open. The bed ran the width of the van, and was just barely too short, but I could sleep quite comfortably with my head at one side of the van and my feet at the other, if I slept diagonally. This left the entire front part of my van for…whatever. I added a mattress topper and slept so comfortably for months! Until the rain started…
The rain was getting into my van from the back end – right where the bed was. You can read a couple posts I made about that. At first, it was just in the cabinets, and I was very vexed at having to take the things from the cabinets and open them up until they dried, at which point it would rain again. Then, in December it happened… Drip.. .drip…drip… The rain was dripping from one of the back cabinets and hitting the bed.
A wet mattress is not acceptable! I went to the dump and dismantled the base. I would have stored the base for later, if I’d had a storage space that could hold it (mine is way too small, and full of my boxes). I also got rid of the custom mattress that fit the base, but kept my mattress topper. I then got a used cot. It was a kingdom 3 REI cot. I assembled the cot at the front of the van, lengthwise, where it always stays dry. I slept in that cot for about 3 weeks, when I realized that my back was getting more sore. I have back issues that can incapacitate me if I don’t watch it. The cot has a slight rise at the feet and at the head. Plus, it wasn’t nearly as comfortable or cozy as the other bed had been. Combine that with the slight dampness of everything – including my bedding – due to the rain and general humidity in the air combined with the cold.
Yesterday I stuck the cot in my storage and bought a piece of plywood slightly smaller than a twin bed. I also got some cheap storage bins that are about 18 inches high, with lids. And I got a twin air mattress. I put duct tape around the edges of the plywood (to avoid splinters) and put it on top of the storage bins, items I don’t need in the back and items I do need toward the accessible edge. I put a blanket over the plywood, and put the air mattress on that, and my mattress topper on top of that. Then I tested it. Ah, it was comfortable! I could sprawl out a little, cuddle up with my big pillow, and move around with abandon…as long as I was parked on a level surface (a problem that didn’t come up until last night when I parked on a street).
Parked on the street, there was enough of a slope that I could easily have rolled off the bed, or the whole thing could have shifted down during the night. Realizing I wouldn’t fall asleep until the problem was fixed, I got up and put three blocks of wood under the plywood, along the edge that was on the downward slope. That solved the problem for last night, but I need to do something else, otherwise the plywood underneath will end up breaking due to having no support along the center.
So, here is my plan. I’m going to leave the blocks of wood along that edge under the plywood, but put some pillows along the center, under the plywood, to give that centerline some support. It all sounds like a very temporary makeshift solution. I know (have read about) a lot of people who build solid bases into their vans for the bed, but I don’t have the skill, the tools, or the workshop to do that. My temporary solution is actually quite comfortable (except for the pervasive dampness – which I can do nothing about, but wait for warmer weather). However, I do need some adjustable permanent solution. I so miss my cozy comfortable bed of the early days!