The Layout

Your van and it’s layout

Designing the perfect van for your needs is great fun, but its a really good idea to get inside one and really see how much space you’ve got to play with.

I spent months before getting my van, playing around with how the sofa was going to extend into the bed and where I wanted cupboards, bike racks, storage for this, storage for that etc. To help you work out a layout, I’ve listed a few key considerations below.

  • Primary use – what are you going to do? If you’re thinking about living on the road for a while then obviously a fair amount of storage space is required, and maybe this will be fore some specific items, such as (for us) crash pads for bouldering.
  • Van size… its a given really. More space really means more options and more ways you can fit everything in. You’ll probably even manage to fit some luxuries in like a toilet or shower, or permanent bed with separate living space.
  • Access – If you’ve got a ‘standard’ layout where you can either get in a sliding door or the rear doors, then maybe you might want to keep both these paths clear when the bed is packed away. This immediately brings some limitations into the bed location – have a bench seat down one side that extends out to become the bed is probably how your design will end up.

Our layout:

Our van is a short wheel base, low top with a passenger side sliding door and rear barn doors. We wanted to be able to access the van from both sets of doors so we decided to go for the bench seat design that pulled out into a small double (4ft). Under the bed, from the front backwards is the battery/isolator switch and fuse box, duvet/pillow storage and gear storage. On the left hand side of the van is cupboards. Starting at the back, four wooden racking compartments fills the height of the van, of which the top 3 face inwards and are usually used for climbing gear while the bottom faces backwards and holds the van spares/tool kit etc. Moving forwards there are two 600 x 400 mm  (width x depth) cupboards, again from floor to ceiling, with a small ‘cubby hole’ between them. The lower ones contain food and cooking equipment that doesn’t need to be accessed while the bed is out and the top contains clothes. Between this and the sliding door, a 400 x 400 mm cupboard forms a base for the pop-up worktop/table, supported by a swing arm mounted the other side of the sliding door. The cupboard stores our water, washing up stuff and a drawer for cutlery.

The initial purpose for getting the van was for bike racing, so I could fit the bike in and still sleep comfortably. This changed part way through the build as I got back into climbing, acquired some crash pads and realised they take up a lot of space, especially when you get 2!