Sleeping

How to rest easy after a long day of adventure

What are the sleeping options so you can rest easy on the road? Read this info sheet to find out. Then complete our Sleeping Checklist

Many Ways to Sleep Soundly on the Road

One of the game-changing features of a converted van is being able to pull over and sleep anywhere—in the city, in the wilderness, in a parking space, at the edge of the world. 

There are probably as many types of bed as there are people to sleep in them, from bunk beds to loft beds to convertible beds. We’ll go into detail about the most common options. But before we do, let’s cover the first most basic question you need to answer: will you have a dedicated bed or not?

Go Minimalist

If you’d rather use indoor van real estate on gear than furniture, you might decide to not have a bed at all. While beds aren’t the most expensive feature, we know how it feels to be on a tight budget: every dollar counts.

If this describes you, consider these non-bed sleeping options for vanlife:

  • Sleeping bag and pad on the floor of the van
  • A hammock strung inside the van, end to end
  • A mattress on the floor
  • A tent for outdoor camping

Bed Options

If you want to be comfortable and have that “at home” feeling, add a bed to your van build.

What type of bed is right for you? To find out, first know your answers to these questions:

  • How many people will typically sleep in your van?
  • How about your trip lengths?
  • How tall is the tallest person in your group?
  • What other indoor features are important to you?

Your usual slumber party size dictates how many beds you need. If you’re sleeping a family of 4, for example, you’ll want to examine different options than a solo traveler. If you’re mostly doing weekend surf trips alone, you might get away with a more minimal bed. If you’re traveling for months, you’re going to want to be comfortable. 

Your height also makes a difference. At 5’4″, for example, Levity Van’s marketing director Bez can easily sleep in a sideways oriented bed in a van. Owner Jimmy, however, at 6’2″ can not, as his toes (or head) will hit the walls of the van all night. For a taller sleeper, you’ll need a front to back oriented bed, or to add popout panels around your bed area. We’ll talk more about those below.

Finally, space in a van is at a premium so the other features on your list dictate how much space you have and what beds might be best for you.

Minimalist Sleeping

No bed? No problem! Use a hammock or a sleeping bag and pad on the floor. 

If you plan to store tons of gear in the van, you might not want a bed

Budget travelers enjoy making due with few features

Bed Options

With so many types of bed to choose from, start with clarifying your needs. 

Your group size and trip length matter for sleeping arrangements

If you're tall (or short), it affects your options

The Most Common Types of Beds

While many creative options exist for sleeping in a van, here are the most common styles of bed we see and install. 

One of the primary features that separate car camping from vanlife is the ability to sleep in your van. Nothing provides more freedom on the road than being able to pull over and safely sleep anytime, anywhere. With the discretion of blackout window curtains, you can rest easy in the privacy of your own tiny home. 

Here are the basic styles of beds. Within each style exist pre-made options, like those from our friends at RB Components, to custom options, like the dining table turned bed we designed in our first van.  

Loft Beds

The most simple type of bed is a loft bed: essentially a mattress on a platform roughly three feet off the floor of the van. The advantage of a loft bed is they are affordable and simple, plus offer cool storage options in the space beneath the bed. Put drawers or shelves underneath to store clothes, or seal off the storage area from the inside of the van and have a “garage” in the back for outdoor gear or more long-term storage. You access the “garage” through your back doors. Most loft beds are made of panels that stack to take up less space when you’re not using the bed. 

Sleeper Sofa

If you want to lounge in the day and rest at night, consider a sleeper sofa. These convertible pieces give your bed a dual purpose, which is a good idea when adding as many features as you want to a small space. Sofa beds can face either direction in your van—side to side or front to back—and come in manual or motorized. The manual sofa beds fold out like a futon and are easy . to work with. Motorized provides extra luxury, but as with all things electric be aware that machinery can malfunction and require more maintenance than manual counterparts. 

Dinettes-Turned-Beds

Another way to double up function is to turn your dining room into your bedroom at night. Many options exist, including two benches facing each other with a table in the middle, and a U-shaped dining area with a table that adds the missing piece to form the bed at night. 

Dinettes-turned-beds can convert into one full or queen-sized bed or two twin beds for couples or travelers who like their own space. 

Bunk Beds

If you have more than two people traveling, adding a bunkbed turns your vehicle into a family van. Most bunk beds hang on tracks mounted to the wall and fold up flat against the wall when not in the use. 

Loft Bed

Also called a panel bed, this basic bed offers good storage underneath its platform.

photo example from our friends at RB Components

Stacks when not in use to take up less space

A good basic option for 1-2 sleepers

Dinettes-Turned-Beds

Dining table by day, bedroom by night. Free up space in your van with multi-purpose features. 

photo example from our friends at RB Components

Two bench seats with a table in the middle convert into a full-sized bed or two twins

In the U-shaped option, a center table lowers to complete the puzzle

Sleeper Sofa

Give your bed a second life as a sofa during the day. 

photo example from our friends at RB Components

Can orient side to side or front to back in your van, depending on your layout

Comes in electric or manual

Bunk beds

Traveling with more than 2? Bunk beds allow everyone to sleep comfortably.

photo example from our friends at RB Components

Fold up against the wall when not in use

Perfect for families or groups of singles

Window Treatments: Privacy and Atmosphere

It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep with a streetlight or the full moon blazing through your window. (Fashionable) window coverings to the rescue!

Curtains

Just like in your non-mobile house, curtains slide left or right and tie up on the side. They are an affordable way to go but offer the least amount of privacy and protection due to light leaking in and out around the edge of the curtains.

Blinds

Blinds go up and down on a string, just like the ones at home. They provide a sleek look and the tuck away seamlessly, with no storage necessary. They are more costly to install and don’t insulate as well as the other options.

Window coverings

Window coverings are the most efficient for insulating your van from both the hot and cold outside. They snap, velcro, or magnet to the frame of your van. Opt for blackout coverings if you want the most privacy and insulation. No one will be able to see in your van or be able to tell that your lights are on, even at night. Most window coverings fold up and attach right above the window. Others are removed completely, folded, and stored in a drawer or bin when not in use.

Color and Style 

How it looks and feels inside of your van matters for your overall happiness. At Levity Vans, we want your van to be functional and beautiful. We offer many fabric and color choices for window treatments. 

Curtains

Pull sideways along a rod or wire, just like the ones at home.

Tuck away neatly and require no storage

Blinds

Pull them up and down to open and close.

Tuck away neatly and require no storage

Window Coverings

Snap, velcro, or magnet to the walls of the van.

Provide the most privacy and insulation

Sleeping Checklist

Help us create a customized design and an accurate quote by knowing your options

🛌Do you want a dedicated bed?

  • Yes
  • No, I’ll use a hammock or sleeping bag on the floor

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦How many people will you usually sleep in your van?

  • 1 or 2
  • More than 2

🎭Are you taller or shorter than average (5’4″ to 5’10”)?

  • Yes, taller
  • Yes, shorter
  • Yes, both!
  • No

🛋What types of beds interest you?

  • Loft/panel bed
  • Sofa bed
  • Dinette-turned-bed
  • Bunk beds
  • Another type of bed

🌅Do you want window treatments?

  • Yes, curtains
  • Yes, blinds
  • Yes, window coverings
  • No

❓What other sleeping features are you considering?

  • We want to hear about them!

How do you decide what’s right for you?

Our three biggest tips as you’re dreaming and designing:

  • do your research,
  • know what you want, and
  • know your budget.

Then you’re ready to go!  ⛰🚐✨

Van conversions are like home sales: you want the best your money can afford. (How is a van sale different than a home sale? With your van, you can always change your location! 😉)

Similar to buying a home, it helps to know your price range. Levity Van conversions range from $30K for basic essentials to $150K for luxury models, excluding the van. We’ll help you get as many features as you can for a price you can afford.  

Choose your features

Your price depends on the features, components, and systems you need. 

  • Stick with these basics if you want to keep your conversion costs low.
  • If your budget allows, we can suggest modest upgrades to increase your comfort and enjoyment.
  • If you want the total vanlife experience, you’ll need a bigger budget. Just remember you’re investing in a tiny home: it’s worth it!
  • Are you a go big or go home person? Turn your van into a truly unique pleasure, sport, or full-time vanlife vehicle. We’ll help.

Once you know your options and are 75%+ certain about what you want in your van, fill out our Conversion Worksheet. We’ll set up a time to talk on the phone about design ideas and price estimates. We look forward to hearing about your project!

Not yet sure what you want? Tell us about your project ideas and we’ll send you relevent suggestions and resources. 

Meet Our Team

My love of building and mechanics began decades ago with brake jobs at age 10. I wired my first house at 13 with my dad, then became the high schooler who upgraded everyone’s stereo systems. Levity Vans was born 4 years ago when I saw my uncle’s empty Transit van and thought: “I could do so many customizations to make that truly unique!” I’m happy to help people’s travel dreams come true.

Jimmy Grey

Our first two-week road trip in a converted ProMaster got me hooked on vanlife travel with kids. The freedom, sense of opportunity, and comfort of being able to go anywhere, anytime inspire me to support Jimmy’s vision of Levity Vans. Follow us on Instagram to see my handiwork and to share your travel photos. One step closer to adventure!

Bez Stone

Full Service Van Conversions

Serving Santa Cruz and Beyond

Call us today

(831) 531-4151