Retiree in Action: Part 7: Sleeping in the Van … 

Was I feeling like an old person rolling out of my tent morning after morning? Maybe. The rolling part was easy; it was the getting up off the ground that seemed troublesome some mornings as I would mutter and ask myself “am I getting old?”.

With the van I decided a priority would be a mattress a few feet above the ground … even if it was just a foam memory mattress topper with my ensolite and Thermarest sleeping pads underneath; yes the same ones I use when tenting. So, I cut a full mattress topper to 43 inches width and kept the 75 inch length. I am high off the ground due to my bicycle stored underneath, thus less head space, so cannot comfortably sit up bed, but can scrunch enough to read a book in bed. 

I equate this “capsule” to the Japanese pod hotels at their airports where one can catch a quick night’s sleep. I will have a good night’s sleep, roll off the mattress to the floor and be on my way in the morning! (Remember I have the luggable loo to step down on, if I need it.) 

I even built a small shelf for a container to hold night time needs … headlamp, alpaca socks and other night stand items. I must admit, this van conversion is more than a “glorified tent”! 

For air flow in the van, I purchased air vents for the front 2 windows. No doubt there may be times I need more airflow so I also purchased a small fan to plug into my GoalZero. But the best air flow will be when the sliding door of the van or the back doors are open! Creating screens became a necessity as I decided to not use one product where you remove the van’s weather-stripping to install the screen and then put the weather stripping back on. Way to dicey for me to consider that option. Another company discontinued their manufacture of screens so I was left with my own creation for the rear of the van and am awaiting a purchase of the sliding door screen!

Nightstand blue box!
No screen below for easy access to items. When buggy the screen will be added.
Fiberglass mesh screen is staying in place by the mattress. Area below will be screened when needed.
Looking to the mattress from the inside … hop up via the loo!

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