Minivan RV build-out
As I mentioned, I bought a bigger vehicle with the specific intention of adding some sort of camping/sleeping structure to it. I spent a lot of time looking at photos of home-made and pre-built minivan RV builds online, mostly in the Facebook groups to which I belong. There are several companies (mostly in Europe) that make boxes specifically for my Ford Transit Connect. They range from $3000-5000 and would obviously have to be shipped as well. There were some really snazzy ones like the Egoe Nestbox or the VanEssa Modular Kitchen, but none of them suited my particular needs.
As luck would have it, I came upon a few photos in a Facebook group of a box someone had built for the newest model of the Ford Transit Connect. While I had originally considered converting the entire inside of the vehicle, I liked that this design only required removing the third-row seats, and it left the vehicle mostly usable when not camping.
While I was in Vermont this summer, I sent these two mediocre photos to an old neighbor of mine who was quite handy with woodworking. I removed the third-row seats and then drove deep into the woods to see him so he could take measurements of the vehicle.
At first, I liked the idea of having a large pull-out drawer in each half of the box, but when I started contemplating storage space, I realized that the space taken up for the drawer mechanisms would really cut into how much stuff I could carry in it. I decided to keep it simple at first with the idea that I could add things later.
After discussing the various specifications for the box, my friend quoted me $650 for supplies and labor. That seemed very fair, and it only took him a few days to complete the job.
The results were everything I’d hoped for. The box looked great and was highly functional.
The top piece flips over to form a bed platform when the second row of seats is folded down flat, and there are two slide-out shelves that were installed using minimal extra space. The box is “glued and screwed” just like I asked. This will ensure it’s strong enough for me to sleep on and will also prevent warping.
Thanks to the holes he made on the top edge of the box, the bed platform and shelves can be secured during travel. I use a large, flexible “twist tie.” All the bed needs now is a mattress. I’ve got a tri-fold mattress in mind that will fit on top of the box during travel and when not in use.
I know you all love my emergency supply posts, so in another post, I will go through my emergency/camping supply list and organization. I spent hours at the end of the summer weeding out and re-organizing my supplies to make them fit inside this box. I’ve also added some items that might be of interest to you.
Stay tuned for this continuing adventure!