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Old 11-03-2018, 10:08 PM   #1
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Camping cots in a van

I am new to E350 and while "van camping" has always intrigued me, I never really been dreaming/looking/drooling (although I wish I had!)

I'll save the story on how we ended up with an E350 Quigley for another day (let's just say it was initiall purchased as a dual purpose vehicle--towing vehicle (for a camper) and people mover, camper van idea came in later as a 'fun' idea, although a van with lift and Aluminiess bumper isn't particularly stealthy).

Nonetheless..
I started measuring my 15pas van so see how I would sleep in it, and could not figure out how folks have beds perpendicular to the van
41" between wheel wells,
66" top of wheel wells. That's 5'6"
I think you do gain max distance at window level, but barely 6 feet, and I am 6 feet tall and around 220lb

I ruled out a side-to-side bed since I couldn't gain 6ft. The math is probably different on cargo vans, although I don't see the max side-to-side distance increasing beyond 6ft).

I believe the reasons for looking at the cot were as follows:
  • better than sleeping on (dirty/cold) floor
  • cot's legs could get around the wheel wells (poor attention to pics, while pic below seems to show only 4 legs, other pics on site show 6)
  • cot is very easy to remove from camper and reuse outside of van
  • 2 cots of type I bought put together make a queen bed, so it had long term potential to sleep 2
  • aluminum bed is pretty light to handle and don't add much weight to vehicle (under 20lb)

Cons included
  • poor ability to utilize space underneath due to X leg configuration
  • probably some awkwardness putting it away vs custom van beds
.

In retrospect, a sofabed of some sort would have probably been a better idea, although I am not sure how portable or light it would be, nor if a commercially available one could get around the wheel well (would have to have no legs in middle)

Below is the cot picked for experiment. I am curious if anybody else entertained this idea.

I think the cot can still be made to work, if put a few inches above on some frame made out of wood or angle iron/aluminum.

I'll try to post some pictures in the morning.

http://a.co/d/g521ZDE

Quote:
  • Super Strong AIRCRAFT GRADE Anodized Aluminum.
  • Compact Storage Pouch with Zipper, and Convenient Carry Bag with Shoulder Straps.
  • Expanded Size: 80" L x 29.5" W x 17" H; Folded Size: 40" L x 9.5" W x 4" H.
  • OD Black 1200 D Polyester Fabric is Washable and Mildew Resistant. Cot Weight = 14.5 Pounds.
  • Velcro Adjustment Straps for Firmness: Weight Capacity = 605 lbs; Total Weight = 16 lbs.
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:37 AM   #2
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When I was younger my dad and I would do camping trips in our E-150 Club Wagon. We'd take out the rear seats and use cots just like you describe. It worked well. It's no frills but it gets you up off the ground and in a hard-walled vehicle, which I much prefer to tent camping.

The side-to-side bed in my E-250 Sportsmobile is listed as 70 inches on the spec sheet. I agree, I don't see any way you could get to 6'. I'm 6' tall and I have to sleep diagonally if I use that bed. I have a penthouse top though so usually my wife and I sleep "upstairs" and the the lower bed is a guest bed.
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:58 AM   #3
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I have a 15 passenger van, with no interior build out, that we use for camping as well. Normally we just throw a memory foam mattress topper (with a "waterproof" cover) directly on the floor. I also have a $60 Coleman camp cot, which is very similar in build to an outdoor chaise lounge, that we bought as a spare bed when we have family staying at our house. I've used it camping in the van a few times, and I'll tell ya, the cot is not bad at all!

The one that I have has a piece of canvas that is attached to the frame with springs, topped with a cheap (included) 2" open cell foam "mattress." The hoop shaped legs do allow sliding our smaller action packer boxes underneath, and it folds flat in half like an old beach chair so setup/breakdown is a 30 second (if even that) ordeal. I'm 6'5" but as a side sleeper, the cot's 26" x 75" dimensions are surprisingly adequate. Even though its smaller, I prefer it to the pad on the floor since it's much easier to get up from, and it doesn't get condensation underneath in cold weather (the windows are another story!) It's absolutely perfect for "trips with the guys" where it's just me, some basic camping gear, and a moto inside the van, I could actually setup the cot while a motorcycle is still tied in if I just needed to catch some zzz's on the road (have not done so.)

If you shift it forward a bit, the 26" wide cot has enough clearance to set it up over the passenger side wheel well, allowing you to fit 2 side by side if you wanted. Of course, that means that rows 5, 4, and even 3 need to be removed.

So yeah, it works just fine. You can find the same type I have at your local wally word or the like and take it for a spin right there in the aisle if you're classy like that. I did, and I knew right away that it would fit the bill for what I needed.
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:16 AM   #4
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Slept well (cheated with space heater). Didn't pull out 3rd row seat completely as this was an experiment. 2nd pic supposed to show 5" lost due to poor research on my part.

Will look into Coleman.

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Old 11-04-2018, 10:35 AM   #5
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Are you referring to one of these?

Coleman Ridgeline III Camp Bed Folding Camping Cot ($62)
Walmart # 555276385





Coleman ComfortSmart Deluxe Camping Cot ($66)
Walmart # 552557578
  • Durable steel frame can support up to 300 pounds and can accommodate most people up to 6 feet 6 inches tall
  • Measures 80 x 30 x 15 inches when unfolded
  • can accommodate most people up to 6 feet 6 inches in height

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Old 11-04-2018, 02:13 PM   #6
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Yep, something like that. I forgot that they made a bigger version so I just had to go measure... mine is definitely the smaller version. I now remember that the 30x80 would not fit in the space in front of our sofa bed in our little converted box trailer, otherwise I'd have totally gone for that! If 2 of the large cots won't fit side by side, maybe a combination of one small and one large would work for you?
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Old 11-04-2018, 07:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komrade View Post
Are you referring to one of these?

Coleman Ridgeline III Camp Bed Folding Camping Cot ($62)
Walmart # 555276385

I have a Ridgeline in my Astro. It's pretty sweet and saves a lot of space because I can fit four Costco totes underneath. It's also just low enough that I can sit on it like a couch without touching the roof (no mean feat in an Astro since I'm 6'1").

My only beef is that the pad is a little soft. But I slid a ThermaRest under it and now I sleep better in my van than in my bed at home.
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:23 AM   #8
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The perfect setup. That cot is similar to the one I use https://www.cabelas.com/product/CABE...0.uts?slotId=0

Offroad, my camp kitchen, tools, etc. in Pelican cases and cot (folded up) are lashed down for safety. When I hit the highway after camping I just leave it setup, stash the cases underneath and bug out. Fast, easy. When wife is with me, she gets the cot and I sleep on an inflatable on the floor next to it. Best way to minimize foot print and max efficiency.
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:42 AM   #9
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The foldables have a higher chance of clearing the wheel well. The ridgeline has 34" of clearance at the bottom, same as wheel well width. Distance between rails at the top is 29". The height on many of these varies as well. 12-15". I was going to experient with deluxe version, but I wanted to remeasure so I don't miscalculate and go through hassle of returning it.

Also, I did not like the stability of the army style cot. It had about an inch of movement. I twist and turn a lot. I would've kept it it if wasn't for that.

I think the foldables should be fair better in that department due to weight actually working against any desire of the legs to move.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Komrade View Post
The foldables have a higher chance of clearing the wheel well. The ridgeline has 34" of clearance at the bottom, same as wheel well width. Distance between rails at the top is 29". The height on many of these varies as well. 12-15". I was going to experient with deluxe version, but I wanted to remeasure so I don't miscalculate and go through hassle of returning it.

Also, I did not like the stability of the army style cot. It had about an inch of movement. I twist and turn a lot. I would've kept it it if wasn't for that.

I think the foldables should be fair better in that department due to weight actually working against any desire of the legs to move.
Yes, mine clears the wheel well easily and butts right up against the sidewall. I'll take a photo later today and post.
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