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Old 02-27-2024, 10:43 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2023
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Storage Tips for SMB EB 31 with 2 adults/2 kids


New SMB owner here and I'm prepping for a 3 week trip in the SMB (2006 E-350 6.0 Diesel extended body & penthouse pop-top) with 2 adults and 2 kids. The layout is somewhat rare -- EB31 -- with 4 captains chairs in the front & gauchos in the rear. Picture of layout below.

My struggle is space and storage. We are not over-packers but will need warm & cold-weather clothing & enough to keep 2 kids under age 10 entertained while driving. Due to the layout, there are only a few cabinets which is tough for 4 of us. I'm looking for creative, easy storage solutions that don't make me feel like I'm traveling in a horder's van.

What we're already doing:
- I have an Aluminess rear bumper with box coming in about 2 weeks.
- Each kid has a seat organizer for their stuff that hangs on the back of the front seats
- We aren't over-packers. For trips we typically each get one packing cube to fill with our clothes, but warm-weather clothes is going to stretch this. We will be doing laundry occasionally so that will help.
- I have removed the microwave and converted that to storage since we don't use it enough.

What creative and easy storage solutions do you recommend for the INTERIOR? I would love to see what you have done on the inside of your SMB to maximize space. Even if feels basic to you, I'm interested. Thank you!
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Old 02-27-2024, 10:50 AM   #2
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You did not mention how much space you are looking for.
  • Roof Storage
  • Front or rear hitch-mounted carriers
  • Small Trailer.
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Old 02-27-2024, 10:56 AM   #3
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Good point. I'm looking specifically for easy interior storage ideas. Edited post.
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Old 02-27-2024, 01:08 PM   #4
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As you already know, there just is not a lot of storage room in our vans. I have an RB50 and travel with a doggo and often with my wife. I find it convenient to forgo using the cabinets for MY clothing and just utilize a duffle bag for most of my clothing. During the day my duffle rides on the downstairs bed and at night it gets put on the driver's seat if sleeping downstairs. Most nights the driver's seat gets piled pretty high with duffles, day packs, jackets, etc. I do utilize a Roam Adventure Rugged Case on top of my bumper mounted storage box for extra shoes/boots at times and have a Trasharoo as well. Pretty amazing how much stuff can fit in those Trasharoos. You might consider adding a cargo net above the rear bed (below the upper bunk) for lighter weight items like jackets.

I'm impressed whenever I hear about using these vans for entire families - must get a little tight.
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West Central Mountains, Idaho
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Old 02-27-2024, 01:30 PM   #5
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Thanks, Steve C! I will look into the Trasharoo and love the idea of the cargo net. Yes, 4 is a crowd but what doesn't kill us makes us a stronger family unit.... or something like that! I keep telling my kids (who are both under 10 currently) that one glorious day they won't want to sleep in the van with us and they will get their VERY OWN TENT (said with a lot of enthusiasm and almost mystical excitement). I'm looking forward to that day. But I'll still have to cart their stuff around!
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Old 02-27-2024, 04:53 PM   #6
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We do a lot of the same that Steve mentioned (Duffel bag & backpack in driver seat). Keeping everything organized certainly will make storing & locating items more convenient. It doesn't look like you have a lot of built-in storage, so limiting everyone will control space and clutter. Using a backpack for clothes & toiletry items helps limit the amount you pack (if it doesn't fit, you don't take it). Have to say, we have gone through several versions of backpacks, and found one with the front access is the most convenient since you can just zip down the front and see everything...opposed to having to dig & remove till you locate what you want).
We went through a couple different versions over the years and are very pleased with this Osprey version:

When you pack - pack like you're backpacking...layer. It's Ok to wear some of the same clothing a couple times/days if needed, and you can get a collapsible pail to wash some clothes if needed (just purchase the proper biodegradable soaps).

Remove any redundancy: Each person gets one tumbler with a top that seals well (preferable one that hold cold & hot liquids well), only need 2 cooking pans (we have one cast iron skillet and a medium sauce pan).

We tried a storage net across the bottom of the pop-top bunk, but anything that sticks down more than 6" just seemed to crowd the space - so removed it. If you carry pillows, buy some compression sacks you can stuff them into (clean look and smaller footprint). We only use 4-season sleeping bags (for same reasons).
We use a pelican case on top of the spare tire for added storage (have two different sizes I use; depends on the trip for which travels with us - large and extra large). Normally store some kindling, a Citronella candle, and fill the rest of the space with additional beverages (beer, powerade, etc).

We mostly use our trashoo style bag (attached to rear tire under the pelican box) for all the dirty clothes, and a separate plastic trash bag for actual trash stuffed inside also). Keeps the smell out of the van.
Not sure what counter space you have, but I use plastic ammo boxes (have 5) that set across the top of the counter. They stay in place with 2 strips of 1.5" Velcro across the top of the counter with the other side taped on the bottom of each box. Holds the boxes very well. Strategically, since the boxes can easily be removed we store 'like item stuff' in each one which we use at different camping stages. For instance;
*One holds all our coffee & tea, filters, grinder, and sweetener supplies
*Another a variety of fire starters, long lighters, matches, propane torch head, etc.
*One has all the cleaning & scrubbing supplies for dirty dish's and cookware.
This way, I can just yank a box, walk it outside to the necessary project. Also keeps it out of the drawers.

Many variations of the Trashoo rear storage bags, some IMHO made better, and some made much larger (larger may work better for a family of 4)
I highly recommend the first one (the XL works great for us, but they also have a smaller one - extremely well made!):
Have a friend that uses this one (they like that they don't have to dig all the way down into the bag, has a zipper in the middle that goes to the base of the bag)

To mount storage boxes on the top of your spare tire:

Consider a Thule style storage box for the roof of the van (will keep all your chairs, tubes, etc out of the van)

If you have a trailer hitch, there are many hitch mount baskets you may consider to hold additional 'stuff'.

Our Rear Tire Storage bracket mount:

Picture of our Plastic AMMO Storage boxes on the counter (left side)
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Old 02-27-2024, 08:43 PM   #7
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"Consider a Thule style storage box for the roof of the van (will keep all your chairs, tubes, etc out of the van)"

Exactly what I was going to say, Felix. We did this when the 4 of us travelled in our old RB SMB. ALL bulky gear (hiking packs, jackets/coats and long things like camping bag chairs) went in the roof box. We did try to keep really heavy stuff out of it so we could still pop the top and it worked fine with adjusted springs.

We are big on Trasharoos for shoes. I always travel with one and never use it for trash. For us it usually stores a water hose, extension cord, a few bungees, whatever firewood we take or gather while we're out and most importantly SHOES! Trasharoos are perfect for shoes, especially after a family outing on anything but a completely dry day. Meaning shoes are typically muddy and nasty, and they smell, and most of them can live happily in the Trasharoo.

This kind of goes without saying but we always worked to limit our kids 'kid stuff' when traveling in the van. One bag per child for clothes, one for toys/books/games/whatever. And in our vans with any combination of storage cubbies/closets or drawers it's always been ONE per person. You get a drawer, or a cabinet shelf, or however the ratio works.

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Old 02-27-2024, 09:58 PM   #8
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I’m curious about your tire-top storage. What size is the box and what do you carry in it? I like it, but it looks fairly small, thus I’m struggling to think of what I would put in it that would justify having it. 1lb propane cylinders, leveling blocks, a twelve-pack, or???
ďFlintĒ - 2016 SMB Sprinter 4x4 144" RB 150S w/ PH
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Old 02-27-2024, 11:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fitz View Post

Iím curious about your tire-top storage. What size is the box and what do you carry in it? I like it, but it looks fairly small, thus Iím struggling to think of what I would put in it that would justify having it. 1lb propane cylinders, leveling blocks, a twelve-pack, or???
In the picture The Pelican box on the top of the rear tire is smaller, it was initially used to test fit the bracket I made...I have a larger one on the top now.
Depends on the trip, but normally I keep about 1/4 of the space with kindling, a citronella 3-wick candle, and additional cans of Beer and/or Powerade. I have thrown other items in it like BBQ utensils - just depends.

I used the mounting holes on the tire rack as a template to drill bolt holes through the bottom of the Pelican case and pass through a 1/4" thick aluminum support plate that fits inside the case (believe I made the interior mounting plate 18" long x 10" deep)- bolts pass up through the plate & secured with lock nuts (all stainless).
The one I have on the tire now is:

The larger box I use occasionally is (It's just larger than what I normally need so don't use it often):
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Old 02-28-2024, 12:05 AM   #10
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Lots of great ideas.

At some point in the future strongly consider a basement box where the spare tire goes. With a EB van you can also install a second below floor box ahead of that between the rear axle and frame cross member IF that space is free.

The rear spare area basement box can be around 50 gals of volume if properly

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Beastie 3: 2002 7.3 EB Cargo: Agile TTB, CCV High Top, Custom Walk Through, Lots of stuff added.
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