In a normal sized van, like a VW, there are a multitude of suppliers selling ready made beds of all sizes and budgets and quality.
But, go for a custom sized bed and the choice plummets dramatically!
And for us, getting a bed/seat that fits exactly where we want it will make or break the van and make it usable (for us) or not. Its the most critical thing which the whole van is based around.
Looking around, some of the Rock n roll beds have normal hinges which mean the cushions never fit properly (!) – so in bed position you have a gap, or in seat position they are squished, or the bed boards are loose. We don’t want any of these…. So this limits the choice further.
As the NV200 will also be a car, we want 4 belted seats, and this brings into question “crash tested” beds or not. Once you hit custom sizes this is impossible anyway. Also, in my view, campervans/motorhomes will never be as safe as a car in the back anyway – and this includes coach built. In a big off, regardless of how well tied down, bonded or bolted, wood furniture will rip out and stuff will fly around anyway, probably including fridges, batteries, gas bottles, knives etc…. Also, the rear of vans aren’t safety zones or have crash protection like a car. And you can never get type approval or any other approval – best we can do is MOT standard.
As the seats will be seldom used, that’s the balance for us.
What we can do however, is ensure the bed/seat is strong and well made. Some cheap ones will pass MOT but you can see how they’d react in an accident, bend or fail etc. So we avoided these. We studied pictures of approved beds, welding quality, angular bracing, size of steelwork etc, and then tried to find a maker whose beds were of similar ilk.
And we found VW Rusty Lee (http://vwrustylee.com/ ) – who assured us he could do anything we wanted (!).
On his comments assuring we could get what we wanted, we bought the van 🙂 …..
…. then we went to see him once we got the van.
- Same type of build as his T4 3/4 bed
- Taller to allow loo underneath
- Angle braces for head rests
- Different rear corner angle
- 2x seat Belts
- Gas strut assist
- Reclining 🙂
- Grey paint
Due to holidays the lead time was longer than hoped, but in truth, the bed was ready the first week we were ready for it. Rusty Lee gave expert advice, suggested changes, told us we were mad (! – he may be right), gave advice on van which made us change how we did the floor, and was clearly an expert on his beds.
Also, the workmanship is excellent, seeing other beds made and the quality of the builds was impressive – clearly a skilled man.
Anyway, day of collection….
Well – we always said the van build will succeed or not based on how the bed works and everything fits around it. And, well, WOW! Rusty Lee is bloody awesome – we were impressed when we collected, but got it home and put it in the “right” position and its virtually mm perfect! Everything we hoped was possible – will be!
- The loo fits PERFECTLY and with enough room to box.
- MASSIVE area for pull out drawer next to loo (other bed designs do not permit this)
- MASSIVE rear area – our awning and outdoor chairs will fit here.
- And the rest of the design impresses – watching how the bed works, what touches what (or not) – and its an incredible piece of engineering.
- Furniture line can be exactly where hoped – so battery location and gas locker will fit where we hoped.
(Pics are showing NOT FITTED yet – just resting)
No, we aren’t on commission, but I’m quite pedantic (not the word Rusty used 🙂 ) – and this far suprasses my expectations. We’ve tested it as a seat, and a bed, and it is exactly as we want (yes, small but that is our choice and works)
Cheers Rusty Lee!