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Chevrolet Astro Van Conversion: Construction Update 2

Here is our second update to our Astro Van small camper conversion with the details of the bed construction and underneath storage.

First published 2013.

Completed bed in DIY Astro Van Conversion

The last update showed the ‘first look’ of what it was going to look now – the framework is now almost complete and we have a proper mattress!

From this view you can really see the huge amount of space between the bed and the front seats……it’s an area a little bit smaller than the bed itself!

This means the bed is completely self-contained to the back of the van, leaving us way more space for living than our Europe road trip car did.

Astro Van Conversion Update 2 - Building a bed

This is the back framework while still in construction, just so you can get an idea of the storage space at the back.

bed frame structure astro can conversion back of bed

Back panel of Van Bed

The entire back panel is on two hinges, so can be lifted up from the back. This gives us a massive storage space, which we intend to use for larger and less used items, such as our snowboards, winter coats, canoe equipment etc.

The panel can be held up quite easily using a hook from the car roof. One of the struts providing support to the centre of the bed frame is on a hinge too, so that items like the snowboards can be taken out easier

The back wooden panel can also be lifted up from inside! I will have to ask Jean Robert when he gets home to find out exactly how it works, but it’s pretty awesome! This is a feature I’m really happy with, I love that most of our storage will be accessible from both inside and outside the car.

astro van conversion bed construction
astro can conversion under bed storage
astro van conversion bed structure

DIY Van Conversion Mattress

Our mattress is made up of six differently sized rectangles of 3 and a half inch firm foam. Jean Robert covered the foam with this awesome material from FabricWorld, it’s the thickness of denim but feels much softer.

You may ask why we haven’t just got one big piece of foam…..well, one good reason is that the middle rectangle (closest to the front seats) and its framework below can be entirely lifted out, creating an eating area for us.

Jean Robert is going to build a small high table to fit in the space where the middle rectangle is (when sleeping). This will be a huge improvement from our last vehicle since we didn’t really have anywhere really comfortable to eat inside last time.

astro van conversion mattress cover

Future plans for our Astro Van conversion

So that’s the September update! We’ve used the van in this state a few times recently and it works really really well. There is SO much space underneath the bed and it’s very easy to access.

Due to the bed’s position, we have so much space to move and change within the van; it’s crazy how much a slightly bigger car and a re-design can do for a car conversion!

Jean Robert is next going to work on the cabinet I think, which is going to house our fridge (well, cooler really), food storage, and indoor food preparation area. It’s going to be built behind the drivers’ seat, away from the side door.

Meanwhile, it’s my priority to work on curtains…..luckily the van has really dark windows as it is, but we definitely need to get some ASAP!

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