ikea sofabed in VW T4

steveh2112

New Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
i'm planning to buy a van, probably a VW transporter of some kind, and tour Europe with my girlfriend for 3 months, sleeping in the van pretty much every night in airs, campgrounds and wild camping.

so i want comfortable but i'm not into building out a van with everything including the kitchen sink. it will be basically a bed and a porta potty, and all the cooking and eating stuff will be stored in boxes under the bed for outdoor cooking and eating (weather permitting). i don't live in the UK, so plan to fly in, buy a van (not converted) and try kit it out with no tools in less than a week. i'm 6' tall.

so my idea is put a ikea NYHAMN 3-seat sofa-bed in there. i think i will need to extend the legs to get it above the wheel arches, but i check all the dimensions on a 3D CAD program and it looks like there is plenty of space for this bed (200x140cm) and a porta potty (30x40cm) which i want so we can pee at night without leaving the van.

anyone tried to put a sofa bed in the back of a van and how did you do it?

BTW, saw this
so clearly possible but not a lot of details in this video

thanks

UPDATE, if i get a smaller sofabed like this https://www.amazon.co.uk/Home-Detail-Cushioned-Adjustable-Function/dp/B07ZPCL18Z/ref=sr_1_18?dchild=1
that's 185cm long which is fine for me and 115cm wide which will fit between the wheel arches anyhow i think. its a big narrow but we are both reasonably slim so maybe can get away with it
 
Last edited:

Coire

Member
Joined
May 8, 2018
I've done what you're planning, not the sofabed part but the Europe in a simple conversion for 3 months part.

Firstly, it's great fun and you'll love it. There are so many amazing places to stop and so many facilities that you will never need to worry about staying in horrific campsites like in the UK.

However I have one piece of advice from my trip.

What time of year are you doing this? If it's summer, you will absolutely need to make ventilation and insulation a priority as a small van like this becomes a mobile oven in Europe. Minibus conversions are worse due to the glass. A panel van with insulation and opening windows is better. Make sure you take good fans and window reflectors. Large usb fans are great. We used 4 to sleep under and it was ok. A van with AC is also a must if you want to go south.
 

steveh2112

New Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
hi, thanks for the reply. actually i'm planning a trip for next spring, April to June in Europe and July/Aug in UK.

my girlfriend is from Thailand and wants to see snow so will spend some time in the alps. so cold weather is something we will have to deal with, we are both used to hot since we live in Thailand.

i'm leaning towards the smaller sofa in my first post since that will give us a bit more space to set up a table and cooking area indoors. also looking at this wood burning stove
of course the big question is how to get the flue pipe outside. i'd prefer not to cut a hole in the side of the van since i plan on selling after the trip. any ideas

according to the specs
Chimney height- 4 pcs x 390 mm; - 1 pc x 360 mm
so there should be a way to route that through the driver or passenger side window if i get a pipe bend at B&Q and i make some kind of blocking baffle to close off the rest of the window opening.

FYI, a couple of years ago, i did a big van tour of the western USA in a dodge 3500 cargo van with a simple conversion i did myself, so i have some experience with this. big difference to Europe i think is most van camping in US is in parks and wilderness, not in parking lots in towns. so this trip will likely have to be a bit more stealthy. also, in the western US in spring/early summer, sun is pretty much guaranteed every day so don't need to plan for bad weather.
 
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Coire

Member
Joined
May 8, 2018
Stealth is always a benefit. However, with Europe, I found that there is a lot of tolerance to wild / free camping and we have never once been bothered, moved on or felt threatened unlike in the UK. You will find yourself amongst all sorts of weird and wonderful conversions. The exception is Austria especially in Tyrol where they take your plate and send you a fine, so it's good to check local restrictions.

The stipulation in some countries such as Germany is that you do not 'camp'. Keep yourself contained in your vehicle and don't put out chairs, awnings, or cook outside etc. Sleeping in a vehicle is OK which is why it is tolerated.

With Europe you will find that most Europeans also wild camp and as such there is no bad attitude towards it. In fact in some places you will be welcomed with a boulangerie van in the morning selling you fresh bread!

Many places actually have designated free overnight parking spaces in towns with nearby bins and water and waste disposal. In places like this of course we spend all our money on great food and drink.
 
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