Ideas from an RV Show

Well, the van I am going to get has arrived here in the US from Japan, and it is going through US Customs, and it will be in my hands here in the next week. While I impatiently wait for its arrival, my wife and I had an opportunity to go to an indoor RV show at Cardinals Stadium (US Football team). I went not because I was interested in buying an RV, but I wanted to see one - or quite a few - up close and personal and to get some ideas that I might be able to implement in my own build.

I was surprised by the sheer number of Class B RVs present. Today, these are typically converted Sprinter and Ram high roof vans. And at the show, there must have been about 20 or so vans available for us to explore. And explore and poke around we did. We saw a lot of great ideas for utilizing space, which is a premium in most vans.

We saw a lot with built in showers and toilets, as well as full kitchens. The van I am planning on purchasing does not have that kind of space, so I was more interested in neat features that I might be able to implement to make use of the little space I will have. The Toyota Hiace van I am getting is 54” wide, and 104” long in the cargo area. And it is about 4 ½ feet tall inside. So, there isn’t going to much space, at least there will not be space for a shower and built in toilet!

One thing I did see which I thought was neat was the inventive use of pull-down shelves or sliding shelves that are hidden. Some of these are smart uses of space and something I will need to explore to see if I can take advantage of in my van build.

One thing I have been concerned about is bugs. Even in hot Arizona, Utah or California, there are often bugs. And if I am sleeping in the van, I want to come up with some way to cover windows and doors with screens. I am considering putting a pull-out kitchen area at the very back of the van and I was interested in how these vans on display handled the screen door situation for some ideas.

I think I can create something like these and keep those critters out of the van. As there is also a sliding door to the side, I can create something that would work there as well.

One thing I was looking at was how these vans handled the sleeping arrangements. And I saw all kinds of possibilities, such as beds that were suspended and you could lower through electric cables, couches that converted into beds, dining area where the seats converted into beds. But there weren’t any with a full-size bed ready to go.

And I have been watching YouTube videos on beds, and I have discovered something I find interesting.  I find that most younger people (20’s-30’s) who, when doing their van builds, opted for the folding or converting bed formats – either a couch to a bed, or dining bench seats into a bed. Older folks (50’s-60’s) seem to opt for a fully made bed in the van. As one person stated, after a long day, I don’t want to have to rearrange my van to make a bed, I just want to go to bed! So I am leaning towards a full bed in the van as I can definitely relate to the sentiment that when it is time to sleep, it is time to sleep!

So as I was looking, I saw one bed which had these little things that apparently act kind of like a box spring, in that it provided some support other than just laying a mattress on a board. I am looking to see if this is something I can get and perhaps use in my build (I just discovered that these are Froli springs, https://nickleatlantic.com/).

So, it was a great show, and I left with some more ideas to percolate around in my head as I begin to formulate what is important to me for this van build. I already know that I want a full bed, a portable toilet, and a camping fridge. And I will need these to really begin planning out how the van will be built out. And depending on how these work in my plans, I will also be able to figure out my kitchen setup, whether to do a pull-out kitchen drawer/shelve from the back or a chuck box.

So, stay tuned! There is much more to come.