I deliberately bought the longer wheel base Ford Transit Connect XLT, which has no infrastructure in the back and enough height and length that I and others can sit comfortably on a raised platform. Since I’ll be living out of the van for several months at a time and entertaining guests along the way, it was important to me to keep everything super tidy. When you open the lift gate, which provides additional living space and shelter in rain and sun, as well as plenty of natural light thanks to a giant window, all you can see are my six-foot cushions from Syria that suit both my nomadic ways and love for the Middle East. All of my gear, clothing and food are completely hidden.
My brother built a very basic wooden frame for my bed with a thin hinged plywood platform for the cushions, which I had previously traded with my friend Tara Griffin in exchange for building my personal website. This allows me to store all of my gear beneath the bed, where it’s completely out of sight, and yet access it fairly easily by lifting up the fairly lightweight platform. The cushions are a bit dense, so I would recommend a six-inch futon cushion for most. For the bed, I wanted something very light, to maintain my fuel efficiency, and I didn’t want to make any permanent alterations to the van just yet since I have a much more sophisticated ‘eco’ conversion planned for the future! For now the platform is tethered down with zip ties, which I can easily cut to remove the entire rig and it’s very secure. Last night I drove 10 hours from New Jersey to Indiana, and the bed didn’t budge an inch. And I managed to get 24 miles per gallon despite a lot of hilly driving, a full 10 gallon solar shower, and enough BPA-free cans of beans to build a small house.