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Turn your Previa into a camper for 2

68711 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Kiwi303

I bought my previa for camping and skiing and knew I'd need a bed setup inside the van for full anywhere-camping ability. Here is what I came up with. My lady and I have used it for about 5 nights so far and it works great. It is a nice big full sized (72x53) bed that is flat. The bed comes apart and stowes away while driving. It takes about 5-10 minutes to set up.

The palace in the wilderness! With your head by the rear hatch you can watch the stars while you fall asleep. I have found that a down comforter and sheets is more cozy than nylon sleeping bags. The night this was taken it went below freezing so we threw in an extra comforter and were plenty warm. This night I set the bed up at home before we left which was super convenient when we arrived at the campground after dark.

Real milk crates from the dairy or grocery store are way more stout than those at biglots etc. but they will work too.

You can just do a single bunk if you are on a solo mission.

I put some pieces of cardboard directly over the slats. This may or may not be necessary. I just didn't want to sink a hand through the slats in the middle of the night.

There is enough space to get in and out of the bed or put the cooler in the van with the bed up. I usually just move the cooler outside by the picnic table when we get to camp.

You can lift the bed up and shove the cooler under while driving if need be but the bed will not be level sitting on the cooler. You can fit camp chairs back packs etc under the bed.

I hang a closet shoe holder from the grab handle to give some cubby space for shoving things.

This is what it all looks like put away for daytime use. The bed slats and bedding get stuffed behind the back seat.

Here is what I used:
3 - 2x4s (cheapest). Another options would be finished wood to avoid splinters
3 - milk crates
1 - 25' roll of industrial adhesive backed velcro
1- Full Size ikea "sultan lade" slatted bed base (
another option would be the Full size Sultan Luroy which is thinner and may be less cumbersome.
another option would be to cut your own slats

Youll need to remove the middle bench or captains chairs.

see the pictures to make sense of my directions.
1- cut the 2x4s to 72 inches
2- lay them flat side by side
3- stretch out one strip of the bed slats over them and pencil in where the slats will sit
4- cut 2 pieces of the furry velcro for each slat. cut pieces as long as the slats are wide (roughly 2-3 inches)
5- with the 2x4s laid flat side by side and striped to indicate where the slats will lie, stick a piece of the furry velcro on the outside top edge of the right and left 2x4 where the slats will sit. these will be your outside supports and go along the wall of the van with the velcro facing up on the wall/sliding door side of the van.
6- put 2 strips of the furry velcro down top edges of the center 2x4 where the slats will sit. This will be the center support of and go right down the center of the van.
NOTE: you could save some time by buying an exta roll of velcro and just run two strips all the way down all three 2x4s so they are interchangeable. And, you don't have to cut a bunch of velcro which was the most time consuming part of building the set up. If you go this route, you may want to reinforce the adhesive on the strips with staples or nails.

7- cut 2 1x1 pieces of the prickly side of the velcro for each slat
8- stick 1 of these pieces on each end of the underside of each slat You just want enough velcro on the slats to keep them in place. Too much velcro makes it harder to set up the bed because it sticks to everything.

NOTE: you may consider ripping off the ribbon that holds the slats together and just place them one by one. They are a bit unwieldy when they are all stuck together. I have not done this yet but may in the future. The Sultan Luroy is made of thinner cambered slats that weigh much less and may be easier to handle with the ribbon attached.

Next I need to figure out some interior lights. . . and a cool rug.

Let me know
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Very cool... I am working on converting my 5 speed Alltrac into something similar. I have 3 boys, so I have to make it be able to sleep 5. I also have a 1970 VW Camper bus and am using some ideas from that as well... I have found a fibreglass raised roof off of a caravan at a salvage yard that I am hoping to get before the crush it. I will modify it to fit the top of the Previa. Not sure if it will be solid, or will be able to be raised with a tent material like the VW had..Up top it will sleep two kids. Up front, behind the two front seats, there will be a bed for the little one that goes across, or like in the VW, a hammock that attatches to the 4 door pillars.... I even have planned a "room" that will attatch to the back hatch kind of like a tent.
I am also in the process of giving it a 2.25 inch lift so that I can drive it in more places than I can now. This is a slow moving project, that gets worked on when I can. but I am always thinking about it and looking for possabilities and ways to do it better...
Glad to see that there are others out there that use these great vehicles for what they can be, and not just to get from point A to point B
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That is very inventive. I ran across pot the other day where a guy put a coffee table with a power inverter and side tent on his egg. Yours definitely looks comfortable though..:D..
Great stuff man, I love how versatile the Egg is!
Dude this is seriously awesome! I bought my Prev specifically for climbing trips with friends and my lady. We've used a couple different methods for sleeping inside. This is really cool though. Only problem is that it seems like a ton of wood is involved. Can you post a pic of what all that looks like when its packed in the back?
i never thought of this... its a wonderful idea! i always slept on the floor of the previa when i went on retreats.
hey sorry for the long delay.

It really works great but does involve alot of wood. The slats can be unwieldy until you get used to using them. There is an alternate bed slat setup available from ikea that is made of cambered pressed wood (kind of like skateboard construction) and is much lighter and smaller but is twice as expensive. I think the sultan luroy bed base with some 1x2 or 1x4 sanded and finished hardwood beams would be a lighter, sleeker set up. Perhaps next summer. for now this works good and the 2x4s are cheap, stout, and easy to find. I don't have any pics of the stuff behind the back seat because I have a hitch mounted bike rack and don't really use the back door. All the slats will fit in a milk crate. I usually just shove them and the bedding down behind the back seat onto the floor and keep my packs and things up front behind the driver and passenger seat.
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The floors in my van now look like this which is much nicer for camping.

I found some little push on push off LED lights that take aaa batteries that light the place up great however, i have yet to find a way to stick them to the headliner so they will stay. The adhesive just gets to warm against the roof of the van and they peel off.
If you take out the back seats, a full size(or smaller) air mattress fits....being that if the trip is for 2 people you don't need the back seats anyways... :D of course an inverter is needed for inflation on the road, unless the air mattress has a lighter adapter ;) I wire my inverter directly to the battery to avoid blowing fuses, etc...I never use the lighter adapter for an inverter.
With everything cleared out, a full size mattress fits in the back. I used an inflatble bed by Coleman. Installed a 1000w inverter hidden behind the right back panel and directly wired to the battery. Here's a pic of my AC outlet.....

I took my capt chairs out permanently. Here's a camping shot w/ the home-made awning....

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Itlog - love it.. I dig the infinity wheels.. I must say that Previas with any aluminum wheels compliment each other.
ust thought I would share this picture I found on the net.... if anyone is good with fiberglass, this would be a fun project..
And look at the wipers.... funky...

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I have made a nice conversion in my prev, I wanted to be able to convert it back to a regular seated car quickly and am pretty pleased with the result.

Have a look at on YouTube, search:

Toyota previa minivan RV stealth camper
Love it, I like the split plank set up a lot. Much easier to access stuff stored below.
Toyota Previa Camper #ProjectPrevia

here is my previa camper set up

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Im moving to California right after next new years and am needing to do this. Debating whether or not to remove the middle seats (really don't want to) but im only taking full foam futon matress, movies, clothes in small plastic slide out drawers and tools. Also going to get one of those hatch bike racks with the straps.
ust thought I would share this picture I found on the net.... if anyone is good with fiberglass, this would be a fun project..
And look at the wipers.... funky...

Standard RHD wipers... English, NZ, Australia? PLENTY of Previa/Estima campers in NZ.
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