After spending two years enjoying our VW Transporter and Glawning set up, we decided a change was needed for our growing family. In this blog post I'll explain our biggest gripes and niggles from squeezing into a small van, and how we have overcome these within our conversion. Our VW Crafter is a LWB (long wheel base) but with slightly smaller beds, this layout could totally work in a MWB (medium wheel base) too.
Our number one priority with a bigger van, was individual sleeping spaces for the kids. I was so over the night time squabbles and wiggles waking each other and preventing each other from going to sleep. We all know how exhausting camping can be, and a good nights sleep is definitely needed by everyone.. We achieved this by creating a double bunk system, ours comes length ways into the van and our bed (at the bottom) measures the same as a king size (I'm also delighted not to be squished onto a tiny rock and roll bed with Guy).
To ensure the kids don't disturb each other we have incorporated a divide, which you can see on the top bunk. This is a graduated divide, we didn't want them to feel claustrophobic so it only fully separates their heads and then their torsos. This also means George can climb up the ladder and crawl over into his bed with ease.
What about the third child I hear you ask... well he's in the poptop! On the rare occasion that the weather is too extreme for the roof to be up, he can easily come in with us for the night. So we effectively have plenty of sleeping space for 6 people!
Storage was always a killer in the Transporter, and I always felt uneasy about packing everything in and around the kids feet incase of a crash, and also for the game of Tetris once we had parked up. Even though our bed sits on top of the wheel arches we actually have a huge amount of space under there, so much so that we have to pack a few empty boxes to stop everything sliding around.
We were desperate to do more winter camping, and go away for short weekends too, so we absolutely wanted to minimise the set up and pack away. All we have to do when we arrive on site now is to swivel the front seats, pop the roof and we are done! having all the beds separate from the travelling seats is a real bonus in the evenings too, when it's too cold to sit outside, we can have the chairs and table to ourselves.
Lastly what we love most is just the space, its so much more relaxing in the morning to wake up and make a coffee without having to slide the bed away to get to the fridge, or for the kids to be clambering all over our bed. When the weather is terrible, we have plenty of space to retreat to our own spaces and hang soggy clothes to dry over night.
I hope this has been helpful if you're a family looking to expand into a bigger van. We're always happy to answer any questions