Making Our E350 a Camper Van

Posted in Van Camping on May 28, 2013 Last Updated on August 12, 2017

We chose our van based on it’s ability to both pull and carry weight. It is not, however, a thing of beauty in the rear interior. But, that’s what we wanted. When we were ready to start van camping, it was time to take all of that glorious, unrefined space and make it usable.

Sleeping Space

After weighing all the options we chose a Queen Size air bed. A twin was just two small and a full was such a small difference, I did not feel it would be worth it. There is a lesson to be learned here. The 7 extra inches of space may not seem like much, but when you’re dealing with close quarters, every inch counts. I should have listened to Laurie and went with the full. Anyways, on with the setup.

After going to Home Depot, I learned plywood is only available in a size that is smaller than a queen mattress. In trying to do the whole setup on a budget, creating our platform became more than we intended on spending; add to that, we are now talking about a fair amount of additional hardware that would add weight to the van and remove from our future storage capabilities.

After doing some creative thinking, genius struck. We had acquired a nice pile of milk crates and a few totes from a nice fellow at a yard sale earlier in the day. The totes were almost the exact height of the milk cartons, and everything could be placed in almost the exact shape of the air mattress. Perfect! We now have a place to sleep, with the entire underneath section being usable storage for all of our thrift store items to resell.

Since this posting, we have updated our van sleeping space.

Van Camping Privacy

One important factor in van camping, is having a little privacy. We read a lot of information in forums and blogs, and chose to purchase a large roll of Reflectix. This will allow us to cover our windows, along with providing insulation from the hot sun.

I made basic measured shape out of some of our old leftover photo taking poster board, then began to trim down the pieces to fit.

After cutting the poster board to a perfect fit, I used a Sharpie to transfer the shape to the reflectix, and cut out pieces to snugly fit over our windows.


Until we upgrade to solar on the van, we need to cover storing our basic food needs. Since we will be gone a week at a time, we decided to pick up two large coolers, and will  restock the ice when needed. We’re all about evaluating products and are pitting the Coleman 75-Quart Xtreme 5-Day against the Igloo MaxCold 60-quart 5-Day. Once we have some opinions, we’ll post reviews.


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