Van Bedding and Seating

For the bedding, I went with a 2.5 inch full size latex mattress topper. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s plenty for me. One side is 25 ILD (firm) and the other is 14 (soft). Latex foam seems to be the way to go for van life for safety and functional reasons. It came tightly wrapped in the plastic you see in the image below. There were some little fuzzies after opening it that get everywhere, but it wasn’t as bad as all the comments made it seem. I ordered the topper from amazon and they have all sizes to choose from (Amazon link: 100% Latex Mattress Topper – No Fillers – Reversible with 2 Firmnesses).

It comes rolled up in plastic which was convenient for keeping it clean in the dirty garage.


When I designed the bed and seating, I knew I wanted to cut a full size mattress topper into two sections to fit the L-shape. It was easy to cut with a serrated knife. It does make a mess though. I had enough for the two large sections and some bonus foam for pillows.


I went to a local Jo-Ann fabric store and picked up some earthy red cotton fabric and some Velcro. My first time at a fabric store was a little confusing, but I figured it out. I saved about $20 from coupons they have on their phone app.

To make the mattress covers, I just folded the material in half and sewed it together leaving one side open for the Velcro. Then I sewed the Velcro on. I didn’t do anything fancy like a try to make the corners look nice. Mainly because I didn’t know how. Getting the latex into the bed sheet was like putting a really tight sock on a sweaty foot. Latex foam grips onto everything and doesn’t slide easily.


Here’s the finished product. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I also paneled off the bed with 5mm plywood.


My test trip never happened. Primarily because I ran into a lot of delays. For example, I thought I could sew the curtains and the bedding in a single day. It took me three. I also started to enjoy the build less once I started rushing. I have the garage until the end of March. I’m still going to NJ to visit a friend, but I’m not going to give myself a deadline. If I had to guess, I would say about a week from now. From NJ, I’ll head south to Alabama to see my father.

Last week, a professor from my university passed away. If I took that trip like I planned, I wouldn’t have been able to attend the viewing. In that sense, I’m glad I ran into delays on the build. Death always shocks me into realizing how short and uncertain life is. That’s what this van build is all about. That’s what “Hurried Year” is about.

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