The key to sleeping 4 people in a Toyota Sienna is to take advantage of the space over the front seats. We fold down the front seats, put the car seats on the front seats, and set up a custom made cot on top of the front seats. Here is what it looks like from the side view:
The front of the cot rests on the dashboard. Here is what the dashboard piece looks like, with three cutouts for the cot bars, and a shape that fits over the "hump" in the dashboard behind the steering wheel:
The main part of the cot is cotton canvas sewn over three bars, and one end of each of the bars have end caps that hook over the front of the dashboard piece:
The rear part of the cot is three legs with a cross-bar that it tensioned after installation with parts from a pipe clamp:
The climbing holds were to help the kids climb up into the bunk and the wheels help slide the rear post when setting it up.
The cot is definitely a tight fit for the kids and we will need to find a way to lower it when the kids get bigger, or raise up the roof of the van. Right now the kids sleep with their heads towards the back of the van where there is more space so they make it work. Here’s how the kids look when they’re in the top bunk:
The two adults sleep in the back of the van, after folding down the rear bench seats. (We remove the captains chairs from the middle of the van when we are using it as a camper van). Our feel go under the kids bunk, so it’s pretty roomy for us:
We bought custom cut pieces of 4” foam and sewed a cover for them to make two beds, each that folds up. When they are folded down they make a bed for the two of us that fits perfectly in the back of the van. (Note that the bottom third of the mattresses have a gap between them - this allows the middle post of the legs to fit.)
When folded up the bottom third of each bed fits together to make a neat stack that fits perfectly behind the rear seats, when the seats are set up.
More details to come on how to stay warm in winter while sleeping in a van!
Two Silicon Valley engineers who have had a love of the outdoors since childhood. Parents of two small kids, spending our free time exploring the outdoors with them.