Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

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Ignis
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Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Ignis » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:37 pm

I now have a Bongo with rear conversion by North Star, but I don't like that I have to have a couple of bags and couple of plastic boxes always on view when I travel and park (when in a campsite, I open up a roof and store everything upstairs). I'd prefer everything being neatly stored in cupboards and on shelves. I wonder if anyone compared the storage space in rear and side conversions. Is it worth investing in changing the layout in the hope to get more storage space? One more reason for side conversion of course would be to avoid rotating the middle seat all the time from when I carry passengers to a bed...
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Bongolia » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:16 pm

Wow , that sounds such a simple question but very difficult to answer.
It really depends on the converter I think, some make much better use of the hidden spaces on the Bongo than others and then there is how do you camp and what you carry of course.
I looked at the North Star site but it looks a bit busted as there are no images I could find so I am not sure exactly of your layout but...
have you considered a swivel mechanism for the centre seat or a pull out draw under the centre seat?

If it helps I am starting to dummy out an interior layout on my 4WD project and have opted for a rear end hob and wardrobe whilst retaining the centre seat as forward facing reclining the front seats, sans headrests, to form two single beds a sort of front room with a rear cooking and changing bit. With the inclusion of a draw under the seat I think it will give more storage than my current vehicle.
This is a 2WD Aero with a full side conversion and I find it limited for storage when fully loaded so I supplement it with a large storage box that lives outside and makes a table when on site.
The under bed area is not that practical as you have a lot of superstructure under there and sliding bits getting in the way .The doors on the wardrobe are not that practical either (tambours would be better), as to the doors at the rear I ended up taking them off as the openings restricted what you can get in there.I found the bed not that comfortable either for two biggies!
It looks very nice though.
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Yan » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:51 am

Ignis wrote:I now have a Bongo with rear conversion by North Star, but I don't like that I have to have a couple of bags and couple of plastic boxes always on view when I travel and park (when in a campsite, I open up a roof and store everything upstairs). I'd prefer everything being neatly stored in cupboards and on shelves. I wonder if anyone compared the storage space in rear and side conversions. Is it worth investing in changing the layout in the hope to get more storage space? One more reason for side conversion of course would be to avoid rotating the middle seat all the time from when I carry passengers to a bed...
I'm wondering this exact same thing, I have the exact same issues as you. I've got a rear conversion and it's great, but find that storage is lacking + having to faff about with swivelling the seat and making the the bed a bit of a pain. Also I don't know about you, but having the fridge at the back is annoying.

I realise that you wouldn't get tons of extra storage, but any extra would be welcome. Looking at pictures I think I would nearly double the storage. And the idea of a rock n roll bed sounds perfect.

One thing I can never find a picture or video of is someone lying down on a 3/4 rock n roll bed just so I can see the size in relation to a human.

Come on you "siders" let's hear your pro's and con's... :)
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Yan » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:01 am

Bongolia wrote: If it helps I am starting to dummy out an interior layout on my 4WD project and have opted for a rear end hob and wardrobe whilst retaining the centre seat as forward facing reclining the front seats, sans headrests, to form two single beds a sort of front room with a rear cooking and changing bit. With the inclusion of a draw under the seat I think it will give more storage than my current vehicle.
This is a 2WD Aero with a full side conversion and I find it limited for storage when fully loaded so I supplement it with a large storage box that lives outside and makes a table when on site.
The under bed area is not that practical as you have a lot of superstructure under there and sliding bits getting in the way .The doors on the wardrobe are not that practical either (tambours would be better), as to the doors at the rear I ended up taking them off as the openings restricted what you can get in there.I found the bed not that comfortable either for two biggies!
It looks very nice though.
It's interesting that you're dong a rear conversion in your other vehicle.

When camping we normally sleep 1 adult and 1 child so the bed might work well for 2 hobbit sized peeps.

Having looked at billions of side conversion pics those tambour doors look like the best option all round. Did you self build or get it done by a converter?

I would be interested to hear from anyone that bought a self build kit?
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by mikeonb4c » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:47 pm

Top loading fridge much better all round as front loader often unusable when bed is down pmus dumps cool air every time you open it.
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Bongolia » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:50 pm

mikeonb4c wrote:Top loading fridge much better all round as front loader often unusable when bed is down pmus dumps cool air every time you open it.
Yes not being able to get at fridge when the beds down is a real pain. I looked at top loaders when planning the wasps interior and decided to go for a portable unit. Far more versatile and it could be let into a work top if you fancied that approach.
Guy on here had one for sale I think? :P
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by mikeonb4c » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:58 pm

Bongolia wrote:
mikeonb4c wrote:Top loading fridge much better all round as front loader often unusable when bed is down pmus dumps cool air every time you open it.
Yes not being able to get at fridge when the beds down is a real pain. I looked at top loaders when planning the wasps interior and decided to go for a portable unit. Far more versatile and it could be let into a work top if you fancied that approach.
Guy on here had one for sale I think? :P
Yes should have said just get a Waeco CF-18 like i've just done, thanks Geoff and Jim (or CF-25 or CF-35 depending on how big you want to go) and give it a drop in space somewhere. Then it can be taken out and used elsewhere also. Life's too short for fitted kitchens whose function doesn't match their looks ha ha (no offence intended to front loading fridge owners). The Waeco coolboxes aren't cheap but they're very efficient and well built. Can't wait to retire and go roaming. 8)
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by the1andonly » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:03 pm

Yan wrote:+ having to faff about with swivelling the seat and making the the bed a bit of a pain. )
The gap when rear facing can be reduced by adding additional location holes for the sliders to engage
I did this with my rear facing seats
http://igmaynard.co.uk/bongo/forum/view ... hilit=seat


I did it with rails insitu with no agro just a good centre punch and 3 sharp drills with increasing sizes to improve control.

with a standard seat a under seat drawer gives additional storage
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Bongolia » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:53 pm

Yan wrote:
Bongolia wrote: If it helps I am starting to dummy out an interior layout on my 4WD project and have opted for a rear end hob and wardrobe whilst retaining the centre seat as forward facing reclining the front seats, sans headrests, to form two single beds a sort of front room with a rear cooking and changing bit. With the inclusion of a draw under the seat I think it will give more storage than my current vehicle.
This is a 2WD Aero with a full side conversion and I find it limited for storage when fully loaded so I supplement it with a large storage box that lives outside and makes a table when on site.
The under bed area is not that practical as you have a lot of superstructure under there and sliding bits getting in the way .The doors on the wardrobe are not that practical either (tambours would be better), as to the doors at the rear I ended up taking them off as the openings restricted what you can get in there.I found the bed not that comfortable either for two biggies!
It looks very nice though.
It's interesting that you're dong a rear conversion in your other vehicle.

When camping we normally sleep 1 adult and 1 child so the bed might work well for 2 hobbit sized peeps.

Having looked at billions of side conversion pics those tambour doors look like the best option all round. Did you self build or get it done by a converter?

I would be interested to hear from anyone that bought a self build kit?
I am going to self build . I have looked at the various pods available and I feel I can make better use of the available space by building my own and it will match my needs better. There is a lot of space in the Bongo that is not utilized, like behind the trim panels etc. These are ideal places to tuck away the electrics, pumps and so on.
I have the Aero with a professionally fitted side conversion as I said before but it is not very well thought through. More style than function.
Schedule for the interior start time is march.
On the Tambour doors, if you do go self build check out Ebay in the office furniture. Filing cupboards have very good quality Tambour doors on them and bigger sizes than the caravan stuff you see advertised, cheaper too.
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Bongoplod » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:37 am

I have a tintop and have just had a fixed Hitop added to it.
Loads of storage space up top now.I appreciate that it must be light stuff when driving,but once on site,it will take loads of gear.Small stuff on the sides,and big stuff front and back.
I also use a small,but high trailer,which is a godsend and takes all my gear,ie,electrics in storage boxes,tables,chairs,gas bottle and a raft of stuff that wouldnt fit in the Bongo anyway

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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Bongoplod » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:52 am

Bongolia wrote:Wow , that sounds such a simple question but very difficult to answer.
It really depends on the converter I think, some make much better use of the hidden spaces on the Bongo than others and then there is how do you camp and what you carry of course.
I looked at the North Star site but it looks a bit busted as there are no images I could find so I am not sure exactly of your layout but...
have you considered a swivel mechanism for the centre seat or a pull out draw under the centre seat?

If it helps I am starting to dummy out an interior layout on my 4WD project and have opted for a rear end hob and wardrobe whilst retaining the centre seat as forward facing reclining the front seats, sans headrests, to form two single beds a sort of front room with a rear cooking and changing bit. With the inclusion of a draw under the seat I think it will give more storage than my current vehicle.
This is a 2WD Aero with a full side conversion and I find it limited for storage when fully loaded so I supplement it with a large storage box that lives outside and makes a table when on site.
The under bed area is not that practical as you have a lot of superstructure under there and sliding bits getting in the way .The doors on the wardrobe are not that practical either (tambours would be better), as to the doors at the rear I ended up taking them off as the openings restricted what you can get in there.I found the bed not that comfortable either for two biggies!
It looks very nice though.
Agreed,ive looked and its rubbish.Look at New Dawns website,similar side and rear conversions and plenty photos

Brian
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Yan » Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:51 pm

Bongolia wrote: I am going to self build . I have looked at the various pods available and I feel I can make better use of the available space by building my own and it will match my needs better. There is a lot of space in the Bongo that is not utilized, like behind the trim panels etc. These are ideal places to tuck away the electrics, pumps and so on.
I have the Aero with a professionally fitted side conversion as I said before but it is not very well thought through. More style than function.
Schedule for the interior start time is march.
On the Tambour doors, if you do go self build check out Ebay in the office furniture. Filing cupboards have very good quality Tambour doors on them and bigger sizes than the caravan stuff you see advertised, cheaper too.
My bongo is registered as a camper van, but is registered as a specific installation (a 'Mistral' I think?) from a professional installation company. If I were to do a self build, I wonder if it would adversely affect my insurance as I'm not a "registered" installer?

I totally agree that you could make better use of the space if you do it yourself. Keep us posted on the build as it would be interesting to see.

Whilst looking around I saw this new conversion from New Dawn Conversions which looked interesting with, it's a side conversion that utilises 2 swivelling front seats - http://www.newdawnconversions.co.uk/app ... ow/6994371

If I do a side conversion I definitely want a swivel front seat.
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Scratch » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:04 pm

I have always fancied a built in, under (middle seat) draw. Can anybody advise who can make and fit one of these?
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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Diplomat » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:51 pm

Scratch wrote:I have always fancied a built in, under (middle seat) draw. Can anybody advise who can make and fit one of these?
A large and a medium supermarket fruit box do the job admirably.

They cost nothing, fit snugly, don't rattle and can easily be replaced when they get a bit worn.

My nearside one, the smaller, contains both ladies and gents toilets. The larger one, further away from the door, has space for lots of useful things.

Behind the rear seats I have two plastic boxes with a cardboard one sandwiched in the middle to reduce movement without creaks or groans. Each of these has a plywood drop in lid which helps load other things on top and are useful for kneeling on or standing things on damp ground when camping.

If I'm camping, ! have 'Really Useful Boxes' in front of the middle seats for storage and making the bed extension with the seat slid right back (I've taken out the very back bench).

Who needs fitted storage furniture when movable boxes make the van more versatile? All my cooking gets done outside or in cafes, so kitchen is lowest priority.

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Re: Rear vs side conversion -storage space?

Post by Bongoplod » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:06 am

Yan wrote:
Bongolia wrote: I am going to self build . I have looked at the various pods available and I feel I can make better use of the available space by building my own and it will match my needs better. There is a lot of space in the Bongo that is not utilized, like behind the trim panels etc. These are ideal places to tuck away the electrics, pumps and so on.
I have the Aero with a professionally fitted side conversion as I said before but it is not very well thought through. More style than function.
Schedule for the interior start time is march.
On the Tambour doors, if you do go self build check out Ebay in the office furniture. Filing cupboards have very good quality Tambour doors on them and bigger sizes than the caravan stuff you see advertised, cheaper too.
My bongo is registered as a camper van, but is registered as a specific installation (a 'Mistral' I think?) from a professional installation company. If I were to do a self build, I wonder if it would adversely affect my insurance as I'm not a "registered" installer?

I totally agree that you could make better use of the space if you do it yourself. Keep us posted on the build as it would be interesting to see.

Whilst looking around I saw this new conversion from New Dawn Conversions which looked interesting with, it's a side conversion that utilises 2 swivelling front seats - http://www.newdawnconversions.co.uk/app ... show/6994371

If I do a side conversion I definitely want a swivel front seat.
My Bongo is in with them now having that particular conversion.
The other big advantage is the position of the Weaco compressor fridge.Rather than facing the side door,it faces the front,and is directly in front of the drivers swivelled seat,allowing access to the fridge AND cooker, when the bed is made up. In fact with the bed made up you can use the 2 swivelled seats as a lounge,as there is a gap between them and the rock/roll bed,when flat,so use the end of the bed as a foot stool,and room to store/use a porta potti there too
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