Wednesday 8 May 2024

Can you sleep a family of four in a Defender?

The short answer is yes, but read on if you want to know how!

4-berth Defender Camper Interior Layout

It has taken a lot of planning, but we've come up with a solution that allows us to retain the middle (second) row of seats for the boys while travelling and then convert the rear area into two beds for sleeping.  While the boys sleep downstairs, Sarah and I get the big bed up in the roof, in our Alu-Cab Icarus roof conversion.

Planning a 4-Berth Defender Interior Layout

There is lots of information online about camper layouts if you've got the standard Transporter, Sprinter, Crafter or Transit Van, but not much about Defenders.  If you want a family friendly, 4-berth Defender layout that retains four travelling seats, there's even less!  

The standard Defender Camper layout usually involves fixed cabinetry along one side, and some form of pull out bed on the other.  While the boys are still pretty small this might have worked, but we couldn't see them wanting to share a narrow bed for long!  The standard layout usually also involves removing the second row of seats, but this wasn't an option for us.

We did get some layout inspiration from our friends at whereistheworld, and from YouTube videos by Off-Track Family.  

After many hours sitting in the back of the Landy, measuring, sketching, and even a bit of 3D modelling in SketchUp, we eventually came up with our own solution, and I must say we're really pleased with it!

Defender Camper Interior Layout

Our Goals for the Interior

1. Retain at least four travelling seats (with seatbelts)

2. Maximise storage space

3. Full width sleeping area for the boys

4. Space for a cooler

5. Re-use as much of our existing camping gear as possible

6. Quick setup and stow

The Interior Build and Storage Solution

Our layout consists of a fixed platform in the back, which we built to fit under the lip at the top of the tub.  This is supported on two wooden beams which use the existing holes in the tub capping.  

Fitting a camper interior to a Land Rover Defender 110

Fitting a camper interior to a Defender 110

The platform is cut from 15mm lightweight eucalyptus plywood with a black phenol hexagon coating.  The platform is also supported by a vertical section of ply, which is slightly offset from centre for our sliding storage solution.

Land Rover Defender 110 Camper Interior Layout

We were really keen to make use of our existing RUX system, so used heavy duty drawer sliders from Aolisheng, and built a frame to support two 70 litre RUXs.  

RUX 70l in a Defender Camper

RUX storage solutions for Defender Camper

If you haven't come across RUX before, the 70l is a rugged, compressible, weatherproof, soft sided gear storage container with a wide rigid opening for easy access, a secure stowable lid and modular straps for easy carry.  Designed in Canada, and now also available in Europe, we use them all of the time!

We decided to remove the middle seat from the second row, and used the existing frame to build a platform for our Yeti cooler.  The Yeti Tundra 45 fits perfectly, and the Harvest Red is almost a match to Budgie's paintwork!

Land Rover Defender Campervan

Yeti Tundra 45 in a Defender Camper

In order to retain the boys seats, but still give them a full length bed; we used another two pairs of heavy duty drawer runners and built two sliding extensions, which pull out over the top of the folded middle row seats.  It only takes a couple of seconds to fold the seats forward and slide out the extensions.

We then had some custom foam cut to size.  The foam for the extensions is 1.5" thicker than the foam on the fixed platform, which gives a nice flat surface for the boys to sleep on.

With Sarah and I sleeping up in the Icarus roof, we've comfortably got space for all four of us to sleep, and we're happy that we achieved the goals of our interior layout.

Read more about the rest of Budgie's camper conversion.

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