The Downsides of East-West Bed Configurations: Why North-South Beds Reign Supreme

Are you considering modifying your van to create a comfortable sleeping space for your adventures on the road? Many van-lifers opt for bed configurations that utilize wall flares and an east-west layout. However, before committing to this design, it's crucial to weigh the pros and cons. In this article, we'll delve into the drawbacks of the wall flare systems and an east-west bed setup, emphasizing the disadvantages compared to the more traditional north-south configuration.


Ineffective Space Utilization:

When considering a flare and east-west sleeping arrangement in a van, the intention is typically to optimize the floorplan's layout, creating more space in the forward area of the van by turning the bed sideways. However, this approach comes with significant caveats that are often overlooked.
The fundamental premise is to utilize the flares to expand the usable space within the van. Nonetheless, a critical aspect is frequently neglected in these discussions—the design and layout of the van itself. The D-pillar of the van extends about 7 inches from the rear doors towards the front of the van, and the flares commence approximately 3 inches forward of where the D-pillar ends. This structural arrangement results in a limitation on the usable length and width of the mattress.
Essentially, the usable mattress length is not only confined by the maximum distance between the flares but is further impeded by the van's structural elements, a total of approximately 10 inches in addition to the flare width itself. This structural intrusion means that the fully usable length of the mattress doesn't begin until you're lying on the part of the mattress that aligns with the flare.
Consequently, approximately 10 inches of the advertised bed width remains unusable without contorting your feet and head into the margin of the flares. The very purpose of creating more space forward of the bed is compromised, as a significant portion of the bed width is rendered practically unusable due to the design limitations imposed by the van's structure and the positioning of the flares.
In essence, while an east-west flare space configuration aims to maximize floorplan efficiency, it inadvertently results in a less effective use of bed space due to the encroachment of the van's structure and the placement of the flares. To compensate for this encroachment, the bed would need to be compensated forward by 10 inches, which would immediately void any space savings by turning the bed sideways to begin with.  It's imperative to consider these design nuances and limitations to make informed decisions when selecting a bed configuration for your van that truly optimizes both space and comfort.


Limited Bed Height:

Flares only allow for a maximum bed height of approximately 36 inches. This limitation can pose challenges for storing tall cargo underneath the bed, restricting your van's overall versatility and storage capacity.


Permanent Van Modification:

One significant drawback of utilizing flares and an east-west bed configuration is the necessity for permanent modifications to your van. This can be a deal-breaker for individuals who want to maintain the original structure, warranty and resale value of their vehicle.

Risk of Leaks and Additional Installation Costs:

The installation of flares carries the risk of potential leaks, prompting a recommendation for professional installation to mitigate this risk. Not only does this recommendation add to the overall cost, but it also necessitates an expert's involvement for a secure setup.

Increased Costs:

Utilizing flares and opting for an east-west bed configuration means incurring additional costs for both the product itself and the installation. These extra expenses can strain your budget, making it a less appealing choice for those seeking a cost-effective solution.

Reduced Insulation and Increased Noise:

The modification involving flares results in little to no insulation in the walls cavity of the flare, leaving you susceptible to cold spots at your head and toes during chilly nights. Additionally, the altered structure and lack of insulation contributes to increased wind and road noise when traveling, and less sound deadening when parked in noisy environments, affecting the overall comfort of your sleeping and driving experience.

Interference with 270-Degree Doors:

Another inconvenience arises with 270-degree doors. The additional width of the flares cause interference with the door's motion, preventing them from being able to open all the way and requiring the addition of an extended stopper to avoid this unwanted contact. This is just one more hidden cost of installing flares that must be considered.

 In Contrast:

While flares and an east-west bed configuration may seem like an appealing option initially, it's crucial to consider these significant drawbacks. In contrast to the limitations of flares and an east-west bed configuration, the north-south bed configuration offers a multitude of advantages, making it a more practical and versatile choice for maximizing space, minimizing costs, and ensuring a comfortable and well-insulated sleeping area during your van-living adventures.

Let's explore the unique benefits of the north-south bed configuration:

Unrestricted Length for Maximum Comfort:

A north-south configuration allows for a bed of any length. This means taller individuals are not confined by limited bed length. Feet can comfortably extend beyond the defined mattress dimensions, providing a more relaxing and restful sleep experience. What's even better is that even after the build is complete, extra length can be added to the mattress and the supporting platforms, catering to individuals of exceptional height.

Enhanced Accessibility and Comfort:

One of the major inconveniences of east-west beds is the need to climb over your partner to get in and out. With the north-south layout, individual egress in and out of bed is effortlessly achieved, promoting a sense of autonomy and comfort for each occupant.

Unmatched Versatility and Flexibility:

Unlike the rigid, full-width bed of east-west setups, north-south configuration allows for creative bed usage, like that of the code7 system. The Code 7 bed system’s self-supporting, adjustable cantilever platforms enable the bed to be divided in half, offering the flexibility to use each side separately or in different configurations, such as bunk beds, or as a dinette. Because the hight of the bed is not restricted to 36 inches, the code 7 bed system can be adjusted all the way up to 52 inches, which provides sufficient room to haul motorcycles or add a complete secondary bed for two additional passengers.  This adaptability is a distinct advantage that sets it apart from the limitations of an east-west bed configuration.

 Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, the north-south bed configuration, especially when harnessed through the innovative Code7 bed system, clearly outshines the constraints of flares and east-west beds. Its ability to accommodate taller individuals, offer easy accessibility, and provide unmatched configuration options makes it the optimal choice for van-lifers seeking a versatile and comfortable sleeping solution. The Code7 bed system empowers you to tailor your sleeping and storage space precisely to your needs, ensuring a remarkable and personalized van-life experience. Say goodbye to limitations and hello to a world of possibilities with the Code7 bed system. Your adventure awaits!
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