Getting your rear seat and bed configuration right is one of the most important considerations during conversion when creating your camper…….
One of the classic camper conversion items is the ‘rock & roll’ seat bed.
Its practical purpose is to provide passenger seating in the rear that can convert into a bed for sleeping. It is a traditional design that has been fitted since the earliest campers.
Modern versions have developed the original design into one which now provides modern good looking design with a well equipped and comfortable bed. The following sections provide more details on the features, advantages and benefits of the rock and roll bed and its variations.
The bed has 4 main upholstered sections. The short rear section is fixed. Sections 2 and 3 form the forward and rearwards facing backrests and section 4 is the main seat cushion that slides forwards pulling the 2 backrest sections flat and forming the classic flat bed. Some, not all, R&R deds are pull tested. Most are MoT compliant and have fitted approved seatbelts and removable headrests.
Comfort as a seat and a bed are compromised by the fundamental design. This means that the top of the 4 upholstered sections are used for both seating and sleeping. This limits the amount of cushion foam sculpting for seat comfort makes it no longer flat and therefore uncomfortable for sleeping.
The RIB bed from Scopema in France has a fundamentally different way of operating and is fully M1 crash tested. See the section below on RIB beds for more details.
The RIB rock & roll beds comes highly recommended by Blue Sky for its stylish design and practical functionality.
The principle of operation differs from the traditional R&R A frame design. It consists of just 3 sections – a contoured front section is the main seat cushion and folds forward to expose completely flat memory foam back, a contoured middle section with built in adjustable headrests is the seat back which folds forward into the space vacated by the front section to expose a memory foam flat back. Finally a flat memory foam rear section that can be set at any angle to complete the full bed when flat or an angled backrest for the bed. When folded vertical it provides full height storage in the rear section.
RIB rock and roll seat beds are available in a range widths and passenger spaces, 112cms wide 2-seat; 130cms wide 2 or 3 seats and 150cm 3 seats. A wide range of stylish finishes are available from un-upholstered, to Sarabella two tone fabrics, oem VW trim to match your front seats and finally top of the range leather hide in a wide range of colours with contrasting stitching.
It is essential that your rock and roll bed is securely fixed when used as a passenger carrying rear seat. The floor of a VW Transporter T5/T6 is thin sheet steel over twin steel channel chassis rails.
Ideally the bed frame should be attached to the chassis rails or suspension pickup points. Unfortunately this is not always the case with the traditional A frame bed, particularly the cheaper models which tend to be manufactured from lower grade materials and simply bolt down through the sheet steel floor with a large washer or ideally spreader plate.
It is preferable, and Blue Sky recommend, that a certified chassis beam that is structurally designed for higher loads, that is fitted between the chassis rails as can be seen in the picture to the left. The bed is then bolted to the chassis beam.
The RIB bed is fully M1 crash tested when used with a certified chassis beam like the one shown in the picture.
Storage space is always at a premium in a campervan.
Ease of access to that storage determines how practical the storage is. The space under the rock and roll bed can be fully utilised, particularly for long items like sports equipment, tents, awnings, folding chairs and generally things you just want to put away out of sight.
Options for defining storage under the seat bed range from literally nothing where you have full access front and rear, to bed boards with access doors for front and/or rear, right the way up to fully finished slider drawers. These can be matched to your furniture.