You Can Sleep in a Ford Transit Connect: Here’s How

Here’s what to know about sleeping in a Ford Transit Connect: 

You can sleep in a Ford Transit Connect because it has enough space to set up a bed with considerable headroom. You can sleep in it alone, with your dog, or as a couple that’s comfortable sharing a small space. However, the short wheelbase option is a bit short if you are over 6 feet tall. 

While you can sleep in a Transit Connect, I’d like to think you’re not planning to recline a passenger seat into some lounge chair for sleeping. Moreover, you don’t just throw a sleeping bag on the floor and squeeze yourself in. I mean, you could, but you likely won’t enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.  

Having ruled those out, I’ll give you essential tips and tricks so you too, can sleep comfortably in your Ford Transit Connect. All you need is a little preparation before you stop for the night in that idyllic campground.  

Here’s what to do so you enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep in your Transit Connect van: 

  • Choose a good bed and suitable bedding 
  • Have proper ventilation 
  • Control the temperature inside the van appropriately 
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors inside the van 
  • Find a secure location to park for the night 

I’ll explore these in detail very soon, so let’s get started, buddy. 


The 3 Ways to Sleep in a Ford Transit Connect 

In my experience, the three great options for sleeping in a Ford Transit Connect include the following: 


1. Remove the Back Seats and Lay an Air Mattress 

The rear portion of the Ford Transit Connect is all you have for sleeping comfortably. However, it’s challenging to find a good sleeping position with the rear seats in. They’re foldable bucket seats, of course, but it doesn’t help much that you’ve flipped them up. 

First, you’ll have to curl your legs to fit. And if you move a lot in your sleep, you might as well whack your head against the seats. So if you have the passenger van, you have to remove those second-row seats altogether.  

Don’t worry if you’ve never worked on the seats because it’s pretty easy. They’re only held in place by latches, which you can disengage by pulling the release straps at the bases of the seats. Once they’re removed, lay your air mattress, and you’re good to go. 

I like this option because it’s temporary and lets you slide the rear seats back in whenever you need to. 

Pro Tip: Create a sleeping surface that’s adequately long and flat. Sleeping in a crunched up position leads to poor blood circulation. 


2. Install a Slide-out Sofa Bed 

After a whole day of wearing out your muscles with outdoorsy stuff, the last thing you’d want is inflating an air mattress when it’s time to crash out. So to be blunt, I prefer having a built-in bed in my van. Besides, it’s fancier than sleeping on the floor. 

A sofa bed designed for van life uses slats, so you can easily pull it out and place extra cushions for sleeping. You can then slide it back in and use the extra cushions for the backrest when it’s time to double as a couch.  

Understandably, the sofa bed has some clearance underneath, which you can use that to store things in heavy-duty plastic boxes. I helped my friend, Kate, fix bungee cords at the base frame of the bed in her 2013 Transit Connect, so the boxes don’t move about. It works great, and I can advise you to fix them too. 

If you have DIY woodwork skills up your sleeve, you can build the bed yourself. Otherwise, have a professional carpenter do it for you, so you don’t make a blunder with dimensions, flexibility, etc. 

Another good tip when installing a sofa bed is to fix it behind the front passenger seat. That’s because the passenger seat can fold down, meaning you won’t have to exit the van at night to access the bed at the rear.  


3. Install a Bed Covering the Van’s Rear Portion 

If you’re customizing your Ford Transit Connect for weekend getaways and won’t mind cooking outside, you can build a full-size bed occupying the entire portion behind the front seats. It’s the perfect option that’ll let you sleep comfortably as a couple. 

Since the bed will eat up all the space, I recommend leaving between 1 to 2 feet of clearance under it for storage. If you go way beyond that, you’re left with very little headroom, which tall guys like me dread so much.  

Remember, you get less than 50 inches from the floor to the roof before you even fix the bed frame. 


The LWB Connect Lets You Sleep More Comfortably  

I used to sleep in the short-wheelbase (SWB) version of the Connect whenever I went fly fishing, but it was just me and my dog, Charlie.  

I’m 5’ 8”, and I’d sleep pretty fine as long as I laid at an angle and stretched well. 

Now, the SWB Connect is a bit of a crunch if you’re over 6 feet tall. The wheelbase is 104.8 inches, and you only get 6 feet of cargo length on the floor.  

The LWB (120.6”) is better, offering slightly more than 7 feet on the floor in both the passenger and cargo vans. Sounds nice, but if you have a couple of upfits with those little kitchen countertops and whatnots, it can be pretty tight for two people. Still, I bet you could make things work out with the person you love 🙂 


8 Important Things So You Can Sleep Well in a Ford Transit Connect 

Here are the eight important tips for sleeping comfortably in your Ford Transit Connect: 


1. Choose a Durable Bed Frame 

The bed frame you install in your van should be sturdy enough not to collapse under your weight. Douglas fir is my number one preferred wood for building a reliable bed frame. First, it’s affordable, and if you have it treated for mold, it will serve you for a long time. 


2. Buy a Well-fitting Mattress 

As I highlighted before, the length you get on the floor behind the front seats is 6 feet for the SWB Connect van. The LWB gives you about 7 feet. Knowing this, you can get creative with the kind of mattress you fix in. 

For the many times I slept on the floor, I didn’t find any problem with an air mattress. They’re flexible and easily follow the shape of the wheel wells. 

If you’ve settled your heart on a sofa bed, make sure the cushions fit well, with the slats fully extended. And if your bed eats up the entire rear portion of the van, go for a mattress that snugly covers the bed frame. It’s the only way you’ll sleep comfortably while not destroying your mattress. 


3. Pack Enough Bedding 

Since you’ll be outdoors, the nights could get unbearably chilly. Pack as many heavy blankets and sheets as you can. 


4. Regulate the Van’s Temperature to Sleep Well 

I loathe a terrible night’s sleep, and I do everything to keep the conditions favorable. That’s why I’ll give you the practical methods I use to keep the temperatures nice and comfortable. 

Here’s how to keep the van warm for sleeping: 

  • Insulate the windows and walls using removable covers like Reflectix
  • Raise your bed frame 15 to 24 inches off the floor 
  • Run the heater a few times with the windows up before sleeping 

Whatever you do, I strongly advise against using a space heater as it can be very dangerous inside a van. Moreover, never leave the engine running to keep warm while sleeping. It puts you at a high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.  

I’m pretty cautious myself, and I wouldn’t sleep with the engine on.  

The issue is the same when it is cold outside, it doesn’t matter if I’ve cracked the windows a couple of inches down. Even if there’s a blizzard outside, I never leave the engine on while I am sleeping. 

Here’s how to keep cool in a Ford Transit Connect: 

  • Insulate the windows and walls using Reflectix 
  • Use a breathable mattress, sheets, pillows, and blankets 
  • Run your AC a few times before going to bed 
  • Crack your windows down by one or two inches to boost airflow 
  • Install a roof vent fan 

A roof vent fan like the Max Air fan sucks out warm air while pumping in cool air. And it has ten speeds to choose from. You also have the option of fixing small battery-operated fans at different positions in your Transit Connect. 


5. Place Bug Nets on the Windows 

Interestingly, bugs and camping go together. And once you’ve cracked open the windows, mosquitoes and all manner of insects could storm in. I find it convenient to secure bug nets on the windows. It’s one guaranteed way of enjoying the outside without bugs enjoying you. 


6. Cover the Windows for Privacy 

We probably both love the Transit Connect for being a compact van you can park and camp in discreetly. I don’t enjoy letting everyone see that I’m sleeping in a van, so I prefer to use curtains that no one can see through. If you pair those with dimmable LED lamps, you’re good to go. 

You can also use stick-on vinyl or authorized tint on the windows. Alternatively, roll-up sunshades come in handy for obscuring the van’s inside view. What’s more, they prevent bright lights in parking lots from ruining your sleep. 


7. Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors 

I can’t stress this enough. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your van because you never know when you’re inhaling harmful emissions. 


8. Park in a Secure Location 

You should always park your van on flat ground in a completely safe area. Among the many options you have, you can sleep in your Ford Transit Connect in these locations: 

  • Walmart 
  • Truck stops 
  • Rest stops 
  • Hotels 
  • 24-hour gyms 

Interestingly, just because you’ve found a nice parking spot in a quiet neighborhood doesn’t mean you’re allowed to camp there. Always check to be sure that you won’t find trouble with the city authorities. 

Be sure to check the following websites to find out the best campsites across the country: 


Final Thoughts 

You can sleep comfortably in your Ford Transit Connect since it has adequate space behind the front seats and offers considerable headroom. However, sleeping in your Ford Transit Connect can be unpleasant if you don’t prepare adequately and take proper precautions. 

I like experimenting, and I know this sounds crazy, but you could first try sleeping in the van right in your driveway. It’s a good way to know how things would go if you decide to camp in another place.