You Can Sleep Sideways in a Ford Transit, This Is How

It is possible to sleep sideways in a Ford Transit. However, you may have to factor in your height and the bed design because the interior width is 5’9 inches (175 centimeters). Put the bed mid height where the curved sidewalls are widest, or install window flares to increase its rear width.  

Ford Transits are a popular choice for camper van conversions because of their spacious interior. Setting up the bed crossways is often the most logical option for van life enthusiasts who wish to maximize space. But can anyone tall sleep sideways comfortably in a Ford Transit? Yes, but under certain conditions.  


Orienting Your Bed Width-Wise 

Planning a Ford Transit conversion often comes with the dilemma of choosing the layout of your sleeping area. Typically, Transit vans have an interior width of 70.9” max, approximately 5’9”. This may challenge tall camping enthusiasts who wish to sleep sideways in the campervan.  

Sleeping crosswise can help maximize every inch of your van’s floor space. You get extra room for storage below the bed. Additionally, you can use the additional area to create a kitchenette, dining, or makeshift bathroom.  


Understanding the Different Types of Ford Transit Vans 

The Ford Transit comes in three major classes: Crew, Passenger, and Cargo. Each category is further subdivided into three length sizes and three height sizes, which define the model of the van.  

Lengthwise, you can choose from regular, long, and extra-long. You can order a low, medium, or high-roof Transit van while considering the height only. However, the interior width of the vehicle remains relatively similar within the specific primary class.  

It is essential to note that most vans, including the Ford Transit, have curved walls. It means that the distance between the hip room, shoulder room, and headroom varies, with the mid-torso region being the widest. 


Ford Transit Passenger Interior Width  

  1. Ford Transit Passenger Van, Hip Room – First Row where the first row of seats are located is 60.7 inches wide 
  1. Ford Transit Passenger Van, Hip Room (where applicable) – Second Row where the second row of seats are located is 69.9 inches wide 
  1. Ford Transit Passenger Van, Hip Room (Where applicable) – Third Row where the third row of seats are located is 68.0 inches wide 
  1. Ford Transit Passenger Van, Shoulder Room – First Row where the first row of seats are located is67.9 inches wide  
  1. Ford Transit Passenger Van, Shoulder Room – Second Row (where applicable) Row where the second row of seats are located is 71.4 inches wide 
  1. Ford Transit Passenger Van, Shoulder Room – Third Row (where applicable)-where the third row of seats are located is 67.0 inches wide 
  1. Ford Transit Passenger Van, Shoulder Room – Fourth Row (where applicable)- where the fourth row of seats are located is 67.8 inches wide 

The cargo width between the wheelhouse for the Single Rear Wheel(SRW) and Dual Rear Wheel(DRW) is 53.7 inches.  


Ford Transit Cargo Van Interior Width  

  1. Ford Transit Cargo Van, Hip Room – Where the first row of seats are located is 60.7 inches wide 
  1. Ford Transit Cargo Van, shoulder Room – First Row where the first row of seats are located is 67.9 inches wide 

The cargo width between the wheelhouse for the Single Rear Wheel measures 54.8 inches, while the Dual Rear Wheel is 45.4 Inches.  


Ford Transit Crew Van Interior Width  

  1. Ford Transit Crew Van, Hip Room – First Row where the first row of seats are located is 60.7 inches wide 
  1. Ford Transit Crew Van, Hip Room – Second Row where the second row of seats are located is 70.9 inches wide 
  1. Ford Transit Crew Van, Shoulder Room – First Row where the second row of seats are located is 67.9 inches wide 
  1. Ford Transit Crew Van, Shoulder Room – First Row where the second row of seats are located is  72.6 inches wide 

The cargo width between the wheelhouses for the SRW is 54.8 inches, with the DRW model 45.4 inches.


Picking the Widest Spot  

While the manufacturer’s hip and shoulder room measurements may not be entirely accurate, they provide a rough estimate of the size of bed you may be able to fit crossways in your van.  

You may need to figure out the specific height from the floor, which provides the max-width possible. Sadly, the shoulder height may not be ideal for the overall design. You ought to find the right compromise that fits the layout that you pick for your campervan.  


Consider Insulation and Paneling  

The average width of a Ford Transit van is often calculated from stripped-out vans. You may need to factor in additional space for insulation and side paneling before you can fit the bed in.  

The walls take up a few inches, further shortening the length of your bed when placed sideways. You may have to work around with the 66-68 inches left after fitting in your insulation.  


Your Height Is Also Key  

Your height is the main hindrance to a good night’s sleep when sleeping crossways. As you complete your campervan conversion, you may need to ensure that the van’s interior width is larger than your standing height. 


Standing height may be the wrong measurement metric 

Your feet may extend further as you stretch out in bed. It may result in your laying down height becoming a few extra inches more than your standing height. As such, you may need to factor in your laying down height while designing your sleeping area.  

Additionally, you should consider the number of people sharing the bed. If you plan to share your campervan with a taller partner, their height may matter more when designing the van’s interior.  


Picking Out the Right Bed Frame Configuration  

The layout design that you adopt for your Ford Transit may also affect your ability to sleep crossways. You can find inspiration by checking other van lifers’ designs in online forums and platforms. 

Typically, there are two main bed styles that you can find in campervans: a platform bed or a convertible bed.  

  • Platform beds are fixed beds reinforced to the van’s steel structure.  
  • Convertible beds can fold, changing into couches or tables during the day and a bed by night.  


1. Fixed Platform Beds 

Platform beds are often raised, with the support and bed frames running along the car’s width. Van life enthusiasts who love the platform design mention the ample storage available right below the bed frame. You can store large items such as bikes, water tanks, hiking gear, to name a few.  

Another benefit of fixed platform beds is that you do not need to remove your beddings for you to prepare and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning. The sheets and pillows can stay on the bed all day.  

Platform beds present the easiest configuration to enable sleep crossways in your Ford Transit. Customizing the layout makes it easier to get the maximum width possible.  

  • Mind Overhead Space – You may want to mount your platform bed high up to generate more storage space below. However, fixing the frame too high can reduce headspace and cause discomfort while sitting on the bed.  

You can lower the bed a few inches to give you more space to maneuver around while climbing or relaxing.  


2. Convertible Beds  

Convertible beds often fold up to create space for your dinette, sofa, or travel equipment.  

Most convertible beds run lengthwise, taking up more space. However, you may be able to design your bed to face sideways if your height isn’t limiting.  

Convertible beds are available in various styles, such as the murphy bed, sliding platform, draw-bridge, and flip bench. For minimalists, a hammock running along the van’s width may also allow you to sleep sideways.  

You can also consider investing in a custom drop-down bed system. This bed involves a hybrid design of a platform and a convertible, with the bed frame lifted or lowered through an automated pulley system. You can raise and support the bed to the ceiling while not in use.  


The Correct Mattress Size 

Finding a proper mattress that fits lengthwise on your cross-side bed can be hectic and overwhelming. You need to determine the bed size that you wish to have in your van.  

You can compare standard-sized mattresses with the maximum width you can achieve with your Ford Transit. Here is a reference to standard mattress sizes in the US.  

Mattress Type Dimensions in Inches 
Twin 38”x 75” 
Twin XL 38”x 80” 
Full  54”x 75” 
Full XL 54”x 80” 
Queen 60”x 80” 
California King 72”x 84” 
King 76”x 80” 

The Twin, Twin XL, Full, and Full XL may fit comfortably in your Ford Transit. The queen can be squeezed hard enough to fit. However, it may be uncomfortable to sleep on an uneven mattress. It is impossible to fit the King size bed into your Transit Van.  


Custom Mattresses  

If you cannot find a mattress that fits within the space that you have in your campervan, a custom mattress is an affordable option that you can consider. You only need to take the bed frame measurements, taking any angled or notched corners into account.  

The custom mattress manufacturer can deliver a mattress with the exact dimensions of your bed frame. You can utilize every inch of your van without stressing about having to cut your mattress to size.  


Mattress Thickness  

You also need to factor in the thickness and type of mattress you wish to pick. Standard foam mattresses are less stiff and can ‘wrap’ around your body. Gel-filled foam mattresses are more rigid and comfortable.  

Your mattress’s thickness affects the max-width that you can squeeze out of your Transit van. This is because as you mount the bed frame, you may need to factor in the height of the mattress to help you get the widest spot on the vehicle.  

Most van life enthusiasts are comfortable with a 4-6 inch thick mattress.  


Chopping Your Mattress  

Most campers starting their first van conversion often prefer the least expensive route: buying a standard mattress and cutting it to size.  

You will need an electric carving knife or a serrated bread knife for the job. A measuring tape or ruler and a marker are also needed.   

Here are a few steps that you can follow to cut your campervan mattress.  

  1. Measure the size of your bed frame with the tape, noting all angled corners. Purchase a memory foam mattress with dimensions closest to your platform size.  
  1. Remove the fabric cover of the mattress.  
  1. Measure the foam and mark the cutting lines using the marker pen. A rigid ruler can help you make straight lines.  
  1. Cut the mattress carefully with the serrated bread knife or the electric carving knife. The electric knife may make cleaner cuts than the serrated one. Ensure that you hold the knife at 90° when cutting.  

If your knife can not cut through the foam, you can flip the mattress, remeasure and start cutting again.  

  1. Cover your newly cut foam with a waterproof mattress protector and sew back the fabric cover.  


Van Flares for Added Space 

If you do not wish to cut up your mattress or cannot fit in the narrow cross-side bed, you can consider investing in body or window flares for your Ford Transit.  

Flares are fiberglass bump-outs that replace your windows or side body, allowing you to expand the rear section of your van.  

The protruding panels will enable you to increase the interior space by almost one foot. You can enjoy between 74″-78″ of car width, allowing you to set your bed sideways comfortably. You can now easily fit the queen-size mattress without any hassles.  


Choosing the Right Flare Combination  

Flarespace is the most popular brand for bump-outs. Their transit van flares come as a pair, one for the driver’s side and another for the passenger’s side.  

As the panels are made from fiberglass, they are lightweight and easy to install.  

You need to find the exact flares for your Regular, Long, or Extra-Long Transit van. The driver’s side flares generally provide more leeway than the passenger’s side.  

On the driver’s side, you can choose from four window combinations.  

  • Flare with no window 
  • Flare with half-slider window 
  • Flare with arctic tern window 
  • Flare with an awning window.  

The passenger’s side only includes three options. 

  • Flare with no window 
  • Flare with half-slider window 
  • Flare with an awning window. 

You can also consider including some add-ons to make the installation process easier and faster. They include 

  • Window trim rings- provide a window sill for your flares.  
  • Interior finish kit- consists of a spray adhesive, ¼” foam, spray adhesive, and material to complete your flare.  


Cost of Installing Window or Body Flares  

The downside to flare installations is the price. On average, both panels may set you back $1,800 for the no-window flat panels.  

The amount can drastically increase when you order flares with the window options and add-ons.  

If you opt to get a professional installation, the final cost may increase significantly. You have to decide if you are willing to pay the amount to sleep crosswise in your van.  

Luckily, Flarespace provides a DIY instruction manual that you can follow to complete the installation.  


DIY Body Flare Installation  

If you are confident of your DIY skills, you can opt to fit the window flare yourself. Some of the tools and materials you need include. 

  • Drill and drill bits 
  • Rivet gun 
  • Metal Primer Paint 
  • Sandpaper 
  • Earplugs 
  • Jigsaw 
  • Caulk gun 
  • Blue tape 
  • Safety glasses. 
  • Isopropyl alcohol 
  • Mineral spirits 


Steps to Completing Your DIY Body Flare Installation 

  1. Test Fit the Window Flares - The first step is to ensure that the Ford Transit flares fit your vehicle. Most manufacturers use molds to shape the bump-outs, and the process isn’t always perfect.  

You need to confirm that the flares fit before painting and installing them on your vehicle. Hold the panel against your van’s body wall to confirm if they match.  

  1. Paint Match Your Flares- The next step involves searching for a reputable auto body shop to paint the window flares.  

Find a company that can match the color blend of your exterior paint. The paint job may add more costs to your project.  

  1. Cut Out the Window Panel – You need to prep the area for the flare fitting. Use blue tape and paper wrapping. Remove the rear quarter panel by cutting through the factory edge lines.  

You can take multiple measurements inside and outside to find the exact plane to cut. The blue tape can help you create an outline to guide your jigsaw.  

Spray the metal primer paint along the cutline to prevent rust.  

  1. Glue the Flares to Your Transit Van – Prep the glue flange on the flare by cleaning with isopropyl alcohol before scuffing the surface.  

Wipe your van body panel clean with mineral spirits and allow the surfaces to dry completely.  

Apply the adhesive on the glue flange and secure the flare onto the vehicle’s body. You can use adhesive tape to hold the panel in place before the glue cures.  

Use mineral spirits to wipe off any excess glue on the flare or van.  

Give the glue approximately 30 hours to cure, with the ideal temperature being 60oF.  

  1. Install Your Windows- Once the glue cures, you can now fit  the windows. Install the window with the drain holes at the bottom. Ensure that the slider mechanism works.  

You can water test your installation with a garden hose to ensure it doesn’t leak.  

Van flares provide an exciting way to increase space for your bed to face sideways without sacrificing the mattress size. The bump-outs are the perfect choice for anyone above 6’1” who wishes to sleep crosswise.  



Sleeping sideways in a Ford Transit van is possible, even for tall people. Attaining the max-width will depend on your height, the insulation installed, the design and height of your bed platform, as well as the mattress size.  

You can also modify the vehicle with flare panels to give you additional inches to set your bed crossways. However, this may come at a huge cost.