Find comfort on the road with a rock and roll bed
by Duncan Geddes
Those who have become inspired to travel and venture to new destinations across the UK have joined ever-growing numbers who have opted to convert a campervan and gain a sense of freedom and adventure.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also encouraged many to venture to new towns and cities closer to home while travelling across the country. According to the UK’s National Caravan Council (NCC), 16,608 new motorhomes were registered with the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the 12 months from 1 July 2020 to the end of June 2021, highlighting an 8.25% increase from 2018-19. The total value of sales of new motorhomes also set a record high in the UK, reaching £1.15 billion.
However, while there are many financial and practical considerations when converting your campervan – the top concern for most is space when living on the road. To counteract this, a popular solution for many are rock and roll beds, which can be used as car seats throughout the day and then transform into a comfortable bed for the night, providing ultimate choice and flexibility.
Why choose a rock and roll bed?
Suitable for most campervan models, such as Volkswagen T4/T5/T6, Ford Transit and Renault Traffic, rock and roll beds provide ease of use and enable you to fully maximise your space both day and night, combining comfortable daytime seats with nighttime luxury, delivering ultimate flexibility and choice.
How does a rock and roll bed work?
For ease of use, rock and roll beds will either fold out or pull out, dependent on the design. Operated via a handle, the mechanism will enable the frame to fully extend, creating a suitable bed space in the rear of the van. The main seat cushions move forward, leaving the backrest cushions to flatten, creating a new bed. Originating from early VW campervan conversions, the bed should take up most of the space but avoid key compartments or cupboards. By moving it forwards or backwards, it can also be easily adjusted to provide additional space in the back. Furthermore, some seats can have integrated storage built-in, providing extra storage space.
Are rock and roll beds legal?
Rock and roll beds are perfectly legal to use but will need to be bolted to the chassis beam at the base of the campervan and be fully affixed with spreader plates. A rock and roll bed frame can weigh up to 100kg depending on its overall design, size, and components, so it will be important to keep this in mind before installation to not exceed the maximum legal payload for your vehicle.
What is the best bed size for me?
Rock and roll beds come in a variety of sizes and designs, and the right one for you will be dependent on the size of your campervan and the number of users.
Although the beds come in standard sizes: single width, ¾ width, full width and split down the middle, the overall measurements for each will be different with each model of campervan, so will be important to check this when looking to purchase your chosen rock and roll bed.
From assessing the quality of parts, from hinges, welds, and bearings for moving parts, as well as how the rock and roll bed is fixed to the floor, there are several key features to keep in mind when choosing your rock and roll bed and the level of comfort you are after. These include the following:
Ease of use
Whether you would like a manually spring-loaded or a magnetic/electric rock and roll bed. Some rock and roll beds also have extra storage underneath.
To promote further flexibility, the use of gas struts can support the lowering and positioning of your rock and roll bed, both when laying out and putting away. Track or rail systems can also ensure your rock and roll beds can be effectively positioned where you want it to provide maximum room and efficiency.
Overall design and quality
Your rock and roll bed can be fully customisable to suit your needs, colour choices to complement your style, a variety of upholstery choices to choose from, all of which will factor into your overall quality and finish. While some rock and roll beds have existing upholstery, acquiring your chosen frame and upholstery with the same company can ensure that you get the right sizing.
Not all rock and roll beds will be crash-tested (this is optional) or have an M1 Pull Test Certification to 76/115/EEC/2005. The M1 Pull Test replicates a crash of up to 30mph into a solid object, so is a vital factor to consider before purchase to ensure optimum safety.
If you are buying a second-hand campervan with a rock and roll bed already fitted with seat belts, it will be essential to clarify whether these have been put on at a later date to ensure you will be meeting existing safety standards. A safety certificate should be provided upon purchasing your second-hand campervan to clarify this.
For those who have purchased a converted campervan second hand without seat belts, or wish to convert the campervan yourself, second-hand seat belts should only be used on M1 crash tested beds but are otherwise not legal to install or use when in motion and would fail existing road safety tests. Therefore, if you wish to use the bed and seatbelts when in motion, you must purchase an M1 crash tested bed.
To conclude, M1 tested beds will ordinarily come with seat belt mounts, which can be used when in motion following installation. Those which are not M1 tested should not have seat belts installed or be used in motion. Additionally, demand for an ISOFIX system is also steadily increasing due to those who wish for additional safety measures.
How much does a rock and roll bed cost?
The common phrase “you get what you pay for” is never truer for those who want a rock and roll bed that is reliable, comfortable, high quality and robust. While a rock and roll frame can range from £250 to over £1000, other factors such as the size of the frame (full width will be more expensive than a single), upholstery and foam choice and overall finish will increase these costs further.
Ultimately the best campervan rock and roll for you and your transporter will come down to personal requirements. If you just want a cheap frame for use when camping and have no intention of using it in motion, then a £250 budget will get you exactly what you want.
Comfort is king
You will want to ensure that your rock and roll bed to be just as comfortable as the one you have at home to guarantee have a great night’s sleep, so will definitely be worth investing in!
With more than 300 grades of foam to cater to your needs and requirements, our bespoke, high-quality foam products can be tailored to the size, grade, and standard you require for your rock and roll bed and will fit existing models on the market.
From memory foam, polyurethane foam and more, our comprehensive range and longstanding expertise in engineering will ensure that you have a foam that is tailored to deliver high-quality results day and night, both for your seats and bed and at affordable prices.
To find out more about Technical Foam Services and ensure ultimate levels of comfort, quality, and expertise, contact the team to learn how we can help you.