I Built Something! Ram Promaster Van Conversion for Travel Photography

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I Built Something! Ram Promaster Van Conversion for Travel Photography

So… we got a Dodge Ram Promaster van awhile back and were planning on putting a bed and compartments in it for when we travel for film and photo shoots. After looking at dozens of different options, I decided I could do it myself. So these are some pictures of our Dodge Ram Promaster van conversion. Details about the conversion are down below, as well! 

The unique problems I was trying to solve were as follows:

  1. Space for camera gear, including a very long Pelican case, two smaller ones, and a huge rolling supercomputer built for Livestreaming (GILBERT).
  2. Something flexible, where the bed didn’t take up the entire space and we could fold/roll/push it in or take it out completely
  3. Semi-permanent. This is free-standing. It’s built very tightly in, but I drilled no new holes. I also didn’t modify the basic structure of the empty van.
  4. We wanted it to be cozy and fun. We like wood and mini lights, which you’ll see a lot in the final photos.

I would break up the van conversion into 3 major sections/phases:

The Bed

The bed was built so that one side was semi-permanent, and the second side could pull out on interlaced slats to cover the entire cargo section of the van. (See photos). Underneath the bed are shelves, locking compartments for our camera gear, etc. This took the most time (getting it right, planning out various sections that had to be a specific size, etc). I did a lot of research online and pretty much sketched out different ideas, figured out the best solutions for the blocks we needed to have, and started building! Here are some progress pictures and also my sketches with measurements. You’ll notice that some of the sketched ideas didn’t make it into the final build. 🙂

The Ceiling

I spent a lot of time thinking about this one, and even if I should do it. You’ll see from the pictures that we had a few metal beams going across, but since I didn’t want to screw anything into the roof itself, I strapped wooden beams to the metal beams with plumbers tape (that metal tape with holes in it) and screwed the interlocking panels to that instead of the ceiling.

Shelves & Storage in a Dodge Ram Promaster City

I wanted to make sure things didn’t fall off the shelves when we were driving, so all the little shelves have a little lip attached to them. And I tried to make good use of hanging things instead of putting them on shelves, so I found a chain with hooks on either end, then used carabiners to hang up pots, pans, and a bag to put clothes in. We also ended up using to to hang a tripod. I also used magnets for a lot of things, so the curtain between the cab and the cargo area attaches to the doors via magnets I sewed into the fabric. I found some really cool heavy-duty magnet hangers to hang some stuff.

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