Allowing you to lock your rear seats in different positions, add more travelling seats or do away with seating altogether, a track system opens up all kinds of possibilities and can double your storage space with seats still in place.
So, if you have lots of sports gear, a profession requiring van space, or you’d simply like to keep the kids in arms reach while travelling, rails should definitely be on your radar.
Different R&R beds work with different kinds of track, so the rails you end up with will depend on (or, for that matter, determine) the bed you choose.
To let you decide for yourself whether your conversion needs one, here we bring you the inside track on the main types.
One of the chief selling points for the Reimo R&R bed, the Variotech track system is the only aftermarket, in-vehicle tested set of rails currently in production. These fit a variety of vans and take a range of Reimo beds, the most popular being the Variotech 333 for its 3 x 3-point seatbelts and frame narrow enough to fit slimmed traditional cabinets down the side.
They’re used as standard in the VW California and favoured by young families for the peace of mind afforded by the knowledge that the whole system has been tested to the highest standards.
Rails run the length of the cabin, allowing a Reimo bed to be moved until touching the front seats or backed against the rear doors (or removed completely). Bear in mind, however, that to comply with safety regulations, a SWB version of these rails can only be locked in one (the central) position whilst driving. This is directly above the bracket fixing the bed to the chassis (to absorb the shock of a crash) and not immediately behind the driver. This sometimes comes as a surprise to campers who’ve had their hopes pinned on those “flexible passenger carrying positions”. A LWB will allow you two driving positions, a SWB only one.
Beds: ¾ and full-width Reimo beds e.g. 333
Rail length: 2375 mm/268cm/246? (+ the option of a short half-rail, though we’ve never seen much use in a rail that only really allows you to access front opening cupboards)
No of driving positions: SWB: 1 LWB: 2
Safety: M1 in-vehicle tested.
Max boot space: SWB: 8’, LWB: 9’6” (with seats removed)
Removable: Yes. The whole seating system can be removed.
Additional seating options: A single forward and backward facing buddy seat (B 42 x H 103 cm ) with 3-point seat belt
Though strictly speaking this isn’t a “floor track”, we felt it belonged here as it works towards the same principle of adjustability. While the main frame and legs remain bolted to the floor, the seat base slides forward and backward to free up space in the living area. At 225mm, the exact amount may seem like a flash in the pan, but every little really does help when it comes to cabin space.
Bear in mind that the rearward setting will eat into boot space (albeit only by 225mm) and requires the parcel shelf to be folded up if rear doors are to close. Passengers buckled into the RIB slider will also remain quite far back in the rear of the vehicle – it won’t allow you to bring them behind the cab as in a conventional family car.
Beds: ¾ and full RIB Altair
Rail length: 225mm (a sliding mechanism rather than a floor rail).
No of driving positions: 2 – Safe for travel in both the forward and rearward positions
Safety: M1 standard. Both positions are covered by those stringent RIB safety regulations.
Max boot space: Approx 200mm (in SWB) or 400mm (in LWB)
For Cambee’s range of beds and buddy seats we chose utility rails proven in the aircraft and public transport sectors for their safety. Commissioned to provide tracks for ambulances and to secure wheelchairs in vehicles, we knew they’d invest the Cambee Flex with absolute flexibility without compromising on safety.
Beds on these rails will lock into multiple positions using 5 pin positions throughout the length of the van, allowing you to drive with an R & R bed and passengers immediately behind the cab (a much more conventional driving dynamic – so you won’t have to bellow down the cabin to your passengers). Also leaving room fo 3 or 4 bikes in the boot for a convenient way of getting you bikes out and about.
Beds: Cambee Flex 118 double and Flex 156 full width
Rail length: SWB: 2.2m / LWB: 2.6m
No of driving positions: 5
Safety: M1 bench tested for 3 passengers
Max boot space: SWB: 1.7m / LWB: 2.1m
Additional seating: Double front or rear facing buddy seat
If you’d pay through the nose for an extra passenger seat and only occasionally want to sleep in your van, the rail system of a T5 & T6 Caravelle could be a better fit than a van with a traditional R & R set-up. Comprising a total 4 rails, these allow for the attachment of a triple bed/seat, single seats, kitchen pod, sleeper unit and multifunction table, which lock in any number of layout configurations.
With two buddy seats and a triple seat in the back, for example, a van is effectively a transformable people-carrier carrying up to 8.
Caravelle seats are fully crash-tested, can be locked behind the driver’s seat on the road and are lower down the price scale than the Reimo. So, what’s the catch? The double/ triple seat is not a comfy, easily deployed R & R bed, and if you intend to sleep on it (and aren’t child sized) you’ll need a sleeper extension mod to stop your feet hanging off the end. Most also plump for a mattress topper as a shield from back-gouging seatbelts and unwieldy foam.
Beds: Kombi seat/bed platform
Rail length: 2.5m (LWB), 2.1m (SWB)
No of driving positions:
Safety: M1 crash-tested
Max boot space: SWB: 1.7m / LWB: 2.1m
Removable: Yes. An easy release system for quick changes
Additional seating: 2 front and rear facing buddy seats
We’re often asked about the safety requirements necessary for a rail system to hold up under an MOT or insurance inspection. Matter-of-factly, no specific testing is required of a track that’s being added to a pre-registered vehicle (i.e. campers in the pre-owned market). As long as it’s of visibly sturdy construction and properly secured to the chassis, an inspector will wave it through.
Requiring the complete reconstruction of the cabin floor and the temporary removal of the exhaust and fuel tank, rail installation isn’t an easy ride. A low-profile track (recessed into the floor) involves elevating the floor, and therefore also having to shave some of the height off a cabinet unit. The amount varies according to rail: our rails take things up ½ an inch, but Reimo are a full inch, calling for a small step at the sliding door and less neatness around the boot edge.