10 Cool Van Racking Ideas That Actually Work – VanDimensions

Are you a professional who works out of your van? If so, you understand the importance of a well-organized interior. The van’s interior is your workplace, so getting the racking right is crucial. In this article, we will provide you with ten fantastic van racking ideas to help you get started right away. Let’s jump in and explore these creative solutions together!

Types of Shelving Systems

Before we dive into the ideas, let’s take a moment to familiarize ourselves with the different types of shelving available. You can opt for a professional racking system that is ready-made, or you can go the DIY route and build it yourself. Van shelves are typically made of either aluminum or wood.

Aluminum shelves are lightweight and often the preferred choice for professional van interiors. However, they can be quite expensive. Aluminum shelves can be adjustable or welded into place. Adjustable systems are easier to install and plan since you can make adjustments if needed.

Steel racking is a more affordable option compared to aluminum, and it offers excellent durability. However, steel is heavier, weighing about 10-15% more than aluminum. The advantage of steel racking is its flexibility, making it ideal for storing heavy materials or equipment.

Wood racking provides the most customization options, allowing you to tailor it to your exact needs. It’s perfect for a made-to-measure van build. However, keep in mind the weight of the wood, as it can impact your fuel consumption.

The choice of materials is crucial as heavier materials can increase your fuel consumption by up to 33%.

How Much Weight Can Your Van Handle?

Cargo vans generally have a weight capacity of 500-800kg. Anything under 500kg shouldn’t be a concern. However, every kilogram you add will affect your fuel consumption, especially when you go beyond 500kg.

What Type of Wood to Use for Racking Out Your Van?

If you prefer a wood racking system, it’s essential to choose the right type of wood. Racking is commonly done with 1 or 2-inch plywood. Plywood is lightweight yet sturdy enough to withstand bumps and jolts.

Van Racking Ideas That Really Work

1. Create a False Bed with Rear and Side Door Access

Cargo Van Storage

If you’re a carpenter or someone who needs to transport large plywood sheets, creating a false bed is a brilliant solution. This provides additional storage space in your mobile workshop. Use plywood panels as supports with beams across for easy sliding of 8×4 plywood sheets from the rear. Create a removable hatch at the bulkhead for access to smaller materials through the side door.

Pros: Offers flexible storage space for large materials.
Cons: Can limit standing height in the van, so ensure you have a high roof or an alternative solution.

2. Utilize Old Pipes for Kit and Glue Storage

Don’t throw away those short pieces of pipe! Cut old 3″ PVC pipes into 4-5″ pieces and attach them wherever you need. Use simple stainless steel brackets at the bottom as supports for glues and store any round items in them. This clever hack helps keep your shelves tidy and organized.

3. Build a Cabinet in the Side Door for Toolboxes and Crates

Cargo Van Storage

Maximize the space in your side door by building a van-high cabinet. Plan the cabinet to accommodate your essential tools, with two columns of wide, high shelves from the floor up. Customize these shelves to fit your specific toolboxes and crates. Above the shelves, create a storage shelf for small materials like cannisters, tape, and hearing protection. Make sure to add an edge to the shelf to prevent items from falling off. For added efficiency, consider converting the shelves into heavy-duty drawers, allowing easy access to your tools without removing the entire toolbox.

Pros: Keeps most-used tools within reach at all times.
Cons: Occupies space in the load area and is only accessible from the outside. Consider other solutions for rainy weather.

You can also check out the DeWalt ToughSystems modular van racking systems for additional options.

Cargo Van Storage

4. Place a Swivel Foot under the Side Door Cabinet

If you want access to your side door cabinet from the inside as well, place the entire cabinet on a swivel platform. This allows you to rotate the cabinet, making the front become the back and giving you access to your tools from inside the van. Ensure precise measurements to rotate the cabinet towards the bulkhead, and don’t forget to secure it with a lock while driving.

Pros: Provides flexibility in accessing your tools.
Cons: Requires clear space near the bulkhead, limiting the possibility of building an inside cabinet.

5. Create a Side Door Drawer Under the False Floor

Slide-Out Workbench

Conveniently store small bits and pieces by adding a drawer under the side door. Large drawers at the rear can be inefficient and restrict access to valuable storage space. By placing a drawer at the side door, you can keep it short (about 12 inches) while still having access to the under-floor storage.

6. Build a Slide-out Workbench

If you have sufficient space at the rear of the van, consider installing a slide-out workbench. A thick plywood sheet with foldable legs can serve as a practical work surface that extends your working space outdoors. However, keep in mind potential issues with rain, limited storage options when the workbench is inside, and adjustable legs to compensate for uneven surfaces.

7. Create a Custom Rain Cover for Your Rear Doors

Utilize your rear doors to provide cover from rain while working. By attaching a rain cover, you can work under it and keep your equipment dry. This is especially useful if you have a slide-out workbench or frequently work outdoors.

8. Maximize Hanging Space

Efficient van racking involves making the most of hanging storage. Hang screwdrivers, pliers, tapes, glues, and saws on your van’s walls and doors. Clad the window panes on your rear doors to hang screwdrivers conveniently. The ability to open van doors up to 270° allows easy access to your tools from inside, rear, and side.

9. Create a Locked Compartment for Expensive Gear

For your most valuable tools, consider building a heavy-duty compartment with a secure lock. Ensure the compartment is easily accessible to avoid inconvenience when using the equipment frequently. Although it may be an extra step, this compartment will provide peace of mind against theft.

Pros: Keeps your most precious gear safe from burglars.
Cons: Can become inconvenient if you frequently use the equipment.

10. Keep Heavy Items near the Doors

Instead of storing heavy items next to the rear or side doors, move them to the furthest corner of the bulkhead. Replace them with the heaviest gear you own and use regularly. This ensures that you don’t have to carry heavy equipment through a narrow van space, making your workday more enjoyable.

By implementing these van racking ideas, you can optimize your workspace and productivity on the go. Whether you’re a carpenter, plumber, or any other professional relying on your van, these creative solutions will help you make the most of your mobile workplace. Remember to choose materials wisely, consider your van’s weight capacity, and create a customized setup that suits your specific needs.

For more expert insights and practical solutions, visit Get started today and transform your van into a well-organized and efficient workspace!

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