One of the things we quickly learned from VanLife road trips was the importance of making every available space functional. Here are a few pics of how I maximized storage and function for the back doors.
The rear doors are well suited for storing lightweight items (soft storage). They are also wide and tall. No point in letting all that space do to waste.
I purchased the RB components powder coated aluminum rear door panels and their mesh storage nets. They are expensive, but nicely made and should last for the life of the van. Having 4 large storage pockets in the rear doors is fantastic. We use them for bike helmets, cinch straps, bike shoes, air hose, etc.
Rear Door Storage box
I also built a small rear storage box out of scrap plywood. 21.5″ x 4″ x 4″. Fits everything I need for most pre-ride bike maintenance and tuning. No more digging through my bike repair case. Metric hex wrenches, chain lube, rag, T25 wrench, shock pump, digital tire gauge, gear brush- covers more than 90% of routine bike maintenance. For more involved repairs, I have a fairly complete kit. The bottom of the box is lined with cheap yoga mat to prevent rattles while driving.
As mentioned I built the box with a few scraps of plywood lying in my garage from previous projects (then spray painted it with Truck bed coating). It attaches to the door panel with a few RivNuts and can be removed in less than a minute.
I installed L-Track with a rivet gun on both of the rear doors. I wanted a way to quickly attach a shower curtain to the rear doors for showering right at the van while camping. The L-Track will also be used to hang my shower head from the rear doors for hands-free showering. I also wanted to be able to hang wetsuits to drip dry a bit
It can be used to hang (and drip dry) wetsuits or other miscellaneous items. I also plan on making a bracket to hang my shower head so that I can have a hands free shower.
Lighting and Speakers
The upper panel of the rear door is a great place for speakers. I installed a shallow mount 6″ speaker in each door (if I had to do it again, I would have gone to a shallow mount 6×9 speaker instead).
The back door is also a great space to install some sort of “scene lighting” for working outside the back doors (or even on the side of the van). I’ve seen a bunch of cool DIY variations of scene lighting. There are a ton of inexpensive (low power) LED lights available from Amazon.
I stumbled on these cool Rigid Industries Ignite LED lights. Their power consumption is only 1 amp at 1000 lumens. They are also very small at roughly 1.5″ x 1.5″ x 2″. Working outside or loading gear in the dark is a snap with these lights. Many of the aftermarket door mounted lights have some sort of recessed alcove for the lights. The Rigid Ignites are so small that I mounted them right to the door panel. They can also be moved and pointed in any direction in case I need light 40′ from the van.
Bike Repair Stand
When you need to work on your drivetrain or brakes, there is nothing like having a professional work stand at your disposal.
I wrote a tutorial on how I installed the repair stand- Campervan Bike Work Stand.
Near the rear doors I hung an axe and shovel on the wall just under the platform bed. In the past this has been “dead space” for storage. We don’t need a shovel or axe every day, but it’s a camp necessity.