Placing a partition between cabin and cargo area in the Ford Transit van greatly improves your comfort level, both while driving and when camping.
Shielding your future living area from outside curiosity enhances your overall privacy and reduces noise transmission, but a visible separation of your cabin from the rest of the vehicle also changes the efficiency of the vehicle’s air conditioning. Restricting the A/C flow to the cabin, cools you down more quickly and the lower settings result in somewhat better fuel efficiency of the van.
Commercial vans may install a metal or solid wood partition, yet in a van conversion a more appropriate solution would be the use of a curtain, that could also be applied around the passenger swivel seat, when in use.
You could make it more fashionable with ordinary insulated, blackout curtains that you can buy at your local Walmart store and choose a design that fits your own criteria.
The passenger seat can slide backwards and beyond sliding door opening and a solid metal commercial partition will limit its use, but my drivers, 10-way power seat, would not be compromised. The van is already outfitted with slots along the floor, that accept a commercial panel. With the installation of a passenger swivel seat, you’ll have to go with a more creative solution, such as a curtain.
My Murphy bed is planned immediately behind the drivers seat, mounted flush with the cabin liner. This leaves some space (between sideboard and seat) to store the curtain, when it’s not in use. Or I could create a separate storage ‘cavity’ on the front side of the bed, that could hold the curtain. The latter being the better solution, yet it would take away some precious floor space from the overall design.
Whatever partition you choose, they all virtually eliminate the ability to use your rear view mirror. My mirror also functions as a display of the built-in rear view camera, which is unaffected. And a permanent-ON rear camera, that I plan to install as a part of a ‘surround’ camera system, would resolve any other limitations.