Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread: Simple/inexpensive bed platform pics...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Englewood, CO
    Posts
    4,850

    Default Simple/inexpensive bed platform pics...

    Don't know if this is the correct forum or if it should be in "general vehicle mods" but I wanted to share my bed platform design.

    For the last two years I've been using a commercial "carpet kit" of the type usually sold at stores that sell toppers/shells. The standard kit includes 6 pieces and is fine for "light duty" work or mild exploration.

    In "sleeping configuration" this is what it looked like (note this is a photo of my 1999 Ford Ranger which had the same type of kit):



    This is the kit in "travel configuration" which is how I had it most of the time:



    My kit, purchased off of Craigslist in 2007, was well used and not in the greatest of condition.

    Moreover, the more I used it the more I realized there were some very real drawbacks inherent in the design.

    For one thing, although the padded surface of the "sleep platform" was indeed comfortable to sleep on (and required no air mattress) I found that when driving off road the back of the truck gets filled with fine, silty dust which then settles onto every surface. Sleeping on the platform with a coat of dust was not much fun, even when I tried to knock some of the dust off.

    Short of sealing the the interior of the shell (impractical, given the type of shell I have and the large gaps in the tailgate area) the only other solution I could try is putting a tarp over the sleeping surface and then taking it off at night, which works somewhat but not really that well.

    However, by far the biggest drawback was that the area under the sleeping platform is not very high - maybe 7" maximum.

    What that means is that all of the gear that's normally carried in the back of the truck (cooler, box with camping gear, food, fuel cans, water cans, etc) cannot be in the truck when the carpet kit is in "sleeping" configuration. That means this gear has to either (a) be placed outside, or (b) be shoehorned into the cab, which is not all that spacious.

    When camping in the wild this isn't a big deal (I normally leave a lot of gear outside and have never had it touched/molested in 20+ years of back country exploring.) But it severely impacts the ability to engage in "stealth camping" at rest areas and the like. Furthermore, I know there are times when it's nice to be able to keep my gear out of the weather.

    It also makes it difficult to do a quick departure or "bug out" from my campsite because of the time it takes to assemble all of the gear that is outside and put it in the truck before departing.

    So I was determined to make some kind of more practical platform. Unfortunately for me, my carpentry skills are not all that great, so some of the really fancy cabinet-type systems I've seen here are just not feasible for me. Not only that, but one of the absolute requirements of my design is that it be 100% removable quickly and easily because during the Summer I plan on running the truck with no top on it at all.

    After considering a bunch of ideas, I finally figured out what would be probably the simplest way to get a sleep platform that was the full width of the bed: 2x4's running across the bottom 'rail' of the shell, with two pieces of 5/8" plywood on top.

    The hardest part was figuring out how to "hang" the 2x4's. I finally settled on using some 1 1/2" L brackets, "doubled up." I know these L brackets can't hold a lot of weight but when you consider that there are a total of 16 of them, I think they'll work (though I'd entertain any suggestions people might have of some sturdier metal angle bracketst that might work better!)

    I don't have a close-up of the L brackets but here's how the supports go onto the rail of the shell:



    Here I've placed one of the two sheets of plywood on the supports to start measuring and cutting around the C-clamps that hold the shell on:



    Now, some people might wonder why I used two sheets when a single plywood sheet would probably work.

    A couple of reasons: Two sheets are smaller and lighter and easier to move around. Also, two sheets lets me remove one so I can better access stuff in the forward area of the cargo compartment. Also, two sheets allows me to run the platform all the way to the edge of the shell which gives me more surface area.

    After carefully cutting and trimming (making sure to cut the sheets a bit undersize) I stapled indoor/outdoor carpeting to them and placed them side by side. They actually fit very snugly:



    There's a fair amount of clearance underneat the supports, about 14" which will easily accomodate most of my plastic totes (and to the extent that it doesn't, I'll get new totes, they're cheap.) All the gear I normally carried in the side compartments of the carpet kit (jumper cables, road flares, snatch strap, gloves, air compressor, flashlight, warning triangles, entrenching tool) are now in the black tote you see in this photo, held in place by my cargo bar:



    One nice (though unplanned) feature is that my water can and blitz-type gas can will fit under the platform, but not under the support, which means that they will be held in place by the support (and I may invest in another cargo bar to insure they don't slide forward.) This puts my water and gas where it is most easily accessible.



    The only issue this leaves unresolved now is what to sleep on? I need a mattress pad of some type. Can anyone make any suggestions? I'd rather not use a therm-a-rest (too thin) and would prefer not to use anything inflatable (too much time/effort to inflate, too likely to leak or get a puncture.) I'll be looking at some foam mattress-topper type things today but would appreciate any suggestions. One key is that it has to be something I can roll up and put into a plastic bag so it won't get covered in dust while I'm driving.

    Total cost was right around $60 which included 2 sheets of 19/32" plywood, 4 8' 2x4s, 8 sets of angle brackets and 36 square feet if indoor/outdoor carpet. Time was 3-4 hours, most of that spent cutting and trimming the top boards so they'd fit around the c-clamps.

    Anyway, this whole thing is going to get its first "field test" this coming week when I go out to meet some other ExPo folks to tour the Upper Great Basin area for memorial day week.

    Edited to add: Although this will work with any kind of shell, keep in mind that if you have a cab-high shell this will severly restrict your headroom while sleeping. This may or may not be an isue for you but it's something to consider. One of the reasons I went with a high-rise shell is I like the additional headroom and it's really not much heavier.
    Last edited by Martinjmpr; 05-18-2009 at 05:04 PM.
    Martin KD0PHH
    2007 Toyota 4runner SR5, 4.0 V6. FJC lift, FJC black steelies, 255/75/17 BFG MTs & custom front bumper!

    I'm a million miles before you, I'm a million miles behind
    I'll take you straight and narrow, I'll ramble and I'll wind
    So curse my broken brimstone, or kiss my bricks of gold
    I'm not the reason - I'm just the road
    - Aaron Watson, "The Road"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Neighbor of the Beast
    Posts
    383
    For the pad, I have one of these: http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0022002516076a.shtml

    For the size it is very comfortable.

    I previously used a Therm-a-rest, but due to the possibility of puncture, the cot pad works better. And its much more comfortable.
    Toyota 4x4

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Southwest Colorado
    Posts
    2,853
    I have been using an air bed, we already had it. It didn't pop YET, but I think it takes up too much room.

    I was thinking about using one of the thick mattress foam toppers from walmart. They are pretty cheap, sized for sheets, and easy to find. If I can find one that is about 3" thick I will give it a try.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    172
    I use a memory foam "topper" that is 3 inches thick in the back of my tacoma. Double bed size fits perfectly (within an inch on all sides) takes a standard sheet and is plenty thick for me. The only downside to the
    memory foam is that it actually gets somewhat stiff when its very cold outside so isn't quite as comfortable. I think I paid $89 bucks at sam's club about 3 years ago.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Englewood, CO
    Posts
    4,850
    Quote Originally Posted by Metcalf View Post
    I have been using an air bed, we already had it. It didn't pop YET, but I think it takes up too much room.

    I was thinking about using one of the thick mattress foam toppers from walmart. They are pretty cheap, sized for sheets, and easy to find. If I can find one that is about 3" thick I will give it a try.
    I actually picked up one of those and that's what I'll be using. About $15 for a full/double size.
    Martin KD0PHH
    2007 Toyota 4runner SR5, 4.0 V6. FJC lift, FJC black steelies, 255/75/17 BFG MTs & custom front bumper!

    I'm a million miles before you, I'm a million miles behind
    I'll take you straight and narrow, I'll ramble and I'll wind
    So curse my broken brimstone, or kiss my bricks of gold
    I'm not the reason - I'm just the road
    - Aaron Watson, "The Road"

  6. #6
    i was wondering if you get much deflection of the 2x4's when you are on the platform. it just seems like it would sag a bit. i was thinking of doing something very similar and if it sags then i would put a center brace in. thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    1,521
    I have 2x10s for my sleeping platform and do not have any sag. They hold up pretty well.
    A camp proper is a nomads biding place. He may occupy it for a season or only for a single night, according as the site and its surroundings please or do not please the wanderers whim- Horace Kephart.
    ETAV8R's Build-The Gini
    Operation-Oxcart-AKA-Gini-s-Burden-A-Four-Wheel-Camper-story

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    NewYork
    Posts
    2
    Those are good. You can also check on this one. =)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    north NH
    Posts
    99
    I have used a futon mattress they fit great in a small truck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    59
    We use a 3" memory foam with sleeping bags laid out and then place a sheet of 1/8 ply on top so we can carry cargo on top while on the road.
    2010 Eddie Bauer V8, Truxx levelling kit, XTX Sport 265/70/18's, ICOM VHF, Midland CB, Globalstar Sat Phone, AGM House Battery, Engel Fridge, boat rack with 12 ft topper; pulling Fleetwood Evolution E1 pup.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •