Truck Bed Sleeping Platform
For years now I have been searching for a way to transform my truck bed into a living area, one that is both functional as storage and a bed while not drawing attention to itself. By that I mean I really wanted a clean looking rig, simply a truck with a topper not one of those camper things.
I have been scouring the internet for designs and really did not find any that would meet my needs. So I designed and built my own. Basically I was looking for a platform system that was easily removable, spacious enough to sleep in and still allow easy access to the gear stashed underneath, and I really wanted to keep my bike inside the rig. At least until I got a ladder rack at which point I could mount it outside and still secure it.
The bike thing posed a problem because they are awkward and take up a bunch of space but all in all I was positive I could figure out what I wanted and build it fairly easily.
I decided that I would build it out of 2x4's with either a OSB or plywood covered top. I measured my truck bed and found that the bed is actually narrower near the cab than the tailgate. I figured this was an aerodynamic feature designed by GMC. This actually came in handy because it allowed the platform center pieces to lock into place. (more on that later)
O.K. the basic design is that the drivers side would be the largest bench with the passenger side being the narrowest and the middle pieces making up the difference. I simply measured and framed the benches for each side then installed them so I could figure out the exact width that I would need to cut the middle platform. This is where I discovered that the bed of my truck narrow near the tailgate.
The beauty of this slight narrowing (1 inch over 6.5 feet) is that when I made the center platform pieces they actually locked them selves into place!
I was in a bit of a rush to get it done so that my wife and I could use it during the 20 mile snowshoe race, so I used a lot of what I had lying around such as OSB as opposed to plywood. Although I really cant tell a difference. I also used indoor outdoor carpet to cover the platform so as to avoid splinters as well as to make it a bit more comfortable.
I simply wrapped the edges of the carpet under the platform top and stapled it down. I would like to remove this and reinstall the carpet using adhesive in the future, but as I said I was in a hurry. Also the temps were around freezing during the installation so I was unable to adequately stretch the carpeting enough to have it lay perfectly flat.
Now I measured a standard cooler so as to ensure that the platform would be tall enough and wide enough in the middle to access the stuff with out to much difficulty. I also found a bunch of plastic bins at the hardware store that fit perfectly under both sides.
As for the gear storage, I have seen where people left a hinged door on the top of the platform to access the storage but I was afraid those sections would be too weak when I laid on them so all of my access points are from the sides.
For a basic layout of my gear it breaks down like this:
- Drivers side near cab is a milk crate with rescue gear, behind that is storage for emergency gear, behind that is a compartment with often used gear like tools, gloves, flashlight etc...
- Middle near cab is a milk crate with fluids and spare parts for the rig, behind that is my cooler and a 5 gal diesel can, from there to the tail gate is open for which ever 20 gal rubbermaid I will need (this depends on the type of trip) as well as space for the portable grill and a 5 gal H2O container.
- Passenger side near the cab holds my shovel, axe, tarps and wool blankets, behind that is room for camp chairs and personal back packs etc..., there is remaining room between that and the tail gate for misc items.
On top of the platform I have secured two closed cell foam pads and a wool blanket by running a bungee through them. This leaves the entire top of the platform clear of stuff so I still have plenty of room. Should I wish to bring my bike I simply move the items that are stored under the middle space on top of the passenger platform and the bike fits perfectly while still leaving room for me to sleep.
In the gallery above are some pics of the build up as well as our first outing. When the temps warm up I will redo the carpeting and more than likely switch to plywood, I would also like to run power to the bed so I can plug in things if I need, other than that I really have no complaints.
You should understand that this is a work in progress so things will more than likely change as I need them to but for now I am very pleased.