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Building a truck bed sleeping platform...

28162 Views 23 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  WhiskeySix5
I have seen lots of ideas on the web about how to build a sleeping platform in the bed of a truck. Here is my idea...I go antelope hunting and want to sleep in the back of my truck. I have a 2001 Ford Ranger with a 6 foot bed that is about 4 foot wide. I have two of the tuff boxes that contain my minimal BOB supplies that go everywhere with me as well as a generator.

How do I build it so that I have sleeping room, but still enough room to store all my crap. I already have 2 12 volt all-weather jacks in the bed with a trouble light for interior light. I also have a shell that is raised about 9 inches above cab level so that I have extra head room.

Any ideas?

This is my truck for visual of the shell:

http://youtu.be/LdLgYiGG4HM
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· First virtue is strength
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Nice Ranger, easiest answer is to get (2) 6' angle iron rails and drill them into the side of your bed so the lower part is sticking into the bed on both sides like a bed frame. (your bed is, I think, just over 4' in width) cut lumber to fit across those 2 rails and that becomes your bed platform..inflatable mattress should fit easily up there when ya hunt and if everything else is under that height of the new platform you are good to go.
 

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That link that Sam posted. That's exactly what you want. If you want comfort, you should add tent to all the windows. I've had to sleep in a truck before. I don't know where you live but it get's really hot in those. Adding a ceiling vent fan would be mighty wise of you. Something I've always noticed. A lot of comfy blankets that makes a nest in the sleeping area. That comes in hand not only for warmth in the winter but also for a sense of being at home. Other than the places that are shown to store stuff, where will you put the other stuff? Also, rather important. Is this just for you or is someone else coming?
 

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The very first thing you need to do is take some measurements. Actually measure the amount of space you have to work with.

2: Figure out how much space you need to sleep comfotably. Lay on the floor and have someone measure your width and height with whatever clothes you woudl wear in the winter.

3: Figure out the depth of storage units you need at minimum.

4: How do you want it to function? Do you want to be able to remove it? What if you want to resell the truck?

5: Come up with a construction plan.

If you do these steps you will have a better product. You could wing it and get something that is still awesome, but planning can maximize awesomeness. Plus telling someone about the amount of detail you put in to your design makes you sound intelligent.

As far as constructability, keep it as simple as you can. I don't know how experienced of a builder you are, but you don't want to bite off more than you can chew. You be the judge of that.

If I were to do soemthing like this I would use angle steel. I'd build a frame and rivet seat belt material across the span with some slack. Make sure you sew each over lap point so the load is always distributed through all the rivets.

Structure wise I'd get some 2 1/2 steel framing members. Frame out a shell. so that I could put some insulation between the inside and the outside. Since I measured myself and my requirements for storage I know how much room I can spare for wall thickness.

The floor I'd do you could lay 1/2" strips of plywood and sandwich them with a layer of 1/2" plywood sheathing securing through the bottom plywood strips.

Figure out how small of a door you can deal with. Frame the tail section on the ground with door opening and lift in to place. Secure with bolts, not screws. That way in the future if you need to do work on the inside you know you can get good access. Shouldn't happen all the time so just having the ability is a good idea. Then for 99% of the time you have the smallest door, which is the best if trying to prevent heat loss.

And screws penetration need to be sealed. Everything should have silicone on the seam. Especially under the bed.

Exterior wise you'll need something water proof and can handle being driven on the highway. Corogated galvanized sheet metal is what I'd use. I'd have a clear coat put on also.
 

· reluctant sinner
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You need to provide more info. How big are the boxes and the genny? Do you plan to unload everything to sleep, have more room to add more stuff like camp, game, gear?

If the boxes are short enough set one at each end of the truck bead and cover with a double layer of 2' by 6' sheet of of OSB (ripped in half).

Do you run 2 batts with all the light? I would and have the power take for the shell on the aux deep cycle.
 

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i have a similar ranger. i have 1x10" boards along each side (inside the wheel wells) and across the back with 2x2"corner framing. across the front, the 1x10" is removable to get to the storage. on top of the 1x10's, i have 5 1x12's covering the storage area, extend over the wheel wells, and that allows me to have my bed there. the 1x10's get the sleeping deck above the wheel wells and gives me that much storage underneath. and my bed shell only goes to the top of my cab, it doesn't go higher.
 

· Tactical Medic
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i have a similar ranger. i have 1x10" boards along each side (inside the wheel wells) and across the back with 2x2"corner framing. across the front, the 1x10" is removable to get to the storage. on top of the 1x10's, i have 5 1x12's covering the storage area, extend over the wheel wells, and that allows me to have my bed there. the 1x10's get the sleeping deck above the wheel wells and gives me that much storage underneath. and my bed shell only goes to the top of my cab, it doesn't go higher.
Got a pic? I have done 2x4's on the rails with plywood at one point
 

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Any idea of a rough budget number for the plan fromBig Blzn?
I don't as I have only posted this on several other hobby forums I'm on when members have asked similar questions about truck storage systems.

One the first page of the link is shows that the cost for the project is approx $50-$100. I assume that is for standard 1/2" plywood, glue, nails/brads, screws and any pull handles for the drawers, etc.

Here is my take.

I tend to overbuild projects. Bigger, stronger, better, etc. If I had the need for a storage system in my truck i would do this one but use better and more expensive materials. (I have seen many times in pickups a modified version I like better but can't find any Internet pics of them, it's a DIY project also and real cool.)

I would use 1/2"-5/8" marine grade plywood for mine. Roughly 50% more expensive but IMO much better than a CDX ply and gives better finish product. If you want marine grade look for AB Douglas Fir marine grade plywood. Looks like current prices are around $45-50 per sheet. You can also get a CDX Sanded One Side for approx $30/sheet. Also, instead of using a professional wood glue as many would use I usually only use Gorilla Glue, epoxy type. The brown stuff that expands to look like a foam when dried and is water proof. Like i said, I over build.

My initial list of materials if I had nothing to start?

-3 sheets 1/2" marine ply. = $140
-5 lb box 1 5/8" galv course thread screws. = $18
-1 pint or so of gorilla glue. = $12
-Misc galv metal bracket and handles = $20+\-
-Paint, what ever you choose.
-carpet for top sleeping area.

Remember, you have four corners of the bed of the truck that are approx 9" wide by 16" long in front and behind the wheel wells in the bed. Ruses spaces are great for additional storage aside from the drawers.

You will save probably save 20-40% I'd you used non-marine grade plywood and if you have screws, etc you can probably get this project done for less than $110. A huge savings over any prefabbed or bought kit and you can build it to your own design.
 

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Another bug-out option

Here’s one more option for an adventure/bug-out vehicle: I put together a "micro-RV" camper using a Ford cargo van (it's huge in there compared to a pickup topper). I've been traveling the west for 3 years, and it's got 7+ inches of clearance so I go off-road more than you'd expect. I put together a little book about how I did it...here.
 

· Combat marxism Now!
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I think the answer might be easier than you think. In years past, I did a whole bunch of pickup truck and van travel. I always used a small wooden bed that mounted on wall hinges and hung on 2 chains. While driving, the mattress was stowed vertical. To sleep, I'd unlatch it, and let it hang on the 2 chains. Simple, very light weight and plenty comfy.

Of course, I always used good quality foam, which is my preferred sleeping surface.

Might work for you too.

However, in the case of a small truck like the Ranger, some additional thought may be necessary to keep from having to re-arrange all the stuff every night. Possibly hooks to latch the mattress at the bed/topper level?
 

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That looks nice and clean. It looks like the drawer has some rails on the sides? How did you connect those in the back? Did you have any issues with too much weight in the front?
The rails have felt along them, and they were only to keep the drawer sliding straight. I put two small wheels on the front, and a rubber strip at the tailgate side to keep it from sliding.

No issues with weight at all.
 
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