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Building a frame for truck camping
For the guys who do truck camping out west, how did you build your frame that you put in the back of the truck so you can slide your totes underneath? Was thinking two sheets of plywood on top of 4, 4x4s in each corner and going 6 ft long by 3 ft wide. Thoughts and pics of your set up would be much appreciated.
I wrestled with this all spring. How to build a deck for my 4 wheeler to allow for totes and such under it. I never could solve it with anything made of wood because of the lack of stability once getting off road. I ended up going the route of basket and rack with 4 wheeler below.
Put the camper shell on. Cut three 2x4’s to length to fit perpendicular to the bed. One in front, one in the middle, one in the back. Boards simply extend over the bed sides. Cut two pieces of 3/8in plywood so each fits perfectly on each half side. No other supports, non nails or screws. Easy in easy out. Works great.
I don’t have any pics and I only put the camper shell on when needed. Built a wood frame that slides under it and an electric hoist to pull up to the rafters in my shop.
Sorry, I wasn't very clear. I bought a topper for a truck I purchased in June. I'm looking to build a frame to sleep on and I can slide totes, tree stands, boots, etc. underneath so I don't lose space for storage. Basically I'd be using the truck as a base camp like guys do elk hunting. Charlie Rehor, OTC Will, and other couple of guys have posted pics of what they had built before. Just wanting to do the build correct the first time.
a very simple bed rack for the truck bed. 2x4 frame on one side using C clamps to hold top on frame. The other side rests on wheel well. The bed is a use hollow door cut to fit. At the far end I use a 2x4 on the floor to hold the frame in place and at the other end (tail gate end), a rubber cord to hold the bed from working it's way to the right. The bed is just high enough so I can set on it and still put on my boots without hitting my head on the roof (important). Some storage under and I can place cooler, storage containers on the floor. I can even fit my kayak in the open space and on the floor next to the bed.. If needed, the bed can be moved out easily. I use a 4 in foam pad for a mattress. The bed is 6 ft in length.
Mine - I put my tools and stuff under the bunk so I can lock my tailgate and keep them secure
Slide my coolers alongside the bunk
I like being able to sit on the bunk and put my boots on
Mike the Carpenter's Link
Works for pretty much any scenario you can think of.
Put a post in each corner. Run a 2x4 the length of the bed on each side. Run 3/4” plywood/OSB or for stiffer run 7/8 or 1-1/8 across. You will need 2 sheets because the bed will be about 5’ wide. I used Tongue and groove so if I have something that won’t fit above or below...ie elk horns you can take one sheet out and slide it on top of the other. Best way I found to maximize space however it maybe not the cheapest.
The truck bed sides are molded for 2x6 to drop right in. Use 3 that go half way across the bed and lay some 3/8 plywood on top. Tack down the edges onto the tails of the 2x6 so it’s all tied together. The same as Cnelk shows in his pic.
It's great that you were able to find an alternative solution by using a basket and rack with the 4 wheeler below. This solution is likely to provide more stability and better withstand the rough terrain.
As for your plan, it sounds like a solid starting point. Plywood on top of 4x4s is a popular choice, and going 6 ft long by 3 ft wide should give you plenty of space for your totes. It's always great to hear from other people who have done similar projects though, so I hope you get some responses with pictures and advice. I don't have any personal experience with this kind of setup, but I'm sure there are others here who can share their suppliers of nuts and bolts
. It's always inspiring to see what creative solutions people come up with.
Search online for truck bed platform or bed etc. lots of options. I was ready to build one as I had previously in other vehicles but then found Decked system which is pre made. Very happy with it
Make the bed in the cab. Much nicer and cleaner
Remove passenger seat and rear seat (possibly fold up if allowed)
This makes the length long enough to lay flat, I am 6’ and it works for me.
Then, lay a cut piece of plywood down on top of the hardware where the seats bolt down etc etc. On top of that lay some memory foam cut to size.
I have an 8' box. I put a toolbox inside the topper in the front with a custom wood split lid so I can open either end of it. I place a 2x6 next to it. I place another 2x6 towards the tailgate end. There are two 5/16" bolts protruding up from it. They fit into the bottom of an army litter that stretches across the 2x6'S. The floor space is now clear for all kinds of clutter. Coolers fit under the 2x6 and litter. Sure its a pain to step over that first 2x6 every time you get in but everything is solid. A Buddy Heater keeps me toasty with the side windows cracked for cross ventilation and oxygen flow. I did cut off some of the litter handles so it fit in the topper, Do not know how it would work in a 6'.
I had one of these Roll-a-Cot in my Ford diesel pick up. It has supports on the ends so the wheel hump is not a factor. The tension on the cot can be adjusted to minimize sag. For me at 180 lbs it was minimal, it is not like the old military cot. The frame is aluminum and can be lifted out easily. The cot can be taken down and rolled up. For the price of wood these days the Roll-A Cot seams more reasonable. https://www.camptime.com/collections/cots
Great ideas guys. I used to truck camp in a 1977 Suburban with the rear seats folded down it fit a twin mattress and had room for Rubbermaid tubs for gear
Or go nuts with a Diamondback cover and an iKamper. Same cover can double for ATV transportation ;)
Youtube has a lot of examples.
There’s a “truck bed camping” Facebook group that has a ton of examples. I’m building one this summer off of examples I’ve pulled from there
The hunting public built one for truck camping last weeks episode
Building a frame for truck camping sounds like an exciting project! Your plan of using two sheets of plywood on top of 4, 4x4s in each corner sounds like it could definitely work. Have you considered adding any cross-bracing or diagonal supports to add extra stability to the frame? As for pictures and ideas, I'm sure some of the guys out west would be happy to share their setups. Hopefully, they can give you some inspiration for your build! If you need any hardware or fasteners for the job, be sure to check out scrooz.com.au
- they have a great selection of products that could be useful for your project...