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Truck Bed Buildout


Original Post
coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

I have an 06 Dodge Mega Cab Diesel with Camper Shell. I am starting to research how I want to layout the truck bed for camping. Any opinions, info, links etc. would be much appreciated. I am not a full time dirtbagger.

1. The system needs to be modular and fit winter and summer trips.
2. Thinking about use of large crashpad for bed instead of carpet and padding.
3. I would like to be able to remove the system without removing the camper shell.

Currently I use a series of plastic bins for gear storage but it seems like quite a bit of dead space and if not completely full stuff flys all over the place when you turn.

thanks

Steve Williams · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 235

Look up Mal Daly's set up. I think he posted photos of
his truck here. . .

E IV · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 530

When I first got my truck I spent hours and money building up a cool platform with storage underneath and had a futon on top...what I found was that it was too difficult to remove when I wanted it out, the stuff underneath wasn't that accessible especially if the plastic bins slid to the front of the bed. Also didn't leave me much room for sitting up when I was on the bed.
Now I've simplified and it works great! Futon mattress ($99 new) directly on the bed floor, removable shelves across the top of the bed held in place with simple c-clamps. Now I have plenty of storage (bins can sit on the futon without sliding much), tons of workspace on the shelves that take up about 1/3 of the space. This space is big enough to make coffee/food on, play cards or whatever if it's raining, and also fits 3 large storage bins when I need to use the futon. My legs just slide under the shelves when I'm sleeping. And it's all removable in about 2 minutes.
My advice, keep it simple - saves money, space, and hassle.

coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

Some info I found

Link

Link 1

Link 2 - sweet

coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

The system will sleep 2.5!
My wife, 18 month old son, and me

Evan1984 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 30

I have a tundra w/ cap. I built boxes that run along the side rails on each side of the bed and secure them with ratchet straps. The space between the two boxes allows me to perfectly spread out two crash pads for sleeping on the bed. I installed a rail along each box at 18" which allows me to span the gap with plywood. Them I have a double decker storage system.

I use rubbermaid tubs on top for gear/clothes/regular stuff. I put water/propane/wood/crash pads underneath. I can leave a piece of the shelf in and prop a pad up against the cab. It turns into a sofa and writing desk. The side boxes are great for a tool box/emergency kit, shovel, and odds and ends.

To sleep, leave the tubs outside(get good watertight ones). Load up and go in the morning. I'm 6'4", so the extra headroom afforded by sleeping on the bed and taking out tubs is worth it for me. Plus, you get the sofa.

Works for me. cost was $100 and a blizzardy day in the garage not counting crash pads.

Derek W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 20
coop wrote:The system will sleep 2.5! My wife, 18 month old son, and me
is that one of your requirements or a comment on one of the systems? I built a sweet modular system for my pickup, but it only has one built in bed and then a cot for a 2nd person
Nate "Mustang" Johnson · · Lake Elsinore, CA · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 185

I have used this set up or the last year and have probably spent at least four of the last twelve months in it, it works great.

mountainproject.com/v/climb…

-Nate

coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

yes it will need to sleep 2.5

Wehling wrote: is that one of your requirements or a comment on one of the systems? I built a sweet modular system for my pickup, but it only has one built in bed and then a cot for a 2nd person
Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 380

I just posted instructions and photos up on the Trango Blog with the beta for a easy, simple and versatile camping setup.

blog.trango.com/

Feedback, please.
mal

coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

Malcolm, great post and information. I like your setup as it is cheap and easily removed. I have to be careful that I have enough room to only use a 2 fold with a standard camper shell instead of a raised one. The MSR Parawing is a great addition and if I could find one super cheap I would consider getting one, anybody have a deal???

Thanks!

Malcolm Daly wrote:I just posted instructions and photos up on the Trango Blog with the beta for a easy, simple and versatile camping setup. blog.trango.com/ Feedback, please. mal
Casey Bernal · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 215

One of the nicest setup I have seen in a large truck is to have two side platforms with a swinging center board. This allows you to be able to sit with several people, and also makes going in & out easier. It may not work so well if you have a standard height shell.

coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

unless i place it down on the wheel wells, i don't sitting inside will work with my flatback shell

Casey Bernal wrote:One of the nicest setup I have seen in a large truck is to have two side platforms with a swinging center board. This allows you to be able to sit with several people, and also makes going in & out easier. It may not work so well if you have a standard height shell.
coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

The MSR Zing looks very nice but $$$$

Link to MSR Zing

I like the free standing tarp/cover idea instead of the attached to vehicle type. What about the pros/cons of this

Derek W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 20
coop wrote:What about the pros/cons of this
Pro: They are handy

Con: I haven't seen one over a year old that wasn't broken or damaged in some way...

This is giving me an idea to make one out of pvc that you can take apart to store in your truck. You can attach it to a set of trees or your topper... Hmm, this is making me want to go build some stuff!
Mark Griffin · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 62

Con of the REI ARS... those damn things are super heavy, huge when packed, constantly breaking, and unless really well anchored will fly off in a strong breeze and could easily damage a vehicle or take someone out. My experience is based on the EZ-Up variety but the one linked to above looks pretty similar.

One pro is that with it's adjustable height you can lower it and sleep under it in the rain as long as it's not super breezy you'll stay dry and still be sort of out in the open.

Shaun Greene · · www.UtahShaun.com · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 445
Truck Tent

I used a platform setup identical to what is being used one of your earlier links...Very Roomy tons of headroom, Lots of storage under the platform and easy to remove. Downside is setting the tent up every night (takes about 7 minutes). Easily sleeps 2 and could comfortably sleep 3. I use a queen size blow up mattress that fills the bed perfectly.
coop Best · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 485

When we get some extra $$$, an old small camper trailer would be much better with a kid than an camper shell, agreed. However for now we have to make do with what we have and not spend too much on modifications/additions. We have been camping since my son was 3 months old. With the Dodge Mega Cab, the backseat converts to a full size bed and he sleeps and naps back there most of the time. It is more quiet from outside noise and also to keep his crying from reaching the outside environment.

JLP wrote:The EZ-Up type shelters you linked to are really nice and super durable, but they take up a lot of room. Packed, it's about 10"x10"x54" or so - in that neigborhood. It's like another body. If you get one that packs smaller, it's probably a pos. The MSR - I'm not a fan of things that need stakes to stand up, but Mal seems pretty psyched. There's a bigger problem with this thread, though - you have a young child? You might be psyched now on a rig that will be better than a wet tent, but most with kids (the ones that actually get out frequently with said kids) move into something a lot bigger than a PU with a topper - that or they just need a car to get them to the hotel. Just sayin'. Maybe before you take this too far and spend a bunch money on something that might not cover the task, perhaps look around and see what others in your situation are doing - ie, not what single males and college students are doing.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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