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Short bed tacoma livin?

Original Post
Sisyphus · · W. Mass, S. Utah · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 145

Im looking into purchasing an older 4dr short bed tacoma, the model before they put long beds on em. Any one have any experience living out of one. Im 5'9 and hoping I can sleep diagonally across the bed on a platform built above the wheel wells. Ive lived out of reg bed tacoma and T100 for a long time pretty comfortably, but not sure on this one. I will be traveling for school for several months at a time and looking to save some $$$ on rent. Any info would be appreciated, and I should mention that I need the 4dr for the family otherwise Id just go with the extended cab.

frankstoneline · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 20!/dimensions/7103/7113/7182/7153/7153

based on their bed dimensions it looks like you could sleep comfortably. A quick calculation based on a 16" wide sleeping space suggests diagonally you should have ~78.8". (you could lay a 16" X 78" sleeping mat diagonally without folding the corners).

Sisyphus · · W. Mass, S. Utah · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 145

Thanks frank! Was really hoping to hear from someone with experience but i may have to go off the math.

camhead · · Vandalia, Appalachia · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 1,240

My grandpa has that model. I tried sleeping in it once, and was not too impressed (I have the standard two-door, six foot bed). Get it if you need to for the family, but sleeping in the back in any sort of camper set up would be a pain in the ass, especially with more than one person.

You could see what types of extendable camper shells they make, though.

Jonathan Petsch · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 45

I have one of the newer short beds. I made a loft that has a flip up extendable section about as long as the tailgate. The only bad part is you cant sleep with the gate closed, but I have a tarp that goes over a tent pole rigged up over the back. Its comfortable with two people. If I am by myself I can close the gate and the topper and sleep diagonal fairly comfortable (I'm about the same height as you). Here's a photo, dont know if it'll help.

Loft situation: there are hinges on those vertical 2x4's so they fold up
Steve Bond · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2006 · Points: 45

Just saw Jonathan's post after I posted, hence mine is a moot point. Nice design Jonathan.

frankstoneline · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 20
Sisyphus wrote:Thanks frank! Was really hoping to hear from someone with experience but i may have to go off the math.
Of note: I made the assumption that the listed dimensions are the internal dimensions and neglected to factor in a lip around the bed (though that wouldnt likely be a huge issue and a human is shaped very differently from a 16" wide rectangle).

Do they make the tacoma with the second half doors? I don't know what they are actually called, maybe a crew cab or some shit? the doors that swing back after you open the front doors?
Sisyphus · · W. Mass, S. Utah · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 145

thanks for the input guys. Jonathan, like the extendable platform, its definitely gonna happen. Camhead-yeah wish i could just go with the reg bed but with carseats in back of my T100 just took too much space and the tacomas are smaller.
thanks again

Aerili · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 1,970

I have this truck and I don't think you're going to like sleeping in the back unless the tailgate is down. I have slept in the back of mine with the gate up and I barely fit (I am 5'6"). Granted, I use a huge sleeping pad when I am car camping which definitely makes it a tigher squeeze but, regardless, I don't think an additional 3" of flesh and bone is going to feel that comfy even with a shorter or thinner pad.

The problem is the wheel well humps. They make it hard to take advantage of the diagonal space potentially available.

TWK · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 160

My 08 4 door Tacoma was available as either a "Sport" (longer bed--about 6'6" I think) and "Off-road" (shorter bed). Due to the uselessness of the shorter bed on the Off Road package, I went with the Sport. It's long enough for me to sleep in at almost 6'.

The key to any of this is to build a good platform (with well-thought-out personalized storage) just above the wheel wells, and buy a high-rise camper shell to make up for the lost height inside when you raise the platform.

As far as not having the "Off Road" version, I haven't felt the need to take my truck anywhere that the Sport can't get to. It's damn sure-footed, has great clearance, and more than adequate departure angle.

My other truck has the weird backwards-opening "suicide doors" and I find them awkward with no particular benefit.

Chris Horton · · Encampment, WY · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 255

I'll revive this thread. I just finished this platform. I got the inspiration off of the internet so I decided I'd pass along my vision to anyone thinking about something similar.

It's totally modular and comes apart in several ways, easy to put in and take out. The drawer allows a lot of storage, as do the secret compartments on the sides and top of the bed. The bed extends to 6'6" with the drawer and insert, makes for some fine sleeping.

My only complaint is the weight, but it is super sturdy. Just waiting for the shell...

Closed, nice and clean looking.


Drawer with sleeping insert installed.
20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348

^^ Did you buy the truck with the original intention of car camping with it?

Chris Horton · · Encampment, WY · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 255

^^ It was one of the considerations, yes. So finding a (cheap) solution to the 5' long bed issue was also a consideration. I don't mind sleeping on the ground, so the short bed wasn't a deal breaker.

Matt Wolski · · Salt Lake City · Joined May 2002 · Points: 355

Looks great! What did you upholster the platform with and does the drawer slide on a rail?

Chris Horton · · Encampment, WY · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 255

^^ I upholstered it with the cheapest outdoor carpet they had at Home Depot. It was actually a remnant peice, they sold me it for $6. I would use more glue than you think you need, staple the undersides.

Here's a picture of the drawer guides. I made them with skateboard bearings (8 on each side) and a top rail to keep it in place.

The guide on the side of the drawer is a 3/4"x 3/4" square dowel. I planned on using square steel or aluminum tubing but gave the wood a try because of the expense of the metal tubing and it works just fine.

PM me if you need more pics/info. I'll be glad to help.

Drawer on skateboard bearings.
kedstrom · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 0

My girlfriend and I are looking to build the platform in her short bed 2012 tacoma this weekend for some winter camping! Luckily we are only 5'2 :) What dimensions of the wood did you use? I also was wondering if you used boards that ran down the sides or did you use the pre-existing notches in the bed of the truck? I need as much advice as possible!!


Chris Horton · · Encampment, WY · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 255

^ Yes, I used the notches in the wheel wells. A 2x8" fits in there if you shave about 1/2 inch off of it. I used 2x10's for the lengthwise supports, I had to cut a notch out of them as well so they would fit under the cross supports. You'll need a jigsaw and either a table saw or good Skil saw skills.

I used 2x's but I think you could definitely get away with 1x's and save some weight and cash, plus they're just easier to work with.

If you're not going to do the drawer underneath, all you really need is the 2"x8"s going across in the wheel well notches and the plywood to lay across it. A lot of people do that and just use bins underneath.

If you're planning on just a basic platform, it'll be pretty easy. You just need a 10' length of 2x8 and a 4'x'8'3/4" sheet of plywood.

The drawer and extension are where it's gets tricky. If you're planning on going all the way, PM me and I'll send you the play by play. Let me know what your plans are and I'll be able to send you an exact material list.

A look at the guts.

Daniel Gloven · · Denver, CO · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 325

I built a platform for my shortbed last winter. Slept it in most weekends with my girlfriend (we are both 5'9"). Definitely a little cramped, but we were able to sleep well and it sure warmed up quick in there.

Total cost was maybe $70, and it's super easy to remove. Only downside is that without drawers, it's a little tough to get to stuff under the platform. I have a sliding tub on one side which helps a lot.

No sagging whatsoever with the 2x8's that span the wheel wells. I like it because it's nice to be able to completely remove the platform in just a few minutes by myself if I need more space to carry stuff.

I've got a 3" thick piece of memory foam that I custom cut to fit the platform. Makes a world of difference, no sleeping pads required.





Locals Only · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 1,040

Seems like having the taller cap would make a world of difference, livability-wise.

Daniel Gloven · · Denver, CO · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 325

Oh absolutely. I didn't buy the shortbed with the intention of camping in it too often, though. Hence me building the cheapest and most basic platform I could think of.

Morale would be real low if I was dirtbagging in it full time. Sleeping in it a few times a month is great...add some whiskey, it gets the jerb done.

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,254

I made a bed/storage area that is about as lightweight as possible. It uses the side rails for support and is split into two halves. It is easy to remove one half in just a few seconds. 3/4" plywood for the top, 1/2" for the center supports. The Costco cargo bins double as additional support, and I cut a board that works as an extension when the tailgate is down which rests on the bins when I'm sleeping. I'm 6'4" so it isn't exactly comfortable, but I've slept in it a dozen times. It's tolerable. (The retired 48" slings make it easy to pull the forward bins out like drawers.)

Short bed Tacoma lightweight storage/bed option
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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