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Sleeping platform in car for dirtbagging

Original Post
K.C.Kornman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Trying to build a sleeping platform bed in the back of my crossover. Anyone have suggestions or know of someone who might be able to do the job (anywhere within 3 hrs from NYC).


vincent L. · · Redwood City · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 545

you should just build it yourself . Making your own bivy setup in your car is a rite of passage for any dirtbagger, plus it's not that complicated , some wood, screws, and math is all you need...

K.C.Kornman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

That's definitely my hopeful plan! Sadly, I currently reside in a small apartment in Brooklyn with almost no space in which to do the job itself, hence the request for advice or anyone who might be able to help out (even just with some space to work in).


Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

you need one possibly 1 and 1/3rd sheets of half inch plywood depending on how wide your rig is. A coupple of 2x4's, a bunch of screws, a cordless drill driver and a skill saw. you could possibly get away with a cheap ryobi kit that has the drill and a cordless trim skill saw. with sharp blade and enough fresh batteries it could be done. Not optimal but if you c an't get an extension cord down to the car that might be your only option. you also need furniture foam (amazon) and curtains.

grand caravan/ town and country camping set up.
Happiegrrrl · · Gunks · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 60

I was told to use 3/4 inch at the minimum, or else the thing will warp under weight within a short while.

Just as an FYI, on my first van, a Toyota mini, the guy who helped me do it(well, okay - I helped him by holding the wood, handing tools and such, and of course paying for it) did the work on the street, on 20th between 6th and 7th, where gaining a parking space was the crux.

He used a hand saw to cut - yes, a PITA, but I was not paying for a damned skillsaw. I did buy him a decent drill, as when he looked at the little POS I had bought, he laughed and said we'd be lucky to get one screw in before it was kaput.

But, you can probably get someone up at the Gunks to do it for you, for a fee. Or post to Craigslist. Someone nearby may have a decent space they can work out of.

What kind of vehicle is it?

vincent L. · · Redwood City · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 545

Have you explored if your seats will fold down flat ? Or if you can remove back seats altogether? If you can get flatness in the back , I'd forget the platform , and the extra weight it entails . Just buy a bunch of crates or containers to hold your stuff....

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

The old version of that bed was 3/4". Heavy! I took the frame from the bed pictured and took off the 3/4" ply replaceing it with 1/2" to save weight in my new rig. Disclaimer. I am a carpenter now. I was not when I built the first rendition of that bed in 2006. I do have it supported in a way that I can get away with the thinner ply. I think if you have enough slats 1/2" is fine.

DontHassleMeImLocal · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

does it count as "dirtbagging" if your bag doesn't touch the dirt? ;)

if you have low profile Tupperware/Rubbermaid containers, you can fill them with gear, and then when you want to sleep, just drape a pad or two on them and sleep. I did that for years before building out my Subaru, element, and sprinter.

Tom Sherman · · Bristol, RI · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 416
K.C.Kornman wrote:I currently reside in a small apartment in Brooklyn with almost no space
I have quite a few buddies in the same scenario, you can get a black-n-decker or whoever circular saw for cheap and store it. My neighbor has one with like a 4" wheel, i think its even battery powered, it cut through 3/4" ply no problem and can cut 2x4's as well

that should be all you need, maybe a drill if your less motivated, so 80-100 in tools, 40 in material, i dont think you're going to find someone to come do it for cheaper, but i guess its all attitude, kind of nice when one job can buy you tools

This is what you want
TLyons · · Lynbrook, NY · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 110

I do a lot of woodworking in Brooklyn and out of my garage shop on Long Island.
I am planning on building a similar set up with drawers in the back of my Tacoma this spring.
What kind of car do you have? Do you climb at the Cliffs?
Id be willing to bounce round some ideas. PM if interested

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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