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Question: bed platform for 3rd gen Tacoma


Original Post
Chris treggE · · Madison, Beersconsin · Joined May 2007 · Points: 9,526

Has anyone used the notches in the bed of the 3rd gen Tacoma (2016/17) to build a simple platform?  What did you use for your cross support?  2x8?  The notches measure 7" or slightly more so a 2x8 may not fit.  What plywood?  3/4"?  Does it sag in the middle, particularly when sleeping on it?  I couldn't find an answer on Tacomaworld, but perhaps I missed it.  TIA

Ian Dorko · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 100

I used 2x6 in the notches and two pieces of 3/4" plywood cut to fit length-wise on top of that. I think they ended up being slightly wider than half a sheet each, and I had to make some cutouts around the sides near the tailgate.

Works great, easy to put in and take out. If I have enough stuff (like last week for Thanksgiving) I'll stack the two pieces of plywood & 2x6 on the floor bed, load everything up, empty out when we get to the destination and then set up the platform. If not I use long rubbermaid bins to hold most of my food / cooking stuff and the coleman party stacker coolers just barely fit under as well.


wcayler · · Norther CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 10

I have a 2017 Tacoma. I used 3/4 inch plywood to build the whole platform in my bed of the truck on top of the wheel well. I have a 3-4inch higher than cab hieght camper and the set up works really well for me, I can sit up which is nice. I use the notches in the bed to basically keep the platform in and from moving. No problems thus far and no saging. I placed on long piece of 3/4 inch down the center, it's really one grove off of the center of the bed. I have two drawers under the the platform that house kitchen and food stuff, these drawers only take up the back half of the truck bed. Under the front half of the platform there are hinge doors that open up that I put clothes and other stuff in. I plan on getting a gear box to put on top of the camper shell for gear and a basket over the cab of the truck for extra water, wood and crash pads. 

Getoutside · · Golden, CO · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

Build with 3/4 in. plywood. 2x4, 6, whatever are a waste of space. I have one box in the middle that has a width from wheel well  to wheel well, which is to say you can't get any wider. Also it extends out of the bed 4 feet. So that is about as unsupported as you can make it, and it sags minimally with two people in the back. If you are doing quality work, are making sure to glue as well as screw, there should not be a problem. Don't bother with trying to fit the grooves in the bed. Better to make it fit very snugly width-wise, and then if you want to get fancy you can use those drain holes in the bed floor to bolt down the bed in case you are really into drag racing. I might post pics of mine tomorrow. 

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 341

I used the rails/ledges, just cut 3/4" ply to fit, No supports. Sag isn't noticeable at all. 

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 341

Oh Yeah and didn't use any glue or screws,  just stapled carpet remnant on and that keeps it nice and snug if you cut the plywood right. 

sean o · · Northern, NM · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 20

Unless you weigh more than 400 lbs, 1/2" plywood and 2x4s are plenty for a platform.  Which you will hate when you can't sit up in back.

Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 35

Im in a 2008 Ranger and I use a VERY simple set up.  I used 1x6 and 3/8 plywood (I think).  I made 2 "Tee" where the horizontal piece rests in the cutouts and the vertical piece sits in the grooves on the bed floor. I also made a Tee to sit between the wheel wells for center support.  I have almost no sag, It has supported 2 adults and 3 dogs without an issue (2 irish terriers and 1 border collie). I can post pics later tonight if you want to see them.

William P · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Here's one example: https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/tacoma-short-bed-sleeping-platform.507633/

Also there's a ton of good information all over that site for Tacoma owners.

Boissal . · · Small Lake, UT · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1,363

I initially went with plywood over 2x6, worked fine but the condensation under the mattress (ikea 3" foam topper) was ridiculous, to the point where I felt the need to take the mattress out every day to avoid having mold grow on it. I just redid the back with a system of removable slats (1x6s i had laying around) on 2x4s lengthwise on top of the wheel wells (there's a small ledge which runs the length of the bed and is on the same level as the wells for support). No sag with 2 people and 90 lbs of dog. It's much better for moisture control, lighter, and gives me many more options for packing which is the biggest advantage over a platform; unless you build hinged sections good luck getting a large cooler up there without blowing your back. Definitely a PITA to get in and out when compared to having no platform, the clearance sucks. It's not like I spent that much time in there though...

Chris treggE · · Madison, Beersconsin · Joined May 2007 · Points: 9,526

@Boissal can you snap a pic?  Having trouble visualizing.  

Thanks everyone for the info.  Surprised no sag with no supports...  

LOL @Bruno I'm continually shocked how nobody on this website is asking for advice on 3rd world problems.  

Boissal . · · Small Lake, UT · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1,363
Chris treggE wrote:

@Boissal can you snap a pic?  Having trouble visualizing.  

Thanks everyone for the info.  Surprised no sag with no supports...  

LOL @Bruno I'm continually shocked how nobody on this website is asking for advice on 3rd world problems.  

Will do when I get home. I definitely explained poorly...

Boissal . · · Small Lake, UT · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1,363

Here are some pics of the platform. The 2x4s running the length of the bed are resting on the wheel wells and on a 1" wide ledge which runs the length of the bed so they need minimal support (nothing in the back, just the 2 sections of 2x4 used as feet in the front). The slats are 1x6 with the exception of the one in the front of the bed which is a 2x4 (more support at the edge since it's the one place I really put weight on when I climb in). The 3 slats in the back are screwed in place and only come off if I need to take the frame out. The 5 slats in the front & the 2x4 at the edge just pop out to give storage room. The bedroll (mattress + sleeping ball rolled into a tarp with velcro closures to make a pretty small burrito) fits on the 3 fixed slats along with 2 large duffel bags of clothing. The bins with coockware and dry good fit underneath, I have pull cords to drag them out and use sticks to push them back in. Last thing I want to do is get some foam-backed carpet on the tailgate so my knees don't scream at me when I get in. I may also swap out one of the slats in the middle for a 2x6 to get more support, my better half claims the mattress is sagging a bit when we're in there with the dog.

I'm not sure how this setup compares weight-wise to the plywood on 2x6 option but it breathes much better and is more convenient if you want storage options. I also comes out in 2 minutes by removing 6 screws.


steven dumaresq · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 5

This question might be a little off topic, but I feel like it might fit in here. What kind of camper tops did you guys end up going with and are they really all that expensive? 

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 341

I think I paid 1500 for mine new, which is basically the cheapest model from Leer. A.R.E. seemed more expensive.  If I were to do it again I would get the tallest one instead of the one that is flush with the roof.

Chris treggE · · Madison, Beersconsin · Joined May 2007 · Points: 9,526

Awesome Boissal, thank you.  

MrZ · · Colorado · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 270
DrRockso wrote:

I think I paid 1500 for mine new, which is basically the cheapest model from Leer. A.R.E. seemed more expensive.  If I were to do it again I would get the tallest one instead of the one that is flush with the roof.

Agree 10000000% 


I actually did buy the leer 180 when I purchased a new truck for the extra "sitting up" room it provides. Does not influence mpg's at all. 


I would go with ARE if I had to do it again, Leer's quality made me extremely disappointed for spending so much on their product. 

jenren81 · · Frisco, CO · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 30

For my 2016 I used 2x8 boards and notched them so they sit flush in the slot and not slide around and 3/4 ply that I carpeted... I posted some pics on tacomaworld here https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/truck-camping-photo-thread.407866/page-39#post-13418480

I threw it together quickly for a mtb camping trip to Sedona in the spring - it worked great, would like more headroom but it was fine for me I’m only 5’8”.  It doesn’t sag really at all, but I took a 2x4 and some framing bracket things and sit it on top of the 2x8 boards, the 2x4 sits flush between them for some extra support.  I load it down on trips and it’s held up great.  I have the 6ft bed though, not sure how comfy it would be with the short bed.

jenren81 · · Frisco, CO · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 30
Chris treggE wrote:

Has anyone used the notches in the bed of the 3rd gen Tacoma (2016/17) to build a simple platform?  What did you use for your cross support?  2x8?  The notches measure 7" or slightly more so a 2x8 may not fit.  What plywood?  3/4"?  Does it sag in the middle, particularly when sleeping on it?  I couldn't find an answer on Tacomaworld, but perhaps I missed it.  TIA

This post shows how to notch the 2x8 boards as well, might help ya 

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/sleeping-platform-2x6s-or-2x8s.273563/page-2

wcayler · · Norther CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 10

The 2x8s look way over kill in my opnion, bunch of wasted space. Use 3/4inch plywood with a centered support going down the middle, build drawers for both sides. My drawers are 3 feet long, for the back 3 feet I have hinged doors for storage underneath my sleeping mat. Tall camper shells are where it's at. My leer was cheaper than the snugtop by about 500 but over all I haven't been super impressed with it but it works fine.

Chris treggE · · Madison, Beersconsin · Joined May 2007 · Points: 9,526

Just went with what seemed like the easiest setup, and the easiest to take out quickly. Two 2x4’s for each cross brace and 3/4” plywood in half for easy in and out. Didn’t seem to sag at all lying on it. Need carpet.  $60 and about an hour to make the cuts.  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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