How I built a bed in my car in 3 simple steps (+video)
August 24, 2015
We just bought a car, and as soon as it was officially 'mine' I started building a bed. Roadtrips for dayzzzzzz!
As a kid you could find me in the basement of my dad building all sorts of things, I loved it. And still do. So I need to thank my best matey for teaching me all I need to know, use tools and do things the right way, Dad you're a legend!
It all started with putting the image in my head on paper. Figuring out the correct dimensions and material. That looked like this:
It took a while to get all the dimensions right of my car. That included trunk + back seats folded. Take your time because you will find yourself missing certain angles that are important to the final outcome.
Make sure when you use a level / measure that your car is on a flat surface.
When measuring certain angles, use pieces of carton with different sizes. A good way to see where things will end up and get a visual idea of what you're doing.
DON'T put the driver + passenger seats forward to create more space. If you do choose to move the front seats forward to create more space, keep in mind that you will have to take the bed down and set it back up everytime you drive.
Be smart on the materials you gonna use. More weight = more petrol usage.
Let's do this!
STEP 1: THE BOX
Start making the box that will sit in the trunk of the car. This will be your foundation.
If you would like storage, think about the height that you are making your box & the head space you want to have.
The front of the box will be open to use as storage. The back I left half open so longer items (surfboards) can fit underneath the bed.
In my car the box sits between the two wheel arches, that space is your width. The height of the wheel arch is the height of your box. Easy.
Put on each back corner of your box a square pole. Drill a 40mm hole in the top (keep on going to find out why).
The BOX touching left and right against the wheel arche
Check when you are calculating the dimensions of the box for things in your trunk that need access. Storage, spare wheel, 12V plug etc.
I did not choose to use the complete length of the trunk. This gives me access to the handle of the spare tire and I have space left to sit.
Your BOX is almost done, let's finish it off!
STEP 2: THE TOP DECK
In this design the top deck is shorter than the length of the box
How I build the box, the square poles in each corner + the frame of the box will be supporting/lock the extension part that you will build later.
I choose my storage on the right to be wider (behind the 2 seater that folds)
See how the back is open and you can store long items under your bed
Top deck not reaching the end so that the back part is free
You can choose to make your 2 storages the same size or different sizes. This all depends on your personal preference and the gear you will be taking. If you do choose to make one side bigger, do it behind the 2 seater that folds.
STEP 3: EXTENSION DECK
The extension deck will be wider than your box. Simply because you have more space around the back seats.
When you figured out the length of the extension deck you will have to cut it in 2 (3/4 + 1/4) pieces. I tried to keep it in one piece, but it's simply to big to move around inside the car.
Make sure that the longest piece of the extension deck rests on the back of the seats that are folded.
The shortest piece you can attach with 4 hinges.
Drill 2 holes in each corner of the extension deck that line up with the 40mm holes of your BOX. You can use 2 screws to lock the two pieces together.
The extension deck is wider, it will rest on the box & on the back of the seats
The extension deck is NOT level with the box (left), so I added a piece of wood to lift up the end that rests on the back seats (right)
Pin locking the extension deck with the BOX
When you store everything in your trunk it looks like this
To keep the extension deck level with the box I added an extra piece of wood under the extension deck. This levels your 2 main pieces.
At the same time that extra piece holds the extension deck in place when stored in the trunk.
When the extension deck is stored it falls into place on top of the BOX
How the extension deck rests on the BOX when in use
To finish it all off I used DIY carpet around the box & extension part. It will protect the mattress you will be using on top of the sleeping platform. A 2mx2m piece is more than enough.
Less than 30sec set-up, watch the video below!
Plywood | 18mm for box / 12mm for extension deck)
Square Pole | 2.5m long 40.2mmx40.2mm)
Timber screws | 8G x 40mm
2 Steel pins | 2x6mm long
4 hinges | 150mm long hinge
Machine washers | 1/4'' & M6
Level | 1.2m long one
Total average costs (material + gear): AUD$200-250 /€130-160
Hope this helps getting you started or gives you some inspiration. If you have any questions about this sleeping platform feel free to ask me anything: firstname.lastname@example.org