This thread isn't going to be anything to spectacular, but I figured some people might want to see the sleeping & storage system I built in the bed of my 2006 Tacoma.
I do a lot of camping in fairly remote areas, and I have always wanted to have a vehicle that can haul my gear to wild places while still being relatively comfortable. What I really wanted was a portable mobile-expedition-home that I can return to after long jaunts in the back-country. The Tacoma with the TRD offroad package was the perfect answer. I bought this truck after months of research, and immediately got to work converting it into a offroad-home.
The factory bed provided the perfect platform for this conversion and the raised and the carpeted Leer topper really made a great starting point for a comfy home. I had to get to work fast on the build because I am leaving tomorrow on a one-month trip through the Colorado Plateau. I will be spending most of my time in Southern Utah, Northern Arizona, and Western Colorado.
Every good build begins with a good plan. Like my Dad always said: "Measure twice, cut once." After jotting down every conceivable measurement of the space I was working with and envisioning the ideal final product, I headed to the nearest decent hardwear store (40 miles away). I wanted something that I could sleep comfortably in (I will be adding a 2nd-person sleeping addition soon enough), yet would store my plethora of gear. I also wanted everything to be removable. Other considerations included needing to put a bike inside the bed, and a high degree of versatility in the set-up of the gear bins.
The piece of gear that I designed the sleeping platform around was the Thermarest Dreamtime. If you want a comfortable bed that is semi-portable, there is no other option. When I use this thing on rafting trips I get better sleep than I do at home. Now that I knew the sleeping platform would be 72" long X 30" wide (Thermarest dimensions), I got to work on the rest of the design.
The platform notch in the factory Tacoma bed are at 9.25" off the bed, the exact same height as a 2X10". This meant that I could use the factory supports on the edge of the bed and then 2X10s as an internal frame. This setup gave me good headroom with optimal storage: ~9" of space under the sleeping platform. Finding a storage bin that is 9" tall is tougher than you would think. 99.9% of the short bins are 6" - 6.5". After going to a few stores, I eventually found some bins that were 9" tall and would fit perfectly nested 3 deep in the bed. As you can see in the later photos, they only came in pink -- hilarious. I then found 4 larger bins that would fit next to the sleeping platform. Luckily these came in a much less offensive dark green. Arranged end-to-end, the dimensions worked out so that the bins locked themselves in place with the sleeping platform.
I bought the requisite lumber to build the platform, and designed a door on hinges to access the rear pink bin. Here I am drilling holes for some L braces that will support the frame.
Building the frame that will support the sleeping platform
This photo shows how the dimensions of the frame were dictated by the storage bins I had purchased. The rear pink bin fits in perfectly under the 'trap door'.
I used some foam tape on top of the frame to deaden the trap door shake. You can see the carpet that I used to cover the platform in the rear (on the trap door). This indoor/outdoor carpet (see costs below) matches well with the carpet in the topper.
Here is a shot of the finished, carpeted sleeping platform ready to go into the truck. I like the size because it can be easily removed. The right side of the sleeping platform has cut-outs to match the shape of the factory bed. I had to mount the trap door about 1/2 inch to the left of the rest of the bed in order for the door to open. You can't tell once the thermarest is on the platform. I used some industrial glue to attach the carpet to the 3/4" plywood and then fastened it all down with a staple gun.
The finished bed and storage units. The 4 green bins can all be taken out and placed behind the drivers & passengers seats. This works well if I want to put a bike in the bed. The sleeping platform locks into place with an NRS strap (which wasn't purchased when I took this shot) attached to the hook on the right of this photo and the D ring on the factory bed. I wish there was another D-ring in the back of the factory bed.
I want to build a table that is as deep as the bed and will fold down onto the sleeping platform to make a king-sized platform good for two people. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to do it during this project. The only other thing I did during this build was seal the bed from dust. Obviously it is impossibly to seal it completely, but I did seal the side cubby holes in the factory bed, covered the drains in the bed, and put some rubber strips along either sides of the tailgate and between the bottom of the tailgate and the back edge of the bed. Hopefully this keeps a decent amount of dust from entering the bed.
Final touches are a Black Diamond Apollo lantern and -- besides all the typical camping gear: stove, solar shower, etc -- a George Foreman which runs well of the stock inverter.
My biggest recommendation to anyone planning a similar project is to really focus on planning out the dimensions and the design. Once you find storage bins that will work for your project you can build the sleeping platform and gear storage around the bins. This makes the most use of your space.
Bring on the desert!
Storage bins: 7 bins for a total of $50
Staple gun with staples: $15
Foam & rubber for dust deadening, screws, glue, miscellaneous parts: $50
Used George Foreman from the thrift store: $4
Here is a shot of the outside of the truck: