Sleeping in your vehicle is convenient and adds an element of safety. We used to sleep in our Discovery 2 all the time pre-kids, we didn’t have the money to spend on a pre-built shelving, bedding and drawer system so we made our own. It’s not fancy but it works great! We don’t use the bed system as often but we use the shelf (half bed) regularly. We have made a list of what you need from your local hardwood store and steps on how to make your own bed and/or storage system.
DIY Storage and Bed System
We have a Land Rover Discovery 2 but I believe our sleeping platform can likely be adjusted for similar trucks, SUVs or 4x4 vehicles.
Our Disco model came as an SE7 that meant it had seating for 7. When we camped pre-kids we removed both the 6th and 7th seats as well as the upper head rests. This was done to install a storage / shelving / bed system that could be expanded to the length of the truck when the back seats were folded down. For one or two people, sleeping in the back of the Land Rover Discovery is convenient, surprisingly comfy, safe (from bears, not your head from sitting up too fast although the Discovery has more headroom than most vehicles) and super easy to put together. A few years ago we put the 6th seat back in, it takes up some trunk space but the shelving storage system still works. The 6th seat allows us to accommodate driving Grandma and Grandpa after quickly and easily removing the shelving system.
How to Build a 4x4 Bed and Storage Shelving System
- Two sheets of plywood to use as the platform
- Gas pipe connectors and adapter plates for top and bottom to use as platform legs
- Slide lock to lock the boards together when down to stop from moving
- Quick link Chain pieces
- Turnbuckles (to tension the bed to the anchor points in the truck)
- Carpet or material to cover the platform (optional)
How to Build
Measure the height of the folded seats this will dictate the height of the entire bed system and the 4 bed posts will be set up to match. One platform piece will rest on the seats and half of the two gas pipes while the other plywood piece will rest on the half of the two legs on one side and the fully over two pipes closest to the door.
Measure inside of truck, van or SUV. Measure with the seats down to know the width of the platform. Also measure with the seats up to double check the length of each bed platform piece so they can lay on top of each others with the seats up and make a trunk platform.
Cut two pieces of plywood. If the seats are upright you want both pieces of wood to fit in the back as a platform so they need to be around the same length. The wood does not need to touch the windows or sides, it’s good to have a little room to reach down when on the bed.
Attach slide lock to boards to be able to lock the two pieces of plywood together
Next make the bed posts. Put together gas pipe and adapter plates for the bed legs
Adjust the gas pipe length to fit the height take in step one by tightening or loosening threads.
Trunk Platform with Legs and Turnbuckles attached
Slide Lock for Locking Platform / Bed Boards Together
Attach Bed System Together Inside Vehicle
Attach gas pipe and fittings to bottom of plywood using screws.
The front piece is resting on the seats and half of the middle gas pipe supports.
Secure the four pillars made to the plywood using screws.
Place both sheets of bed platform in the vehicle and secured the platform to the floor attachment points by using turnbuckles and chain links
Turnbuckles and Chain Links Attached to Vehicle for Stability
After a year of this system we upgraded it slightly by adding a sturdy rubber bottomed carpet material to the top of the bed for comfort, protection of our gear and aesthetics.
Carpeted Bed Being Enjoyed By Our Dog
I’m 5’4 and my husband is 5’8 - if you are a bear of a person I’d look into a roof top tent (RTT) or regular tent if you want a sleeping system you don’t need to hook-up. We built the storage/bed out of plywood that can fold down over the back seat or act as a platform in the trunk when the seats are up. The bed is great but the platform has been a saving grace for space. Our dog loves sitting on the platform and the spacious trunk now has a top and bottom section creating large usable spaces. Our large outdoor stroller, a Thule Chariot CX 2, can fit on the top platform and we can fit tools, multiple duffel bags and coolers on the bottom. We use duffel bags and Tupperware bins for storage. We prefer this system to built in bins because we have our gear organized in separate bins so we can throw in the gear needed instead of re-packing. This system is also light!
Best DIY Land Rover Storage System and Shelving System
Dog Buds on Bed Platform Ready for Off-Road Adventures