Originally posted on April 27th, 2016
Earlier this year I thought a lot about buying a van. I had months ahead of me with nothing to do and nowhere to be, so the idea of being able to live comfortably on the road for a while was quite appealing. It also seemed like a practical decision, mostly because I’m currently unemployed and paying rent these days is synonymous with lighting my cash on fire. Alas, it didn’t pan out. However, that didn’t stop me from dreaming up similar innovations that I could install into my own 2006 Subaru Forester.
Don’t get me wrong - I love camping. I enjoy sleeping in tents, breathing in chilly night air, and curling up in my sleeping bag. It’s perhaps one of my favorite things to do. But if you’re doing it enough, the option of a quick mobile set-up is perhaps just as attractive. Recently, my sleeping arrangements in Moab have ranged from sleeping on couches, up in tree nets, or in my tent. All have been lovely accommodations but I found myself wishing I had a more permanent dwelling while on the road. So with the help of Kinloch Customs, we built one.
My main concern was to make it comfortable, yet functional. I wanted a simple design that wouldn’t compromise storage or extra seating. Therefore, we created a platform that essentially folds up into the trunk when I need to use the backseats. And it’s awesome.
For the materials, I used one ½” 4x8 sheet of plywood, nearly three 8’ 2x4’s, six hinges, and some classy commercial carpeting. Though not very aesthetically pleasing, the carpet is incredibly durable and gives the wood a protective cover. All the materials cost under $100 and we were able to build the whole thing in one day. It also only weighs about 60lbs and is easy to collapse and/or remove by myself.
We created a platform that sat roughly 11 inches high, leaving plenty of room for storage underneath. It also has a “trap door” that I can lift for easy access. A hook and bungee cord make the whole process hands free.
The front half of the platform sits on a lip and is locked in place by two 4″ bolts. Two legs on hinges swing down and sit atop the folded down seats. I also installed an extender that flips out when the front seats are pulled forward. This bonus feature adds an extra foot of length so I can fully stretch out.
The entire platform measures 36.5″ wide x 75″ long, or almost the exact size of a twin bed. I also topped the platform with a 2″ foam mattress topper for added comfort.
I tested it out this past weekend in Moab, UT and it didn’t disappoint. It also happened to be an incredibly windy weekend, so it was especially nice to climb into a wind-free/sand-free bed. Even when I’m not camping, I’ve been driving around with the platform laid out. It’s fun to have a cozy abode, even for day trips.