Truck camping

Many people sleep in their car/SUV/truck/van these days, whether it’s for a day, a week, or an entire summer. I tend to do many solo trips and for me, I do a lot of trailhead overnights in order to get an early start in the mornings. Occasionally I’ll camp in my truck for several days for other activities, as well. I used to use a big cot when I had an 8’ truck bed, but now I have a much shorter bed in my Tacoma (just over 6’). For the past couple of summers, I’ve been using a two piece plywood platform style bed, which works great since the truck has cutouts on the sides of the beds to place a couple lengths of 2x8s for supports. I’ve decided to take it a step further and make better use of the area under the platform so I can bring more stuff if needed and stay more organized. After searching on line for ideas, I decided to build a very simple and inexpensive “bed slide.” It’s just a 1/2” plywood base with 3/4” rails. There is felt tape on the bottom to make it slide easily on a piece hardboard on the truck bed, which stays in place due to the rubber bed mat. I still have some dividers that I’m going to add to compartmentalize the space, and perhaps add a couple under-bed plastic pins for smaller gear or clothes. Then I need to add a handle and some varnish (already on the bottom) and I should be good to go. I didn’t use expensive cabinet grade plywood…just cheap sheathing…and scrap plywood that I had for the rails and upcoming dividers. So overall, I think it was under $40 so far for the plywood, hardboard, and felt tape.


Great idea. With the bed platform installed, looks like it will be a comfortable set-up with a good amount of storage.

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Thanks Jason. It will have more than enough room for my needs. I’ll provide updated pics with the bed platform in place when I have the “slide” complete.

Please do! The winter is starting to settle in up north where I live, so this is when my summer camping daydreams begin. Would love to see what the final set-up looks like.

I think it’s ready for use. I left a long section on the left for guns/rods, tent, tools, etc. I put little rubber bumpers on the corners to protect the truck bed. I left some “counter space” on the front end to use instead of the tail gate, and I put a couple little handles on each side to grab to pull/push the slide. It slides super easy though.

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That’s a pretty sweet set up. Looks like you’re really on to something there. Love the under platform storage. My buddy just got a cap for his pickup and is planning on doing the camping thing out of the back, I may send him here (even though he’s not a tenkara guy) for some inspiration.

Personally, I’ve got a SUV (Honda CRV) that’s a little cramped, but works for me. Although I’d really love to figure out some sort of organization for the back so I’m not sleeping on literally on top of my fishing gear. Winter project I suppose…

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I’ve done lots of truck camping and it’s much more enjoyable for me when I don’t have a pile of “stuff” under the platform bed. This will help utilize the entire space without having to crawl up inside or having to build a trap door. I own a couple CRVs but I can safely say I’ve never tried camping in one. This is my favorite set up I’ve had so far…the full sized 8’ bed was roomier, but the small truck is more manageable on some of the tough roads I use to get to the trailheads. I’m sure I’ll make some modifications over time, but it’s a good starting point, without costing thousands for a manufactured slide. If I had thought I was going to like it this much, I may have actually bought some decent plywood. I guess this will be my test mule.