When setting up your car you can be basic with your sleeping and storage arrangements: an airbed, towels used as curtains and a couple of large storage boxes. Alternatively you can find a mid point which is simple to make and comfortable to use. Bear in mind that the following is not gospel and can be simplified or enhanced in anyway you like.
Saw (can be hand or electrical)
Spirit level (or app on your phone)
1 sheet of 8′ x 4′ Plywood (at least 8-10mm thick)
2″ x 2″ Wood (The amount depends on the size of your car)
90 degree Angle Brackets (approximately 20)
Screws- both long and short
Estimated cost to build:
This can vary depending on how you source the materials, check local classifieds for free wood or ask companies in an industrial estate to sell or give you off cut pieces. Brackets and screws are low cost items that can be found in most hardware stores.
Allow a day, depends on your carpentry experience
- Fold your backseats down and measure the space where you will build your bed, this should be from behind the front seats (the folded backseats are used as support) to about 20cm from the trunk door; be sure to leave a bit of space at the sides and ends so you aren’t forcing the bed to fit. This will give you the size your 8′ x 4′ plywood needs to be cut to.
- Measure from behind the front seats to just behind the folded backseats, this will give you the size for the ‘sliding’ part of the bed surface. It should probably be about half the size of the plywood that you have cut. Draw a line for this measurement onto the flat plywood board.
- Once you have checked and confirmed your measurements are correct, saw along the straight line splitting the flat ply into two pieces.
- Lie the two pieces together inside the car to check they fit into the area (check with the backseats upright that the back ply piece fits) once you have confirmed this you will want to start making the support for the back part of the bed.
- Take your 2″x 2″ wood and measure to be the same length as the sides of the ‘static’ back piece of plywood. Draw a line and cut once you are happy the sizes are correct.
- Measure the front and back of the ‘static’ piece of ply (taking off 4 inches to allow for the 2″ x 2″ wood on the sides) cut the 2″ x 2″ to this length. This will give you 4 pieces that follow the edges of the ‘static’ piece of ply.
- Use the short screws and and 90 degree angle brackets to create a rectangle shaped frame with the 2″ x 2″ pieces you have cut.
- For extra strength repeat and make a second rectangular frame from the 2″ x 2″ pieces the same size as before. You could even screw in a further piece of 2″ x 2″ across the middle of the top one for even more support.
- Next measure the height of the folded backseats from the floor of your car, this will give you the height you will need to make your 2″ x 2″ uprights (minus the 4″ to account for the two frames you have made for the top and bottom).
- Mark the height onto 6 pieces of 2″ x 2″ and cut to size.
- Use the brackets to join the uprights to the base rectangular frame of 2″ x 2″, one in each corner and two halfway along. Once these are secure turn over and drill long screws through each corner into the upright pieces.
- Take the second frame and join to the top of the uprights using brackets, you will now have a cuboid shaped frame that fits in the back allowing for storage space underneath.
- Take your ‘static’ plywood that will be the top surface of the bed and attach by drilling long screws into each corner. Use shorter screws to drill anywhere else into the frame to give the bed extra support.
- The ‘sliding’ front part of the bed can be pulled back and will sit on top of the back ‘static’ part, when you need the backseats to be upright. When they are folded flat the ‘sliding’ ply can be pulled towards the front of your car and hold the mattress.