Custom Pickup Bed Sleep System

Hi everyone, recently a friend came to me with the desire to have a sleeping platform/truck bed organizer built for all of her adventures along with a space to sleep when her shift work schedule got crazy. We went back and forth sharing ideas and needs and what follows is what we came up with for the final design.

First of all was measuring the back of the truck for sizes. I could probably get a bit better organized with this, but some chicken scratch in the box of the truck sufficed.

Measuring the truck box and important camping equipment

Next I picked up some cabinet grade plywood and got to work. Because I knew I was going to be working with sheet goods I ended up purchasing a track saw for this job. A track saw makes quick work of breaking down sheet goods and is a lot easier than wrestling full sheets around on a small table saw like i own. The saw i picked up was a relatively cheap Wen model that worked surprisingly well and I’m glad I made the purchase. The accuracy of the cuts was impressive and to simply line up the edge of the track with your marks made it fast and easy to get the job done.

Putting the track saw to work

I used pocket holes and counter sunk screws to put it all together. I didn’t end up gluing anything in case down the road some changes were wanted (discussions of adding a heater or some other details were had).

The kreg pocket hole system makes building incredibly easy.

The bed box came together pretty quickly, I added a small cutout to access in front of the wheel well.

Bed box ready to install. If you look closely in the top corner you can see the cutout.

For the opposite side of the bed I build a vertical cubby box. The customer wanted some storage space with a little table kind of area to store stuff for easy access while inside the camper. Using the track saw and plunge feature I cut out a couple long openings with a a lip on the bottom to help hold things in and another cutout lower down to access in front of the wheel well.

Cubby side cabinet face

I boxed in the upper section but left the bottom free form to maximize the space in behind the divider.

Cubby boxed in and ready to install.

To secure it I found these pre-formed tabs from small barrel locks in my bins of randomness and they worked out perfectly to hook underneath the edge of the truck bed. I also used some small chain and a turn buckle to secure to the tie down point in the truck box.

holding tabs for the top edge of the cubby

The bed box was secured with the chain and turnbuckles as well, one in front and one in back. I angled them slightly to pull against each other which will help things from shifting around.

I build the drawer to fit the length of the bed, its about 26 inches wide and 6 feet long, a bit of a monster! I added some small bits of UHMW plastic on the sides at the back and offset some on the bed box in front to keep the side to side movement tight. I will add some full length strips of the same stuff to the bottom (likely 3 1-1/2″ strips) to cut down on friction and let the drawer move nice and smooth for years to some.

UHMW spacer at the front of the bed box
UHMW spacer at the top rear of the drawer

During the install of the two boxes I scribed and cut small areas to fit around the contours of the bed box. This allowed a more custom fit and kept things tight to the sides for a cleaner look overall.

Getting the boxes fitted in the truck

The final steps were to add the support rail for the bed filler on the cubby side. For this I just used a straight edge across from the bed and marked the other side. I screwed on a narrow strip of plywood from the back and it was ready to go. The filler panel was measured at the front and back as with all trucks the boxes are not totally sqaure and there was about 1 1/4″ difference to account for. Cutting a slight angle like this was no problem with the track saw either.

The completed project. Note you can see the chain and turnbuckle on the left side.

The customer is planning to add their own handles and latch to keep the drawer secure while driving. The option is also there down the road to customize the drawer further with dividers, partial top etc.

I like big drawers and I cannot lie.

Overall this was a super fun project with a couple learning challenges along the way which is never a bad thing! If you have any comments or ideas to improve on this please let me know! Or if you would like something like this built for yourself feel free to send me an email. I hope you enjoyed the build as much as I did!s

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