Once we had our trailer and truck topper, we were able to move into the trailer while building out the storage and bed for our truck. So, we moved all our things into the trailer in a Lowes parking lot and began the build. I had done a bunch of research on people who had built storage in their truck beds, so ours is just a mish mosh of other truck camping ideas with some modifications we made along the way.
The first step was to literally just take a piece of ¾’’ plywood and cut one end to fit in our 6’6’’ truck bed as a base. The second step was to get a solid frame underneath that was shaped into compartment sizes that we wanted. We used 2x10s for this so that the height of our bed would end up just over 11″ high. We mounted everything with L brackets. This is the compartment configuration we ended up with:
- Battery storage
- Inflatable Boat/Boating Storage
- Water Sports Storage
- Propane Tank Storage
- Two Pull-out Drawers for Clothing
- Miscellaneous (currently extra bedding) Storage
Each storage compartment is topped with a ¾’’ piece of plywood fit to rest on the 2×10 frame underneath. This part is totally up to what you think makes the most sense for what you are going to put in it. For us, we have an inflatable boat that we only use sometimes, so we made a big compartment in the back where it can sit and we don’t think about it (but it is the hardest thing to get to). For things we want to access more often, we made storage closer to the front. For the compartments, we used a circle saw to cut 1 ½’’ holes in the top as a handle to pull them off and access the compartment.
For our drawers, we effectively built open topped boxes with ½’’ plywood, connected them with L-brackets* and attached two pieces of 1in PVC to the bottom of the drawer and 2 pieces of 1in PVC to the bottom piece of plywood in a way that the PVC on the drawer fit nicely within the two pieces on the bottom. Since PVC has a low coefficient of friction, this works really well as a slide for the drawers without worrying about bearings getting full of dirt and grime over time or metal components getting rusty. It would be really fast and easy to replace these guys as well if we ever needed to. Here’s how we did this:
Drill a hole through one side of the PVC with a big enough drill bit to fit the head of a screw in. Use a small drill bit as a pilot for the screw and screw it through the now visible other side of the PVC and bottom of the wooden drawer. Screw the drawer in place. Same thing for the pieces of PVC attached to the bottom. Really simple and easy to do, just a lot of measuring and remeasuring to make sure everything lines up nicely.
For the front of the drawers we bought some nicer pine pieces and doubled them up and stained them with a “driftwood” stain. I figure everything is going to get really dirty, might as well give it a distressed look from the beginning. Then we drilled two holes in the front of the drawer and threaded some hemp rope through as a drawer pull. We measured it so that these drawers have literally not a centimeter to spare between the truck tailgate and the end of the drawers because knowing us stuff would constantly be falling in that little space and we wouldn’t be able to reach it without getting out and opening up the tailgate. That was important to us, so our drawer pulls had to be squishy.
*An IMPORTANT note about brackets. At Lowes or Home Depot, there are brackets in at least two different places; the hardware section and the building materials section. The brackets in the building materials section are LITERALLY more than TEN TIMES CHEAPER than the hardware brackets, and they are THE SAME THING. It took us half way through the project to learn this, I hope this is helpful and you are able to learn from our mistake!
and now we have storage under our bed! We are super happy with it! Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions for your own build!