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Advise for turning the bed of a pickup into a campable/livable space

I've got a '95 Tacoma and love the thing. Ive loaded it down with my camping gear for a drive in camp or backpacking, but I want to make the bed (with a canopy) a place a can just pull up and camp in. Anyone ever done this before? If so, any advise? What do I need?

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Re: Advise for turning the bed of a pickup into a campable/livable space

Hi @TheNorthwester ,

I get regular emails from Outside Online, and have seen numerous articles on vehicle mods to make them perform better for camping, off-roading, etc.  Here's a place to start.

https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-gear/cars-trucks

Good luck and enjoy the off-road life!

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Re: Advise for turning the bed of a pickup into a campable/livable space

I built a bed in my '03 Tacoma and we took a 30 day trip through Canada and New England (from Colorado) in the fall of 2018.  I cut a 4x8 sheet of 5/8" AC plywood down to 72" and it fit perfectly in the bed with the tailgate up.  I cut an old metal bed frame to size, elevated the legs with 4x4's to raise it over the wheel wells, and secured it with straps on the truckbed corner tie downs.  Two 72x25 REI inflatable pads fit very nicely on top and gave us great sleep.  We found 6 storage bins that fit underneath and I just tied string to carabiners to pull them out. 

Three issues we found with the setup:  1) Rain splashed into the Leer Topper and got the corners of the pads wet as we drove, then when we'd open the back glass water would run back toward the truck onto the pads. 2) Opening the back glass and climbing out at night to go to the bathroom was a pain.  But maybe you're not old enough to need that!  3)  We found out that Effie, the 40 lb. Border Collie/Terrier is a bedhog and is much larger prone than standing!  We'd be smashed up against the sides when she wiggled her way up from our feet.

It really was a great way to travel, alternating between boondocking, state/provincial/national park campgrounds, and hotels (laundry).  

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Re: Advise for turning the bed of a pickup into a campable/livable space

Thanks a ton johnt for the advise! Did you ever find a solution to the leak while driving?

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Re: Advise for turning the bed of a pickup into a campable/livable space

I guess I was just too lazy (or too busy enjoying the trip) to deal with it.  It never soaked the pad through and was only about a 6” radius on the bottom outside corners, so we just ignored it.  If we go out again, I’d replace the rubber at the bottom of the glass, and then see it I can somehow fill the corner gap.  I might also just put plastic over the pad when it rains.

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