Our friends the sailing Jasons (aka Jason C. & Jason G.) are getting married Labor Day weekend in Bay City MI… We did not think we could make their wedding with all the family issues this summer. But here we are, at Pine Creek, just chilling. So we decided to hatch a plan that started with going to the wedding.
We decided to try to outfit the SUV (Buick Enclave) with a bed and room to carry our gear. This would give us the ability to sleep anywhere we travel. The idea was to “car-camp” to the wedding and, well, a whole mess of other places.
Our first job was to figure out if we could build a platform that would be easily transformed from a bed to the ability to use the back seats. We started looking on YouTube and found a great build idea.
The bed build: The platform was created with 2 pieces of 3/4 plywood. The back piece was the length of the trunk space with the second-row seats up for use. This would allow us to store the platform and still use the second-row seats. The front piece of plywood was the length from the back piece to the back of the front seats. It was smaller than the back piece and could slide on top of the back piece for storage when we wanted to use the second-row seats.
We used 2X4 legs to prop up the platform for storage. We used some under the bed bins to determine how high to make the platform. It is about 9″ high. The back piece was permanently secured to the 2X4 legs with screws. One on each corner. The front piece of plywood was secured to the 2X4 legs using removable drop-in bolts. We also created a table off the back that used the removable drop-in bolts to attach to the truck and a variable height tripod that could be used to secure the front edge of the table when in use. The variable height of the tripod made it easy to level the table when we were using it.
Both the table and front piece of the platform could be easily removed from their “legs” and slid on top of the back portion of the platform for storage. The only addition was another 2X4 leg that we wedged (unattached) into the middle of the platform to keep the platform from sagging when we slept.
We added some indoor/outdoor carpet to protect us from any splinters and make it easier to slide the front board back on top of the back board when we want to put up the second-row seats.
We purchased 3″ semi-firm upholstery foam from Amazon for the mattress. The foam was placed on top of our yoga mats. We also added an “egg crate” foam topper and a mattress pad. The mattress setup was very comfortable!
Under the platform was plenty of storage space for our gear. I had rolling under-the-bed bins that worked perfectly under the back platform. They stretched all the was to the edge of the folded second-row seats and we could even fit a small stack of 2 bins on each side at the edge of the truck for easy access. We used these bins for utensils, coffee items, spices, and small produce.
We purchased other gear (from Amazon) for the trip: bug screen “socks” to be placed over the 4 windows (to keep bugs out), a Coleman stove, bear spray, some containers for water, a privacy dressing pop-up tent, a screened-in back hatch tent, a Coleman 12V cooler, a Rockpal 600W solar generator, and a 100W solar panel. Most of this we would also use on the boat when we return.
We were so excited to see how it all worked that we spent a week at the cabin sleeping in the car!! It was pretty nice – waking up with the deer in the yard and birds chirping all around us. Immediately above our head is a skylight so we had a wonderful view of the stars! Let’s hope when we cut the cabin cord we will love it this much!