How to Build a Bed in the Back of a Pickup

How to Build a Bed in the Back of a Pickup
Building a bed in the back of your pickup lets you travel light, giving you a place to sleep if you don't want to take the time and trouble to set up a tent. If you make a hinged bed frame in the bed of your pickup, you also can have a place to store gear. By making the bed slightly smaller than the bed of your pickup, you can remove the sleeping platform when you aren't going to use it, freeing up the bed of your truck for hauling or other uses.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 8-foot 4-by-4
  • 1 sheet of 1-inch plywood
  • 4 2-by-4s
  • Saw
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Screws
  • Power drill
  • 4- to 6-inch hinge
Step 1
Measure the length and width of the bed of your pickup. Note the height of the wheel wells; you need to build your bed above the wheel wells.
Step 2
Cut the plywood to about an inch smaller than the size of the bed above the wheel wells. For example if your pickup bed is 5 feet by 7 feet above the wheel wells, cut your plywood to 4 feet, 11 inches by 6 feet, 11 inches, so that your bed platform can be removed easily. Measure and mark with a pencil one-third of the length of the plywood, and cut. Using the example, you now have one piece of plywood that is 4 feet, 11 inches by about 2 feet, 4 inches, and another that is 4 feet, 11 inches by about 4 feet, 8 inches.
Step 3
Measure and cut your 2-by-4s so that they create a perimeter the same size as the plywood. Use your drill to screw these together, using two screws at each corner. Screw the longer piece of plywood to the top of this frame, using two screws at each of the back two corners.
Step 4
Cut the 4-by-4 into six sections, each measuring about an inch higher than your wheel wells. For example, if your wheel wells rise 14 inches above the truck bed, cut your wood into 15-inch sections. These will support the frame and plywood for the bed.
Step 5
Drill into a 4-by-4 pillar at each corner of your frame, inside the perimeter underneath the plywood. Using your power drill, drill two screws through the top of the plywood at each back corner through to the tops of the pillars. At the two front corners, where there is no plywood, screw the pillars into place by drilling through the sides of the perimeter frame.
Step 6
Screw your two remaining 4-by-4 pillars one-third of the way along the sides of the platform, and place your smaller plywood piece on top of the frame. It should rest solidly on the perimeter frame and pillars you have built, but you will not drill it in. Use the hinge to attach the two pieces of plywood. You can place foam cushioning on top of the platform to create a bed, and you also have storage area underneath that you can access without opening your tailgate.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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