In 2013, I started doing a lot of road trips and at first, I was carrying a tent with me or sleeping in hostels. Setting up camp every day got annoying and I sometime just slept in the driver's seat. In 2015, for less than 30$ and a few hours, me and my dad built a simple setup that allowed me to sleep in the back and still have a lot of storage : imgur.com/a/RRlkT
This worked very well at first, but after getting caught in the rain for 10 days straight, I realized how having to get out to get clean underwears in the morning was painful! Thus came the idea of building trap doors to access my stuff without having to go out!
I started by making plans on paper and purchasing the hardware I needed. My dad was supposed to help me, but we had a very nice summer and he was always away in his RV and my vacations were a month away, so I decided to it by myself… Can't be that hard, right? He was still lending me his tools (he has a lot of them!) so that was a great help!
First step was removing the seats. In my previous setup, the seats were simply folded in, so I could easily remove the platform and lift them back up. Since the new setup is meant to be permanent, the seats were a lost of space. What I thought would be a simple task turned out to take me more than a day! Those bolts were very tight and there was over a dozen of them!
I started by building the storage boxes that would go where the seats were. For my first time using a circular saw, I am pretty proud that I did not cut off my fingers yet! My measures sucked, though, and thus there was a bit of a gap here and there. At first I planned on screwing the pieces together by screwing perpendicularly, but my wood was too thin (1 inch) and it would burst when screwing in, so I used L joints instead…. Lots and lots of them, because I wanted to be sure it would hold! I used extra pieces of wood to put under to make it leveled with the Jeep's floor.
After painting the inside to protect the wood, I added some foam mat in the bottom to reduce rattle noise and I screwed in some elastics around to keep the stuff from moving when it's not full. I used random things to give me varying band sizes that could fit the food that will end up here.
Next was the bottom of the main platform. I also added a fourth storage box on the left side behind the eventual drawer. Since I could not screw perpendicularly in the dividing wall, I added a thing slice of wood along the top to screw the top on.
Now that the bottom was fixed to the boxes, I could start working on the piece of resistance : the famous trap doors! I cut them on a piece of paper to give me a good idea of the size. I used masking tape to show me where the walls are. You can see in the picture that my paper version was a bit too big and was not leaving enough space to hold on to.
First trap door is cut! I used a drill to cut multiple small holes next to each others to start my cut with the jigsaw.
Despite my dad having a lot of tools, he didn't have any drill bit to make big holes, so I had to buy that one. Worked perfectly!
Once all the trap doors were cut, I cut some slices of wood and screwed them on the inside for the trap to rest on. That's why I needed some extra space away from the dividing walls. Once again, I went overboard with the screws because I wanted to be sure it would hold when someone would lay on them.
Before screwing everything on, I put it in place to give it a try. Perfect! I also sanded off the top and rounded off the edges to make it soft to the touch.
Wait, I take back my previous comment! Now THAT's perfect! Well almost. I didn't want it to be glossy, but I think the white coat under made it glossy, since the side walls didn't have a white coat and it turned out looking like IKEA furniture. Oh, and another thing I didn't account for : two layers of paint are thicker than I thought and the trap was no longer fitting the hole! I had to sand off the paint on the sides.
Next was the top of the main platform. This piece was pretty big and handling it with a single pair of arms was quite annoying! Worse is that when I put it in to check my measures, I was unable to take it out and it wouldn't go through the door! I feared I would need to take the top off the Jeep but after twisting it, I managed to do some black magic and take it out. I repeated the same step for the trap door, but for this one, I did not paint the sides. Learned my lesson!
I built a drawer for my cooking stuff. Since my measures were a bit off, this one needed a lot of recut since it had to fit perfectly in the opening.
Base coat of the finished drawer done!
I screwed on the top along the little band I added earlier, slided in the drawer… And voilà! Everything is in place! Only missing the bedding and my gear!
I also built a cutlery board to hold everything exactly where I need them. Lots of those around those around, so I'm skipping the details. I didn't plan to get as many knives, but when I shopped for knives with sheaths, I found a good set in crazy sale and it was cheaper to buy a whole set than 2-3 knives… Since I managed to find a way to put them all in, I figured "Why the hell not?" At first I thought the bread knife was overkill, but I already used it, so it wasn't for nothing in the end!
Here is the finished version of the cutlery board and the tailgate table! I used the Springtail Solution table as a base but I didn't like the holes at the bottom, so I screwed on a piece of aluminum over them, so that I don't loose my fork or whatever while I cook!
Finally the full thing in action!
Shameless plug to my Instagram if you feel like following my adventures! www.instagram.com/the.traveling.beast/