Still trying to figure out bed in my car

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D'L

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hello everyone, may I pick your brains for moment?

I have a CRV, going to put a bed in the back for travelling and car camping. I am limited in length to about 67" for the bed, which is fine because I am only 66" tall and am narrow, so the width can be 24 to 26".

I need to have something lightweight for the bed platform, and that can be folded up or dismantled and stowed in the cargo area in case I need to use the back seats but still have the platform with me.
My back seats don't fold flat so I will need to adjust to make it level. I also need to be able to put things underneath it while travelling. The front end would rest on the folded-up seat, the back end raised to make it level.

So far 2 things I am considering: a platform of 1/2" plywood that is in three sections that could stack on top of each other to store and be easier to manage than one big piece. This would need removable legs (for storing) or a way to support the platform without legs that still left room underneath it. While the whole thing could be supported on bins, my concern is what if I needed to put something under it that did not fit into a bin.
Or, I could use a camping cot, even lighter and some of them store very compactly which would be even better.

Many cots have too many legs, making storage underneath impossible. And most are too long at 72 to 74".

I am interested in your thoughts. Any cot you can recommend to me short enough and without a lot of legs under it? Or, suggestions about the plywood? Or any other ideas for the compact platform I have not considered.
thanks so much for any replies.
 

bullfrog

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There are a bunch of YouTube videos on building out a CRV but I imagine most require removing seats. You might be able to use some type of hammock with a frame suspended from the roof or A pillars. My old VW bus had a thick canvas kid’s cot with a steel frame that was suspended by slide in brackets on the door frame and A pillars over the front seat area. It rolled up neatly and was easy to store when not in use.
 

Morgana

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I ended up taking out the back seats, but I remember seeing a lot of CRV-specific YouTube videos, as bullfrog mentioned, while I was looking into this.

One interesting idea involved hanging the front end of a platform from the posts that hold up the head rests on the front seats. Simpler and less bulky than those elaborate wooden platforms -- comes at the problem (creating an even surface) from above rather than below.

Couldn't quickly find a good video showing it, but I know they're out there. Because of its flexibility, you wouldn't have to limit yourself to CRV-specific videos for this approach. I think the best one I saw was by a RAV4 owner.

I suppose it's safe to regularly put pressure on those head-rest posts? Probably best to make sure.
 

D'L

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Thanks for the responses.
I have scoured the CRV and Rav4 and other SUV videos. Most of them either involve taking the seat(s) out or building something pretty heavy and non-collapsible out of wood. I don't want it to be heavy because I need it to be very easy for me to manipulate and break down or fold up to store.
I do think the idea of suspending the head section from the headrest of the seat is worth trying.
Unfortunately a hammock is out due to back issues...I need a firm surface and I have a memory foam to cut to size and put on top.
 

afblangley

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My bed consists of a sheet of plywood on steel pipe legs. It can easily be disassembled at will. It was fast, simple and cheap. It is like a large version of this table:
 

StacyK

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Similar to afblangley’s idea, what about the 3-part wooden platform on PVC flanges and legs? Easy to cut PVC to whatever length you need.
 

abnorm

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Well if I were asked to build something I'd start with a pair of strong LEGS........Short 'cause you need to sit on the bed...........a stretcher connects the two Legs and keeps the contents INSIDE......the Legs surround the wheel well
Closely fit for support

Here's a paper Model of the bed to illustrate......Viewed from the passenger side door....not to scale

D bed 1.jpg


The top/bed/seat surface would also contour to fit the space.............It would be fastened to the Legs...........all contained behind the 2nd row seating......the overhang at the rear allows for short bin storage
..............Box=Seat Back

D bed 2.jpg

When the seats are folded a second bed "RAMP" extends the sleeping surface over the seats

D bed 3.jpg

A concept............YMMV
 
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While a bit larger then a CRV, here is a bed I built for a FJ Cruiser. About 72" bed length. Using a piano hinge to allow for a portion of the bed to extend when the passenger seat is moved forward thus increasing the available bed length. I used a large diameter (maybe 2" PVC) PVC pipe to support this end of the bed. It acts as a leg to extend from the floor to the bottom of the piano hinge section. We did remove the seat base on the passenger rear side to accommodate this setup. Underneath storage height was determined based on the height of storage containers and solar panels.

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D'L

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Similar to afblangley’s idea, what about the 3-part wooden platform on PVC flanges and legs? Easy to cut PVC to whatever length you need.
Thank you StacyK, I am thinking about this, and wondering how to make the legs detachable. I like the PVC idea because it's so lightweight and easy to cut. If I could detach the legs it would be easily storable.
 

D'L

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Abnorm (great name, by the way), thank you so much for that idea and the paper model to make it clear. maybe something like that might work...I will think about it. I have been thinking that I want it only flat plywood so I can stack the pieces and take up the least amount of room, but maybe something like this would be almost as good.....
 

D'L

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Thank you, Sierra Camper. I like your setup. Don't know if it would work for my purpose, as it is pretty big and might not pack down small. but....it is a good setup with lots of storage room underneath.....
 

maki2

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Did you forget to scour the internet for ideas that get used in the CRV sistership, the Honda Element? The Honda Element crowd goes out camping all the time. There are hundreds of bed variations out on the internet for the Element. Some of the bed ideas are very simple to make, others are more complex with complete function, bed, kitchen, storage, etc. The main thing is that other than more headroom and different doors for entry on the Element the side to side and front to back space and wheel wells are very close to the same as the CRV.

There are dozens of Facebook groups and forums for Honda Element owners as well as YouTube videos showing building the beds.
 

scaredycat72

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I have this cot in my SUV. I had a friend cut the rail at one end to get the cot to fit in my SUV and I didn't install the middle bars so I could put totes underneath. The totes are tall and sturdy enough to support the middle section of the cot. It works great.
 

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hello everyone, may I pick your brains for moment?

I have a CRV, going to put a bed in the back for travelling and car camping. I am limited in length to about 67" for the bed, which is fine because I am only 66" tall and am narrow, so the width can be 24 to 26".

I need to have something lightweight for the bed platform, and that can be folded up or dismantled and stowed in the cargo area in case I need to use the back seats but still have the platform with me.
My back seats don't fold flat so I will need to adjust to make it level. I also need to be able to put things underneath it while travelling. The front end would rest on the folded-up seat, the back end raised to make it level.

So far 2 things I am considering: a platform of 1/2" plywood that is in three sections that could stack on top of each other to store and be easier to manage than one big piece. This would need removable legs (for storing) or a way to support the platform without legs that still left room underneath it. While the whole thing could be supported on bins, my concern is what if I needed to put something under it that did not fit into a bin.
Or, I could use a camping cot, even lighter and some of them store very compactly which would be even better.

Many cots have too many legs, making storage underneath impossible. And most are too long at 72 to 74".

I am interested in your thoughts. Any cot you can recommend to me short enough and without a lot of legs under it? Or, suggestions about the plywood? Or any other ideas for the compact platform I have not considered.
thanks so much for any replies.
I got 2 lightweight plastic storage shelves and cut the legs(they come out) down to 10 inches and put on a piece of 3/4 inch plywood. I think 1/2 in. would have been ok too. I found a futon mattress and my friend cut it to size. I also put on a piece of 2 inch foam I got at Walmart. Didn't make too much of a difference. I slept on that for 3 months on the beach. I was comfy.But I've been looking for more thicker foam. I need 5 in. I'm heavy. Someone said to get a piece of styrofoam and put under my mattress. Foam and memory foam is expensive. So I might try that first. Or just get a cot and call it good. Much easier. There would still be room under there for storage.
 

D'L

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Did you forget to scour the internet for ideas that get used in the CRV sistership, the Honda Element? The Honda Element crowd goes out camping all the time. There are hundreds of bed variations out on the internet for the Element. Some of the bed ideas are very simple to make, others are more complex with complete function, bed, kitchen, storage, etc. The main thing is that other than more headroom and different doors for entry on the Element the side to side and front to back space and wheel wells are very close to the same as the CRV.

There are dozens of Facebook groups and forums for Honda Element owners as well as YouTube videos showing building the beds.
Thanks, maki2. I never looked at Element bed ideas because I assumed the Element was a lot larger than the CRV. I will take a look to see if I can get ideas there.
 

D'L

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I have this cot in my SUV. I had a friend cut the rail at one end to get the cot to fit in my SUV and I didn't install the middle bars so I could put totes underneath. The totes are tall and sturdy enough to support the middle section of the cot. It works great.
Thanks fort this!!
I have been looking at cots but was not sure if I could cut one end off and have it still work correctly. Now I know I can. :)
There is one cot I like that even has extensions on the legs to make it taller or leave them off for shorter, so very adaptable. It's expensive. But only about the cost of one night in a cheap motel!
 

D'L

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I got 2 lightweight plastic storage shelves and cut the legs(they come out) down to 10 inches and put on a piece of 3/4 inch plywood. I think 1/2 in. would have been ok too. I found a futon mattress and my friend cut it to size. I also put on a piece of 2 inch foam I got at Walmart. Didn't make too much of a difference. I slept on that for 3 months on the beach. I was comfy.But I've been looking for more thicker foam. I need 5 in. I'm heavy. Someone said to get a piece of styrofoam and put under my mattress. Foam and memory foam is expensive. So I might try that first. Or just get a cot and call it good. Much easier. There would still be room under there for storage.
I got all the memory foams I have used for things for free through Craig's list, Freecycle, and a thrift store. I wasn't even looking there because I figured they'd be dirty or wouldn't be there at all. And some are dirty and you wouldn't want them. But some are just fine. I got a piece the size of a twin bed and three inches thick for $10 at a thrift store. It has a very small bit of dirty area along the edges on one end and one side which is no problem since I have to cut it down both ways to fit my car bed. The rest of it looks as if it were new.

I have seen the idea pf plastic shelves and thought that would be great...legs easily remove and easily cut down and so on, but I found out they are never 24" deep, so it would end up taking quite a few of them to make the bed, they are about 3" thick, and there goes my requirement that it take up as little space as possible. Too bad, because if this were a van build where I had more room, or if I were not going to have to take it out and store it or put into the cargo area of the car, it would work great.

I maty be asking for too much with my requirements, but I still think it will be possible. I enjoy figuring out how to do things. And it's even better when there are people giving you ideas! So, thanks again to everyone.

The thing is I will, on one of my travels, drive for 3 days and then pick someone up and drive another day; reverse trip the same. This means the bed has to come down so the passenger seat can be moved back (long legs) and the platform has to store flat in the area behind the back seats along with other luggage (but I travel light). I also have to make room for two 20 pound dogs but that should be no problem. have made this trip before and it's a great trip but the motel bills were more than I want to pay, adding about $400 round trip to my cost. So: sleep in the car. As well as camping trips, of course, and pleasure road trips. In those latter cases I won't have a passenger.

I am currently considering1/2" plywood with removable legs ( not sure how to do that). Either in three pieces, held together with zip ties (cheap, easy to just carry a bunch and replace when needed). Then it's only three pieces of plywood that can stack. I don't think I need 2X4 sections for the legs, as I don't weigh very much. PVC would be good, but how to attach them to the plywood so they are sturdy but removable easily?
 

maki2

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My friend uses plastic milk crates to support his bed. Provides lightweight storage and you lift the bed panel up to gain access. His bed platform is a hollow core door with an extra piece of 1/4” plywood glued to the upper surface. Hollow core Doors are light in weight and come in a variety of widths. Easy to find them at places such as Home Depot. If you shorten the length you need to add in a piece of blocking inside the width of the cut end.

But I think with a series of milk crates providing all that structure underneath all you need is a 1/4” piece of plywood and you do not need the door. My bed frame is aluminum angle 30” wide with some front to back aluminum cross bars about 16 apart. The upper surface is 1/4” plywood cut into sections that butt against each other on top of those cross bars. After 2 years of full time camping I have no sag on those pieces of plywood. It does not shift as I have some strips of Velcro to prevent that. So milk crates topped with 1/4” plywood is sufficiently strong for support and the plywood is lightweight for lifting. Plus lots of storage where things won’t go flying around.
 

D'L

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Milk crates! Now that is something I had not even thought of, despite the fact that I use them for storage in my house and shed. Lightweight and useful. And if I could get away with a thinner piece of plywood, all the better.

And, there are collapsible milk crates, for those I want to pack flat. I could use both kinds under the bed. That would be something to try once I get the plywood and get it cut it into 3 sections, to see how it works. Thanks!

Velcro is one thing I thought of using to keep the sections together, but with the dogs there is dog hair and velcro attracts that and then doesn't work well. If I never took it apart I wouldn't have that problem, but I will be taking it apart.

I still want to figure out how to have removable legs, though. That idea is just going to stay in my mind until I come up with something.
Even if I go with a different idea. I'm just like that.:rolleyes:
 

bullfrog

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A piece of 1/4” plywood glued to a hollow core door is what I use for bed platforms. Super strong and light weight as well as cheap if you get a damaged or used door. Hollow core doors with only “Poor Mans Fiberglass” works well in places you would normally use 1/2” plywood like walls ot cabinets. $5 to $15 in many cases for an 80” x 24” - 36” hollow core door saves a lot of building costs. My entire trailer camper portion is built out of them! Wooden dowels, metal clamps or even ratchet straps can be used to hold milk crates or totes, just use you imagination and experiment.
 
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