Sleeping platform for the car

Recently we’ve been talking more and more about our future camping setup. Our Coachmen Clipper 9.0 is a decent tool for camping, but we sometimes muse about other options. We’ve spent some time talking about the difference between camping trailer vs camper van, and the pro’s and con’s of each. For the time being we’re not making any changes, but I decided to make a change to the status quo to address one of the con’s of our current situation.

One of the cool parts about a camper van is that you can simply pull into a rest area or truck stop and crawl into bed. It’s a great option for traveling, since you don’t need a campsite, nor do you need to set up a camper just so you can get a few zzzz’s. It’s also great for traveling to races since your vehicle is easily self-contained, and all you need is a parking spot near the race start to use as your home base.

I’m not going to do a full pro-con list, but I wanted to share how I’m addressing one of the issues we have with our current setup. Namely, trying to sleep in my car. I drive a VW Tiguan Limited and as much as I love it, it’s not the largest vehicle I’ve ever owned when it comes to cargo space. I can fit a fair amount of stuff into the back, but on a few occasions when I’ve tried to sleep back there, it’s just too cramped. I can lower the seats, all the way up through the passenger seat in the front, but there’s gaps between the seats that make it impossible to lay fully extended. What I needed, was a sleeping platform.

On Saturday morning I headed out to the hardware store and picked up a few simple supplies. I got some 1/2” plywood, a couple of posts, and some basic hardware. My plan was to create a platform that goes from the back of the car, 6 feet to the front. In order to that that though I need to support the bottom of the platform so that all the of the weight isn’t resting on the back of the seats.

I went with two pieces of plywood, 2×4 and 2×2. Originally I thought the 2×4 would end up in back, but after putting it into the car, I realized that it should be reversed. So the 2×2 is now sitting on the main cargo area of the car at the back where the lift gate is. Then I put the 2×4 in front of that, and attached the two posts to the bottom using removable bolts for easier storage.

I filled up my sleeping pad and tried it out. Sure enough it was perfectly sized for one person like myself to lay flat or curl up and get some shut eye. Eventually I’ll get some foam cushioning to make it softer, but for now, this actually works. It was a lot simpler than I had anticipated, and some simple planning made it a reality with about an hours worth of work.

The downside is that it’s one person only, so this solution won’t work if I’m traveling with the wife, but for trips where it’s just myself, and I need to sleep along the way, this works great. Creativity! It’s what drives the human spirit forward.


Beer, running, and geeky things.

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