Forums Splitboard Talk Forum OT: Dirtbag Chalet/Revisiting the truck bed platform
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  • #571358
    30 Posts

    Here’s a new take on the age-old, truck bed/campershell sleeping platform. With spring trailhead camping season just around the corner, I thought some of you might appreciate this. I researched these things when deciding to build one a year or so ago, and I didn’t really see any designs that would work for me. Basically, I wanted to avoid building a bulky, wood platform to fit in the bed. I also wanted to be able to split it in half for solo missions and have it be easy to disassemble.

    Anyway, here’s what I came up with.

    The basic design includes two platforms and two support feet. The feet are made from sections of 1″ pipe that screw into flanges bolted on the underside of the left platform. The smaller platform piece rests along a piece of metal deck fastener bolted along the larger platform board. Both main platform pieces rest on, and are supported by the bed rails. I sank three holes on the underside of each platform piece to help them fit snugly over the bolts that clamp the shell on the truck.

    Here’s what it looks like disassembled from the underside:

    Here it is in solo or “split” mode. You can see that I had enough carpet left over to make a bike rack too. I put some velcro tape on the truck bed to help hold the bike rack in place.

    A view from underneath when set up in “split mode.” It turns out that having the platform on the bed rails gives just enough clearance for our old school, metal Coleman cooler.

    Split mode allows you also to sleep with your bike, something many of us can relate to.

    The easy disassembly lets your bikes snuggle too.

    I’ve probably spent 10 or so nights in it so far, and it’s held up well. The 1″ ply is more than sturdy enough to support a clyde. I have a mid-rise shell, so it’s not as claustrophobic as it could be. We built another one for a shorter shell and used angle iron to lower the platform height to give more headroom. No cooler under that one, though your boards would fit just fine.

    Anyway, it’s great to be able to roll up to your campsite late and not have to unload gear before jumping in back to sleep. Overall, I think it cost me ~$50. Dirtbags rejoice!

    kings run east
    75 Posts


    525 Posts

    do you have any way to mount crampons ? sometimes you need those in spring.

    30 Posts

    Alas, the crampons are not compatible with the boot dryers…

    2486 Posts

    Mine is close to that. I do have 2 sides split down the middle but I used 2×4;s across for support . I can slide my 2 splits, a stove , a cooler , 2 chairs, food and firewood underneath. On top I use a full size mattress and 2 pillows.
    Its pretty plush for camping but it is a little close to the celing from the bed.
    I push the mattress over to one side and I have room for my shoes, keys, phone and a pee bottle

    Rico in AZ
    559 Posts

    Inspiring. I’ve been thinking about doing this to my Chevy for a couple years, after me, wife, and 2 dogs spent 12 horrendous hours in a tent in pouring rain. Interesting how you set the edge of the platform on the ledge formed by the bottom of the shell. Is there any attachment there? And I love the bike set up.
    Fullers2oh, we all know you spend alot of time in your truck, how about a pic of your set up. You too, TEX.

    2068 Posts

    I do a lot of dump runs/landscaping and such so I’ve always been hesitant to to get a shell. How big of a pain in the ass is taking one off and on?

    740 Posts

    I can get mine off solo in about 15 minutes, that includes undoing all my threaded clamps, I have to use a wrench. I can lift it off easily by my self and I can get it on alone too but it takes me a little while. Easier to get on w/ 2 people.

    30 Posts

    Ricorides – the platforms sit on the clamp bolts that hold the shell on the truck. I sunk three holes along the edge of each platform so that they would sit tight on the bolts. It all fits in there pretty snug with minimal banging around on washboard roads.

    53 Posts

    For solo trips I use a cot in the truck bed. Nice to have the space to put on boots inside or stack up boards. Cots are nice because they are fold up out of the way and if the weather is nice you can sleep outside. $30-$100 depending on the model. For trips with the Mrs. I have a futon frame which I cut out to fit in the wheel wells. She really appreciates the comfort of the futon. It also folds up into a tailgate couch that is pretty sweet.

    726 Posts

    This is a truly minimal set up. Thanks for the ideas and photos.


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