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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Camper Bed / Bench And Storage Cabinets

I want a bed on the lower passenger side of my camper so I can stop in rest areas and truck stops and sleep without raising the camper roof.

Above, a shell camper gives you a clean slate to build what you want.  I originally thought of having a fold out or up bed platform.  The existing shelf created by the wheel bumps in the truck bed give me part of the bed. 

Then there was the question of how wide a bed did I want, and the realization that I lacked sufficient storage space.  

The solution was to build storage cabinets.

Here is how I made mine.

Above, I have this spot to fill at the back of the camper that is larger than the rest of the space.

Here I had to decide on my bed width.  I picked 24”.  This width worked fine for my Prius living so I was sure that it would work on the camper too.

The above box uses the notch of the door frame to hold it in place.

Yes it overhangs the door and entrance a bit but so do the seating that FWC puts in their side dinette model.

Note that there is not a plywood floor in the box.  This was deliberate.  1/2” plywood and no floor to save weight.

The next spaces I need to fill are narrower and need to be removable to access the front and rear sliding doors as shown above.  These sliding doors is where I access the turnbuckles That hold the camper to the truck bed and need to be accessed during the trip.

Here box two is installed with box 1.  Box 2 being king and not wanting the plywood to bow, I put a center plywood brace on the bottom.  Covers will come later.

Here in the picture above my finger points to a separating board to match the width of the bracket that holds the cabinet to the camper knee wall.

To the left of my finger there is a long storage cabinet that has a cover that overhangs where I am putting this box.

On the left above is the camper knee wall, on the right the back of the box I built.  You will see a darker border on the cabinet (right) as to keep the box from moving I need to have the sides built out to account for the dovetail hanging brackets (black) and the sliding door that is right below.

The dovetale brackets are self aligning and lock the cabinet into place as you slide/drop the cabinet into place.

Here is a better picture of one of sliding doors that I need to be able to access for tightening during my trip. The brown bump is the sliding handle.

As I mentioned above the long cabinet that comes with the shell has a cover that overhangs the space of the cabinet opening that I am adding and it hits the board I made to offset the box.  

Above I use a rabbit plane to remove some material so the cover of this long storage area will sit flat with my add-on cabinet sits up against this knee wall.

Here the rabbited edge is flush with the top of the long cabinet.  All this work is done to have the cabinets I am attaching fit snug against the knee wall and all covers are flat across the top.

Now the picture above shows the metal trim edge of the long storage area cover sits in the rabbited area that I just made.

I have now made the first box cover and hinge plate.

Note that the cover on this cabinet sticks out a bit for easy opening.  This is a very important storage space as it is accessible while standing outside as well as inside.  It holds power cords, wheel chocks, tools, and misc items.

Above I have added the hinge plate.  This is the piece of wood that the fixed hinge side gets mounted.

As desired all the boxes and covers align.

Box 1 & 2 now have covers and hinges.

I’m done making the bed boxes, less polyurethaning them.  That finishing task will have to wait until I’m on my trip, as I have so many things to do to be ready to leave on 12/26/17.

I bought the foam for the bench/bed from Amazon.  I used firm foam and it is 24”x72”.

I slid it inside my fleece sleeping bag to provide a quick cover for the trip,


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