So with this whole semi-homeless year, I am effectively living out of my car right now as I travel constantly in between places. I have a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee (Jeep WJ), and to have a more organized way to store my clothes, food and gear, as well as still have access to a lot of my car and be able to sleep in it, I built a platform inside of it. The plan for the platform and photos of the build are below:
The plan was to have two separate units – one for the cargo area and one to go across my back seats when they are down. The cargo platform has two openings where I can slide two “under the bed” sized Rubbermaids into them (one holding my gear and one holding my toiletries, towels and some miscellaneous stuff). The backseat platform had supports going across it horizontally and one very long Rubbermaid that held most of my clothes to go underneath that.
The first step was to clean out my car and then make the cuts of wood and lay it out how I wanted it (it’s upside down in the photo, of course). There were some slight modifications made to the layout since that photo, but it really depends on what you want.
I realized after getting this set up that if I ever wanted to remove the backseat platform and put those seats back up, then the cargo platform had to have angled supports and a shorter top, since the seats lean back slightly. So I ended up making the backseat platform top 3″ longer, and the cargo platform top 3″ shorter, as well as cutting angles in the cargo platform supports. You can see some of it in my sketches when I was thinking about doing something like that initially.
Also, in an effort to maximize the little amount of space I had, I ditched the second support for the backseat platform and ended up screwing a few blocks of wood into the front of the cargo platform, and resting that side of the backseat platform on them instead. This way, I had at least an extra inch of room underneath for the Rubbermaid I was using for my clothes.
The cargo platform was the first to go in, and fit like a glove! I bought two of these Rubbermaids for my stuff and they couldn’t have fit in the spaces any better.
Here’s a dark photo of the finished platform the night before I moved out of my friend’s apartment that I was crashing at. 🙂 Note that I later cut the top of the backseat platform in half and attached a hinge to it, so I could more easily lift that up to access my clothes each day.
I used 3/4″ thick plywood, 1×8″ lumber for the supports and Kreg Jig screws to fasten everything together without the screws sticking out. I bought the materials and built the entire platform in just a few hours and for about $90.
With this contraption in place, I have a bed on the left side (just using a Thermarest, sheets and a comforter) and my Yeti cooler and a Rubbermaid of dry food on the right side. My shoes also fit really well in the space behind the wheel well, between the cargo platform and the Jeep’s left wall. And on the right in the same spot, I have my yoga mat, Camelbak and a few other odds and ends for camping/living.
I’m a little over a month in, and the platform has worked out really great so far! And I am finding that it is really convenient to have everything stored away in my car (mostly out of site under the plywood), so I can access my things any time I need them, wherever I am. Space is a little tight for actually living, but when I’m camping, it’s great, and I may be upgrading to something else soon… Stay tuned. 🙂