5th Gen Mods, Accessories, Camping, DIY, Install, Off-Road, Overland

DIY Sleeping Platform + Storage Divider System for Toyota 4Runner

Read Time: 6 mins

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Like many of us, I am looking to get the most out of my 4Runner. But the reality is that the money can add up on these wonderful vehicles. As a result, the time-tested “Do it Yourself” might just be the best option for some additions.

A little context to help. Nearing the end of the summer, I was forced to pack up and move from the state of Washington to Tennessee. Having my 4Runner in the Pacific Northwest was a treat, but leaving it there was not an option. With all my belongings and a tight budget, I decided to make the trek across the country on the pavement.

After a short deliberation, it dawned on me that this drive was going to quickly turn into a car-camping journey. A few stops at Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and the likes, and it was a done deal. It was designed and created from there.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Just like any other camping/storage mod in the 4Runner, I had a few constraints. Even though there are other sleeping platforms that have been documented on Trail4Runner.com – we wanted something a little different. Something with a little more storage and something a bit longer.

Let me get into the details. 

First, the platform had to be low enough to fit a 3” foam pad, heavy-duty sleeping bag, and my horizontal body. Next, it had to be long enough for me to completely lay flat (I am only 5’10” so this was doable).

Lastly, it had to be ergonomic enough to accommodate my bags, fridge, tools, food, etc. With the help of a Thule cartop carrier, I was going to fit my belongings safely in the car one way or the other.

General Build

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

While this isn’t a dedicated install article, the entire setup can easily be reproduced. With one stop at Home Depot, I was able to purchase everything I needed for the job. Although you can also find these items throughout most of Amazon.com and even online at HomeDepot.com.

Tools and Materials:

  • 4×8’ Sheet of ¾” Plywood (x2)
  • Roll of Home Depot Traffic Master Carpet (x1)
  • Everbilt 12” Hinge (x2)
  • Turnbuckle (x4)
  • L-Bracket (x4)
  • Eye Strap (x4)
  • 3M Spray Adhesive
  • Wood Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Stapler + Staples
  • Black Paint

The entire platform is made from two sheets of ¾” plywood. I wanted something that was lightweight, wallet-friendly, but also strong. Home Depot offers multiple types of plywood, but I went with the pre-sanded maple sheeting for a smooth surface.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Conveniently, each sheet was a workable width for the trunk. After measuring from closed-hatch to upright rear seats, the top portion was cut. I have a Husky storage bin that was a reference for the desired height.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

The next few measurements were for the base of the platform.

I used the carpeted area inside the trunk. I followed the lines inside the trim panels and the angled bracket that holds the D-rings behind the rear seats. With a few wood screws and wood glue for good measure, the base panels were on. This was a team effort with my Dad to lift the base and mount everything flush.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

We added a middle support panel, cut out the space for the hinged-panels, and we were in business.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

With the foundation done, it was time to put the finishing touches on it. The entire platform ended up being covered with a basic Home Depot carpet to avoid scratching the platform and/or my items inside. I also was going to be sleeping on it for a week (and trips to come) so it was well worth going through the effort to add carpet. Some spray-on adhesive and staples made the carpeting process very simple.

For easier access to the rear outlets, I included a hinged-panel that would flip up when needed. It was important to properly trace the shape of the rear trim so that the panels would open and close.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

To support weight on these panels, small triangular brackets were added from the left-over plywood. Accounting for the thickness of the carpet, the bottom of the panels were painted and cut for relief to sit flush with the supports when closed.

Mounting

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

While the platform and dividers fit snug in the trunk, it was important to find a way to securely mount it. I had no intentions of removing it anytime soon so a semi-permanent option was ideal. The four D-rings in the rear made this possible. Seeing how many of the aftermarket storage drawers use the same design, I didn’t see any better option.

Using eye straps and turnbuckles, the platform was held securely to the floor to avoid shifting as I drove. I ended up leaving the factory floor mat underneath the platform just to keep some protection for the carpet floor. I was going to be sliding things in and out of the dividers so I did not want to damage the factory carpet.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Here is the configuration behind the second-row seats. A slight angle was necessary for the length of the turnbuckle. In the rear, two turnbuckles connect to D-rings.

Sleeping Extension

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Obviously, the end-goal was to be able to sleep on the platform. However, I did not want to lose my reclining rear seats, so a removable extension piece was in store. I measured from the front of the trunk platform to the back of the upward-folded rear seat, cut, and carpeted it like the rest.

A small notch was made from the corner of the extension to rubbing against the quarter panel.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

At the back of the platform, a 2×4 pine board was added for the extension to rest on. Again, carpeted like the rest.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Lastly, I needed a way to support the weight of the extension while I was laying on it. I didn’t like the idea of using the upwards-folded rear seat because it created an incline on the extension – not ideal for sleeping.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

Like the U-shape panels underneath the trunk platform, the extension support was a similar design. For the most rigidity, it was cut to match the lines of the rear folded seat. This kept it separate from the extension and completely removable. Also, the open space underneath the extension offered more storage space for items that I did not need each day.

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

L-brackets were added for extra strength.

Overall Review

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

This setup does not match up to the expensive drawer and sleeping systems on the market. However, it was a fraction of the price and provided everything I needed for my travels. When paired with my Simmons 3” Mattress and a quality sleeping bag, I was able to get a good night’s sleep wherever my camping took me.

Additionally, many of the high-quality sleeping platforms required the removal of the back seats completely. That was something that I did not want to sacrifice. After all, my 4Runner is my daily driver and not a devoted overlander… yet.

Final Thoughts

The DIY Sleeping Platform and Storage Divider Camping Setup For the 5th Gen 4Runner

For someone looking to save some money and still have a camping setup, this is a great option. It was functional, lightweight, and aesthetically pleasing enough for my liking.

If I could do it over again, I would stick with this option for starters. In my opinion, the real upgrade, and money-well-spent, is on a rooftop tent. But at the end of the day, for a week-long drive and camping trip across the country, I was more than happy with what I had!

Questions or Comments? Leave them below!

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Shioban Ambriz
Shioban Ambriz
January 26, 2021 7:02 pm

I’ve been wanting a set up myself like this. Was wondering how much the materials were that you bought? Looking for an estimate for someone to do this for me. Thank you for sharing your article!

Benjamin Nalder
Benjamin Nalder
January 7, 2021 6:25 am

great writeup. i built almost the same solution (yours is prettier) for my 4rnr a couple years back. loved it and only this summer tore it apart to make a slide out for the fridge. so now i can only sleep on half.

love what you did and look forward to seeing the evolution.

Marek
Marek
January 6, 2021 5:08 pm

Great article Ethan! In the last picture of the 4Runner, could be as kind as to let me know, what lift height you have. Front and rear? Tires 285/70/17? Rims 17×8.5 -10mm offset? Thanks. Marek

Bobby
Bobby
January 6, 2021 3:04 pm

amazing work!

Ryan Gibbons
Admin
Member
Ryan Gibbons
January 6, 2021 7:41 am

Woah… that’s pretty damn impressive. I bought the Adam’s polishes from your previous story, so now I might have to build my own sleeping platform!

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