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Old 12-03-2023, 04:17 PM #1
4RExplorer 4RExplorer is offline
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Sleeping on the floor, storage on shelves

Drawer systems for gear storage seem to be popular, but they have a couple disadvantages: when sleeping on top of the drawers, there isn't enough headroom to sit up; and a fair amount of the available space inside the cargo area goes to the drawer case, drawer slides, and the drawers themselves, reducing the amount of space available to store gear and supplies.

So in my build, instead of making a drawer system, I put the plywood sleeping platform directly on the floor of the 4Runner (after removing the 2nd row seats), and built shelves for storage. A wood shelf over each wheelwell can be as much as 8" x 48", with corners cut to fit the space. These side shelves are 12" above the sheet metal floor of the cargo area. Using DIY L-brackets, the side shelves are securely bolted to the 4Runner body using OEM welded nuts that become available for use after removing the lower trim panels on both sides of the cargo area, as well as the support brackets for the 2nd row seat backs (both upper and lower).

Then, four legs that rest on these two side shelves are installed to support a larger main shelf that is 48" wide and about 31" front-to-back. This main shelf is 21" above the floor of the cargo area, leaving about 19" of vertical space above for storing things. The curved rear edge of the main shelf runs just 1" away from the interior trim panel of the rear hatch. In my build, I split this main shelf into two parts: an 18" x 48" front section, re-purposing a black vinyl-coated, heavy duty wire shelf from my basement; and a plywood rear section that extends the main shelf towards the rear hatch. The photo below shows the shelf system before I installed the rear plywood shelf.

While driving, all the gear goes on the floor, and the main shelf does not obstruct the view out the rearview mirror. Before sleeping, we move everything onto the shelves, and into the front seats, as needed.

Two people can sleep on the floor of the 4Runner this way, with our feet pointing towards the rear hatch. When lying down inside our sleeping bags, on top of 4" thick sleeping pads, we can bend our knees without hitting them on the front edge of the main shelf. And we can sit up from a lying position without bumping into the front edge of the main shelf.

My forum photo album, "4RExplorer build", has some pictures of this build. I am continually improving it, for example by deleting a DIY propane locker that I had made earlier, but the pictures show the concept of two side shelves with a main shelf spanning most of the cargo area.
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Old 12-04-2023, 11:19 AM #2
4skrunner 4skrunner is offline
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Here’s my solution. 3rd row replaced with drawer. I made it one big drawer to maximize space. 2 drawers could add 5” worth of dividers, slides, and drawer sides. So 1 drawer was a more efficient use of space especially since I made the drawer height as short as possible to be level with the second row when they’re folded down. Second row still has reclining and sliding functions. And makes a decently level platform for sleeping when folded down. I have the deep sleep mattress pads which fit amazingly across the whole space. They’re about 4.5” tall and that’s about as high as I would go otherwise it can get cramped. The drawer fits all my tools, recovery gear, camping gear, and cooking stuff. I do have to be really thrifty with how I pack but this setup has been working well so far and I feel I struck a decent balance.


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