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Pickup bed camping/storage project

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  • Pickup bed camping/storage project

    I recently bought a 2006 dodge ram 1500. I will be driving across country from alabama to anchorage where I will be stationed for the next 4 years. Even before I bought the truck I was planning to retrofit and modify the bed to optimize it for my hobbies and camping.

    I plan to document some of my planning and the construction on this thread. I welcome all input and observations! Again, there are some things that I will do that are adapted for my hobbies, so if you have a question about why I did something, let me know.

    So, basic plan:


    Ignore the measurements, those were rough approximations, I will be making exact cuts based on the bed.

  • #2
    First I need a topper, I wanted a basic fiberglass topper, but had a couple specifications: I need good ventilation for bird dogs in the bed and I wanted hinged windows on the side for ease of access.

    I got an A.R.E. V series topper with vented windoors on both sides.

    Here it is on the truck:



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    • #3
      I had a 1995 2500 Ram I neede the same thing. I put in a bed slider on the bottom with a lifted floor above it and a futon matress on one side. I had a GSSD I used for SAR and kept an air kennel in the truck. It is important to note, even enclosed in a topper, during an accident or emergency stop, the pooch will get tossed around. If you crate train the dog first, it makes it very easy to kennel them on a trip. Just remember, the topper offers very little in insulation and the bed will suck what ever heat you have when it's cold. I did add an electric light and fan to the roof as a comfort issue. I can no leave a link, but if you google decked, that is what I had. Worked great for many things for me. Good luck and enjoy the drive!
      All paradise rests in the shadow of swords." ~K. Yates

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      • #4


        My cap is higher in the back and makes it easy to get in and out. It's not there now, but I built a deck at wheel well level that had hinged doors that allowed access to the area below and it would store lots of stuff. I use an Exped 7" pad that's very comfortable and insulated so a small cat heater will keep it reasonably comfortable down to the teens...below that a wool blanket on top of the 30F feather bag is usually enough. I use a tarp off the back of the cap and never cook in there so I'm pretty sure bears will leave it alone. In the summer I usually sleep in a hammock to keep the skeeters at bay.

        There is room for two kennels for my Labs when I duck hunt and the bed is a great place to take a nap after lunch while the birds aren't flying.

        There are many ways to set it up but I've found simple is the best.
        Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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        • #5
          Make sure you have all the shot records and current vet papers for the pups for Canada portion of the trip.
          Thank you for your service.
          When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
          '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"
          2018 12' Moto Jet "River Pup"

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          • #6
            I installed two lockers on either side if the bed for basic storage, ropes, chains etc.


            The lockers were cut to length, then I added a permanent spacer near the cab


            The second one is removable

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            • #7
              After the lockers were built I bought the plywood for the platform itself, and I had the wife along at lowes and we decided to carpet it. I like it a lot for $15 in carpet!

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              • #8
                Are you going to hinge the side compartments? And what is the plan for underneath the middle platform?

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                • #9
                  I did hinge the compartments, I just haven't taken a picture. The family and I just spent the last weekend driving from alabama to montana, so I got behind on pictures, but the rig worked great.

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                  • #10
                    I decided to install some additional lighting in the bed,

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                    • #11
                      It was great on the drive up...we actually slept in the bed twice on the drive

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