How to Add a Sleeping Platform to Your Truck Bed

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A couple laying in their truck bed with their child before adding a sleeping platform

Country singer Joe Diffie once sang, “I’ve got an eight-foot bed that doesn’t have to be made.”

While he wasn’t singing about the potential for camping adventures, you can turn the bed of your truck into a bed by installing a truck bed sleeping platform.

You can create a comfortable place to sleep during your adventures if you have a few essential tools and DIY skills.

Today, we’ll discuss adding a sleeping platform to your truck bed. It’s likely a more straightforward project than you might think. Let’s get started!

What Is a Truck Bed Sleeping Platform?

A truck bed sleeping platform is a platform that fits in the bed of a truck. The platform provides a smooth and level surface for outdoor enthusiasts to sleep during their adventures.

They’re typically wooden, and campers place a mattress or sleeping pad on the wood surface.

A sleeping platform may be worth considering if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to enhance your camping adventures.

Why Do You Need a Truck Bed Sleeping Platform?

A truck bed sleeping platform can convert the hard and uneven surfaces in the bed of a truck into a comfortable place to get some rest.

This can benefit those who want to find remote and hard-to-reach areas to camp, hike, or adventure.

A raised platform creates an even surface for sleeping, and the area below the platform can be a convenient place to store supplies and gear you’ll need while adventuring.

Some trucks are mighty and capable of reaching areas that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

With a sleeping platform in the bed of your vehicle, you can camp in these areas for as long as you want.

Your only limit is the gear you can carry and how long you can make your supplies last.

A person setting up their truck bed sleeping platform at a campsite

What Size Mattress Fits in a Truck Bed?

Truck beds are typically between 63 to 66.5 inches wide. However, widths can vary depending on the vehicle.

The largest mattress in most trucks will be a full mattress, 54 inches wide and 75 inches long. If you have a long-bed truck, you may get a full XL or a queen.

You’ll want to consider the unique dimensions of your vehicle when selecting the mattress for your truck bed. Returning a mattress can be challenging and sometimes even impossible. So like, when cutting wood, always measure twice.

How to Add a Sleeping Platform to Your Truck Bed

The process of creating a sleeping platform is relatively simple. If you have the right tools, this project will cost $50 to $75 and take no more than an hour. It truly is that easy!

Gather Materials

The first step is to gather the necessary materials you’ll need for this project.

Luckily, the material list is relatively short, and you may even have everything you need.

All you need is a circular saw, a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet of 3/4-inch plywood, and a few 2-inch by 6-inch planks of wood. 

These should all be readily available at your favorite local big-box home improvement store or lumberyard.

If you do not have a circular saw, you may even avoid purchasing one by renting one from the home improvement store.

Use Truck Bed Grooves (When Available)

Manufacturers add grooves in the truck bed that can perfectly fit 2 x 6-inch pieces of wood.

Use these to your advantage and avoid creating a frame to support your sleeping platform.

There are typically enough supports to provide sufficient support throughout the structure.  

Measure the Distance from Side to Side

You need to know the distance from one side of your truck bed to the other.

Try to be as accurate as possible with this measurement. You should always measure twice to ensure that you’re getting an accurate measurement.

Don’t assume that the space is equal throughout the length of your truck bed.

Measure each section of the truck bed where you plan to place a plank.

Again, measure each area twice to avoid wasting your time, energy, and money if you cut a plank too short.

Keep in Mind: Looking to buy a truck bed cover for your Ram truck? Then you need to check out this Buying Guide to Ram Truck Bed Covers!

Use a Straight Edge to Mark Wood

You want to ensure that you cut your wood straight.

The best way to do this is to use a straight edge when marking your wood.

This makes it easier to ensure the edges of your wood are straight.

If not, you could risk an edge being too short and not providing sufficient support when you climb into your bed.

Cut Wood Planks to Size

Now you can grab the circular saw and start cutting along the markings you’ve created on the wood.

Take the proper safety precautions when operating a saw.

You should wear eye protection and make sure that you set the wood up so do not damage anything under it while cutting it.

Depending on your setup, an extra set of hands may be helpful to avoid any potential issues while cutting the wood.

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Cut Plywood Sheet to Size

The next step in the process is to cut the plywood sheet to fit the bed of your truck. If you have a long-bed truck, you may not have to trim much off the end of it.

However, a standard-size truck bed will require you to cut at least a foot off the plywood.

Due to the angles in the truck bed, you’ll likely need to cut notches and round the corners to help create a snug fit.

We strongly recommend cutting the plywood into two sheets.

While you can use one solid sheet of plywood for this project, it’s easier to install and remove by creating two pieces of plywood.

Make it as easy as possible to install and remove your sleeping platform.

A person cutting plywood for their truck bed sleeping platform

Install Your Sleeping Platform

Now that you’ve cut all the pieces, it’s time to start installing and putting them in place.

Place the planks horizontally across the bed of your truck.

Slide them into the grooves and ensure they are a snug fit.

You don’t want them to slide or move around while they sit in place.

You should lay the plywood sheets on top of the planks and grab your mattress or sleeping pad.

Add a Mattress or Sleeping Pad

With the platform setup, you’ll want to add your preferred mattress or sleeping pad to your platform.

If you choose the right mattress or sleeping pad, you can create a comfortable place to sleep.

Consider how thick your mattress is and how much headroom it will allow you to have while sleeping or relaxing on your sleeping platform.

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Camp on the Cheap with a Truck Bed Sleeping Platform

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to create a comfortable and ideal place to camp. Now you can see how easy it is to create a truck bed sleeping platform.

If this is something you want to do, you can make your own sleeping space before your next adventure. You never know where you’ll end up sleeping in the bed of your truck.

Where will you go on your next truck camping adventure?

Last update on 2022-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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