Truck Topper Sleeper - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-19-2004   #1
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 96
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Truck Topper Sleeper

I just got a Toyota pickup with a topper, and was wondering if any of you had ideas about how to build the perfect kayakmobile. he topper has a rack, so I can put my baot up there. I need a bed, storage for gear and clothes, and that's about it. i've seen guys at put-ins and take-outs with these types of rigs, and they look like they could have gone across the country comfortably without ever staying at a hotel.

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Old 07-20-2004   #2
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 15
Good thinkin', here's how you do it. Use 2X10's or 2X12's (depending on how tall your wheel wells are inside your bed. Run them the full length of the bed and across the front, you can attach them to each other with L-brackets so you can remove them as one unit (I don't suggest affixing them to the actual bed of the truck.) Cut a platform to put across the top out of 3/4" plywood or equivelent, this will be your bed. You can either screw it down to the 2X10's or not depending on your storage requirements when you remove it from the truck. If you want to get fancy, you can screw small hydraulic lifts (like those on the lid of your shell,) to the 2X's and the platform so it will raise up for easy access. Now, since you don't have a 2X in the back, you can build a drawer that will slide in and out, our build a door to access the storage underneath. The advantage of the drawer is that your gear won't all slide to the front while traveling, and you will be able to organize better. However, it all depends on your budget. If you want to do it on the cheap, use a 2X10 in the back that can be removed (use L-brackets screwed into the side boards that will "sandwich" the tail board, you can then slide it up and out.) You can then slide out the top platform to access your stuff, or just wedge something in to hold it up while you get your gear out. You can get as creative as you want by either building the slide-out drawer, building adjustable compartments inside, run another 2X10 down the center so you have two top platforms that are easier to manage (and hence, two storage compartments,) etc, etc. I also recommend building small corner shelves in the front corners where the shell meets the top of the bed for your flashlight, water, etc. You can build the whole thing so that it pops out in moments and stores fairly flat, and without making any permenant modifications to the truck or shell. Hope this helps, if you need any more help, simply ask. Paddle hard, paddle safe.
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Old 07-20-2004   #3
Edwards, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 112
or try this - lightweight, efficient and room for all your gear:

the advantage is that it's built higher than most that i've seen and can fit coolers underneath (i have the topper that's 6 or so inches taller than the cab for extra headroom). you can't sit up easily, but it's a tradeoff for the storage.

i have (4) 2x4's which span the width of the truck and sit up on the rail and support (2) sheets of 3/4" ply - 2 per sheet - one sheet towards the front of the truck, the other at the rear (two sections so you can slide them in and out - i have the contractor's window on one side which makes this even easier).

it's a friction fit with some carpeting wrapped around the ends of the 2x4's. the plywood's also covered in carpet with some padding under it.

to stay organized you can just use large tupperware bins and slide them in and out easy. paddles have to go in slightly diagonal (i have the tacoma xtra cab).

good luck!
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Old 07-20-2004   #4
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 58
many ways

There are several ways to make it work. I have tried a couple and each have advantages and disadvantages. I am pretty happy with my current set up. If you are in the denver metro area I would be more than happy to let you take a look at it. It has several different sections for storage, mid-to-lightweight and sleeps two comfortably, easily removeable, carpeted and cost me about $110 to build. Let me know if you want to see it, or want more specific information.
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Old 07-20-2004   #5
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,888
If you're feeling particularly unmotivated to do a full build-out, or you just want to get some ideas, go check out the factory-built inserts at Suburban Toppers or A & A, both on Colfax in Denver. I bought a lightly used full carpet insert for a Tacoma a few years ago for about $250. I think the new ones are about $400-$600, depending on the features.

I bought one from a guy in C. Springs for my T-100 for $200, practically new. It takes about 3 minutes to take it in/out of the truck and has flip-top seats for storage. They're essential for boater with trucks with toppers....
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Old 07-20-2004   #6
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 480
Click on this link - a very cool site on outfitting a Tacoma.

Hope this link insert works...
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Old 07-22-2004   #7
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Oct 2003
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thank you very much for your help
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