When are all you geeks going to realize that soccer moms got it right. I can fit six kayaks in my rig and still have room for my two year old. I often take five or six guys kayaking and we all sit comfortably in captains chairs. I even have a DVD player to watch the video we just shot on the ride home. The best part is land owners and police would never suspect a kayaker is crashed out in the back.
Just remember the size of a man's truck is inversely porportionate to the size of his......
Just kidding, I recommend talking to a welder friend or a shop about suspending the bed from the top of the bed as opposed to legs made out of wood. I had one set up with a metal frame that was about three inches below the top of the bed. That gave me room to sit up which was important to me at the time. It takes up much less room and weight then wood and if you have a buddy would not be much more. It is the labor that kills you. But I do drive a mini van and other than trying to get to the crystal gorge it rules.
I could hook your rig up and make the bed system or rack. E-mail me if your interested. Doing just the bed would be really easy and pretty cheap. Maybe $200. I could weld it up in about two days. The rack would take a bit longer.
I think I figured out a good system based on both of your ideas and absolute cheepness. I used an old bed frame (free). With the frame adjusted to double, or full size, and the head board connectors chopped off, it fits perfectly in the back of a full size truck. For the legs I bolted on some tube steel that slide up and down so I don't have to commit to one elevation. At the highest poit I can get a cooler underneath and at the lowest point I can sit up in the topper. Because the frame came with a cross piece, the plywood can be cut into quarters for access panels.
The end result is a fully adjustable, lightweight, accessable, easily removable, and cheep (without the plywood the whole thing cost about $8.00) system. The frame also collapses for easy storage.
The minivan is a good Idea, but I am tired of being the weak link in the shuttle. I've paid my dues off roading in a Neon. Although the challenge was fun, constantly replacing the gass tank and oil pan was getting exspensive. And it also went to the chrystal gorge.
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