How to build a car camping setup in your SUV for cheap

I built a bed platform in the back of my 2020 Hyundai Tucson for car camping. It was a great experience, and I want to share my learnings with you!

How to build a car camping setup in your SUV for cheap

A few weeks ago I reflected on the progress I had made on building a bed platform for my SUV (a 2020 Hyundai Tucson). This has certainly been a journey for me, and I recommend you reading that blog too!

Building an SUV bed platform with no woodworking experience
I am currently in the process of building a bed platform for my SUV. Learn how I have started this journey with 0 woodworking experience.

Well, a few weeks later I am overjoyed to announce that I have finished! Let's dive right in to how the experience went for me. Hopefully, you can take some tips and maybe even build your own adventure setup out of your vehicle!

Planning is key

Plan, plan, plan. I spent a few days perusing YouTube videos, reading blog posts, and sketching up designs before feeling comfortable moving forward. I wanted to focus on simplicity since I was not an experienced carpenter. However, I still wanted it to be a comfortable, sturdy platform that I could use on many adventures.

Disclaimer - This build was specifically designed for my 2020 Hyundai Tucson, but aspects of it are certainly applicable to any vehicle! The final measurements just wouldn't be the same for your build.

This is what my final design looked like!

The final product did not look exactly the same, but it was close

I landed on a three piece plywood design that would fit a twin mattress. The entire platform would be 75" x 40" which would fit a twin mattress perfectly (75" X 38"). The piece would also disassemble to completely fit into the back of my Tucson.

How the piece would disassemble

I also needed to plan how raised I wanted the platform to be. I needed enough room underneath to accommodate storage bins. On the flip side, the lower it was, the more sleeping room would be available. I found a perfect 32 qt plastic storage bin from Target that would work wonderfully for keeping camping supplies and food together. This bin was 6 1/8" tall so I decided to make my platform 8" tall. This would work perfectly since I changed my plan to have my supports be plywood spines instead of 2x4's. You can see how each piece of one sheet of plywood, applies to each portion of the platform.

Final Design with new supports


After planning was complete, it was time to make a material list and hit up Home Depot. I made a few trips as the project came together, but here is everything that went into the platform.

One awesome benefit to buying from Home Depot was that they will cut plywood for you using their large saw. This was perfect for me because I didn't own an electric saw and was building the bed platform out of my apartment.

Even with all my planning I still managed to make one mistake.... I had him cut me a piece that was 32"x40" when it was supposed to be 30"x40". Thankfully I brought my plywood back to the store and got it all corrected. Honestly, huge shoutout to Home Depot for great customer service!

The Build

With my first set of materials acquired, the build began! I was pretty unsure of myself in the beginning, but my confidence grew with every part I completed. I took it one step at a time, and before long, the back section was complete. The middle section followed, and then the back hinged piece, and finally I was done! Check out this YouTube video I made that goes into more detail on aspects of the building process!

Let's Adventure

Now that the platform is done, the next step is actually using it! I cannot wait to take on various remote areas by vehicle, adventuring out of the back of my SUV. I hope you subscribe to the blog and my YouTube channel so you can follow along on these travels!

Enjoying sunrise while car camping over a cliff in Sedona, Arizona with girlfriend and dog.
Photo by Jimmy Conover / Unsplash

Pictures I aspire to create ^^^.


This was a great learning experience for me. Sometimes, the best way to get better at something is by simply getting hands on experience. Sure I made mistakes along the way, but it only helped me learn even more.

Lastly, I want to shout out two videos I gained a lot of inspiration from.

1) Felicia Fullwood gave me the idea of using removable bolts in her video

2) Allison Anderson's video was the first I watched and I used the concept of spines on my back piece as well as carpet squares.

I hope you enjoyed following my experience, and reach out to me if you have any questions!

Interested in following along with my journey more or connecting with me? Make sure to follow me on my socials!

Until next time!