Galley and sleeping platform system | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Galley and sleeping platform system

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Leirbag

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Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA
First Name
Gabriel
Last Name
Wilensky
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24890

Here's my recent galley/sleeping platform build, in case it helps inspire anyone planning to build a galley/sleeping platform system. This is in an FJ Cruiser.

My guiding principles were:

1. Keep it as lightweight as possible
2. Accommodate a drawer fridge
3. Drawer system had to be easily removable (no permanent attachments)
4. Platform bed needed to be removable and easily transportable to/from vehicle
5. Rear seats had to stay in the vehicle
6. Had to look good :)

Here’s what the finished drawer system looks like. The opening on the right will accommodate a Dometic CD-30 or equivalent drawer fridge, and a smaller drawer above it (coming in the future). All the brackets are already in place so mounting these things later on will be very easy.

IMG_4739.jpeg

To make the platform for the bed, I made three aluminum bars that engage with the back of the drawer frame on one side, and sit on top of the folded-up rear seats on the other. If you don't have the latter in your vehicle you would have to make some sort of leg for these bed spanners. The wood slats, which are pinned to the bars so the system becomes rigid after installed, obviously go on top of the three spanner bars. The slats and bars fit into a long duffel bag that is in a closet until I am going on a camping trip.

IMG_4740.jpeg

The drawer frame structure is lightweight and made out of extruded aluminum. You will notice it is an open frame, as the aluminum is strong enough as it is and thus I did not need walls, etc. and I wanted to keep the weight down. It is held firmly in place in the rear with two turnbuckles (only the left one is installed in this picture). You will see that the rear seat backs are reclined flat, and the bottoms are pivoted up. The top of these provides the support for the bed spanners.

IMG_4726.jpeg

The drawer system is made of 1/2” Baltic plywood, assembled with pocket screws. I was planning to dissasemble the whole thing after making sure everything worked well and reassemble with wood glue and the pocket screws, but the structure was so strong with just the screws I did not bother with the glue. The big drawer slides on a 26” drawer glide and the one inside slides on a 24” drawer glide. They are push to open, so I installed a cam lock to hold them firmly in place while traveling.

The bottom (internal) drawer is meant for pots and pans, plates, and other miscellaneous cooking gear. The reason why that comes out of the big drawer instead of directly out of the aluminum frame is because if I was cooking and I needed to take something out of the bottom drawer I would have to shut off the stove and close it so I could open the bottom drawer and retrieve something from there. The nesting drawers solves this problem.

The big drawer has the cooking platform above which holds the 2 burner cooking stove, which in turn is attached to the floor of the platform with industrial strength Velcro. The 1lb propane bottle goes in the gap behind the stove, and connects to the stove with a flexible hose/regulator instead of the solid brass pipe/regulator that comes with the stove (which goes to the right of the stove, but I did not have the space for).

IMG_4734.jpeg

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IMG_4737.jpeg

To install the platform bed, the front seats slide forward. The back rests also recline forward. It turns out that the driver seat back rest in the FJ Cruiser does not recline forward as much as the passenger seat so I had to perform surgery on the mechanism that controls this so now both recline the same, and provides sufficient room for the bed comfortable for a 6'1" person.

The rear seat bottoms recline forward and the back rests recline down, and the bed spanner bars attach to the top/rear of the drawer frame on one end using an L bracket and sit on the top part of the bottom seats on the other end. On top of that goes the wood slats and on top of that the mattress pad. The space above is not big, but it’s sufficient to turn around. The biggest challenge is getting in and out of the vehicle, but anyone reasonably fit can easily do it. If someone is claustrofobic this might not be a good solution but it does provide comfortable sleeping space for two. And, under the three bars (and on top of the rear back rests) there’s a giant 22cm tall space (and as wide as the vehicle and 113cm long) for storage of water jerry can and any other things you will need to carry.

IMG_4725.jpeg

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These are miscellaneous photos of the components/construction:

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IMG_4707.jpeg

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IMG_4717.jpeg
 

Leirbag

Rank I
Member

Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA
First Name
Gabriel
Last Name
Wilensky
Member #

24890

I tried it last weekend. It worked very well, although I will need to make a little tweak to the stove shelf.

I got all the t-slot extrusions and t-nuts from TNutz. Same as 80/20 but cheaper. The square tube bed spanners are from a local industrial metal supply place, but they should be easy to find anywhere.
 

Chevytau

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Adventure

Traveler I

233
Fallon, NV, USA
First Name
Tom
Last Name
Paul
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25058

Here's my recent galley/sleeping platform build, in case it helps inspire anyone planning to build a galley/sleeping platform system. This is in an FJ Cruiser.

My guiding principles were:

1. Keep it as lightweight as possible
2. Accommodate a drawer fridge
3. Drawer system had to be easily removable (no permanent attachments)
4. Platform bed needed to be removable and easily transportable to/from vehicle
5. Rear seats had to stay in the vehicle
6. Had to look good :)

Here’s what the finished drawer system looks like. The opening on the right will accommodate a Dometic CD-30 or equivalent drawer fridge, and a smaller drawer above it (coming in the future). All the brackets are already in place so mounting these things later on will be very easy.

View attachment 167796

To make the platform for the bed, I made three aluminum bars that engage with the back of the drawer frame on one side, and sit on top of the folded-up rear seats on the other. If you don't have the latter in your vehicle you would have to make some sort of leg for these bed spanners. The wood slats, which are pinned to the bars so the system becomes rigid after installed, obviously go on top of the three spanner bars. The slats and bars fit into a long duffel bag that is in a closet until I am going on a camping trip.

View attachment 167797

The drawer frame structure is lightweight and made out of extruded aluminum. You will notice it is an open frame, as the aluminum is strong enough as it is and thus I did not need walls, etc. and I wanted to keep the weight down. It is held firmly in place in the rear with two turnbuckles (only the left one is installed in this picture). You will see that the rear seat backs are reclined flat, and the bottoms are pivoted up. The top of these provides the support for the bed spanners.

View attachment 167798

The drawer system is made of 1/2” Baltic plywood, assembled with pocket screws. I was planning to dissasemble the whole thing after making sure everything worked well and reassemble with wood glue and the pocket screws, but the structure was so strong with just the screws I did not bother with the glue. The big drawer slides on a 26” drawer glide and the one inside slides on a 24” drawer glide. They are push to open, so I installed a cam lock to hold them firmly in place while traveling.

The bottom (internal) drawer is meant for pots and pans, plates, and other miscellaneous cooking gear. The reason why that comes out of the big drawer instead of directly out of the aluminum frame is because if I was cooking and I needed to take something out of the bottom drawer I would have to shut off the stove and close it so I could open the bottom drawer and retrieve something from there. The nesting drawers solves this problem.

The big drawer has the cooking platform above which holds the 2 burner cooking stove, which in turn is attached to the floor of the platform with industrial strength Velcro. The 1lb propane bottle goes in the gap behind the stove, and connects to the stove with a flexible hose/regulator instead of the solid brass pipe/regulator that comes with the stove (which goes to the right of the stove, but I did not have the space for).

View attachment 167799

View attachment 167800


View attachment 167801

View attachment 167802

To install the platform bed, the front seats slide forward. The back rests also recline forward. It turns out that the driver seat back rest in the FJ Cruiser does not recline forward as much as the passenger seat so I had to perform surgery on the mechanism that controls this so now both recline the same, and provides sufficient room for the bed comfortable for a 6'1" person.

The rear seat bottoms recline forward and the back rests recline down, and the bed spanner bars attach to the top/rear of the drawer frame on one end using an L bracket and sit on the top part of the bottom seats on the other end. On top of that goes the wood slats and on top of that the mattress pad. The space above is not big, but it’s sufficient to turn around. The biggest challenge is getting in and out of the vehicle, but anyone reasonably fit can easily do it. If someone is claustrofobic this might not be a good solution but it does provide comfortable sleeping space for two. And, under the three bars (and on top of the rear back rests) there’s a giant 22cm tall space (and as wide as the vehicle and 113cm long) for storage of water jerry can and any other things you will need to carry.

View attachment 167803

View attachment 167804

View attachment 167805



These are miscellaneous photos of the components/construction:

View attachment 167806

View attachment 167807

View attachment 167808

View attachment 167809

View attachment 167810

View attachment 167811

View attachment 167812

View attachment 167813

View attachment 167814

View attachment 167815
Excellent work! Looks like it ticked every one the boxes on you plan.
 

Contributor III

154
Europe
First Name
s
Last Name
K
That looks awesome man!
Very clean build with eye for details, I like that. Can’t wait to start my own build after seeing this.

Stay safe,
Steve
 

Leirbag

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Member

Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA
First Name
Gabriel
Last Name
Wilensky
Member #

24890

Thank you! Please note this was done for an FJ Cruiser and the bed platform relies on the rear seat bottoms for support. Other vehicles without those seats for support will need to add some other type of leg for those bed spanners to rest on. This would be also true if you had an FJ and wanted to remove the seat bottoms to gain more space and/or reduce weight.
 

EXPO_D1

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1,963
Bakersfield, CA, USA
First Name
James
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Coyle
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17468

to OP ive been checking out aluminum storage builds like yours. how stable is it? i do a lot of difficult trails and am concerned how well it long term stays together.
 

Leirbag

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Member

Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA
First Name
Gabriel
Last Name
Wilensky
Member #

24890

I cannot tell you how well it will perform long term as I just finished it, but I can tell you the drawer frame structure is very strong. It's held down with only the two rear turnbuckles and that seems to be enough, but if you were concerned it wouldn't be too difficult to also secure using the front trunk tie-down points.

Also, to connect all the extrusions I use a combination of internal L brackets (that go inside the t-slots) and a few of external L brackets that go, well, outside the extrusions. The external L brackets provide a lot more structural strength, but they are visible and are a little heavier than the internal ones (which may or may not matter to you). In some cases I was so close to the frame I did not have room for these (the fronts of the drawers). If structural strength was of paramount importance and I wanted to maximize that I would use all external L brackets.

In terms of weak points, I don't think it's in the aluminum frame but rather it's the push to open drawer slides. To maximize structural strength of the system I would consider using lock slides instead.
 
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EXPO_D1

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Member II

1,963
Bakersfield, CA, USA
First Name
James
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Coyle
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I cannot tell you how well it will perform long term as I just finished it, but I can tell you the drawer frame structure is very strong. It's held down with only the two rear turnbuckles and that seems to be enough, but if you were concerned it wouldn't be too difficult to also secure using the front trunk tie-down points.

Also, to connect all the extrusions I use a combination of internal L brackets (that go inside the t-slots) and a few of external L brackets that go, well, outside the extrusions. The external L brackets provide a lot more structural strength, but they are visible and are a little heavier than the internal ones (which may or may not matter to you). In some cases I was so close to the frame I did not have room for these (the fronts of the drawers). If structural strength was of paramount importance and I wanted to maximize that I would use all external L brackets.

In terms of weak points, I don't think it's in the aluminum frame but rather it's the push to open drawer slides. To maximize structural strength of the system I would consider using lock slides instead.
thank you
 

Contributor III

154
Europe
First Name
s
Last Name
K
Love to see build like these..!
All these ideas..

Looking very nice and clean, awesome job!
Can’t wait to get my own build started after seeing al those nice build here.
 

Leirbag

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Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA
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Gabriel
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Wilensky
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24890

Wanted to follow up on this story, as I finally got the Dometic CD-30 drawer fridge and installed it. It was a little challenging to install because I did not want to take the entire frame out of the trunk and install the fridge outside, and then put the whole thing back in there as I was by myself and that would have been a two man job. So, I removed one of the aluminum bars on top of the frame and was able to squeeze the fridge with the brackets pre-mounted from above (instead of easily sliding it without the brackets from the front). This meant I had to bolt it to the frame by reaching down through some very narrow spaces on the side:

784DF0B6-1E7B-47F9-A16B-E62F5F42C27E.jpeg

Once the four bolts were in place and tight, everything was perfect. The thing is solid in there.


In terms of using it, the fridge is great. Once the sleeping platform with the mattress is deployed you can barely hear the compressor when it comes on below. Also, the fridge is very efficient and obviously the compressor is not on all the time, and this is especially true at night when the ambient temperature is typically lower and thus the fridge rarely turns on to keep things cool during that time.

This also means it’s very efficient in terms of energy consumption. It only consumes 40 W/h, which means that on a 500 W/h battery it could (theoretically) run for about 12 hours if the compressor was running all the time, which of course it doesn’t so the effective duration of the battery would be much longer.

Regarding build quality, I think it’s excellent. Everything works very well. The compressor in the back can be removed and installed on the side, or even somewhere else, affording excellent installation flexibility. I left it in the back as I designed the frame deep enough to hold the whole fridge and compressor that way, but if you want to consider a drawer fridge like this you have installation options. In terms of criticisms, in reality the only thing I would have done differently had I been the designer of this fridge is to put the thermostat somewhere else. Where they put it at first glance is very convenient, but in reality is wastes space all along the top part of the drawer on the right side, as you cannot put anything all the way to the top as it would bump with the thermostat box.

Leaving that aside, I got these modular plastic containers that fit in there very nicely, and stack very well. By using these things you can organize your food very rationally and efficiently, thus maximizing space. Obviouse this would change all the time depending on what you carry, but here’s an example:

3E820B62-9D5C-4578-B026-DD71E5A8A90E.jpeg

A7A40452-486E-49DA-B843-59D4EC1DA370.jpeg

You can see there that the thermostat is on the way and what’s on the top left of the drawer in these photos could not be on the right. So, that’s wasted space. But, overall, I think the fridge is great and if you are good at arranging the food in the drawer you can actually pack quite a bit in there. Also, the fridge is more efficient the fuller it is, so you actually want to pack it as full as possible.

Lastly, regarding the space above, I don’t think I will install another drawer there for now, as I can use the space for a couple of collapsible wash basins:

1B818BD0-693B-47C5-9734-BB5E99648A35.jpeg

Overall I am very happy with how this fridge works, how well it fits and the flexibility it gives someone who really cooks while out in nature.
 

uncompromise

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@Leirbag - this is a really inspirational build — simple, light, modular, removable — and comes close to matching the requirements we have for our own. I’m curious what profile extrusions you used. I see a range of profiles in the photo, but not sure what went where. Looks like the vertical posts are the heaviest, with the horizontal bars being lighter. If you have any more details it would be greatly appreciated. Like you we want the flexibility of being able to remove the storage when not in use, and while we don’t yet have a fridge, those drawer fridges seem to be the most compact if you want a full width sleeping system in the back of your vehicle.
 

bgenlvtex

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Looks great, nice work.

tnutz.com is awesome, for those that don't know they will cut to your given dimensions very reasonably which also conserves on shipping. Their site is not a nice nor as complete as 8020.net but they have what is commonly needed and ship quickly in my experience. Cutting extrusion accurately and most important square is the key to building with T slot extrusion.
 

Leirbag

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Looks great, nice work.

tnutz.com is awesome, for those that don't know they will cut to your given dimensions very reasonably which also conserves on shipping. Their site is not a nice nor as complete as 8020.net but they have what is commonly needed and ship quickly in my experience. Cutting extrusion accurately and most important square is the key to building with T slot extrusion.
Yes, I agree with this. In my original design there were some angle gussets I wanted that Tnutz did not have, but 80/20 did. But I found an alternative from Tnutz that works just as well for a fraction of the cost and hassle of ordering from two places.
 

Leirbag

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I thought it would be a good idea to post an update to this since I got a Jackery 1000Wh power station to use in overlanding trips. The main use case is to power the Dometic CD30 drawer fridge I described above, but the power station is also used to charge a tablet, a phone, potentially another starter battery and other electronic devices.

I tested the unit’s 110V outlets by plugging in a fan and a laptop’s power supply, and that worked just fine. The unit has a pure sine wave inverter, which means it outputs clean power through the 110V ports. This is important for some sensitive devices such as laptops or CPAP machines. I did not approach the maximum allowed power draw (1000W), but I know this unit has electronics to prevent problems with overdrawing power or overcharging so it will likely cut off if reached.

I also tested the two USB A and the USB C outlets to charge tablets in different configurations (I.e. 1 USB A and the C, or two As) and it worked fine.

I connected the power station to the car’s 12V outlet to charge it and it took the charge as expected. I did not test the solar charge input yet in a real-life situation, as this power station packs a lot of juice and I haven't been out for more than four days so far. But I will later on. The unit has pass-through charging and it worked just fine as I plugged it in to the car’s 12V charge port while at the same time I used the unit’s 12V outlet to power the fridge. The display shows the power going in and out simultaneously. This is an absolute must-have for overlanding and the unit perform flawlessly doing this.

I tested the 12V regulated output by plugging in the mini-fridge in the car. The refrigerator is rated at 40W/12V, well within this unit’s rated capabilities. And in fact it performed very well. The theoretical maximum amount of time it would power the fridge if it was running 100% of the time (which it isn’t as the thermostat turns the fridge off when it reaches the right temperature) is 21.75 hours. I would imagine that in real life it will be at least twice that, but likely more. And that is without charging.

In terms of performance, I am very happy with it. I used it on two trips. On the first one it was just powering the fridge, and included about 3-4 hours of driving a day for two days. On the first day the state of charge dropped to 79%, and the next day after driving the state of charge was 80%. That's very good.

The second trip was four days. After 2 days and driving about 6 hours, and after powering the fridge all that time and charging an iPad, a handy talkie HAM radio and a USB lantern all at the same time the state of charge dropped to 36%. After another day of driving (5.5 hours) the state of charge went up to 71%, all the while powering the fridge. Ambient temperature during the day was 18°C/64.437°F and at night it dropped to about 2.7°C/37°F. For people who intend to use the power station for overlanding, if you charge it by driving a little every day or if you have solar panels, the unit should give you all the power you need indefinitely.
 

Leirbag

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Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA
First Name
Gabriel
Last Name
Wilensky
Member #

24890

@Leirbag - this is a really inspirational build — simple, light, modular, removable — and comes close to matching the requirements we have for our own. I’m curious what profile extrusions you used. I see a range of profiles in the photo, but not sure what went where. Looks like the vertical posts are the heaviest, with the horizontal bars being lighter. If you have any more details it would be greatly appreciated. Like you we want the flexibility of being able to remove the storage when not in use, and while we don’t yet have a fridge, those drawer fridges seem to be the most compact if you want a full width sleeping system in the back of your vehicle.
Sorry, I missed this when you posted it a long time ago. If you still need this information let me know and I'll post the details.
 

Leirbag

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Contributor II

271
San Diego, CA
First Name
Gabriel
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Wilensky
Member #

24890

Hi folks! in case someone here is looking for a power station like the one I use, I just found out Jackery is having a site-wide sales promotion of 15% off for all Jackery product lines from October 18th to the 20th. I think it's their 9th anniversary. I have no financial interest on this at all. Just letting you know in case someone here is in the market for one of those products. I have the 1000Wh version of the Power Station and their 100W solar panels as described above and I am very happy with them.