Spend a few months, weeks or even a couple of weekends camping out of your 4WD and you are soon going to be wishing for a better way to store and organise all of your gear. I know I certainly was, but do you have any idea how expensive an off the shelf solution is? We’re talking over $1000 and in some cases upwards of $2000! Crazy, and you can build something to suit your needs perfectly. So why a false floor instead of drawers?
Personally, I rather like using big plastic tubs to store my gear. That way they can be removed from the car and remain neatly packed and ready to go. Also, commercial drawer systems can be quite heavy! Then last of all is the height of my fridge. My Nissan Patrol is pretty high up as it is; mounting the fridge on top of them means I’d need a step to see which cold drink I’m grabbing! Some may be all for drop fridge slides but they cost about as much as a fridge and weigh more than one too!
Here’s a few things to keep in mind for planning your own false floor:
- The size of your storage tubs. Purchase them first and build your system around that. Don’t buy the cheap brittle plastic ones, when they break you may not find a quality replacement in the size you need. Go for something like the ToolPro Command Case or the Plano Sportsman Trunk depending on how much space you have.
- Access to storage or accessories. For example, the Nissan Patrol has a bottle jack stored in the rear quarter and a panel to access the tail lights. You might like to leave a cut out like I did to access them, or build in a removable section so that you can still get to them.
- Any other accessories. If you have been thinking about installing a compressor and air tank, mounting a fire extinguisher or putting in an inverter; now is the time to plan a space for them, or maybe even get clever and incorporate them into your design.
- The final height of your gear and installation. I’m not sure how you’d feel, but if I went to slide my fridge out after all that work and it jammed up on the roof; I would probably rage-throw a hammer from here to Africa.
- If you want your setup laser cut from titanium, I might be a little envious. If you’re super-budget like me I am then grab some measurements and poke around the salvage yard for a while instead.
Now here’s some specifics on my own false floor:
Three legs at the back of the car and two legs at the front of the car support most of the weight while still allowing me to slide gear in and out from underneath. Through the centre and bolted to the wheel arches is a support beam to stop the middle sagging and prevent the whole lot shifting around. This framework is all knocked together from salvage yard scrap metal. The floor itself is a cheap 12mm plywood from the hardware store; a few people use marine plywood so as it doesn’t fall to pieces if it gets wet. However marine ply costs twice as much, and I can’t see myself getting it wet in a hurry. You could leave it bare, you could paint it or you could do as I did and cover it with automotive carpet stuck down with a can of Selleys Kwik Grip – Spray Adhesive.
I left a cut out in my floor where the jack and tools are kept. You may also see that the piece of the floor in the upper left of the photo is removable. On the opposite side of the vehicle is another removable section to allow for access to the left tail light.
Like a lot of DIY projects it can be a case of measure 20 times, cut once, get the cut wrong, fix it, and still come out of it with something decent. Now you’re all organised for your next trip, it suits your vehicle and style and can be done easily for under $100!