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Prickly on the outside. Gooey on the inside.

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Big is beautiful.

I’ve always liked projects. Making this pig something I’d be O.K. with while scuming my way across the southern part of America was a good time.

Sleeping Platform

Having an elevated, folding sleeping area was a necessity. I’m pretty tall, and not being able to stretch out comfortably would make me miserable.

Design considerations

I ended up designing a 60/40 split for the platform. This increases the modularity of the entire platform for storage. With one sides removal, it is possible to stow tall objects like bikes while maintaining a large sleeping area. The base is supported by a front facing wall and a rib that runs the length of the platform. This rib is locked into the floor by u-bolts.

The front seats in the Element lie completely flat at roughly 14.5’’ from the interior floor. The sheets of 3/4’’ plywood I used for construction put the entire platform about 15’’ high.

The end result in full bed mode.


I used 3/4’’ ply, 1x2’s and 2x4’s where needed. The basic unpainted, un-carpeted build took about 16 hours with two sets of hands1. Something I didn’t discover till it was all built was that with the front seats up and the leg portion of the bed resting on them you get a sweet lounge chair.

I also made a new space tire cover to free up all the space under-neath. I put things I want to stay especially safe in there. Cutting the board length-wise gives access to either side with the platform installed.

Construction and test fitting.
Small side, Retaining wall, large side.
Spine, Spare tire cover, all painted flat black.

Roof Rack

The roof rack I installed is from Yakima, sourced mostly from Craigslist. 58’’ bars seemed to work best. Also, you can get the Yakima Basket Case under the bars, so I did that and secured the spare tire.

The roof-box is by far the best installed option. I’ve got tons of useless crap up there. Retail for the entire setup is north of $900. I spent $350, so I’d recommend trolling ebay and craigslist to save quite a bit of scrilla.

Showing the roof setup
  1. Thanks, Dad.