Driving Central America & South America.

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Introductions and beds

Tcat Left 2
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Tcat Right 2
Jipopotamo's picture
Joined: Oct 22 2009

Hey there guys. I don't want to rant on for a huge essay about who we are and what we are doing so I'll try to keep it reasonable.

Three of us will be driving an 87 Toyota 22re 4x4 4Runner down to South America this December. There is no set route, no set destination and no return date. We are preparing much and planning little. Just wanted to put ourselves out there and say hello. We host ourselves at www.twentyfirstcenturynomads.com

On to the bread and butter. This is what we were working on the last day or so and I just finished my initial write up and figured others could benefit as well. Here ya go.

Bunk Bed Setup in 1st Gen 4Runner
We knew we wanted a platform idea for a bed and spent plenty of time gathering ideas and brainstorming.

This is what we ended up settling on and honestly couldn't be happier.
It is an extremely lightweight minimalistic design which we really liked.
At the same time, it is one of the most versatile setups we tried.

The cross members are cedar 2x4 cut to length. We liked the smell of the cedar, living in central Texas and all and it is a very resilient working wood.

The platforms are planks of blondewood plywood at 1/2" thickness. This stuff is wonderful. Great strength to weight ratio.

Sanded and smoothed everything down. Its all cut to fit so its as simple as dropping and sliding everything into place. When not in use, everything comes right back down. Planks will end up getting cut again to make each plank into two separate three foot lengths. This will allow us to use just one or two of the complete four if we just wanted a little dinner or work table.

So altogether we will have (4) 36"x19.5" blondewood planks and (4) 2x4 cedar cross members. Without a way to measure accurately, I'd say all that comes to ~30 pounds. We already were intending on having our sleeping pads and bags with us so all you have to do is set the system up, slide the pad and bag in and you're done.

The intention was two on top and one on bottom with that additional space dedicated to gear. In a pinch, we would actually be able to sleep four. Mind you with all of this set up, the front two seats are unmolested, upright and ready to drive. Roof rack is going to free us up from the burdens of lots of interior gear so with this setup I think we will have more than enough space to play with effectively.

There wasn't much to it and it was very very very easy to build. All parts including an expensive gallon of exterior paint that will end up coating all the wood came out to about $115 at Lowes. For the exact system we were thinking of, I'm calling it a steal. Also, the first few shots show the Jipo wrapped up in a new bug net we picked up the other day from a military surplus store. It has a max height of 8'3" and a diameter of 41'. It is designed to engulf a bed or cot setup like a canopy but it fits nicely on the Jipo and covers all the windows. Makes great for nice open windows when the situation allows. Either way, here ya go guys.


admin's picture
Joined: Feb 11 2009

Awesome rig guys!!! But,

Awesome rig guys!!! But, where does the 3rd person sit when driving?

Also, what part of Central Texas?

Jipopotamo's picture
Joined: Oct 22 2009

Beautiful part of that

Beautiful part of that sleeping setup is that it is all very easy to put up or break down. Our 50/50 split bench seat folds down flat for when we want to sleep full out, but when we need the seats, the boards come down in less than a minute and you have two full rear seats.

So quick breakdown, I'm Cale, and then theres Dustin and Andi. Apparently Dustin met one of the original Southbound Travelers brother who works at Batteries Plus. Ringing any bells? (We were told the names John and Ben?)


robertdjung's picture
Joined: Oct 31 2006

sure, that's John, and his

sure, that's John, and his brother is Ben who went on the big trip. Cool! Small world!