Camping Drawers- Final Report Part I: The what

For my final project I decided to build out the back of my truck for camping. This ended up being a one big “box” with two drawers to hold my stuff. As discussed in my design preview I really wanted to create a space that I could use as a base camp of sorts for ski adventures. Ever since entering college I have wanted to spend a winter break road tripping around the country and skiing all the iconic resorts that I haven’t been able to visit yet. 

Example of a trip I want to take

Since I had been thinking about this for so long, I already had somewhat of a list of things that would make this trip the most feasible. Because of this my design was largely driven by function. My specifications were: 

  • Needs to provide a sleek way to organize all my stuff 
  • Needs to have room to store at least 3 or 4 pairs of skis underneath the platform
  • Needs to be easily removable from my truck
  • Needs a dedicated space for my camping stove/ equipment
  • Sleeping platform needs to be big enough to accommodate two people
  • Needs to be durable, weather resistant


When I first started this project, I wanted to utilize the space around the wheel wells. I had also planned on having two drawers and an additional space for skis. Additionally, I planned on having the sleeping platform span the entire width of the truck bed.  I had also played around with building hanging drawers that would be mounted on two 2” x 10” boards spanning the width of the truck bed. With all of these ideas, I turned to the dozens of projects posted online to see what might work best. I didn’t find any designs that incorporated hanging drawers. Since I was the most skeptical of this idea to begin with I decided to scrap it. A lot of the designs I saw had a sleeping platform that spanned the entire width of the truck bed, but their build processes were a bit on the complicated side. 

One example from [1]
Another example from [2]






Initial Design with Three Partitions
Initial Hanging Drawer Design







I ended up drawing a fair bit of inspiration from Sam Chou and his K.A.M.P. drawers. [3]  He also built a two drawer system to slide in between the wheel wells of his truck. One thing that I specifically took from Sam’s design were his drawer slides. Originally I had planned on buying premade cabinet drawer slides. Sam used ⅕” steel tubing that slides on bearings. I realized that this would be a much cheaper option; not to mention sturdier. Instead of using steel tubing I went with closet tracks since they would be a lot easier to work with. 

In the end I decided to just build two drawers to maximize the storage space. I also decided to just build my drawers to fit within the width of the wheel wells. I wanted to finish the bulk of this project over spring break, so this seemed like a good way to simplify the project.

Since I had envisioned a vehicle for adventure and function, I chose a utilitarian aesthetic. I wanted to keep things as simple and sturdy as possible. I ended up painting the drawers black in hopes that the black might hide some of the dust and dirt associated with camping. I also went with simple stainless steel latches; they won’t rust and they’ll get the job done (I also think they look pretty sweet). 

I haven’t gotten the chance to go camping yet, but I think I have nailed the functionality pieces. I have a dedicated space for my stove, a long drawer for cooking utensils/ food, and another drawer that can easily fit three skis. I haven’t tried to fit four pairs of skis in the drawer, but I’m sure I could if I put some more thought into their placement. So far the drawers seem pretty durable and have done a good job transporting my skis during day trips. I also think my drawers look pretty utilitarian. They look pretty simple and don’t have any additional bells and whistles. 





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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Pere Roquet Arroyo
    April 30, 2023 10:35 pm

    Maddie I really like how your final product turned out. I think it is really practical, big enough for bringing almost everything but without being too bulky to still allow for fitting some big objects. By the way I also take note of the route you did because I would like to do it also. Have you thought about implementing a kitchen or a grill in the future as the one in the video?

    • Maddie O'Brien
      May 1, 2023 9:15 am

      Hi Pere,
      Thank you! I’m really stoked with how it turned out too! I do have a second drawer that is dedicated as a “kitchen” I just didn’t add a picture. The kitchen drawer does has a dedicated space for a stove, but it’s definitely not as refined as the drawer in the video.

  • Ankit Karkhanis
    April 28, 2023 3:43 pm

    Hi Maddie,
    The truck bed looks amazing!. I really liked the space utilization you achieved. The latches enhance the theme even further, Great choice!. Usually the bed of the car holds the space wheel and tools, Did your design include providing ease of access to them? or you just planned a different space for them. Also, do you plan to further modify the back to include more modular storage and the sleeping space?

    • Maddie O'Brien
      May 1, 2023 9:19 am

      Hi Ankit,
      Thank you! For my car specifically the tools are stored inside the cab of the truck and the spare tire is mounted to the underside of the truck, so luckily I didn’t have to worry about this. I’ll probably refine my drawers a little bit more, so that they can have a bit more organization. Otherwise I’ll probably just add lighting and potentially some hooks for jackets and other small things


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