Sue North

From one adventure to the next ...

Subaru Outback Camping Platform

In celebration of our departure this morning, we thought we’d share more details on a key component of our cross-Canada trip to the Yukon and NWT – the platform! This is Antoine’s first official blog.

The platform idea came into fruition in September 2017 after our first car camping experience at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park. We quickly learned that while the Outback’s truck was flat and comfortable for sleeping, there was not enough storage for our camping gear with a mattress in the back. The design of platform iteration #1 began shortly after this trip!

Final iteration during our test pack

I knew that the platform needed to meet a few requirements:

  • It had to maximize trunk space, because the back is only as wide as a double bed;
  • It had to allow optimal access to the storage areas and our gear;
  • It had to come apart in multiple small sections to suit the shape of the car (ie. the trunk opening is narrower than the width of the interior).

Little did I know, there were a few other requirements to be learned such as weight, adjustability, levelling and general woodworking skills.

Thankfully I had more than enough time to build and test multiple iterations of the platform.  Since pictures are worth more than a thousand words, here are some pros and cons along with photos of the first and final iterations of the platform:

Iteration #1


  • Quite sturdy – made of 2x4s
  • Foldable legs made for easy storage in the garage
  • Simple design, limited woodworking knowledge required


  • Very heavy
  • Legs had to be cut to exact height (no adjustability)
  • Front legs took up prime storage space

Strong frame but legs right where you want to put things

Trying to figure out optimal leg height

Modular panels allow for maximum interior use

Foldable legs and sturdy / heavy frame

Iteration #2 – Final Design


  • Much lighter – used 1x4s primarily and 2x4s for critical load bearing sections
  • Custom-made adjustable legs
  • No legs in prime storage areas
  • 4 storage drawers with hinges for easy access to gear
  • Latches for storage drawers


  • More sophisticated design (wood joinery used instead of hardware)
  • More legs required because frame is not as strong as iteration #1
  • (This list is subject to growth following 5 weeks of use 😉 )

Adjustable legs and front frame – 2×4 moulded to the shape of the car bump

Lots of storage space from the side doors, with room for a car cooler

All storage spaces are accessible from the top

Latches keep storage bays down while driving

We compromised sleeping space for a comfy mattress and lots of storage space

Signing off for now! We hope to post a trip progress post once we reach Liz’s camp in Armstrong on Saturday.

Antoine & Liz

PS. Please excuse any spelling or formatting mistakes – this one was written while on the road!


  1. Drive carefully and have an amazing trip. Your storage design looks super organized and magazine worthy!!

  2. Avatar
    Patricia Grattan

    August 4, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Forgot to mention the great screens that Liz made. Did you patten this idea? 🙂

  3. Are there plans for these? Measurements? Attempting to do the same for our 5 week trip 🙂 thanks!

    • liz

      April 11, 2020 at 8:07 pm

      Hey Jenny! Apologies for the super long delay. We were on a bit of a hiatus from the blog. Did you end up building yourselves a platform?? My spouse Antoine really experimented when creating the platform, so there were no plans. We can definitely take measurements for you if you still need them! Let me know 🙂

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