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How To Add A Hidden Rear Storage Compartment To An SUV Camper

Joe and Erik are two guys from Saint Paul, Minnesota who decided to take a break from the 9-to-5 world and travel around North and South America by SUV.

To start their journey, they bought a 2000 Toyota 4Runner SR5 that had about 158,000 miles on it. After purchasing a Haynes repair manual, the two completed a long list of small modifications to their vehicle.

See also: This Adventurous Couple Took a 23 Year Road Trip in the SAME Car Camper.

Some of these mods included,

You can see all the modifications they made to the stock 4Runner here.

How to Build a Custom Storage Area in the Back of an SUV

One of the major additions to the 4Runner was a homemade storage cabinet they built to keep all their gear from rolling around in the back of the vehicle.

It would also blend in to the interior of the vehicle, and trick any would-be thieves into believing nothing was stored in the rear.

Building the storage box was a family affair. This is Joe’s dad, Ron, helping out.

Building the storage box was a family affair, this is Joe's dad, Ron

Screwing together the sides.

Screwing together the sides

Erik taking over. The box is just tall enough to sit flush with the bottom of the rear window.

The box is just tall enough to sit flush with the bottom of the rear window

The rear hatch folds down and is supported with light chains, wrapped in foam padding.

The rear hatch folds down and is supported with light chains, wrapped in foam padding

The crew added carpeting to the top of the storage locker.

Adding carpeting to the top of the homemade storage locker

Here it is fitted into the 4Runner.

The box installed in the 4Runner

They installed an inverter in the side of the box and wired the device to the car’s battery.

Installing the inverter in the side of the box

The carpeting made the box blend in with the vehicle’s interior.

Putting the finishing touches on the carpeting

What storage box?

What storage box

With the carpeted top and a height that precisely matches the bottom of the rear window frame, it’s hard to tell there’s a storage cabinet back there. Maybe they could add some hanging pockets like in this modified Toyota Land Cruiser?

Although Joe and Erik’s journey ended in 2013, you can read about the places they visited on their blog, Apollo’s Journey.

More custom truck campers:


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