The first version was a deck platform above the cooler. That worked fairly well when loaded, but for daily driving having the deck that high wasn’t convenient.
The second version was low, about 10.5 inches off the bottom. The cooler went on top as well as the dog and had room for more gear on top as well as underneath. With the low design, it was possible to have the dog sit on her pad on TOP of a couple Frontrunner Wolf boxes for a really efficient use of space.
V2 saw the addition of the slide out table for preparing snacks and lunch on the trail as well as full on cooking if necessary. The table proved to be a really good design in function, the only problem was the CONSTANT RATTLING when the deck wasn’t loaded with a heavy cooler.
Now for V3 of the SUV Cargo Deck with Slide-Out Table. This one I made from 3/4 Sanded Pine Plywood and used the Kreg K5 Pocket Hole Jig for joinery. All the tools, materials and hardware is available at Home Depot.
The wood build is probably pretty close to the mass of the metal system, given that the metal I used was thin wall steel, however the wood table is a lot heavier. That said, it was a lot easier to built, didn’t require a welder and grinding.
I could probably make the wood deck a bit lighter by cutting out some portions of the sides, and I may do that at some point. But this design works really well and the table is really functional and doesn’t make a sound at all going down the road.
Single Sheet of Ply Wood
This build can be done with a single sheet of plywood with two squares and one shelf board left over that will be suitable for other projects.
Home Depot Panel Saw
Start by having someone at Home Depot cut down your 4 x 8 sheet of 3/4 plywood on the panel saw. The measurements aren’t super critical, and the panel saw is good enough. This is a cargo deck after all, not heirloom furniture. The measurements I used were for a 36″ x 48″ top with 12 inch sides. Your measurements might need to be different, adjust accordingly.
- 2 pieces @ 36″ x 48″
- 2 pieces @ 12″ x 48″
I cut down the sides to 36 inches with my chop saw. I had to flip them over as the saw wasn’t able to do 12 inch in one pass. Using a stop block makes this a lot easier.
- 2 pieces @ 12″ x 36″
The only other cut is to cut down the slide-out table to fit inside the uprights. The measurement I used was 37.5 to fit within the wheel wells which are 39″ apart. I measured the off -et on the frame of my circular saw and set up a straight edge to act as a fence to make this cut straight. It wasn’t perfect, but again, this is a cargo deck for a 19 year old 4Runner…
- 1 piece @ 36″ x 37.5″
I recommend using a water proofing finish on this. I will spill water on it, the cooler will leak. The dog may be wet when she gets in.
For the slide out table I didn’t want to use water seal, so I got some bees-wax butcher block conditioner that is food safe and applied that. I will re-apply that periodically to keep it protected. I put it on the sides and the finger holes to help keep it from swelling itself shut if it does get wet. I left the underside of the table and the deck unfinished to aid in drying if it ever does get saturated.
Everbilt 1-1/2 in. x 36 in. Aluminum Angle with 1/8 in. Thick: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-1-1-2-in-x-36-in-Aluminum-Angle-with-1-8-in-Thick-801407/204273991
Everbilt 3/4 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. Sanded Plywood (Actual: 0.703 in. x 48 in. x 96 in.) https://www.homedepot.com/p/3-4-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-Sanded-Plywood-Actual-0-703-in-x-48-in-x-96-in-690053/100478798
Everbilt 9/16 in. Stainless Steel Rope Loop https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-9-16-in-Stainless-Steel-Rope-Loop-42634/205887675
Everbilt 1/2 in. x 6 in. Heavy Duty Beige Felt Strips (9-Pack) https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-1-2-in-x-6-in-Heavy-Duty-Beige-Felt-Strips-9-Pack-49954/300194064
Husky Light Duty Anchor Points (4-Pack) https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Light-Duty-Anchor-Points-4-Pack-54522/206967313
Howard BBC012 Butcher Block Conditioner, 12-Ounce
Thompsons Water Seal 24111 1.2-Gallon Clear Low VOC Water Sealer for Exterior Use
Kreg Jig K5 Pocket-Hole System
Kreg KHCRA Automaxx Right Angle Clamp
Kreg SML-C125-500 1-1/4-Inch #8 Coarse Pocket Hole Screws with Washer-Head, 500-Pack
WOLF PACK - BY FRONT RUNNER https://www.frontrunneroutfitters.com/en/us/storage-systems/front-runner-wolf-pack.html
STRATCHITS - BY FRONT RUNNER https://www.frontrunneroutfitters.com/en/us/front-runner-stratchits-pair.html