DIY False Floors. An Alternative To Drawers.

DIY False Floors. An Alternative To Drawers.

A little while back I wrote up a DIY on rear door tables: Another Take On Rear Door Tables. In some of those pictures there you can see a glimpse of the false floor setup in the Patrol, and I have had a lot of emails recently asking for more pictures and how it all works. So let me show you a few pictures and tell you how I set it all up, as well as some points to consider when planning to build your own DIY false floor storage solution.

Bang! Glory shot straight off the mark. This is how it looks completed with all of the items stored underneath.

First up, why no drawers for me? Well, I prefer to use large tubs to store all of my gear. I can remove them from the car and still have all my gear packed neatly where I like it. Also, I like to cut back on weight, and commercial drawer systems can be bloody heavy! Finally, the Patrol is high enough to make it a challenge to get into the fridge if I install drawers. Yes, there are drop fridge slides; but these are almost the price of a new fridge, and weigh more than one too! So I designed the false floor with the lowest profile possible, still allowing for the space underneath to be useful. Here are all the things I keep store under my false floor.

Here is what gets packed under the false floor. Lesser used items such as the 5x5m tarp and the 3 person tent towards the front of the car, the 3 burner stove and recovery gear tub sits towards the back; easily accessible.

A few things to consider when planning your own false floor might include:

  • The size of your storage containers. Purchase them first and build your system around that. Don’t buy cheap crap, you’ll want to replace it with good tubs when they go, but you won’t find one to fit your setup.
  • Any storage you need to access. Patrol’s have the bottle jack stored in the rear quarter, and a removable panel to access the tail lights. Consider leaving a cut out to access it, or make a removable section in your floor held down with a couple of screws.
  • Any other accessories. You might plan to mount a compressor and air tank, fire extinguisher, sub-woofer or inverter. Plan a space for it and possibly even incorporate this with your design.
  • The total height of your gear. I dunno about you, but if I put my fridge on the slide and it hit the roof after all that work; I could probably rage-throw a spanner from here to Japan.
  • Budget. If you want your setup laser cut from titanium, that’s awesome! I would be seriously envious. If you’re super-budget like me I find that grabbing some measurements and poking around the salvage yard for an hour will do you well.

So, some specifics on my false floor:

How it looks underneath. There are 3 legs across the back to hold weight, the bar across the centre prevents bowing in the middle.

I picked up some 20mm square tube from the salvage yard. Two of them were from old shelving of some kind, and the leg you can see in the picture was already welded on. There are 3 legs towards the front of the car, and two at the back. All I had to do was cut the legs to height and trim the lot to length before it could all be screwed onto the plywood. Most people use marine ply; that stuff costs twice as much, and I can’t see myself getting it wet.


The legs take most of the weight, but that’s not going to prevent the whole lot shifting around when your getting some serious angles. To address this issue, and to provide some stability and prevent bowing in the middle; the centre bar is bolted into the factory mounting points for the third row seats. The whole lot is covered with standard grey automotive carpet which is adhered to the plywood with a couple of cans of Kwik-Grip spray glue.


I chose to leave a cut out around the hatch where my bottle jack and a few spare tools are located. You might notice that the part in the upper left of the photo looks removable. That’s because it is. On the opposite side of the vehicle is a similar removable section to allow access to the left tail light. All up this project probably cost under $100 and has made things so much more organised in the back.

Like most DIY projects it’s a case of measure 30 times, cut once, stuff up the cut, fix it somehow and still somehow come out the other end feeling proud. Now you’ve got something that is unique and fits your needs for as much as you were willing to spend!

I would love to know if my design has inspired you to make your own false floor, and what parts you chose to do differently?

See you out there!


Alex Garner

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  1. joshtaylor
    October 31, 10:44 Reply
    Good stuff mate think i will get onto this. You make a valid point about having to unpack thed rawers only to re pack for storage at home! Unless you wanna be loaded up 24/7 haha I think ill make mine level with the back seats for sleeping purposes when i cant be bothered with the swag for a quicky overnights
    • Alex Garner
      October 31, 10:53 Reply
      Sounds like a good plan Josh. That would be awesome for those nights when the weather turns sour too. I probably would have built mine that way too if I didn't have a cargo barrier, now I've gotta make do with sleeping in the front seats if I need to!
  2. I really like the simplicity of the design. I'm in the works of designing a drawer system for my wife's GMC Yukon XL. The plan is to have the false floor level with the height of the rear seats once they are folded down. I also will have a hinged panels that will extend over the collapsed seats to form a completely flat surface for loading large objects or for sleeping on top of. The (planned) drawers underneath would be great for storing booster cables, tools, and all the mom-n-dad essentials (such as spare diapers and wipes) while still leaving a neat and tidy appearance. I hadn't considered building the frame out of metal though. That would certainly form a sturdy structure and could even save weight. Cheers! Dan
    • Alex Garner
      December 09, 07:49 Reply
      A few people have gone that way Dan, designing it to the same height as the rear seats so as they had a level platform to sleep on. But I like your idea of the hinged panel, no need to remove the back seats to have more floor space and very easy to get your seating space back if needed too!
  3. Ben Collaton
    December 10, 05:37 Reply
    Looks like a trip to the salvage yard is in the pipeline, I have been deliberating options for my GU for some time now as I too have turned away from drawers based on the extra weight. Thanks for your ideas!
  4. nikname
    March 15, 05:40 Reply
    Where did you get that cargo barrier from?
    • Alex Garner
      April 12, 16:09 Reply
      The tip shop actually! Its made for a VY commodore but I customized a little and made it work.
  5. John
    July 05, 21:56 Reply
    Hi Alex Back again! I too will be fabing my own false floor. While I can afford the fancy draws (and indeed all the other OTT camping/FWD aids) I too am concerned about weight. All this C**p adds up to a great deal of mass. Its not at all hard to exceed the load carrying capacity of any Vehicle inc. Patrols and Cruisers just with the add-on's let alone the Consumables and loose gear for a trip. I still like simple and I'm not young, however I do not want to be a slave to all the gadgets now available to "supposedly" make camping and FWD'ing easier???. Your False floor with a couple of readily available tubs is perfect! light weight , wont rattle, or add excessive load. What many don't understand is that the load carrying capacity of Vehicles is Static, or at best highway live loading, definitely Not (Aussie) off road. Keep your sensible and very useful ideas coming. John
    • Alex Garner
      July 27, 12:33 Reply
      Hi John, Welcome back! Haha. Yeah it's incredible how we get all this crap thrust in our faces and described as absolute MUST haves hey? I find a lot of the fun is packing light and trying out new ways of doing things that work for ME, and that's what it's all about in the end; so many people feel the need to have all the latest and greatest when really it's fun just to pick through the sea of choices and choose what suits your style. This time around on my latest Patrol build I have gone with drawers instead of the false floor. They weigh a whopping 75 kilo's! BUT! They have the fridge slide built in which saves 20 kilos putting my other fridge slide in. And I will be going without the 100 kilo rear bar and 70 kilo roof top tent this time around. Alex

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