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​More work on the tripping truck

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    ​More work on the tripping truck

    I had a good start at it, and refined the truck outfitting over a few trips.

    http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/...cle-outfitting

    But I lived in the back of the Tacoma for the month of October while working on a friend’s property in North Carolina and discovered a few things that months of travel had not revealed.

    I had been storing clothes/gear in a grey plastic box on the paddle box shelf at the head of the bed. The top of that plastic box made a decent bedside table to hold book, glasses, light etc. But this trip I was able to park beside an electrical outlet and run a clip-on 110v lamp. And on warm nights a small fan.

    The box is less than ideal for that use; with the lamp clamped on the hinged lid the surface isn’t level, and I can’t easily access the stuff in the box with stuff piled and attached on top. I need an easily removable open-front box with a raised lip top to hold/clamp my bedside accoutrements. Add to that the clamp on light I had was massively oversized for my needs (and poorly designed; the metal shade and switch both got hot as hell).



    I just happen to have the ideal box to reconfigure. I repurposed the locking box I made 30 years ago for my ’84 travelling truck. I already have the locking paddle box and don’t need another.

    Easy peasy. Take the hinges and handles off, remove the lid and use it as an open front box with the lid on top. It fits perfectly on the paddle shelf box at the head of the bed.

    I carpeted the “nightstand” box, so if I toss and turn up against it is soft and splinter free. I always underestimate the amount of carpet it takes to wrap a box in 3D – I bought twice as much as I thought I needed and had just enough.







    New mini 110V clamp light from Home Depot and that takes care of bedside storage and furnishings on the driver’s side. The other side of the bed needs something for organizational help. I use that area for stuff bags, sleeping bags, tent and etc soft stuff, but even with some of the bagged gear held in mini hammocks it quickly becomes a disorganized mess.

    I need some organizational stability on that side as well - a shelf running as far back as the ice chest. Same height as the paddle box shelf, so I can slide sheets of plywood or similar into the bed when I need to transport such stuff, but open fronted so I can store and access gear underneath the shelf or on top.

    I’m smarter than I look. I saved the paper template for the base of the paddle box shelf. No need to re-measure or make another template for that mirror image.



    A couple pieces of poplar, another couple feet of carpet and presto, a custom side storage shelf. Since the top of those side boxes rest atop the wheel wells they are quite sturdily weight bearing.







    Both the paddlebox and open front shelf are anchored but easily removable by extracting a couple of screws. The Tacoma bed has indentations in the side walls to accommodate crosspieces of lumber to make a platform. I G/flexed a piece of wood into those indents and the boxes are simply screwed into those wood blocks from the top.



    I don’t see myself taking either side shelf out anytime soon, but if necessary I need only extract a couple of screws.

    The tripping truck grows more comfortable and functional every trip. It might be time to hit the road again soon and try out the new accommodations.

    #2
    The tripping truck is about as functionally refined as I can devise without another spate of living under the cap.

    The 110V power cord is snugged into the bedrail channel but still movable/removable.





    The side storage shelving are racked and stacked, organized and accessible with room to spare.



    And all of the soft items stored under the new shelf are bagged and tagged – truck side-tarp and poles that hook onto the roof racks, sliding window screen, summer weight bag, micro fiber sheet and tailgate/cap door “window” screen.



    The tag labels on the drawstrings help considerably in pulling the needed bag out from that dark under-shelf space (and putting them back in the correct bag) and I’m slowly adding them to anything that lives in a stuff bag for fast identification.

    I feel a road trip coming on.

    Comment


      #3
      Mike,
      I have always felt that outdoor people should express themselves in their equipment and the mods they make with it. You are doing a good job of it. There is a lot of satisfaction in little things like that table you made.

      I had an old Toyota pick up once that came with a fancy canopy on the bed that was covered in carpet and foam. It had a few storage cabinets built in. It was remarkably warmer than a regular steel truck bed with a fiberglass canopy. I slept in it several times in below zero conditions with no problems

      For a whole month of living, I would go find a truck camper. There are plenty of older ones that don't cost much. Then you would have furniture, a real bed and lights, maybe a can.
      Forester

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by ppine View Post
        For a whole month of living, I would go find a truck camper. There are plenty of older ones that don't cost much. Then you would have furniture, a real bed and lights, maybe a can.
        I lived largely in the back of an ’80’s Hi-Lux long bed with aluminum cap for 18 months and had that system pretty well dialed in. When that truck was replaced by a ’96 extra-cab I set it up pretty much the same way, with a few additions and subtractions.

        A true camper top would probably be easier to custom comfortize, but I’m trying to keep the outfitting weight down, the MPG up and the cap top at a level that is easier to load and unload boats.

        Truth be told I love sleeping in the back of the truck, snug as a bug, all my needs met within reach at my fingertips.

        Originally posted by ppine View Post
        I have always felt that outdoor people should express themselves in their equipment and the mods they make with it. You are doing a good job of it. There is a lot of satisfaction in little things like that table you made.
        My delight at the bedside storage table would be hard to comprehend. It fits perfectly, it works perfectly, even the 110V light or battery op reading lantern are at ideal an height and angle. That the bedside table was made from the old locking box out of my ’84 Hi-Lux is pure pleasing serendipity.

        If only there was room for two in the truck bed.


        Comment


          #5
          You have room for two! Lol Thanks for posting the mods done as I am just starting to put my Xterra SUV together as a trip vehicle. A very basic set up for me but its a start for right now. I hope you don't mind if I steal a few ideas? Do you have a power converter or extra battery in your truck? Pics of my set up as it is right now. The back bin is an extra large Action Packer for the 4x4 recovery gear and then a smaller one that fits in the foot well to make for a nice extended level spot to sleep. The rest just gets strapped in where there is room for right now. I really would like to do the privacy curtains for when I am stealth camping on road trips.


          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by icedragonmx View Post
            Thanks for posting the mods done as I am just starting to put my Xterra SUV together as a trip vehicle. A very basic set up for me but its a start for right now. I really would like to do the privacy curtains for when I am stealth camping on road trips.
            Curtains are easy, even for someone who doesn’t sew. I used pillowcases with a small grommet through one side of the pillow case at the end. The curtains hang and slide open/closed on a cord that runs through that grommet and out the open end of the pillow case. Easy peasy quick and inexpensive.





            Micro-fiber pillow cases will be less likely to get funky from repeated condensation after sleeping in the vehicle.

            Strapping stuff in place is a necessity lest you find your bed covered in a jumble of gear after a spell of driving. There are lots of ways to make attachment points for webbing straps to restrain gear. The simplest is just a length of 1” webbing, folded over with a hole melted through the end, secured inside the vehicle by some existing screw or bolt. Straps with fastex buckles are much more convenient than ladder locks for that kind of gear restraint, and those are cheap and easy to DIY in custom lengths with fastex buckles and ladder locks





            Road trip living in a vehicle shares a lot with the tiny house movement. My tripping truck is my teeny tiny house, and the key to happiness there is organization.

            It is hard to envision what will work all at once, and impossible without spending a few nights testing the mobile sleeping quarters. I bedded down in the truck at home on occasion while doing the initial outfitting, so I was close to my shop and tools and could easily make and test modifications..

            I’ve got several months living in my current tripping truck, and after every trip (well, during every trip) I discover additional outfitting that makes it more comfortable, efficient and organized.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by icedragonmx View Post
              Do you have a power converter or extra battery in your truck?
              To answer your question, no, not yet.

              I ran a deep cycle marine battery in my previous trucks and had halogen lights hard wired to that.

              I’ve been making do with a battery-op reading lantern thus far, with a three plug extension cord run down the side of the bed for times when I’m near an electrical outlet.

              But the ability to remotely power a small 110V light or fan looks more appealing all the time.

              I’d like to find some all-in-one 12V rechargeable battery pack and 110V inverter, basically just a smallish battery box with 110V receptacles I could recharge off the truck while driving.

              I know nothing about such devices. Ideas?

              I’ll still use the extension cord when I’m near a receptacle, and it is nice to have along for the occasional cheap motel where you get a single 110V outlet in the room.

              Comment


                #8
                I have been told that a pure sine wave inverter is the way to go if you are trying to charge/run electronics etc --- http://gpelectric.com/products/pure-sine-wave-inverters and http://waveinverterreviews.com/ I like the idea of a remote power supply that can be charged with a 12v system. I will have to check that out!

                I am personally looking for a low power draw 12volt fan for the warmer days! A nice LED light would be sweet to on a adjustable gooseneck mount

                I do value the ability to tie stuff down as I do get on some interesting trails while looking for new canoe routes and lake systems to access. Next year will be wickedly fun! Most of my tie in points will be rated for a heavy pull from the gear so it will stay in place in case of a rollover etc. I have lots of left over climbing webbing that I can tie into the seatbelt anchors and floor mounts etc. My driving will be interesting after a few more mods to the truck--- http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...s-trip-reports

                I really like the pillow case curtains! I will have to check that out when I am next in the stores! That would be perfect for my needs as I can't sew at all.

                Thanks so much for sharing the ideas and pictures!

                And a pic to shake things up! Lol

                Last edited by icedragonmx; 11-19-2014, 08:53 PM.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Those are some good ideas! Thanks for sharing sir
                  Last edited by latremorej; 11-20-2014, 03:53 AM. Reason: spelling

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by icedragonmx View Post
                    I like the idea of a remote power supply that can be charged with a 12v system. I will have to check that out!
                    I’ve been looking. The choices seem to be between portable power supplies (overkill size and cost) and a jump box with 110V capacity/receptacle.

                    We keep a charged jump box in the elderly Ford Van; it has jumper cables but nothing else (some have lights, compressors, etc).

                    This fancier jump box looks to be a likely candidate.

                    http://www.amazon.com/Duracell-600-W..._cd_ql_qh_dp_t

                    The size and weight are acceptable, but I can buy a lot of batteries for $172 and I believe I read that it would take 40 hours to recharge off a car battery.

                    I’m sure there is a way to install a separate sealed battery and inverter in the truck bed, hard wired to recharge while the truck is being driven, but I’d prefer an easily removable KISS system.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by icedragonmx View Post

                      I do value the ability to tie stuff down as I do get on some interesting trails while looking for new canoe routes and lake systems to access. Next year will be wickedly fun! Most of my tie in points will be rated for a heavy pull from the gear so it will stay in place in case of a rollover etc. I have lots of left over climbing webbing that I can tie into the seatbelt anchors and floor mounts etc. My driving will be interesting after a few more mods to the truck--- http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...s-trip-reports

                      And a pic to shake things up! Lol

                      You know, if you rollover you will need a new canoe and I doubt MPI would cover the boat or truck during off road use. My insurance company back in Ontario wiaved coverage once I got off road.

                      One man's Wilderness is another man's theme park. ~Unknown~

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I'm not sure if you've been to expeditionportal.com or not. They have forums there and all kinds of folks traveling, camping and living out of all sorts of vehicles. You may see some products you didn't know existed, I know I have.

                        Neat ideas for sure. Makes me miss my white Tacoma.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I'd love to buy a Tacoma. I don't have $40,000. Yes, it would have to be 4 wheel drive which is about mandatory out here. I do have a 1990 Toyota Hilux pickup, 4x4 that is paid for. The original intent was to make that our tripping truck but it gets worse fuel economy than my 2004 Toyota Highlander (which I'm still paying for) and the pickup is V6 with 5 speed, the Highlander V6 with Auto and it is intelligent 4x4 as well. Maybe, as the Highlander requires more and more repairs the Hilux will make more sense.
                          One man's Wilderness is another man's theme park. ~Unknown~

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Mihun09 View Post

                            You know, if you rollover you will need a new canoe and I doubt MPI would cover the boat or truck during off road use. My insurance company back in Ontario wiaved coverage once I got off road.

                            MPI must provide the coverage for the vehicle as they don't allow for private insurance, as the sole insurance provider they need to provide complete coverage. The canoe would be covered under the home insurance plan so two deductibles in total. Best plan is not to roll too many times! I do have a "few" years in the 4x4ing so I can keep it right side up for the most part!

                            Your Highlander would have as much or more room for the interior camping etc. Just need to organize the gear etc. I just wanted/needed something more off-road capable than the Outlander I had previous to this Xterra. If you are just looking to get down easy logging roads etc the Highlander would be great and comfy too! Just don't start driving over rock ledges etc or you will notice the lack of ground clearance.

                            Ideas like the second power supply and all the creature comforts etc. are best when spending a huge amount of time in the truck. I am still learning the basics of truck camping but do have a list of wants for the slow nights in the rain etc. A Ipad with a few movies and music would be great for entertainment and it has a 10hr battery that can charge off the factory USB port in my truck. Inverters etc are for the larger items like laptops etc. Thats when a second battery might be good insurance!


                            Mike- one more question if I can? What adhesive did you use for the carpet?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by icedragonmx View Post
                              Mike- one more question if I can? What adhesive did you use for the carpet?
                              I used 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. And after that ½"” staples. Once stapled I tap them into the carpet with a hammer and they disappear into the nap.

                              I’m not certain if the Super 77 alone would hold the carpet long term.

                              Comment

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