New Tripping Vehicle Outfitting

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(Long, but I enjoy outfitting a truck for road tripping. It’s almost as much fun as outfitting a new canoe and a lot of the techniques and materials are the same)

I’ve outfitted two previous Toyota trucks for long distance travel, both 2WD 4-bangers. Each of them was still going strong at 250,000 miles, but you can’t put an infant car seat in an ’84 long bed with a single bench seat. Especially not with a stick shift. That was replaced by a manual ’94 extra-cab, and the boys outgrew that miniscule back seat after another 10 years and 250,000 miles.

I’ve been 10 years without a pickup and it was time to buy another. For starters there are no “small” pick-ups left in the US market. Even the smallest Toyotas and Nissans are “mid-sized”.

Even so a plain vanilla 4 cylinder manual tranny 4x2 regular cab Toyota pick may still be the value vehicle on the markket, but I’m too old to sit on a non-ergonomic bench seat for 10 or 12 hours. I’d like a well bolstered bucket seat, and an armrest, and, what the hell, an automatic with cruise control for long highway drives.

I think I’m getting old, and starting to like my creature comforts.

The solution was a new Toyota Tacoma, still a 2wd 4-cylinder, but an automatic with access cab. It is, for my crank-window, manual everything tastes, overly plush, but I’m learning to live with it.

I had the cap installed on a Friday afternoon and had the gear packed, with the preliminary truck bed outfitting installed, by Sunday night,

I had shopped around a fiberglass Leer cap and done some cab clearance calculations. A cap flush with the cab roof would leave most of my canoes scraping the cab roof even with the height of the crossbars added in.

That’s not enough clearance for my preferred heavy boat method of sliding on/sliding off from the tailgate end crossbar, so I opted for a “mid-rise” cap, 4” taller than the cab roof line. Flush would have been more aerodynamic, but I’ll pay that price for easier boat rackage and 20% more space under the cap. Plus I’m not as limber as I once was, and when crawling into or out of the bed the extra 4” of height in much easier.

Best price locally on a Leer cap was from Wildasin in Hanover PA.

http://www.wildasinenterprises.com/SportMasters2.html

Wildasin is a family run business that was $300 less than the chain CapCity or Truckin’ America vendors for the same Leer 180 cap. Turns out the owner is a paddler, understood my needs and was not reticent with suggestions or information (ie, Leer was running an on-line coupon for a free headliner; grey or black, he suggested black would show far less grime over time. Yes, you can just order the Thule Top tracks and re-purpose your existing Tracker II feet. No, you don’t want overhead storage bins, they’ll block part of the windows. Yes, we can wire the interior cap light any way you want.

I relish doing business with a knowledgeable vendor who knows his products and prefers to sell what the customer needs and not what carries the highest profit margin.

Part of the rational for an immediate roadtrip was to test out and refine the bed/storage/sleeping accommodations under the cap.

By the time I departed pre-dawn on Monday the under cap sleeping area was equipped with a carpeted/removable bed-length box/shelf, for protected paddle, sail and other long gear storage inside, with the top/shelf holding hard-shell items secured via straps and buckles: 20L water carboy, 30L barrel (on minicel cradles), 5 gallon open-top bucket for easy access storage and large plastic bin. The flat surface of the bin at the “headboard” end provides an excellent side table or night stand.

Secured on the other side was an Igloo Marine cooler, which just happens to fit my Polar Bear 48 soft side cooler snuggly inside - that double-cooler combination keeps ice for a loooong time – and various stuff bags, tents and other soft packed gear, plus a couple of stacked 3 gallon buckets for shorter trips where I don’t need a 30L food barrel (another night stand).

The sleeping pad is an old 5” thick foam pad from a disused kid bunk bed. Very comfy, and I cut it in a slight wedge shape to provide more shoulder and hip room towards the top.

Tools and “emergency gear” were all aboard before I left. There are 4 molded storage bins built into the Tacoma cab and bed, now categorically segregated to hold: #1 a 12V floatation bag pump, 25’ extension cord and fan, spare rope – #2 the tire jack, lug wrench, patch kit, Fix-a-Flat, road flares (3) and gloves - #3 jumper cables and shovel - #4 towing cable, chain, red flags and rags.

A plastic bin behind one seat holds rest of the necessaries: a laminated plywood jack stand, 12V tire pump, duct tape, HD carabineers, hose clamps, fire extinguisher, coat hanger, bolt cutters, work gloves, boonie hat and hatchet.

The first road trip outfitting revelation was a dirt road reveal. The tailgate on late model Tacoma’s does not seal tightly to the composite bed. The gap sucks in dirt road dust, and since the bed is my bed, that isn’t good. I assume in densely buggy environs that gap could also be an issue.

A little sticky-backed foam weatherstripping resolved that. Well, not a little; it took a full 10’ roll to seal the tailgate and cap door to light-tight perfection.

The more critical light tight issue was that I hit the road before figuring out how to install curtains sans sewing. Mikey don’t sew, and when I do the result is fugly.

Full curtains are a necessity for several reasons. When sleeping in rest stops, parking lots or parks with cheek-by-jowl campsites curtains are restfully beneficial. When leaving the truck to go off paddling hiding the contents of the bed from prying eyes is reassuring. And when doing long cross country drives with a shift driver sleeping in the back dark is better for the next wheelman catching of 40 winks than attempting this:

http://s1285.photobucket.com/user/C...013/P5131084_zps7d342936.jpg.html?sort=2&o=70

I had curtains hung in my previous trucks by simply stretching a piece of cord between cable clamps

http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail...L9jE4UDfCA==&gclid=CNKP1JTa_7gCFQ2Z4Aod1DsAKw

The cord is the “curtain rod”, but my sewer-extraordinaire father (ex-navy sailmaker) did the hemming and sewing on those trucks. I need a no-sewing fabric alternative. Something cheap, with a ready-made sleeve or hem. Or some kind of long skinny pouch.

A long skinny pouch….something like…proverbial light bulb goes off….pillowcases. Available in a variety of sizes. I found some inexpensive ones that fit perfectly.

The only adaptation needed was to seat a small grommet near the closed end of the pillowcase and run the cord in through the open end and out the grommet. I added some thin webbing curtain ties to keep them retracted when not in use and, presto, no-sew curtains!

Quite stylish in a Goth sort of way; the cab and cap windows are tinted, and the curtains are black, in keeping with the developing black and white color outfitting palate. With the curtains fully closed and the tailgate gap sealed it’s a freaking darkroom in there, and peering in from outside the windows reveals nothing but a solid wall of black.

With the curtains open it is still bright and, with the screened windows open, fairly airy. I’d like to figure out some way to screen the cap door opening. With the cap door open it rests horizontally against the boat overhang, so I have a short “covered” porch out back, and open-cap door would provide a lot of ventilation if I could somehow make it bug proof and easy to install.

Pre-trip box/shelf construction:
http://s1285.photobucket.com/user/CooperMcCrea/slideshow/paddling Truck Outfitting

A white Toyota truck and white cap holds a lot of memories for me. The rest of the outfitting, and some 80’s photo reminiscences.
http://s1285.photobucket.com/user/CooperMcCrea/slideshow/Paddling Truck Outfitting II

It is about time for another road trip to further refine this rig.
 
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Well that was fun. Love the thinking process and the step by step photos.
Brought back memories of a small Nissan truck I drove in the nineties.

BTW I'm envious of your boat collection!
 
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Well that was fun. Love the thinking process and the step by step photos.
Brought back memories of a small Nissan truck I drove in the nineties.

I’ve done a dozen or so cross-country trips in well-outfitted Toyota pickups, including endless summer 18 month stretch that crisscrossed the continent twice, from the Atlantic to Pacific and from Canada to Mexico, so I had a clear idea of how I wanted to set it up for storage and sleeping under the cap.

It is still a work in progress. I’d like to arrange some simple restraint system for the loose soft-packed stuff bags, tents and etc.

I may replace the minicel block at the end of the paddle storage bin with a carpeted door, pad lock and hasp. There is a lot of money in paddles, sails and etc in that bin, and another locked barrier would be easy enough to fashion.

Just for test funsies I tried racking a few boat variations. I can squeeze on two wide 17’ tandems, with little gap between them. My typical open and decked boat choices (Monarch and soloized Penobscot) fit well very well side by side, with enough crossbar spread to leave a 6” air passage gap between them.

I may try to repurpose an old set of Yakima racks off another Toyota over the cab doors. I’m pretty sure with three crossbars installed (two long bars the cap, one short bar over the cab) I could fit three shorter or skinnier hulls, one positioned up the middle positioned forward (on cab and front cap crossbars) and two set outboard and back on the cap crossbars.

The ability to carry two boats is mandatory. On a trip with a partner I’d need rack space for two boats of choice, and even on a long solo road trip I would want to bring both a decked boat and an open canoe for different styles/different venues. There were times on the outfitting test trip that I wished I’d brought a small, lightweight solo canoe; I really didn’t need a 17’ decked expedition canoe to noodle around on wee Butterfield Pond.

But the ability to tote a third hull without resorting to the towering pyramid thing would be handy for group shuttles, especially if that cab roof crossbar was easy on/easy off.

BTW I'm envious of your boat collection!

My wife and sons all paddle, so boats have accumulated to satisfy various niches and needs. Each of us has a decked tripping canoe, an open tripping canoe and a smaller day paddling or WW canoe. Throw in a couple of tandems, the odd SOT or rec kayak and a loaner boat or two and it becomes a fleet.
 
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Messages
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Toronto
With the curtains open it is still bright and, with the screened windows open, fairly airy. I’d like to figure out some way to screen the cap door opening. With the cap door open it rests horizontally against the boat overhang, so I have a short “covered” porch out back, and open-cap door would provide a lot of ventilation if I could somehow make it bug proof and easy

Just saw this. a little ugly but it might be a temporary solution...http://www.instructables.com/id/Magnetic-Window-Screens-for-Car-Camping/?ALLSTEPS
 
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Just saw this. a little ugly but it might be a temporary solution...http://www.instructables.com/id/Magnetic-Window-Screens-for-Car-Camping/?ALLSTEPS

Sturgeon, I might employ the magnet idea to secure parts of the tailgate/cap door screen, but I’d use magnetic strips around the perimeter instead of the little circles for more complete closure.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/The-Magn...te-Magnetic-Tape-07012/202535615#.UhIkAZI3ttw

I recently passed along an old cabin wall tent to a friend who plans to cannibalize it for material, parts and pieces. That thing has massive floor-to-ceiling screening, and I think my first step will be to cut one of those window screens (and some perimeter nylon border) out and see how it might fit and attach to the back of the truck.

http://s1285.photobucket.com/user/CooperMcCrea/media/Spring%20Shop%20Work%202013/P7031137_zps0b793b3c.jpg.html?sort=2&o=20

I’ve seen magnet & bungee corded screens intended for use on the side doors of vans and think some variation of that combination may work to screen the back. I’d like to screen this area, or at least the cap door portion.

http://s1285.photobucket.com/user/C... II/P8151225_zps8874b14a.jpg.html?sort=2&o=15

The complication I foresee is that I’ll need to install the screen so that I still have convenient access and egress to and from the truck bed. The manufactured versions of such screening systems (Skeeter Beater and etc) are all installed from the outside, with easy entry/exit via the other doors.

With just one “doorway” into the bed area I’ll need to design something that provides egress through or under the screening. And something that is quick and easy to put in place, lest I spend 10 minutes hanging it with the doors open only to trap an insectarium of mosquitoes inside the cap.

A slit in the screen with a zipper or Velcro would seem ideal, but that would again entail sewing, something I try to avoid like the plague.

I hope to have that designed before heading out on the next long solo road trip, especially if those wanderings lead me to buggier coastal or southern environs.
 
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When we only had 2 kids (oops, hooray), 3 kids, we had a Mazda truck with extra cab. Extra what? Two little folding seats squeezed behind us. Manual tranny meant no room up front. It was fun to drive, if we didn’t hear the “are we there yet?” from behind. When #4 arrived (oops, hooray) the old truck was destined for a smaller family. Several versions of family fun mobiles served us well, from wagons to jalopy vans.
I love your travelling gypsy vehicle. A travellers’ traveller?
Anyway, your post is so timely for me. I now drive a mini van, and intend to use it for a trip next fall to the east coast with my wife. I’ll adopt some of your (as always) ingenious adaptations.
(I sure wish I’d taken a fire in a pan to the OBX this summer!)
One question however, how do I add a screen to an existing vehicle window? We want to use our van as a camper van.
(Please, no “shagg’n wagon jokes, we’re in our 50’s!)
How do you crack open windows without inviting in bugs?
Brad
 
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Anyway, your post is so timely for me. I now drive a mini van, and intend to use it for a trip next fall to the east coast with my wife. I’ll adopt some of your (as always) ingenious adaptations.
(I sure wish I’d taken a fire in a pan to the OBX this summer!)
One question however, how do I add a screen to an existing vehicle window? We want to use our van as a camper van.
(Please, no “shagg’n wagon jokes, we’re in our 50’s!)
How do you crack open windows without inviting in bugs?
Brad

Brad, Skeeter Beater makes screens for various van and truck windows:

http://theskeeterbeater.com/

Those would be very easy to DIY (see Sturgeon’s post above), although I’d use magnetic strips instead of the little circles. I have somewhere seen a manufactured screen that similarly covered the side door of vans, which I think used a combination of magnets and bungee cord.
 
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Thanks Mike. I prefer the look of the Skeeter Beater, as I don’t trust my DIY duct tape/magnet finesse. Nice truck BTW.
 
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It is still a work in progress. I’d like to arrange some simple restraint system for the loose soft-packed stuff bags, tents and etc.

The Tacoma came with a bed-rail receiver system and four (giant and over-engineered) D-ring type clamps. Probably handy for carrying a load of lumber in an open bed, definitely overkill for securing a handful of stuff bags and tents.

In canoe outfitting I’m partial to webbing loop tie down points, and I especially favor webbing loops with a half-twist, so the loop is always open for easy threading of cord or strap. That canoe outfitting trick works in the truck bed as well; a half dozen webbing loops along the bottom of the window edge provides plenty of tie downs.

I think I want at least four spaced webbing loops, but while I’m at it I’ll install extras.

With webbing tie downs installed at the ready I need something to hold the stuff bags in place. I could use cord or webbing strung through the loops to hold things in place, but that seems awkward to tie/untie or strap; I’d rather have something that will hold the bags at the ready without fussing with hitches or buckles.

Something like a couple of miniature hammocks. Which I just happen to have (although it took a while to find where I’d put them).

I bought some teeny “hammocks” years ago at a Dollar Store, thinking I could install them as gear nets in tents; a task for which they proved wholly unsuited.

Those mini-hammocks were designed to hold little-kid stuffed animals in a bedroom, but they work perfectly to hold big-kid stuffed bags in a tripper truck bedroom. I’ve still got one net left over, and need another road trip to figure out where that one might best be hung.


I may replace the minicel block at the end of the paddle storage bin with a carpeted door, pad lock and hasp. There is a lot of money in paddles, sails and etc in that bin, and another locked barrier would be easy enough to fashion.

The more I thought about what is in that box the more I realized I’d be hard pressed to replace the contents on the road. I can buy a new tent or sleeping bag at any outfitter along the way, but replacing my paddles or sails along the road would be nearly impossible.

Easily done. And done without a trip to the hardware store. I am (as usual) trying to use as much material as I have on hand in the shop or in miscellaneous gear boxes before buying anything new.

I had carpet left over from the paddle storage box, and plenty of old hinges and hasps. The hefty #5 Master Lock securing the door is overkill, but it is a spare from a padlock trick an old mentor taught me - he has multiple sheds, outbuildings, trailers and locked dirt road gates, and all of them unlock with the same key.

I followed his lead years ago, ordering a dozen padlocks direct from the manufacturer. It was less expensive than buying them over time from hardware stores in sets of 2 or 4 with different keys, and since then I have needed to carry but a single padlock key to unlock any boat, shed or cable that I own.

The cover on the old foam mattress was 20-years worn, and the faded Gulag-style striping unattractive and grime showing. Another trip to the cheapo home bedding section and a small fitted sheet over the dingy cover fixed that. Black, of course.

I wonder what the reaction would be if I stopped to pick up a hitchhiker and ushered them to that darkroom-black den of inequity? Especially if they noticed the various saws, axes, knives, straps and padlocks stored in the vehicle. Ass, grass or your internal organs, nobody rides for free?

I still need to have some spare ignition keys made. One for my PFD pocket, and a couple more for my usual tripping partners to carry. Better get four, just in case.

I’m still finding small handy items to add to the always-aboard “emergency” box. The latest addition was a spare head net. My memory isn’t great, especially when it comes to stuff I only access occasionally, so I made a Tools and Emergency list of what is stored where and stuck it in the sun visor pocket for quick reference.

Even if I remembered where everything (unlikely) was my tripping/driving partner might have no clue. When you need, say, the fire extinguisher, you tend to need it RIGHT FREAKING NOW! That isn’t the time to be frantically pulling out random gear.

I’ve used a fire extinguisher twice in 30 years of road tripping, but even so that piece of vehicle gear may merit replacing with something more substantial, mounted separately behind the driver’s seat for easier instant access.

I should have the screen cut out of that old tent tomorrow and it’ll be time to design a screen porch for the tailgate end.

http://s1285.photobucket.com/user/CooperMcCrea/slideshow/Paddling%20truck%20outfitting%20III
 
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I love your travelling gypsy vehicle. A travellers’ traveller?

I had a Traveller here a few days ago, offering to sell me “a half load of crushed asphalt we have left over from a job down the road”. The Travellers must have a circuit; I get that same come-on every few years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Travellers

I’m more the anthesis of a Traveller. I’m Scots-Irish, so I tend to stay in places and work for free; it’s hard to shake the old serf heritage.


I do like my Gypsy name though. Aditi, meaning “Free and unbounded”.
 
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Truck Cap Screen Door

Truck Cap Screen Door

I had an abundance of ideas about how to affix a screen to the cap and tailgate door of the tripping truck to provide better hot weather ventilation.

Those ideas included a bungee cord perimeter (ugh, sewing), magnets, or a combination of both. Or a shower curtain rod with a slightly larger diameter plastic pipe sleeved over the rod, so the mosquito netting could simply be furled and unfurled.

Magnets proved largely useless; the cap is fiberglass and the window frames are aluminum. Unlike on a van side door there isn’t a big black gasket running around the perimeter over which to fasten a bungee, a la slipping a cockpit cover over a kayak coming. And, on further reflection, the shower curtain rod idea would have left a large gap at the top.

I need something KISS and easy to install. I have one big honking screen window from an old cabin wall tent that was cut up for parts and pieces. The screen portion is 64” x 48” and I have some perimeter tent wall nylon beyond those dimensions to work with as well.

The first test fit revealed that I do not want to keep the zippered nylon door on that screen window intact. It would be awkward if not impossible to zip closed, and if I don’t need the cap door ventilation I’d shut the tailgate and cap door and just use the screened windows on the cap.

With that nylon “shutter” cut out a test fit also revealed that, although I left a wide perimeter of tent fabric abound the netting when I cut the window out, I could have left more. But I’ve got enough for the initial experiment.

The top of the screen needs to be affixed solidly and securely. The glass and aluminum cap is little help for using magnets, but if I put the rear Thule crossbar on I’ll have a steel surface. If I’m tripping I’ll have the roof racks and boat(s) on, so that bar will always be available.

Testing time with the roof racks in place.

OK, it ain’t magnets. Even using a couple of rare earth magnets on the Thule bar the screen attachment didn’t provide the pull-strength I wanted.

Hmmm, the Thule bar is 7/8” thick. A couple of large binder clips will fit and grip over that bar.

The binder clips prove to hold the corners of the perimeter nylon fabric securely in place on the Thule bar even when I yank and pull with some vigor. They will rust quickly, but down the literal road I expect to discover a better netting-to-crossbar attachment solution. They’ll do for now.

With the top secured via binder clips and one side magneted taut to the outside of the truck bed I can easily climb in the free side, and, from the inside, simply tuck the excess nylon and fabric behind the paddle storage box and in at the bottom between the tailgate and bed.

It’s snug. It looks fairly damn bug-proof. And it’s quick and easy to install – two binder clips on the roof rack crossbar, one magnet on the truck body, hop in and tuck the excess. 60 seconds tops from start to sealed finish, without practice.

And, whaddaya know, I can close the cap door with the screen in place and untuck the fabric and close the tailgate, all from the inside, so I don’t have to get out and remove the binder clips for those times when it begins to unexpectedly rain sideways at 2am.

The screen, two binder clips and two magnets (one a spare) fit into a little ditty bag and weighs 12 oz. A test trip is in order first; seriously, it couldn’t have been that simple.

Or even just a test rest. I live next to a cow shit pastureland and have an abundance of flies at home. I may sleep in the back of the truck tonight in the driveway.

http://s1285.photobucket.com/user/CooperMcCrea/slideshow/Truck Cap Screen Door
 
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Screen door test

I may sleep in the back of the truck tonight in the driveway.

I did, and oh yeah, that’ll do just fine. With the top of the screen secured via two binder clips and one side fastened to the truck body with a magnet there was no need for any additional fasteners, although in high winds I might need to anchor the accessible flap side of the screen door rather than just tucking it in.

As always a simple test reveals some unexpected issues.

It was a dewy night, and the screen door was thoroughly wetted out, even with the cap door horizontal as a short back porch. The interior of the bed was still dry though.

Not a problem, I’ll just slide out and hang the screen door to dry.

And change into dry pants – the tailgate, which had been lowered all night, held veritable puddles of dew.

That poses two problems. I tend to slide out feet first (see new pants). And two, I don’t want to close the wet tailgate on the foam mattress.

Methinks I need to add a small hand towel to the screen door ditty bag.
 
Joined
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Messages
334
Location
Eastern NC
Sweet!! - But a Question

Sweet!! - But a Question

Nice simple design - quite nicely done. But I do have a question. Where do you buy your anti-aging formula? You have become remarkably younger since I saw you last.
 
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Where do you buy your anti-aging formula? You have become remarkably younger since I saw you last.

Willie, 92 days on the road so far this year:

Living on the road my friend,
Is gonna keep you free and clean
“Pancho and Lefty” (Townes Van Zandt)

I’ve gotten skinnier too. And better looking.

It's obvious, he's a vampire.

Hence the light-tight, all-black sleeping quarters.

One of my sons pointed out the obvious answer to the tailgate moisture; “Why don’t you just shut the tailgate and leave the screened cap door open in dewy areas?”

Damn smart-alecky kids.
 
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Screening the Front Window (or mini-van doors)

Screening the Front Window (or mini-van doors)

I now drive a mini van, and intend to use it for a trip next fall to the east coast with my wife. How do you crack open windows without inviting in bugs?

http://s1285.photobucket.com/user/CooperMcCrea/slideshow/Sliding Window Screen

A suggestion on another board caused me to consider creating an easily installed/removable screen for the front sliding window of the truck.

Magnets wouldn’t work (aluminum window frame). Bungee wouldn’t work (nothing to stretch it around). There’s not a good edge on which to use clips. I’m not a big fan of Velcro, and Velcro would require sewing one side to the screen and gluing the other around the window.

Foam pipe insulation proved perfect to secure a screen on the cap sliding window. I cut four pieces of foam pipe insulation to fit around the window frame, and then taped/glued a piece of old tent screen inside the two vertical foam pieces.

I cut the screen a couple of inches larger than the window size to allow sufficient perimeter excess for taping into the side pipe insulation pieces and gripping in place on the window frame with the top and bottom foam pieces. An extra inch on each side was barely enough; more excess screen is easier than too little. I flamed the edges of the nylon screen so it wouldn’t fray.

Quick and simple, and made a well secured and easily installed/detached sliding window screen.

A friend is interested in screening the two sliding side doors on his minivan, and those doors have a thick rubber gasket around the perimeter. I think the split foam pipe insulation and screen could be installed over those gaskets with similar ease, with a couple of magnets to hold it in place around the corners of the gasket or sliding door parts.

Screening the two doors on the minivan would provide huge opportunity for cross ventilation, and the front doors would still be available for access/egress.

I need to get his van over to the shop and give it a try. Maybe mock up a template first on an old bedsheet before cutting out final shape on no-see-um netting.
 
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Van door gaskets and pipe insulation/screen

Van door gaskets and pipe insulation/screen

A friend is interested in screening the two sliding side doors on his minivan, and those doors have a thick rubber gasket around the perimeter. I think the split foam pipe insulation and screen could be installed over those gaskets with similar ease, with a couple of magnets to hold it in place around the corners of the gasket or sliding door parts.


I need to get his van over to the shop and give it a try. Maybe mock up a template first on an old bedsheet before cutting out final shape on no-see-um netting.

We tried. Nix that idea.

I had a box of various diameter foam pipe insulation pieces in the shop and we tried all of them on the van door gaskets, including a size that fit perfectly. None of them provided enough “grip” to hold the screen in place. That van door screen is much larger than the screen on the sliding cap window and it didn’t want to stay in put during installation attempts, much less during a windy night.

Something much stiffer, like a hollow-core pool noodle, might provide the necessary tenacity.

The best solution would probably be a bungee cord sewn around the perimeter of a piece of screen, like a no-see-um spray skirt. Easy to install, guaranteed a tight, bug-proof seal and would take up far less awkward to store than 4 long pieces of pipe insulation.

Sounds like sewing. Glad it’s not my van.
 
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Initial Tacoma MPG and composite truck bed issues

Initial Tacoma MPG and composite truck bed issues

I have the first 5000 miles of boat toting road trips under the Tacoma tires and a good baseline for initial MPG.

Hauling a single 17’ decked boat on the roof racks the Tacoma got a high of 26.10 MPG (inter-State cruise-control driving at 65mph) and a low of 23.95 MPG (secondary mountain roads)

Hauling a single 16’ open canoe the Tacoma got 24.46 and 24.17 MPG (mixed Inter-States and secondaries in the mountains).

Hauling two open canoes (16’ and 14’) the Tacoma got a high of 21.04 MPG (Inter-States at 70 mph) and a low of 19.78 MPG (secondary roads with lots of stop and go), both along the coastal plain.

No surprises; decked boats beat open boats for MPG and hauling one boat is better than hauling two. I’m more tempted than ever to experiment with some ( ) shaped panel attached to the roof racks under the canoe to occlude airflow into the hull.

I continue to find issues with the composite bed. For starters there was that sizable gap between the composite bed and tailgate, wide enough to suck in dust on dirt road travel, now sealed with foam door insulation strips and cut-to-size-and-shape minicel.

I now have several weeks of truck bed sleepage under my belt, and the storage outfitting is near perfect and the sleeping comfort excellent. But the composite bed still needed work.

Because the bed is so thin it provides essentially zero insulation, and the condensation on the glass, even with the windows open, during cold nights was as bad as in my old aluminum skinned caps, and far worse than under my previous fiberglass caps over metal truck beds. After a couple of week’s truck bed sleep in cold weather the bottom of the old foam pad cover is already mildew spotted.

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Another few nights and I’ll have a full Shroud of Turin outline in mildew. I’ll try a suggestion from friends with a travel trailer – microfiber is far less likely to mildew in potentially damp or condensation prone environments. I’ll replace that 20 year old worn and torn cotton cover with a microfiber fitted sheet on the bottom, same as the one on the top.

The cap itself is insulated with a carpet liner, and the sides are largely insulated via gear storage. I needed to add some thin foam to the bottom, the “headboard” and the “footboard”. The footboard especially needed some paddling for knee comfort when climbing into the bed.

One package of minicel exercise flooring to the rescue. I use that exercise flooring in some boat outfitting applications, but I’ve never actually put it together as interlocked puzzle-edged pieces. Damn fine for truck bed insulating purposes and still the cheapest and most readily available minicel around (any big box store).

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Aosom-LLC-24-Sq.Ft.-Exercise-Interlocking-Protective-Flooring/27489641

One new bun bun of six 2’x2’ pieces, plus some scrap I had in the shop, provided enough half-inch minicel to line all of the exposed edges of the composite bed.

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ALL of the exposed edges; while I was laying foam I insulated the exposed sidewalls and wheel well; I know from semi-fetal sleep that the composite wheel well is cold on the knees. I now have an insulated darkroom on wheels.

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Yeah, That’s not gonna look suspicious if I get pulled over for a traffic violation.

It should be less prone to condensation in the cold, quieter for a shift driver sleeping in back and I can use a split hollow-core pool noodle to fill the gap between the cab and cap sliding windows and be able to force some heat or AC back there if needed.
 
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