Truck Camping

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Truck Camping

Postby Scott McCrea » Oct 14, 2005 8:44 am

Truck Camping: sleeping on a custom built platform in a cap/shell covered pick-up truck bed.

I have been doing this for years. I learned it from a caver. I have seen lots of other cavers do it. I was happy to see that someone finally took the time to share info about this technique. Branden Johnson wrote a great article about truck camping that appeared in the 2005 TAG Fall Cave-In issue of The Georgia Underground, Volume 40, No 4. The online version can be found here: Truck Camping 101.

So, let's share some more ideas about truck camping. Post some pics of your rig. Describe your techniques. Share and learn. :D
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Postby ian mckenzie » Oct 14, 2005 11:09 am

Mine was similar to Doug Strait's, except the deck was in three pieces, hinged so the thing double-folded up onto one side - a single caver can sleep on the one-third and pile gear floor-to-ceiling in the other two-thirds. Or the thing can fold out to accommodate two sleepers, with kit crammed in below. That was in a 85 toyota 4wd truck.
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Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 14, 2005 12:31 pm

These days I don't do so much truck camping. But if I did I'd be having problems. Ever since I got my truck with the camper, a dealer installed Leer, I've had trouble with the windows leaking. I think I took it back twice for them to re-glue the rubber around the window. It's still having problems. What type of glue would I use to fix it myself?

And, next, I realize when I get in my camper and look out, that I can see a fair bit of light through the edges of the tailgate. No wonder it gets damp when it rains. Is there anything I can do about that?
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Postby ian mckenzie » Oct 14, 2005 12:51 pm

don't camp in the rain...
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Postby Scott McCrea » Oct 14, 2005 1:42 pm

Squirrel Girl wrote:These days I don't do so much truck camping. But if I did I'd be having problems. Ever since I got my truck with the camper, a dealer installed Leer, I've had trouble with the windows leaking. I think I took it back twice for them to re-glue the rubber around the window. It's still having problems. What type of glue would I use to fix it myself?

I used clear silicone caulk to patch a leak on my previous cap. But really, if it's a Leer, it shouldn't leak. Forget the dealer, contact Leer about it.

And, next, I realize when I get in my camper and look out, that I can see a fair bit of light through the edges of the tailgate. No wonder it gets damp when it rains. Is there anything I can do about that?

You could try weather stripping to fill the gaps.
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Postby David_Campen » Oct 14, 2005 10:02 pm

I sleep in the back of my Toyota 4Runner but I don't have a shelf and mattress. I just use a cheap Coleman sleeping bag for padding. At night my gear goes into the cargo basket on the roof. I remove and leave at home one of the rear seat folding seatbacks so there is enogh room for me to stretch out.
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Postby Dave Bunnell » Oct 15, 2005 3:07 pm

I came up with a fairly simple and lightweight platform for my Toyota p/u. The platform itself consists of half a dozen 1x12 pine shelving cut to the width of the camper shell. By itself this is too flimsy. But then I made a narrow but sturdy support, easily removed, that runs down the center of the bed. It has 2x4s along the top and bottom connected by 5 4x4 pieces providing the real support.
The real capper to this setup is a bunch of those cheap, interlocking rubbermat things sold for flooring which I use to cover the top.
But sleeping in this space is something only a caver will love, especially with two people it is a challenge getting in and out!
I could attach a photo but I'm not sure how to do that here.

Nice write-up in that Georgia Underground issue.

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Postby Wayne Harrison » Oct 15, 2005 5:27 pm

Dave Bunnell wrote:I could attach a photo but I'm not sure how to do that here.


Dave, click on the "Upload Image" button among the two rows of buttons under the "Cavechat.org" title. Then browse your hard drive and upload, then cut and paste the code into the body of your post.

More detailed instructions are under "Please Read" (the top section on the forum): http://www.caves.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=97
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Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 16, 2005 7:22 am

Dave Bunnell wrote:But sleeping in this space is something only a caver will love, especially with two people it is a challenge getting in and out!
Aw, Dave.... It all depends on what those two people are up to back there! :shock: :grin:
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Postby Lava » Oct 16, 2005 1:11 pm

Squirrel Girl wrote:
Dave Bunnell wrote:But sleeping in this space is something only a caver will love, especially with two people it is a challenge getting in and out!
Aw, Dave.... It all depends on what those two people are up to back there! :shock: :grin:


Yeah... thus the very sound advice that I received too late: do not buy a cap that is the same height as the cab of the truck, get a taller one! :oops:
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Postby bsignorelli » Oct 16, 2005 1:22 pm

Check out this guys "Dual-level bed video" (7.3megs) which is on a page with several other truck camping mods http://tinyurl.com/b57hm.

I dunno if I really like the dual-level bed though since it means all your gear has to sit outside the truck when sleeping...which is great in the desert but sucks in the southeast. But I like his idea and location for the watertank. :)

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Last edited by bsignorelli on Oct 16, 2005 1:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby bsignorelli » Oct 16, 2005 1:22 pm

Of course there is always a Flip-Pac like this guys....

http://tinyurl.com/aw668

Though I dunno what it costs.
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Postby speloman » Oct 17, 2005 10:46 am

:shocked: Dang I got to get one of those
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Postby Scott McCrea » Oct 17, 2005 10:57 am

Flip Pac: Very interesting. Lots of added space, but... you still have all the problems of using tents. You have to set it up. It gets wet and you have to dry it out. Neat idea, but I'm sticking to the plain old cap. :bat:
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Postby Cindy Heazlit » Oct 17, 2005 2:16 pm

You know, I've never seen carpet kits back east, but we've had them in California for 20 years.

The middle section can be moved up to make a single sleeping platform. When I went on a trip, I usually put the bed into sleeping platform mode, and then stored my caving gear underneath. Because the platform was in sections, I could easily lift off a section to get at my gear. I usually kept my clothes in the side bins for easy access.

The section closest to the tailgate can be moved and fitted upright to create the back of a lounge chair... nice to hang out in the back of the tailgate.

Sweet!

http://www.sierratops.com/carpet.htm

You can combine this with a shell with a sliding window. Then you can open the back pickup window, crawl straight from the pickup cab into the back shell. No getting wet on a dark and stormy night. And the bed is soft, cushy, and waiting for you.
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