truck outfitting

Selling some gear? Find or lose something?
meetVA
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truck outfitting

Post by meetVA » Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:26 pm

So, little surprise, looking to outfit the Taco (ie Tacoma) for a good long road trip.

Rhino tipped me off to this guy's amazing job on his Taco:

http://www.bajataco.com/Camper1.html

For those who have lived out of their cars/trucks for long period of times

what have you learned
what would you like to have done differently
any thoughts on what this guy did to his truck, improvements to the design...
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Wes
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Post by Wes » Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:43 pm

Get a roof rack and a large cargo thing for it, they are great for storing stuff you might not need every day, but want to have with you.

Bikes are nice to have in some climbing areas and for rest day fun.

Get plenty of plastic storage boxes of all sizes - they rule.

It is hard to keep food that needs to be cold, cold. Unless you are out in the winter.

Learn to make food that takes very few dishes and is simple and quick. Like cans of soup, or tortilla rollups.

Rainy weather sucks. As does really hot weather. Plan your trip with the weather being number one priority.

The key places to find in any new town are: The library, the laundry, bookstores, gear shopes, showers, and food stores.

Budget money for good beer / food every once in a while. Like a nice lunch or dinner on laundry day or something like that.

Try to hit areas where you can stay for at least a week or two. Best is staying for 3-4 weeks. You can really explore and get used to an area in that time, rather then just hitting the highlights. Plus, you can actually pick something to sorta project then.
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RRO
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Post by RRO » Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:56 pm

Looks like a nice set-up all and all. First I would ditch the carpet. Just asking for dirt/food/grim build up as well as insects and creepy crawlers. I like how he left a lot of head room. That was our mistake with Bessie. We had maybe 8 inches of room, miserable on rest/rainy days and we were always hitting our heads, knees and whatever. Compartments and trap doors sound good in theory but did not work for us. Anytime we wanted to use one we had to move the pads, sleeping bags and egg cartons. Much quicker to just think about what you will need most and keep that close to the front and just pull everything out as you need it. After a week or so we had it wired to where we didnt touch the back totes but maybe once a month or when we did maint. IMO it also helps with security not to have the trap doors. Just get a lock for your tailgate so that way if you are broken into they can get the top compartment but cant get to the lower without a lot of work, look at ours next time you are out. Depending on how large you want to live you can get a cooler and wire it to run off a seperate battery. I had a deep cell marine battery wired to the alternator and had a switch so when we were camping for awhile I could run direct off the deep cell and had no worries on draining my car battery. We also had a solar shower set up to hang off the side of the truck. You need a well venilated shell and netting is a must. I like his light set-up but a tika works just as well and you want to keep the inside as basic looking as possible for security. One thing I would recommend highly is a retractable/removable rain fly/tarp off the back of the truck. Having the sliding window on the truck and camper shell is nice, you can cool or heat the back easier but make sure you get a good boot to go between the two. When we get to hit the road again we will buy a drop in camper or will go very basic and save the fundage for more time on the road or better beer, either way you win.
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kato
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Post by kato » Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:26 am

I like the flip up windows. Easy access for the bears. :D
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meetVA
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Post by meetVA » Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:28 am

Thanks Matt!! You've given me a lot to think about and made a lot of excellent points. I was wondering about the carpet on the bottom of the car, though I've heard that covering the top of the vehicle is a good idea for reducing the amount of waterdrops hitting you in the face.

We are going (I think) with the roof-rack for sure to keep our climbing gear in. Also, I guess a run to rubber-maid heaven would be a good for getting an idea about what type of storage sizes are out there.

And you may have won Rhino's heart with the solar shower. It the netting to keep bugs out? Do you guys still have yours?
I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
- Robert McCloskey

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.
- Emo Philips

longlegsrule
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Post by longlegsrule » Tue Jun 28, 2005 10:14 am

from a friend who did this...yes carpet works to keep the dripping down on the roof...but be prepared to remove it eventually...it gets moldy after a while...even if it's outdoor carpet

oh...and you never need as much stuff as you think you will...funny...two month climbing trip with a guy and he took more crap than I did... :?
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rjackson
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Post by rjackson » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:07 pm

Check out Vehicle-Dependent Expedition Guide by Tom Sheppard. This is regarded by many as the definitive reference guide for anyone who is considering or planning for an extended trip that will be vehicle based. Well worth the investment. This guy has been everywhere from jungles to deserts and discusses everything from off-road driving techniques to strategic planning of supplies and equipment.

You should be able to find it on Amazon, or if you are near a Land Rover dealership they may have it in stock. Call a dealership and ask. My experience with Land Rover dealerships is that there is usually at least one person who'll be knowledgable, and will be more than happy to talk about expeditions (without trying to sell you a new truck).

The guy with the website had a pretty clear idea where he was going and what he wanted from his truck. The best thing to do is have a good idea of where you are going and what you want to get out of the experience. Local weather, access to parts and supplies, road conditions (if they exist) and desired comfort level are a few of the things to consider when researching your destination and planning for your build.

I could comment/critique for days on the build, but I think you would get a helluva lot more out of the book.

Good luck, happy trails...
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diggum
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Post by diggum » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:18 pm

RRO, wow.
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Post by Wes » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:31 pm

A couple other things that I have seen:

Nick and Reba had an electric blank in Hueco. Kinda nice if you have access to power.

Another guy had built really long drawers for under the platform, rather then just stuffing plastic boxes.

An exrta battery and an inverter are cool.

Digi cam and maybe a web site to keep everyone up to date. I really wish I had a digi cam when I did my first few trips.

You might look into a trailer hitch storage box and/or bike rack.

Get a 5 gallon water jug or two.
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kirker
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Post by kirker » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:39 pm

That looks great. Very sturdy and erganomic, but I do agreed the carpet has to go. I would suggest a spray in bedliner. Certain brands will adhere to both the metal bed and the plywood. I have one in my F150 and its great.
Also the fact that the roof rack is bolted directly to the fiberglass camper top worries me. Fiberglass will crack very easily when put into a bind, and the only thing holding the camper top to the bed are 6 aluminum c clamp brackets. Take into concideration the fact that the camper top, truck bed, roof rack, and 6 clamp brackets all flex and move especially when off road. I would think an extention to the truck bed bulk head or cab roof for support would be safer.

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Sco Bro
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Post by Sco Bro » Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:05 pm

I would convert the extended cab of the Taco into a cooler to hold all the tasty beverages you could want or need. But then again, you may never make it out of your driveway. . .

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Post by Smedley » Tue Jun 28, 2005 5:46 pm

I'd like to hear more from the women on this board who have converted their 'Taco?'
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Post by kneebar » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:09 pm

Looked pretty cool. Like Wes I knew a guy that had 2 really long drawers down the middle designed around plastic containers that he could remove. They would slide out to all the way except the last couple of feet for support. Made it real handy to get to anytime and it was a bit more secure. I believe he used 4 roller skate wheels for the bearings (each drawer), fairly simple design and worked very smoothly but you do sacrific a few inches for bearings. He still ended up with compartments on both sides around the wheel-wells with the forward ones having access from the top. He also had a high top for headroom which was really sweet. A propane stove is nice for cooking with a 20 lb cylinder and a long hose.

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Post by Legion » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:12 pm

keep it simple. the more frills you add the more trouble you are asking for from thieves, rangers, and stuff breaking.
get a raised roof topper you'll be glad for the headroom even though it will cut your mpg.
don't put anything on the roof if you can help it. Likewise for brush guards, running lights, and all of that other silly stuff. It will kill your gas mileage and you don't need it anyway.
carpet is no problem as long as you get the right kind - the auto carpet stuff.
just cut a sheet to fit your bunk and don't staple it down so you can pull it out of there if you need to clean it. I have never had any trouble with critters, mildew, etc. It stays very clean. I hold it down with double stick tape. The extra trick solution would be velcro but I have only pulled the carpet out of there once.
The guy with the website overdid it. Keep things simple and flexible. I have two partitions under my bunk - one towards the back of my truck that is accessable from the tailgate - I keep my food box, stove, water jug, and dishpan here.
The other partition is only accessable from a trap door in the middle of bunk. Under here is the rest of the bed. I have a couple of tupperwares and a few big duffel bags in here. Stuff sliding around is no big deal under any off road circumstances. Maybe the guy with the website was carrying around his china collection, I don't know. I am happy to have a big open space that I can just toss my bags into and go.
My topper has no side windows. It's only ventilation is the front slider if I have the back closed. My back glass is limo tint. Highly recommended for stealth mode sleeping.
Get some folding chairs
If you need a roof rack find a topper with a plywood reinforced roof.
My topper used to slide around until I drilled/bolted it down. That was the ticket.
You don't need a bedliner but if you have a plastic one in your taco already then leave it.

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ynp1
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Post by ynp1 » Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:30 pm

i want a truck now! thats some cool shit
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