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  #1  
Old 6 June 2019, 15:43
quixotic quixotic is offline
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Living out of my truck in the Pac NW for a while

I'm running out of money to pay for my dad's long term care, supplement my mum's pension, while paying rent. So I'm going to live out of my pickup for a while. I'll be in and around Vancouver, Canada- summer now, but wet and chilly (but rarely cold) winters coming up by October.

I follow many of the van-life websites, etc, and have found some of the stuff on there helpful. Has anyone here lived out of their vehicle in a major urban centre (CONUS or Canada) and have any helpful tips for gear, comfort, safety and security,etc?

I'll be showering and doing laundry at my gym, but cooking meals, etc, campside. And I'll be sleeping in the bed of my truck, thinking about one of those truck bed tents. This is not Shackleton trying to conquer the Pole, ha ha ha .

Any suggestions or tips, I'd be grateful. If it turns out to be a bit of an adventure and I don't screw it up too badly I'll post anything interesting I come up with during the whole thing.

Thanks in advance, gents.
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Old 6 June 2019, 18:27
wowzers wowzers is online now
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I've done it quite a bit while working out of town. I now have a trailer I built (http://socnet.com/showthread.php?t=131724). I went with the size I did because I was hauling a side by side for work. If not for that I think i would have went with a 6x12 like this guy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umnMnXQUgnY) I now want to build a little grasshopper style square drop trailer I can pull with my toyota for the nicer times of the year.

Personally it is a pain to me to have to pack up camp/kitchen everyday if it's inside you rig. Plus its sounds like you will have a camp spot. I would seriously consider the camper/trailer option or even build a little square drop trailer. If your dead set on the back of the pickup, I saved these pictures years ago from somewhere on the web that I thought was pretty ideal. I would also look at getting one of those ARB awnings that attach to the roof rack.

The green trailer could be built pretty cheaply.
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Last edited by wowzers; 6 June 2019 at 18:32. Reason: Add image
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  #3  
Old 6 June 2019, 18:58
quixotic quixotic is offline
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Wowzers- thank you. LOVE the setup in the bed of the truck. I may graduate to a trailer if this goes into the deep winter, but for now I'm going to stick with living out of the bed and maybe a decent tent. Thanks again.
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Old 6 June 2019, 19:05
wowzers wowzers is online now
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You could wire a simple 12v system into it for lights and small electronic charging. Use your alternator to charge it if you don't want to go solar. I got all the stuff for move off Amazon.

There's a lot of good advice for what you're wanting to do at https://www.cheaprvliving.com
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  #5  
Old 6 June 2019, 20:36
northwesttech northwesttech is offline
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I've found this site interesting: https://www.desktodirtbag.com/pickup-truck-camping/

I haven't lived like this personally but found it helpful for ideas.
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  #6  
Old 6 June 2019, 20:44
Akheloce Akheloce is offline
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Been there when I first moved to Alaska... Biggest issue I had was that the bed of the truck was COLD. Even when not very cold out (still above freezing). It was colder than if I would have slept on the ground. I had a US Mil issue polypad under the sleeping bag, but I still froze my butt off.

I recommend as thick a closed cell foam pad as possible.
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  #7  
Old 7 June 2019, 00:11
bobmueller bobmueller is offline
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Look up workamping, and see if there are any RV parks up in the area that would take you on.
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  #8  
Old 7 June 2019, 03:09
schibbs schibbs is offline
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You have some good advice there before you. Years ago when hopping trains and hitchhiking around the country I slept on the ground and had just a tarp for a tent. I was young then and stupid so it was easy. Now, I like that camper deal , alot, and if you have any skills as was mentioned the RV parks are always looking for decent help in exchange for a site to camp. Some of these folks I have met do not even own a home anymore , they just roam the country working at RV sites. I realize your situation will keep you in the PNW, and it is going to get a little miserable in the winter with pissing down rain, if I had my druthers I would prefer the high desert to the rain any old day. A good tent will go along way till something better turns up. Stay dry, dude and hang tough.
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Old 7 June 2019, 06:21
DaveP DaveP is offline
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Finding a cheap drop-in camper body would be ideal wrt storage, temp/bug management, security (somewhat). Barring that, like Akheloce said, truck bed sleeping in winter is freaking cold; if you go with a truck tent cover, consider one of those mattress-topper deals as your pad for several inches of insulation.

I have a NIB Big Agnes Jack Rabbit SL2 that I got cheap intended for moto camping but found a slightly smaller rig that I prefer. If you need a tent as part of your plan, gladly ship this out to you. PM me.
Tent review here: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/revi...ay%20Estrella/

DaveP
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  #10  
Old 7 June 2019, 06:28
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For the bed of a truck, you absolutely have to insulate between you and the bed. Your truck is sucking all your heat out of your body (Conduction vs. Convection). Reinforce it with additional pads, or add layers of thick blankets.
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  #11  
Old 7 June 2019, 08:05
Stretch Stretch is offline
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My mother‘s oldest brother outfitted his Ford F-150 by building a deck just above the wheel wells in the back. He slept on top, his stuff was underneath.

I don’t know all the details, but he did drive from Ozark Alabama out west and back. Grand canyon and such back in the mid to early 80s.
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  #12  
Old 7 June 2019, 08:44
wowzers wowzers is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stretch View Post
My mother‘s oldest brother outfitted his Ford F-150 by building a deck just above the wheel wells in the back. He slept on top, his stuff was underneath.

I don’t know all the details, but he did drive from Ozark Alabama out west and back. Grand canyon and such back in the mid to early 80s.

Most of those plastic bed liners have notches made in them that you can put 2x6's for joists and then deck with plywood.

If he googles "truck sleeping platform" There are a million configurations that people have made. Since this isn't just for a couple weekends I would pony up the cash for a twin mattress and skip trying to use camping pads.

There's a pretty healthy bear population on the island isn't there? I would figure out how you will deal with your food and cooking smells. A guy I worked with was camped like this in the Missions in MT and work up to his dog going ape shit. Looks out the back of the pickup and mamma griz is sauntering into camp. His sleeping bag zipper then jams on the liner and there he is in the back stuck like a soft taco. His dog ended up chasing off the bear.
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  #13  
Old 7 June 2019, 09:02
quixotic quixotic is offline
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People, thank you for the incredible insights, info, links, support, and offer of gear. Proof yet again what an awesome community SOCNET is, reflective of the awesome real world community it represents.

(climbs down off podium)

-Bears are a consideration but I'm going to be careful with my camp routine, and am pondering adopting a dog. Ideally a rescue shepherd or Great Pyr but I know they eat a ton too and money being tight....gotta make sure I can afford the food and vet care for the long term. There won't be any griz in the Metro Vancouver area unless things have REALLY gone bad and I suspect the griz will be identified and interdicted long before it gets to me. It would have to take transit or a highway to get from habitat to where I plan on being.

-Never really thought about the metal bed sucking away from body heat; I'm sure it would have occurred to me no later than oh dark hundred the first late autumn night! Will definitely get insulation and mattresses.

-Bugs aren't a huge issue on the coast (except for spiders) but I may grab a bug net for inside the truck, and a bug trap/ zapper for outside.

Gents I really truly appreciate the replies. You guys rock. DaveP, PM sent.

-
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Old 7 June 2019, 10:02
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Forget the tent idea - you want a hard top on that pickup... I'm not sure what the prices are in Vancouver, but you can drive just south of Blaine border crossing and pick up an old used Lear topper, etc for about $175 USD and $25 for the mount clamps.

It will be way more secure for your stuff, save you time every day and be dryer/warmer... Screw hell wire or chainlink fence to the inside of all windows and the rear hatch window.

+1000 on the plywood sleeping platform. I'd suggest not going all the way across the bed. Build a "box" the size of your mattress + 6" width. Leave the "inside" facet of the box, the side facing the bed, open, no plywood, just an upright or two for support, open. Screw 2 full length 2x4 to the bottom as runners, like a sled, with the ends cut at 45 degrees. Then you can slide it in and out without catching on the tail gate.

Now you have a sliding under-the-bed storage space for stuff (stove, propane bottles, chamber pot for the night, etc... And, because it does not go full width - you can set on the edge of it like a normal human to eat, get dressed, etc...
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Last edited by sixgun; 7 June 2019 at 10:16.
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  #15  
Old 7 June 2019, 10:34
quixotic quixotic is offline
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SixGun, thank you. All great ideas. I'm going to be moving west from Toronto area to Vancouver via the US and will keep an eye out for that topper along the route. If I don't get one along the way for the right price, I'll def hit up Blaine or Sumas and grab one.
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  #16  
Old 7 June 2019, 11:19
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KW Driver KW Driver is offline
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Glad sixgun said it, cause I was gunna. And if you can find a tall shell, you’ll get more headroom with a platform.

I had a buddy with one set up with drawers under his platform that would hike and climb the White Mountains/New England all seasons out of. He just used heavy bags in winter.

Inflatable air mattresses are cheap but they still steal heat and “deflate” as it cools during the night. A memory foam topper/mattress will do much better. They may be rock hard until your body heat relaxes them, but once they do, you’re good. I’ve slept on a 3” topper down into the 20s F and gotten great sleep.

Shells will make stealth camping on urban streets much easier too, if needed.

I think Vancouver allows 72 hrs parking in one spot.
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  #17  
Old 7 June 2019, 12:59
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MixedLoad MixedLoad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quixotic View Post
SixGun, thank you. All great ideas. I'm going to be moving west from Toronto area to Vancouver via the US and will keep an eye out for that topper along the route. If I don't get one along the way for the right price, I'll def hit up Blaine or Sumas and grab one.
BC will be much kinder to you in the summer and fall.

If you get tired of Vancouver's coastal weather, head towards the southern interior for your breaks.
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  #18  
Old 7 June 2019, 13:48
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Little Fix Little Fix is offline
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I do a lot of "overlanding" style camping. There are tons of people who live out of their vehicles full time. An excellent resource for build ideas is "expedition portal." They can be found via a quick google search and have excellent forums centered around each vehicle type, so you can drill down to what's applicable.

Also, check out youtube for a guy who's channel is "Colorado Backcountry Adventures." He does a good job walking through his setup and describing why he chooses each item. His setup is pretty low cost but very capable.

Living on the road or based out of a vehicle is becoming very common in the larger urban areas that are very tech-centric. Many times this is borne from financial necessity, though it's becoming common even for those who have the means to buy a house. If you develop a decent system, you can live fairly comfortably in pretty inclement weather.

I try to keep my vehicle looking pretty bland on the outside to facilitate the ability to stealth camp in larger areas as I'm traveling through without the need to head into more rural places. I also place a fair amount of stock in security by blending into the masses. A decent camper shell can be found easily on craigslist, which will go a long way towards blending in over a tent option.
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  #19  
Old 7 June 2019, 16:11
schibbs schibbs is offline
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Some cool ideas here. The only thing I do not like with any big mattress scenario is the airing out process and keeping up with the potential mold in humid environs. I really like my 4 inch thick oversized Paco Pad for rafting as it is easy to repair and keep clean and can be rolled up when necessary. Super freaking durable !
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  #20  
Old 8 June 2019, 11:37
wowzers wowzers is online now
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Originally Posted by schibbs View Post
Some cool ideas here. The only thing I do not like with any big mattress scenario is the airing out process and keeping up with the potential mold in humid environs. I really like my 4 inch thick oversized Paco Pad for rafting as it is easy to repair and keep clean and can be rolled up when necessary. Super freaking durable !
I have one of those and they are great!
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