Saturday, April 1, 2017

I'm going to build a truck camper!

I've always wanted to get back into RVing and I've been slowly introducing my  wife to camping since I've met her.

I personally grew up RVing with my parents and once I was on my own, I picked up tenting.

I still love tenting and I do plan on getting a new ultra light tent in the coming months. However, I really wanted a substantial, no fuss solution.  I don't think my problem is unique, I want to make the most of my weekends during our very short hunting seasons here in New Brunswick.  Deer season is short and with vacation time is always at a premium - the appeal of setting a tent at an undisclosed remote location at 10PM on a Friday night in a Canadian fall is minimal.

Tents are too much work in those conditions. I really dont like setting up camp in the dark.. And it might be a very wet and cold weekend.

A small trailer is out - I'm going aiming for 'dispersed camping' (I love Crown Land!). I don't want to deal with having to turn a trailer of any size on old logging  roads. Couple that the the possibility of my preplanned spot being inaccessible or already taken is a real possibility. So in short, a trailer is out. It does work for some people, but its not what I see my self doing.

If I had an 8 ft box or maybe even a 6.5ft, I'd do a 'simple' truck cap mod. Not having that...

My solution is simple : I'm building a truck camper.

There is so many pro's: protection from the elements and wildlife. Minimal setup. Easy navigation. Enough room for guests with out having to get too friendly...

Cons... Cost. Build time. 

Buying a camper is pretty much out of the question - its out of my budget for the next few years and the 5.5ft models are rare.

I will have some challenges. My F150 is a short box... 5.5ft short.   And I want it before the next hunting season.  And I want to keep it affordable.

Luckily, I have some Glen-L plans to reference and my father has tons of advice for this build having done it in the 80's.  Fortunately for him, he lives too far away to help me physically build it every weekend.

I have some interesting requirements for this build:
* affordable
* fits in a 5.5 ft box
* boondocking / dry camping focused
* possible remote office
* upgradable...

The main point my father stressed is that I have to plan out everything before I build it.  I don't have to have the equipment installed, I just need to have a plan on how I'm going to cleanly install that item/system later on.  My father's reason for this is both practical and hard learned. Its easier to design a cut out or wire run before the camper is built.

I have a few ideas for the build that each deserve their own separate posts. Radios, solar, heating issues have all been topics that have been on my mind lately. If you have any ideas, I'd love here about them.