Box Truck Camping Tips..

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.

Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby trilobyte » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:05 pm

Let’s talk about box truck camping, and restart a great thread...

First, there's something important to point out. For many rental companies, sleeping in or living in the back of the vehicle is against the terms of the rental agreement. They’ve got their reasons (vehicles come back trashed, smelling funny, etc), and we can respect that. We also encourage participants to be respectful of the communities and businesses, and to always treat rental gear well and return it in as good (if not better) condition than when it was picked up. Your actions reflect on the entire burner community - if people don’t treat rentals well, it could lead to increased rates and fees, fewer vehicles available for rent, or companies just no longer renting equipment for Burning Man.

I can appreciate that some people may be looking for a shopping/booking directory, but this thread is not intended to be a place to advertise rental companies. Use your powers of radical self reliance and go grab an internet search engine. Find a prospective company or three, and start doing some research. Reading the legalese can be a challenge - for most companies, only a very abridged version of the complete contract is posted on their site - you may need to call the local office where you plan to rent from and have them fax or mail you a copy of the agreement you sign when you pick up a rental truck.

With all that said, for those who either have purchased their own box truck or found a rental company that does allow it, then box truck camping is something that you may want to consider. Doing it right does take some planning - you’ve got lighting, ventilation, cooling and other considerations - and this thread is a place for box truck camping veterans and enthusiasts to share their tips and tricks. While we were not able to keep the original thread (for a few different reasons), we can start a new collection of what works best.
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:36 pm

8)
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby puretone » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:19 am

Hi all,

I'm thinking of doing exactly this....except with my very own little hillbilly truck. I say hillbilly lovingly. I am no hillbilly myself, nany am I from hillbilly country...or even from the USA for that matter. My friends have christened it so, and I've added TacoTruck to it....so hillbilly TacoTruck it is.

Anysnootch, I'm thinking of either a DIY box on the truck bed, or if I can find a reasonable priced factory made one. Ventilation will be of concern. I'm thinking perhaps a solar panel bank on the roof in order to run some form of a fan to circulate & extract air/hot air. Of course a battery bank will be required too. No biggie.
The way I see things is I'll travel to the site with the truck bed box disassembled. Being an engineering geek, I am completely incapable of keeping myself from tinkering with absolutely everything. Assemble on site & profit. Perhaps a canopy over the truck itself or just the truck bed section would really help my plight as well.

I'm probably missing a couple things here...this will be my 1st (finally!!!! Been meaning to go for nearly 2 decades!!!) Burning Man....so do treat me as a total n00b. Any pointers, advice, recommendations & ideas = welcome & thank you very much.

Do we have any data on what the weather/climate is like during the day/night? During the day is obvious....hot as hell. I was born & raised in a similar permanently 88+ degree temps night/day-all-year-round country, so no concern there... BUT, what about night time? Do temps drop to any insane low? I'm supposing it is not high desert, so probably no actual freezing temperatures.

I'll troll around on the site to see if I missed that crucial webpage containing Burning Man weather/climate. If any of y'all know off hand or know of any other info...do post! Thanks!
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:46 am

Had a little frost on my tarp in 2010 cause it IS high desert!!!

This will take care of staying cool for naps! 8)

https://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=280&t=33842&start=2430
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby Canoe » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:29 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Had a little frost on my tarp in 2010 cause it IS high desert!!! This will take care of staying cool for naps! 8) https://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=280&t=33842&start=2430

+100
Sounds like you can use the uni-cooler. That Endless Breeze fan is great.
The DIY swamp-cooler takes hot & dusty fresh outside air, injecting cooled moist dust-free air into your shelter, so you've got your ventilation nailed too (it requires an exhaust vent). A costco deep-cycle battery does most people for the week on a single charge (but panels are fun to play with).

puretone wrote:... I'm probably missing a couple things here...
Do we have any data on what the weather/climate is like during the day/night? ...
I'll troll around on the site to see if I missed that crucial webpage containing Burning Man weather/climate...

Guaranteed you've missed some things. There's a lot of info out there.
But, as to the elements on the playa, look back to the opening post of this thread. In trilobytes' signature line, there's a link called "Survival Guide". Go read it. You want to make sure you read ALL of it, and the updated 2014 version once that is available. I recommend downloading the PDF version of the Survival Guide, so you can't miss a page or two, as has happened to those reading the online version.
Some years it's a walk in the park, warmer in the day, comfortable warm at night. Other years, you can have crazy hot in the day, and/or crazy cold at night. As you don't head away from your camp without carrying personal water, same for appropriate clothing.
Odd. No bears to watch in the dump. Oh well, lets go across the road & pick blueberries.
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby oly14 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:12 pm

Box Truck Back Wall-50.jpg
Hoping to reduce some of the dust getting into my box truck, I'm building a back wall with window and door so I don't have to use the roll-up door for ingress/egress. Got the wall framed and skinned this weekend. Next up, the door and art (bare plywood simply won't do).
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:19 pm

Scorch and urethane!

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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:45 am

Tip: box trucks generally have rails or other mount points on the inside, perfect for hanging up a hammock (or five).
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby trilobyte » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:05 am

@oly14 - great job! I've seen a couple people who do the back wall, and I agree - plywood alone doesn't cut it.

@BoyScoutGirl - I've always been under the impression that the side rails only have limited support capacity. I was told they're less of a sturdy frame and intended more as a bumper so the thin metal shell of the 'box' doesn't get too beat up. I've never tried putting one to the test myself, I never owned one and the most I've ever pushed a rental was to tie rope to the rails for securing a load.
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby chuckularone » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:09 am

During one move I put ratchet straps across the middle of a 3/4 full orange rental truck and tightened them so much that the walls bowed in a bit. The straps held the load back for the entire 750 mile trip. That was also 20 years ago, so YMMV.
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby oly14 » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:32 pm

Finally finished construction of the back wall for the box truck. The door is hung with shed latch handle, window is in, trap doors cut for unicooler and exhaust filter, weather stripping around joints for dust mitigation, and turnbuckles with eye hooks in place to secure the wall in the opening. The wall is actually two pieces, bolts hold the pieces together, for easier 'installation' and take-down on the playa. All that's left is the decoration. Not sure what I'm going to do with that yet.

20140704_184246_25.jpg

Next up, the landing outside the door and some stairs (no climbing up and down off the bumper).
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby lucky420 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:37 pm

oly14 wrote:Finally finished construction of the back wall for the box truck. The door is hung with shed latch handle, window is in, trap doors cut for unicooler and exhaust filter, weather stripping around joints for dust mitigation, and turnbuckles with eye hooks in place to secure the wall in the opening. The wall is actually two pieces, bolts hold the pieces together, for easier 'installation' and take-down on the playa. All that's left is the decoration. Not sure what I'm going to do with that yet.

20140704_184246_25.jpg

Next up, the landing outside the door and some stairs (no climbing up and down off the bumper).


What a great blank canvas you have!
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby Drawingablank » Sat Jul 05, 2014 2:09 pm

BoyScoutGirl wrote:Tip: box trucks generally have rails or other mount points on the inside, perfect for hanging up a hammock (or five).


I tried this in 2012 and although the rails supported the hammocks well, the width was insufficient so they had to be strung diagonally. Which turned out to make it a hassle to move around in so we just used an air mattress. I have since moved on to folding camping cots.
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Jul 05, 2014 2:48 pm

Bolt some 2x4s to the rails on the inside at the front and hinge some 3/4" plywood for a fold up bed that will use very little space.

You could even do bunk beds!!! 8)

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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby Jovankat » Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:23 pm

That's brilliant FIGJAM, your pictures make me want to buy a truck. :twisted:

And the fold down bed makes me nostalgic for my studio apartment days. Although to be fair the fold up bed was less about saving space and more about stopping my cat from peeing on the bed. :roll:
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:57 pm

That's my playapod! 8)

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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby oly14 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:17 pm

I wanted to go with a fold up bed but there's a door into the cab from the box and the distance from the top of the door to the top of the box is too small to handle the bed when it's folded up. I did go with a raised bed platform for extra space though.

20140705_190952_25.jpg
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby Savannah » Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:08 am

Very, very cool solution. :)
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby bluemiragemi » Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:40 am

Wow, yeah, this absolutely makes me want to buy a truck and figure this out. What a great use of space. Thanks for sharing the ideas, folks!
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Re: Box Truck Camping Tips..

Postby mosquito » Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:55 pm

Great stuff. I'm collecting notes for 2015! :o)
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