Author Topic: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?  (Read 25607 times)

in2themild

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Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« on: July 02, 2013, 09:25:28 AM »
Hi there - we are already committed to our course of action but I am curious to see this community's thoughts on how we have decided to spend the last year of our 20's.  Some quick stats: we recently quit our jobs (~$125K income combined), sold our house (broke even after four years of ownership - came out on first time homebuyer tax credit and renting out bedrooms), purchased a slide in camper (2004 Okanagan 80W, $9K) and a truck (2008 F250, 118Kmiles, 6 month warranty, $15K) to move it.  Our goal is to spend a year on the road, and a month into it we have spent time exploring the White Mountains of NH, the Adirondacks in upstate NY, and after a brief visit to RI for a wedding we are heading up the coast of Maine to explore the Canadian maritime.

We converged on the Truck Camper method of traveling after a long and exhaustive process of elimination.  One major constraint was that we have a dog to consider - yes, a luxury, but not an optional one as I am afraid we love the goofy hairy creature.  Therefore we needed a vehicle with room for her, hence an extended cab pickup.  We wanted the comfort of our own space combined with all-terrain capability and ability to park almost anywhere - hence eliminating the RV or trailer option.  While we are both enthusiastic hikers and campers, we decided not to rely on tents because at the end of the day we are doing this for a year and we want some place to call home, however small it is.  So, while we have invested a substantial $25K in the truck / camper combination, I believe that at the end of this trip we will be able to get most of our money back (3/4 and 1 ton pickups hold value well).  The hardest thing to get over was the gas mileage - having traded in my beloved 2004 Accord (the only car I had ever owned) and its' 34 mpg, it is tough to now get only 13 mpg.  However, we budgeted for this and everything else we could think of and have deemed the cost acceptable.

Does anyone have any thoughts, criticisms, advice to offer us?  So far we have camped at trail heads and Walmarts but are looking for ways to find nice people to let us stay in their pastures or driveways with only occasional rental campsites to recharge and dump the black water tank.  I am very curious to see what this community thinks of our plans.  We have been big fans of MMM and you have all inspired us to tackle this 'Pretirement' project.


SunshineGirl

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2013, 09:30:42 AM »
I think it sounds great! You could always try to be a campsite host at places, and try using couchsurfing as a way to meet people and find driveways to stay in.

You might also want to keep a blog, and like-minded people who admire what you're doing may invite you to park on their property while you're in their town.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 09:33:48 AM »
The biggest downside is the gas mileage, so I would just try not to move it more than necessary -- even get some used bikes for local excursions so you don't have to fire up the engine.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2013, 09:48:32 AM »
Always wanted to do that, but was always too busy with career, grad school, professional qualifications and now kids.  Ah well, one can live vicariously.  There is an excellent blog by a couple who did what you are doing that is one of my all time favorite blogs: http://underagedrvers.blogspot.com/

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 10:26:10 AM »
Good on you for living your life the way you want. I'm gonna be all over that once I'm FI... or maybe a bit sooner ;-)

If you're looking for driveways to stay in, I agree couchsurfers is the way to go. Should be even easier for you since there's two of you and you wouldn't even be staying inside. You might also look into housesitting if you would be alright staying in one place for a little longer.

Bikes would be great for getting around without moving the truck if you have room for them, or you could try scooters, skateboards, or roller blades if you're pressed for space.

jpo

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 11:18:16 AM »
Thinking of doing this when I hit 30.

Why a truck camper instead of a re-purposed cargo van?

in2themild

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 06:14:05 PM »
Brewer - Thanks for sharing that 'underagedrvers'!  Those people are basically us - very funny.  I have already gone through their blog and will probably reach out to them.  I envy that gas was under $2 a gallon for them :)

jp - we thoroughly explored the van alternative.  The problem for us is that relatively new and non sketchy (minimal urine and semen stains) Class B vans are extremely rare and hard to come by at least in our area.  Probably because they are insanely expensive brand new and yet depreciate instantly, so people are less willing to part with them.  We checked out a few options and the quality was questionable, plus we get more storage space with a truck and when we get back from the trip we will have a more functional vehicle.  Also, at some points in our travels we expect to have to leave our dog somewhere because she will not be allowed and having a camper that we can leave at a campsite, plugged into juice so the AC can be on will be necessary. 

We are keeping a blog: www.in2themild.blogspot.com  We would appreciate shares and any referrels to places to stay.  Thanks for the thoughts and please keep the feedback coming.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2013, 06:28:47 PM »
Since you asked for thoughts...  Given your constraints, I would have gone for a smaller pickup (Toyota) and a trailer.  Problems with the camper is that you pretty much need a big truck to fit one of reasonable size, and you pretty much have to haul it everywhere you go.  Trailer you can leave at a campground &c.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2013, 06:35:01 PM »
I'm jealous.  I think you will have amazing adventures you will never forget, and you will never regret.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
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in2themild

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2013, 07:13:22 PM »
Jamesqf - I appreciate that.  We thought about doing the small truck / trailer but actually concluded that a full size pickup with a camper on the bed is more nimble - we can park in a typical parking space which would not be an option if we were towing.  Also, we do have the options of leaving the camper at a camp site should we choose to - the legs deploy to be free standing.  In fact, that is one of the advantages to us - no additional axle means fewer things to break and no additional registration or tolls. 

I do agree with you that a smaller truck would have been both easier to find and much cheaper.  I am hoping our F250 retains its value well and that I can get back most of what i paid for it since I expect to 'only' put around 10K miles on it and will keep it in good shape.

ender

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2013, 08:37:50 PM »
Thinking of doing this when I hit 30.

Why a truck camper instead of a re-purposed cargo van?

Are you me?

I'm also thinking of doing this, except using a repurposed cargo van like you suggest :)

MountainFlower

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2013, 09:50:13 PM »
Wow, what an adventure.  Back when I used to be a rock climber, I met lots of folks doing that sort of thing.  We lived in an airstream for 6 months, but it was parked.  I was so much more connected to nature when we lived in that thing.  I ALWAYS knew what phase the moon was in, for example.  Trailer living really helps you minimize what you really need.

I skimmed your blog and I have a suggestion for you with regard to noisy people:  white noise.  I highly suggest this: 
http://www.amazon.com/HoMedics-SS-2000F-Relaxation-Machine-Nature/dp/B00A2JBMRE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372823277&sr=8-1&keywords=homedics+sound+spa

It can plug in or run on batteries.  We take ours camping with us because people are f-ing noisy in campgrounds. 

Enjoy your adventure!


Stacey

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2013, 09:56:50 PM »
Awesome!  I'm currently on a similar journey with my husband and two year old son - except we're just traveling in a car with a tent.  We originally opted for a van, which subsequently broke down and is no longer in our possession.  When we were figuring out how to strike back out on the road, we considered a trailer.  My husband was not too excited about a trailer, so we wound up streamlining everything and using a tent as our main home.  Even with the van, we frequently slept in the tent, so that wasn't a huge change.  Since we've made this decision, I'm always comparing and thinking about what would be better or worse about having a trailer.  The trailer is definitely better when it comes to sleeping in parking lots, bad weather, and grizzly country.  No more parking lot sleeping now that we're just in a car (and have a two year old with us).  But, the downside to the trailer is that there have been several roads we've traversed in the mountains that explicitly disallowed trailers or rvs of any sort. The beauty of a trailer, though, is that you can unhitch it and trek out on those roads just in your truck!

Best of luck with your travels!  I'm always excited to hear about more folks around our age who are out traveling the country for an extended period.  I'm definitely going to check out your blog.

Cheers,

Stacey 
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« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 09:58:37 PM by Stacey »

Stacey

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2013, 10:03:19 PM »
I was so much more connected to nature when we lived in that thing.  I ALWAYS knew what phase the moon was in, for example. 

I saw this just after I posted.  Too funny - this was actually the exact inspiration for my blog name - bottling moonlight. 

"Moonlight is ephemeral. Natureís rhythms are just that Ė rhythms. Nature is not static. To live in closer harmony with natureís rhythms, I need to live mindfully in the present; I need to live in nature. And while Iím not audacious enough to think that I can bottle moonlight for consumption later, Iím just audacious enough to think that I can bottle moonlight if Iím fully present right now. This blog will give me the opportunity to share my familyís experiences as we travel around this beautiful country, sleep beneath the stars, trade our central air for warm breezes, lose the day of the week but gain the phase of the moon, and try our hand at bottling moonlight."

pac_NW

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2013, 10:21:36 PM »
Congrats!  Hope to do same next summer in our VW Eurovan camper. For staying on farms and such, check out Harvest Hosts - really cool model for staying at farms and wineries.

http://www.harvesthosts.com/invitation.htm

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2013, 11:37:04 PM »
If youre ever in Kansas message me, I know a lot of people from Omaha to the midlle of the state.  One alternative option would have been a smaller RV, Toyota used to make one about the size of a largish van but they are rare and gnereally not cheap or need work.  Another would have been to build or buy a Teardrop camper, light enough to tow behind a car and small enough to move by hand as neccasary.  Actually building one of these in the near future, Ill let you know how it goes. 

jpo

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2013, 08:14:26 AM »
jp - we thoroughly explored the van alternative.  The problem for us is that relatively new and non sketchy (minimal urine and semen stains) Class B vans are extremely rare and hard to come by at least in our area.  Probably because they are insanely expensive brand new and yet depreciate instantly, so people are less willing to part with them.  We checked out a few options and the quality was questionable, plus we get more storage space with a truck and when we get back from the trip we will have a more functional vehicle.  Also, at some points in our travels we expect to have to leave our dog somewhere because she will not be allowed and having a camper that we can leave at a campsite, plugged into juice so the AC can be on will be necessary.
I was thinking about getting a work van, something like a used Ford E250. Then you put in your deep cycle batteries, fabricate a bed, install AC (we are going to bring our dog too), etc. Craigslist shows plenty of these types of vans for relatively cheap. And I would expect no "mystery fluid" stains.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2013, 11:27:04 AM »
Thinking of doing this when I hit 30.

Why a truck camper instead of a re-purposed cargo van?
Are you me?

I'm also thinking of doing this, except using a repurposed cargo van like you suggest :)
I might be, do you black out for hours at a time? ;-)

A few examples of how to convert vans  here.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2013, 11:28:25 AM »
No criticisms here. Most people would benefit more from an actual travel trailer than a truck bed camper, for some reason truck bed campers are more expensive than the lower end travel trailers. Also 13 MPG while "towing" your home (toting being more accurate) is not bad. Even a Tundra or something of that size would not do much better, if at all. I am going to read through your blog tonight, looks interesting.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2013, 11:39:16 AM »
When I was 22, I took 6 weeks to explore the country via van, and I don't regret it one bit! After that trip, I had travelled to 48 states, but didn't get around to the last two (AK and HI) until much later in life.

One thing we did at the time to save on expenses was buy a National Park Pass that got us in to any park for free for the year. It definitely kept our costs down. We also found that federal forests and state parks cost less for camping than the national parks. If you don't end up getting a park pass, consider timing your visits to the parks on free days: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm

And this might go without saying, but we also cooked almost every single one of our meals.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2013, 12:29:05 PM »
Your adventure looks awesome and something we plan on doing down the FI road. Been flipping between a van/Class-c, a truck camper or a DIY airstream rebuild ... one day.

My friends website covers the ADK high peaks region in great detail if you are still in the area and looking for more hikes/trail heads:
http://alavigne.net/Outdoors/FeatureReports/Adirondacks/

Enjoy :)



in2themild

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2013, 04:55:53 PM »
I was thinking about getting a work van, something like a used Ford E250. Then you put in your deep cycle batteries, fabricate a bed, install AC (we are going to bring our dog too), etc. Craigslist shows plenty of these types of vans for relatively cheap. And I would expect no "mystery fluid" stains.
[/quote]

This would be a fun project - in fact when we first started planning this adventure I envisioned myself engineering our own living space out of a van, but did not end up having the time or the energy.  If you have the means and the tools, you could make a pretty badass van.  One thing I think you would find is that your storage options are limited with a van compared to a truck (with an extended or double cab in particular).  We literally have to store EVERYTHING we own and could need in a year of traveling / camping the continent.  If you are thinking weekend or even week long trips and you still will have a house to store stuff, I'm sure you could pull off a sweet rig and it would be fun to build.

in2themild

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2013, 05:00:58 PM »
Some really great stuff here, thank you all.  Some of this we had arrived at and is good to see that great minds think alike - for example we do have the year long park pass which we have used in the White Mountains of NH and are about to use in Acadia. 

Some other ideas are new to us - I did not know about "harvesthost" and that may be a great option for us.  But I am especially excited about the concept of couch surfing - I did not consider that previously (since we need a dirveway more than a couch) but it inspired me to open an account and try it out - now we have free places to stay (and shower and do laundry) in Bar Harbor ME and Halifax Nova Scotia!  We are both super excited about this.

We also appreciate the offers of places to stay - if we find ourselves in your neck of the woods we will absolutely let you know.

Thanks guys!

arebelspy

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2013, 07:50:22 PM »
The wife and I each just finished reading all content of your blog, and wish we hadn't found it for another 6 months so we'd have more posts to read!

She argues that Lindsay is more entertaining.  I say Jim's posts are much more hilarious.  The debate is ongoing.

Either way, we both love each of your writing styles.  And it's clear that your dog is much more literate than all the cats on the internet, none of whom seem to be able to spell.

Keep up the awesomeness.
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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2013, 09:33:08 PM »
Yea.

Vans, campers, trailers, RVs, whatever, it's all fucking gravy on top of the fact that travelling around the continent is totally rad.

LowER

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2013, 10:04:44 PM »
I own a tad earlier  version of your truck and would recommend maintaining that warranty until you sell it.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2013, 05:54:45 PM »
I don't think your idea is bad, but let me throw out another thought:  have you considered a teardrop camper?  I suggest this because we plan to buy one in a couple years after the kids are gone.

- They're inexpensive and can even be homemade.
- They cab be pulled behind a car as small as a VW Bug (which means you could leave the trailer in a campground and drive just the car around town). 
- A teardrop would give you a better mattress, and you'd have a small kitchen at your disposal. 
-  You can put a bike trailer on the back. 

I hope to buy a used CampInn trailer. 

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2013, 02:11:50 PM »
I just remembered that a friend of mine did this with a truck that she converted to run on vegetable oil, which she usually got from chinese food restaurants for free. Now, THAT would cut down on your gasoline usage!

I'm not sure if it saves you money though; on the days that you have a long haul you might need to buy it. Or, get a big storage tank for it!

LowER

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2013, 11:08:05 PM »
Unfortunately the newer Ford injectors don't get along with veggie oil which can be a very costly repair.  I bought mine with eventual veggie oil in mind and have found that nobody has figured out how to get around that issue....yet.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2013, 08:00:56 PM »
I would say it is, growing up we travelled from Vancouver to Alaska and Winnipeg in our truck and camper.  Might want to look at a propane setup, easy to get and 13mpg is easy to fathom at half the price of gas.  The utility of the truck and not having to tow anything is really good.  Something good about Canada is you can camp for free on almost any back road, 90% of land is crown land.  Anybody can be on crown land and camp for free, it's not like the us where most land is private or has no camping signs. 

Also for the truck.... Get airbags, $300 and they will firm up your ride a ton, they make the truck safer and easier to drive as well as level the camper.  They save lots of wear and tear on your springs too and add resale value.

worms

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #30 on: July 13, 2013, 11:12:53 PM »
Interesting discussion to which I have nothing useful to add except that, from a UK perspective (where truck campers really just don't exist), the truck approach is part of the whole romance and dream of travelling around the North American continent!

Africa = Land Rover
Australia = VW combi
Canada/US = Truck Camper

It's a law of nature!

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2013, 02:22:48 PM »
I just remembered that a friend of mine did this with a truck that she converted to run on vegetable oil, which she usually got from chinese food restaurants for free. Now, THAT would cut down on your gasoline usage!

I'm not sure if it saves you money though; on the days that you have a long haul you might need to buy it. Or, get a big storage tank for it!

Correct me if  wrong, but my understanding is that free oil is a thing of the past.  I'm honestly not sure how it was ever a thing, since i though recyclers had always paid a small fee for the used oil.  Maybe because the collectors had some kind of monopoly (statutory?) and charged a fee.  These days, though, the cat is out of the bag and I've seen stories of people being arrested for stealing the oil.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2013, 08:48:17 AM »
I just remembered that a friend of mine did this with a truck that she converted to run on vegetable oil, which she usually got from chinese food restaurants for free. Now, THAT would cut down on your gasoline usage!

I'm not sure if it saves you money though; on the days that you have a long haul you might need to buy it. Or, get a big storage tank for it!

Correct me if  wrong, but my understanding is that free oil is a thing of the past.  I'm honestly not sure how it was ever a thing, since i though recyclers had always paid a small fee for the used oil.  Maybe because the collectors had some kind of monopoly (statutory?) and charged a fee.  These days, though, the cat is out of the bag and I've seen stories of people being arrested for stealing the oil.

I'm not sure about that. My friend did this about 5 years ago, so things may have changed. She usually didn't have trouble getting it for free from restaurants after she asked. She established a relationship with a local restaurant at one point. But IDK how she did it on the road.

daverobev

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2013, 04:29:33 PM »
I would say it is, growing up we travelled from Vancouver to Alaska and Winnipeg in our truck and camper.  Might want to look at a propane setup, easy to get and 13mpg is easy to fathom at half the price of gas.  The utility of the truck and not having to tow anything is really good.  Something good about Canada is you can camp for free on almost any back road, 90% of land is crown land.  Anybody can be on crown land and camp for free, it's not like the us where most land is private or has no camping signs. 

Also for the truck.... Get airbags, $300 and they will firm up your ride a ton, they make the truck safer and easier to drive as well as level the camper.  They save lots of wear and tear on your springs too and add resale value.

Is that right about the Crown Land? Do you have more info on that? I guess there are more parks and things here in Ontario where the population is much higher, so less possible?

Pining over some kind of home-on-wheels. Baby due in 4 months. Not sure how it all hangs together, but I'd love to do some travelling while my wife is on mat leave...

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #34 on: July 15, 2013, 11:02:00 PM »
Baby due in 4 months. Not sure how it all hangs together, but I'd love to do some travelling while my wife is on mat leave...
I hope you mean with Mother and baby, rather than as an escape strategy!

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2013, 06:12:08 PM »
Baby due in 4 months. Not sure how it all hangs together, but I'd love to do some travelling while my wife is on mat leave...
I hope you mean with Mother and baby, rather than as an escape strategy!

Haha, er, yes of course! (Damnit, rumbled!)

in2themild

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #36 on: July 28, 2013, 05:38:42 PM »
Just checking in for the first time in a couple weeks from beautiful Cow Head, Newfoundland - glad to see all the lively discussion!  Thanks to all.  We have had an amazing few weeks in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, if I have one complaint it is that Canada collectively sucks at the internet - this is our first reliable connection for weeks.  I cannot recommend touring this island in the summer, and so far the truck camper is a great way to do it.  You have to pay for camp sites in the parks, but we have had no problem boondocking in some great spots outside of parks.  When great spots are hard to find, there are always lousy spots which are equally free.

One general complaint is that this is NOT a cheap country to travel in - gas is extremely expensive and groceries are both poor quality (produce anyway) and very expensive.  Not excited to leave the countryside but looking forward to some more affordable times back in the US. 

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #37 on: July 28, 2013, 07:36:47 PM »
Your guys blog is Very Funny. Keep at it!

swiper

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2013, 01:49:27 PM »
Just checking in for the first time in a couple weeks from beautiful Cow Head, Newfoundland - glad to see all the lively discussion!  Thanks to all.  We have had an amazing few weeks in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, if I have one complaint it is that Canada collectively sucks at the internet - this is our first reliable connection for weeks.  I cannot recommend touring this island in the summer, and so far the truck camper is a great way to do it.  You have to pay for camp sites in the parks, but we have had no problem boondocking in some great spots outside of parks.  When great spots are hard to find, there are always lousy spots which are equally free.

One general complaint is that this is NOT a cheap country to travel in - gas is extremely expensive and groceries are both poor quality (produce anyway) and very expensive.  Not excited to leave the countryside but looking forward to some more affordable times back in the US.

 Also enjoying your writing and I'm glad you found the maritimes so dramatic.  But you missed PEI ... wtf?




in2themild

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #39 on: July 30, 2013, 05:01:05 PM »
Just to be clear - I cannot recommend traveling in Newfoundland ENOUGH in the summer =)  I'm sure most of you got it.  And we are heading to PEI next!  The gal has a friend in Charlottesville who will be hosting us and showing us around - we hope to spend the better part of a week in PEI.  We will be there on Thursday.

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2013, 02:29:56 PM »
What a great adventure you guys are on! The only thing that might get old having the camper versus say a travel van/RV is the ability to access your stuff while moving.

My parents had a short class A, it was too much for them to drive so they sold it and got a short trailer, Now they want a Class C as they miss being all in one unit - they have two large dogs... which I am sure is also a comfort factor for them in their truck. So expect that your camper setup might be absolutely perfect, or as others have said you might end up questioning the setup. It will still get you to your goals however:)

We struggled with what type of travelling setup to buy. We had already camped in our truck (I used it to haul my horse around as well) We decided that a camper on it would not work given that I had expanded to mobile vending as a side gig.

When we were "done" with tent/truck camping we spent alot of time figuring out what to get. Our needs were threefold. Haul my horse AND mobile vending shop AND camp with no kids no pets. Of course I started out with a living quarters horse trailer, but that dropped off the list right away. We ended up with a used Class C, very short, 21 feet and it stuck. We then traded it in for something new for me (female travelling solo with 42 feet of rig) it is almost 26 feet and I would still like the shorter setup if I could find one that towed 5k. Overall though I think I would be happy travelling in anything as long as I am on the road. When we hit FI, we will be using our beloved Class C that is well worn in with lots of customizations for our needs.

In order to camp off the grid, or boondock, We upgraded our gray tank to 55 gallons, the same size as the fresh water tank. you can likely use external rolling tanks that you can go dump at any time. Our goal was to boondock for a week at a time. We have been able to travel for a full 7 days before having to dump.

You should see about a small generator, not sure how that works with a camper, or for power I've seen lots of small setups use solar panels. We installed an inverter large enough to run our laptops. it has issues running both so we have to alternate.

Cant wait to keep up with your journey:)

daverobev

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #41 on: July 31, 2013, 04:42:06 PM »

You should see about a small generator, not sure how that works with a camper, or for power I've seen lots of small setups use solar panels. We installed an inverter large enough to run our laptops. it has issues running both so we have to alternate.

If you're running an inverter to power your laptops... you might want to look into a 12V power supply instead. You can get them on eBay for $20 or less.

Because you're doing 12V DC to 110V AC to laptop DC - which is very wasteful!

Plus obviously you can charge in the car. Even better if you have the same make of laptop!

tooqk4u22

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2013, 01:44:47 PM »
I really want to do this, but I think I will struggle to convince DW to do it for a year - she is more comfortable with 2-3 months max (partly because of kids school and partly because she is convinced that if we did it for a year then I would want to do it for another year). And....because of the 3 kiddos a truck camper would work, so a we'll need a trailer.  However, if we just do two months then it would probably be mostly camping mixed with an occaisional hotel stay or crash at someone's house.

AlexK

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #43 on: August 01, 2013, 02:21:45 PM »
The wife and I toured the Oregon Coast for the month of July 2012 using a Tacoma and Casita trailer. It was great but I was wishing I had a truck camper instead because there were so many inviting dirt roads we could have explored if we didn't have that trailer. People will say you can just disconnect it but then what if the road has a gate 1/4 mile down and you have to explore the next road? Doing that all day would suck. Do you find that you are able to go off road with the camper?

I have since upgraded my truck to a F250 also and will get a truck camper once I sell the trailer (after Burning Man).

Smart people have told me to stick with a light camper because some of the larger ones are super heavy (>3000 lbs!) and really hurt the handling of the truck.

in2themild

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Re: Truck Camper a good way to explore the continent?
« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2013, 08:30:56 PM »
A lot of people both on this site and in person are wondering how we decided on the truck camper model - I wrote a blog post that goes into depth a bit.  Feel free to read!

http://in2themild.blogspot.com/2013/08/why-truck-camper-jim.html