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Overlanding setup for the uncivilized/stealth camper

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charwest

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The one thing I now notice on these camper top builds, is they don't appear to have any privacy/light blocking curtains. I added them on my old Ranger camper top by cutting up a solid color vinyl shower curtain and hanging it with heavy gauge wire attached to the existing side window fasteners. At the rear lift gate window I fastened the curtains with velcro. Just some FYI on how I did it some 30 years ago.
yeah. thankfully we basically never camp where anyone can see us these days, so it hasnt been an issue.

if i was doing it, i would probably cut black black-out cloth to size, and sew a strip of hook velcro to the edges. then put adhesive loop velcro on the glass casing. this would allow a tight seal, nothing hanging down into the bed, and complete privacy/light blocking which is key if you're into stealth urban camping.

from a prior incarnation, white colored black-out fabric was a bad idea because from the outside you can more easily tell the "camper" has curtains up. black fabrics tend to look like the windows are tinted or you can't see in.

example: fabric like this..

https://www.amazon.com/Eroica-Black...=black+blackout+fabric&qid=1605828589&sr=8-10



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The cab electronics:

Nothing exciting here, but we did make a few small changes.

1) Weboost 'drive reach' cell booster. this was a pricey upgrade but we find it markedly improved our signal driving across the country, in the boonies, and camping. This is occasionally helpful for entertainment and more importantly takes the edge off the separation anxiety with work related communication.

1605832573332.png


the manual and online reviews note that the boost signal works best if the in-cab transmitter is as far away from the receiver antenna as possible. and the magnet mounted receiver doesnt stick to the fiberglass cap. the booster does come with a adhesive sticker to mount it to a non ferromagnetic panel. initially i had wanted to keep the cap clear in case of future roof-rack/tent decisions.

so i stuck the roof antenna to the far driver rear side of the cab, and the transmitter in the passenger footwell just beside the shifter. this seems to work well. the transmitter wire has a lot of slack which is bundled under the passenger seat with the booster, which is stuck to the floor liner with velcro. then the receiver antenna wire slack is bundled down there as well, and then tracks under the seat, along the center floor in the rear cab, up between where the rear seats used to be, and then through the driver side vent in the rear wall.

the booster is powered by a 12V cig lighter plug which we put into the right powerpoint in the dash.

all the wire is secured to the floor liner with 1.5" black single-strap velcro so the hook side sticks it down to the liner, and the loop side is up which matches the liner/carpet, protecting and hiding the entire length of wire.

The wire is thin, but even this thin wire prevented the thin rubber vent flaps from closing, so i cut a slot in one flap which the wire sits in so it doesn't pin it open. then the wire tracks up the back wall of the cab where it is secured with zipties to adhesive fasteners to the panels and finally to the antenna.

the transmitter has a very minimal range, basically needing to be within a foot or two of the cell device. so this setup doesnt help us if we want it in the truck bed. however the transmitter is held to the plastic fascia with a piece of velcro, and it only takes a minute to unstick it and unwind the cord and put it through the cab rear window into the bed. i have only done this once, as once in camp we have typically done all the comms we need for the day.

1610756950018.png


the antenna magnet is great. we drove some ridiculous 50mph gusting crosswinds and plenty of offroad with no movement.

1610757043352.png


2) we switched out one of the dash powerpoints for a combination USB/voltmeter. this was to increased the number and charging amperage of our dash points (the XL only has one), and so that I could keep an eye on the voltage. the booster sucks a reasonable amount of power and given the powerpoints used to stay on for a while after the key was out i was worried about a significant drain (we just leave the booster plugged in all the time). further, we got low voltage warnings from the car only a half hour or so into a drive in movie, which got me wondering.

1605832542266.png


that install and pictures are here:

https://www.ranger5g.com/forum/threads/cig-lighter-usb-voltmeter-install.9915/

3) the rear USB ports are key in an XL when you only have one port up front, but are annoying to use while storing stuff in the rear, as the cord sticks out and tends to get bumped around or crimped. we found that a right-angle USB cord fixed this nicely and tracks along the passenger console to the front. a small rubber piece holds the cord. no adhesive works to the fascia in the summer heat, so a single small wood screw was placed and looks nice to hold everything together.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075K5B8R4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 
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Neither of us can come even close to sitting up, but we tend to spend our time outside and have comfy camp chairs. for wet days where we want to spend time reading, we will migrate to the cab where our bucket seats do a fine job.
Have you guys considered adding an awning off the side of the topper, so you can spend time outside even when it is raining? It wouldn't necessarily follow your sleek and stealthy overland look unfortunately, but it wouldn't be too bad. We have a 270deg Batwing awning from Rhino Rack that does wonders on our teardrop. Our setup isn't quite as claustrophobic as yours (we can sit-up inside, but it's still just basically a queen bed inside and not much more room), but it still really nice to be able to sit and stand up outside even when it's raining. The 270deg aspect allows us (and would you as well) to walk from the side to the rear all under protection. They also have walls (either tapered or purely vertical) that essentially can enclose the whole space for even more protection and privacy. I use the wall at campgrounds so I can change/get dressed standing up without people being exposed to my bits. It's also nice for protecting from strong winds and driving rain/snow. It's been a huge saver for us and we are so happy we added it as an option.

IMG_20200829_122357739.jpg
 

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Pretty nice and thorough write up! I've always been intrigued with articles and videos on stealth camping, though I wont have a reason to engage in that myself. I'm going the RTT route in order to be able to store more gear for weekend trips. But I'm in a situation where I will be loading in for a weekend and then loading out. In between my truck will return to daily driver configuration (except I don't actually daily drive it) for errands and such and I want some bed storage capacity. I like the idea that, with your setup, you could pull over to a truck stop, or Walmart, or anywhere really and sleep for a night and no one would be the wiser!
 
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Have you guys considered adding an awning off the side of the topper, so you can spend time outside even when it is raining? It wouldn't necessarily follow your sleek and stealthy overland look unfortunately, but it wouldn't be too bad. We have a 270deg Batwing awning from Rhino Rack that does wonders on our teardrop.

It's also nice for protecting from strong winds and driving rain/snow. It's been a huge saver for us and we are so happy we added it as an option.
I have definitely considered that. I have watched videos several times on the 270 awnings and they are obviously awesome in terms of upgrading the QOL, especially in sun and rain. our current setup is pretty sh*tty in the rain, as anyone can imagine. like future divorce court kinda' stuff:)

however ultimately we decided against it for now. it would require installing both a roof rack plus an awning, and blow the clean look. we are also (me more than my wife.. or maybe its just me...) anal retentive about mpg and i dont love reading it will drop me down another 1 or 2.

i have experimented a little with deployable shades. i took the old silicone coated ripstop tarp i made twenty years ago as my hiking shelter (ancient history!) and played around with a couple adjustable poles and some suction cup attachments.

IMG_1211.jpg


works ok. ok enough that i have just invested in a far larger tarp in the hopes of making something really viable and comfortable. that tarp just came in the mail, and was 6% the cost of a 270 awning. so if it works even 10% as well i'll be making money;)
 
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Pretty nice and thorough write up! I've always been intrigued with articles and videos on stealth camping, though I wont have a reason to engage in that myself. I'm going the RTT route in order to be able to store more gear for weekend trips. But I'm in a situation where I will be loading in for a weekend and then loading out. In between my truck will return to daily driver configuration (except I don't actually daily drive it) for errands and such and I want some bed storage capacity. I like the idea that, with your setup, you could pull over to a truck stop, or Walmart, or anywhere really and sleep for a night and no one would be the wiser!
yeah. the irony is that a lot of the 'stealth' thinking that goes into this is basically a waste of time (for me). mostly fueled i think by my distant past where i spent years living out of a car. at that time i cared a lot about whether someone could pick me out in a parking lot.

while it is appealing to both me and my wife that we can just crash at a truck stop or walmart and sleep incognito while crossing the country, the reality is that in 14k miles we have yet to do that even once. mostly because we have been in parts of the country where there is enough ranchland, BLM land, and parks that it just doesn't make sense to suffer under the streetlights when we could sleep under the stars en route.

these days the 'stealthiness' is more useful so that we don't get looks while driving this truck around town, and also while parked at a trailhead it looks like some old truck that someone drove to the trailhead. not some truck that someone is living out of and is Filled With Things.
 
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The Cab Redesign:

We never have passengers, and (unfortunately) don't have dogs, so the rear portion of the supercab was reconfigured into designated storage.

You get a significant amount of room back by removing the seats, and I turned the rear wall into modular storage.

For a look at my rear seat delete, check out this thread:

https://www.ranger5g.com/forum/thre...eed-advice-on-sound-proofing.7976/post-146496

So currently, my rear cab has a designated slot for a Yeti cooler that has bolted/buckled attachments behind the driver seat. It can be opened and accessed without removing it from the cab. The middle is where my toolbox sits which also is secured to the rear wall. And the passenger side has three milk crates bolted to the rear wall. these act as clothing and gear storage, and a handful of small bungees hold things in and to them as needed.

IMG_1423.JPG


passenger rear cab: tupperware storage in footwell, milk crates, and camp axe/shovel secured to milk crates. hooks on passenger headrest for baseball hats and headlamps.

IMG_1424.JPG


driver rear cab: slot for toolbox, cooler. binocular case attached to driver headrest.

the milk crates are bolted with m6 bolts and washers to the grid of t-nuts on the rear wall and can be moved or removed if needed.

in the front door storage we have a water bottle each, and various stuff in use while traveling.
driver suicide door has a fire extinguisher (see here: https://www.ranger5g.com/forum/threads/fire-extinguisher-mounting.3666/post-188103).
1605910061267.png


passenger suicide door has bathroom stuff (portable bidet, TP, and the shovel is right there).
 
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I have definitely considered that. I have watched videos several times on the 270 awnings and they are obviously awesome in terms of upgrading the QOL, especially in sun and rain. our current setup is pretty sh*tty in the rain, as anyone can imagine. like future divorce court kinda' stuff:)

however ultimately we decided against it for now. it would require installing both a roof rack plus an awning, and blow the clean look. we are also (me more than my wife.. or maybe its just me...) anal retentive about mpg and i dont love reading it will drop me down another 1 or 2.

i have experimented a little with deployable shades. i took the old silicone coated ripstop tarp i made twenty years ago as my hiking shelter (ancient history!) and played around with a couple adjustable poles and some suction cup attachments.

IMG_1211.jpg


works ok. ok enough that i have just invested in a far larger tarp in the hopes of making something really viable and comfortable. that tarp just came in the mail, and was 6% the cost of a 270 awning. so if it works even 10% as well i'll be making money;)
I'm definitely with you on the mpg obsession. haha I hate losing 1mpg, let alone more. Winter is so frustrating, getting the mileage down into the high teens with the winter fuel blend and cold temps. So I don't blame you there. I have a personal goal of trying to do a full tank of 30+mpg. And my wife doesn't really care either. haha I probably wouldn't add it to my truck either. haha The nice thing about ours being on the camper is that it still basically sits below the truck roof line behind, especially with the topper on.

Adding something that can be fully unpacked, repacked, and stored inside is definitely a good way to go, if you can make it work. We also have a Clam popup tent as well for bug protection in the notoriously buggy northwoods, as well as additional rain protection, and we love that too. Doesn't fit in the crew cab 5' bed too well though since it's 5' 6" tall, so makes it awkward to fit and bring along.

I'll be interested to see the final result of your homemade awning/shelter!
 

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Securing those crates to the rear wall board is a great idea - and you got to use those tee nuts again !

The pic below makes me wistful for simpler times when my wife and I used to sleep in the back of the old truck.

Now, I know your set up didn't just happen; you've worked at it and it shows. But let this older guy just say this, you've got all that you need just there - your girl, your truck and you're out there.

Enjoy yourselves, and run with it as long as you can.

img_1211-jpg.jpg
 

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if i was doing it, i would probably cut black black-out cloth to size, and sew a strip of hook velcro to the edges.

...

from a prior incarnation, white colored black-out fabric was a bad idea because from the outside you can more easily tell the "camper" has curtains up. black fabrics tend to look like the windows are tinted or you can't see in.
This is essentially what I've done for years, with black blackout curtains that are affixed above the canopy windows with a long strip of velcro (the canopy is carpetted inside, so velcro sticks well)

The windows have small magnets glued to the fabric, at places where the steel window screws are, so they hold the fabric tight against the remaining three sides of a window.

To store them away, there's a dowel affixed all along the bottom of the fabric. I roll it up, and use another magnetic fixture to hold that rolled-up bundle neatly above the window.

To cover the windows from the rolled up position, I pull the bundle away from the magnets, and the dowel weight causes the curtain to swing down into place. The magnets pretty much automatically pull the curtain tight into place.
 
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This is essentially what I've done for years, with black blackout curtains that are affixed above the canopy windows with a long strip of velcro (the canopy is carpetted inside, so velcro sticks well)

The windows have small magnets glued to the fabric, at places where the steel window screws are, so they hold the fabric tight against the remaining three sides of a window.

To store them away, there's a dowel affixed all along the bottom of the fabric. I roll it up, and use another magnetic fixture to hold that rolled-up bundle neatly above the window.

To cover the windows from the rolled up position, I pull the bundle away from the magnets, and the dowel weight causes the curtain to swing down into place. The magnets pretty much automatically pull the curtain tight into place.
thats a really nice setup. the dowel sounds like it makes it really sophisticated, and i never thought of the magnets to screws idea. some folks in steel vehicles use magnets for blackouts, screens, and shades, and i discounted it because of the fiberglass/aluminum cap. but it didnt occur to me the screws might have enough oopmh to make it work. small strong magnets are dirt cheap these days.

magnets are especially tempting as i worry i would tear up the carpet liner with repeated use

if i end up needing curtains, i might just go this route. if for no other reason than to keep the rising sun out of my wife's eyes in the morning.
 
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The Kitchen:

IMG_9154.jpg


The kitchen is your basic setup, tossed in the back of a pickup.

the single biggest immediate upgrade to the function of the ranger as a camping accessory for us was putting a sheet of wood on the tailgate. this was mentioned in this thread here:

https://www.ranger5g.com/forum/threads/installing-wood-pane-inside-tailgate-advice.8084/

basically, i cut a 1/4" oak veneer plywood to size, secured it at the top of the liftgate using the four factory sheet metal screws, and at the bottom of the liftgate with a bead of silicone. the sheet metal screws that come with the liftgate have a large flange and would stick out a lot and be pretty ugly, so i hunted through the stock of accent screws at Menards and found screws with a tarnished bronze look, countersunk heads, and- importantly matching threads. not every wood/sheet metal screw of the same size has a truly identical thread and given i am reusing holes in the liftgate with small screws in thin metal i felt it was important to match the thread pitch exactly and avoid stripping an already tenuous hold.

when i first was toying with this plan, other posters suggested replacing the OEM sheet metal screws with riv nuts. that would be a far more elegant/robust solution, but this ended up working well after months of abuse and i dont think i will need to replace this frequently enough to make riv nuts an attractive upgrade.

the plywood was dirt cheap, as a 2x4' piece is sufficient and most big hardware places sell that size piece for 8-10 dollars for craft projects. i cut it to size and routed the edges with a roundover bit to make it prettier, sanded it lightly, and sealed it with leftover deck sealer from the underside of the bed project. this has been great as it does not absorb rain, spills, or food, but preserves the basic wood look.

1606335230112.png


to match the factory screws to the new board, i backed the factory screws out a quarter inch, vigorously marked the heads with pencil, put the board in place and pushed hard so the pencil marked the back of the board. then drill and countersink the holes and replace.

there are no convenient factory holes near the bottom of the liftgate, so initially my plan had been to use double sided tape. the one i bought was too weak, and i wasnt sure how long this plywood would last so to avoid industrial adhesive marks on the tailgate i used a small bead of silicone under the board and this has worked well. when it comes time to replace the board it will be easy to peel the bead off the smooth paint of the tailgate.

after a lot of heavy use, including pulling the unlubricated, unrailed heavy drawer over this board, walking around on it, and generally abusing it its still looking pretty good with only a few small spots where the veneer has come up. however when it eventually dies i would like to replace it with a prettier wood, perhaps a 1/4" bamboo or a baltic birch with no thin vulnerable veneer. unfortunately those were not available from my local places when i was building.

IMG_1576.JPG


this board is not for looks. its a major ergonomic upgrade. it provides a flat surface so that boxes slide over the tailgate, cups and bowls rest flat, it doesn't get hot in the sun when we sit on it, nor does it feel particularly cold in the winter.

alternatives would be to purchase a professionally made plastic tailgate cover, but the wood feels really nice underfoot and I suspect these dark plastic versions would be really hot in the sun, and the light ones would look messy. the wood grain hides the dirt and imperfections of wear and tear.

we keep a large cutting board, which insets into the top of the storage bins that go under the bed.

IMG_1580.JPG


i keep a MSR whisperlite stove (burns white gas or gasoline) in the rearmost section of the pull out drawer, along with a spare bottle of white gas (burns without soot or gas smell), lighters, pot holders, wind shield, etc. the stove sits on a square of aluminum flashing which fits neatly into the slide out drawer without taking any space. It stops stray drops of white gas burning the tailgate wood. It does not get appreciably hot. Even running the stove for thirty minutes doesn’t get the wood hot and there are no char marks after months of use. We typically carry 44oz of fuel which lasts a couple weeks.

IMG_1577.JPG


IMG_1575.JPG


the next chamber has our pots (3), pot cozy, plates, bowls, french press, utensils, and two vacuum double wall cups.

the next chamber has silicone/plastic collapsing tubs and collanders (they accordion flat), dish soap, collapsing bowls and tupperware, silicone scrub brush, more cooking stuff.

the last chamber has tons of nonperishable food and spices. The stuff we rarely use. it can be accessed by pulling the drawer all the way out, which is a little tenuous when its heavy, or through the trapdoor in the bed which opens onto this area.

1610757226847.png


for water we carry a bunch of platypus brand collapsing containers which we use when hiking, for a total of around 8L. We also have the frozen water bottles in the cooler (or occasionally use the melted ice as well). then for primary storage we have two MSR dromedary 10L water bladders which are super robust. they sit in the primary storage chamber next to the food box. One has a shower attachment which we use as a tap for dish washing or dispensing water. If we wanted more water, we could fill up one of the big storage bins with more water bladders, or stash another 5g collapsible container in the bed cutout. in practice, if we need more than the 30+L we just stop taking camp showers for a little while.

For actual showering, we leave the (black colored) dromedary on the roof and it heats up with the sun, and shower with that. We have a small quick drying fabric mat we put down to keep the dirt off our feet while showering.

trash bags (we use the thin plastic ones that come with groceries) hang off the metal bracket/bumper at the side of the tailgate in a convenient position while the tailgate is down.

IMG_9676.jpg


and the fridge:

IMG_1573.JPG


is just a cooler. for ice we typically use frozen water bottles which we drink later, plus or minus ice. it keeps things cold for days in hot temps, or forever in cool temps, and keeps us in vegetables and perishables and cold drinks while on the trail and traveling.

the cooler is bolted to the cab rear wall with seatbelt and seatbelt buckles

IMG_1574.JPG


the first iteration of the cooler attachment used a cam strap, but it was annoying to have to thread and attach it everytime. and bungees were also tricky. but i wanted a secure and robust attachment that would keep this in place in a rollover. so what is a common way to secure heavy things in place during a rollover, but is instantaneous to engage? seatbelts! these came from the local junkyard and are preadjusted to the cooler so it only takes 15 seconds to secure and release the cooler, which makes it easy to pop it out of the truck for use as our camp table (its the perfect height for our low camp chairs).

IMG_8706.jpg


i decided against a real fridge becuase this was simpler and i just didnt think the fridge would be necessary. a real fridge would max out the powerbank we have, but that would be easily fixed by upgrading the solar. we currently only have 80W, but another 150-200 would fit easily on the topper, with a flexible panel which would more than power a fridge all day and remain below the level of the tracks, out of sight and with no wind profile..
 
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What a great thread. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and there is some good stuff in here you only get by getting out and using the setup to learn what works. I just bought my truck and coincidentally one of the must have features was the 6' bed because my wife and I plan on camping out of the back of it. We are mostly just weekend campers but I really like your buildout and may do something similar. I've watched countless youtube videos and most are the same old platform over drawers setup but I really like your notched out corner that adds a lot of usability to the space. As I plan out my storage areas I think I might keep a spot for our trusty 10x10 canopy.

Before I get ahead of myself though I need a topper. ARE was at the top of my list. I have a lot more research to do. Have you considered adding a vented fan to the roof of the canopy? Living in Florida one of my main concerns is the heat and humidity here and I dread that once I get a topper and do a test run it will just be unbearably hot back there and I'll hate it.
 
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What a great thread. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and there is some good stuff in here you only get by getting out and using the setup to learn what works. I just bought my truck and coincidentally one of the must have features was the 6' bed because my wife and I plan on camping out of the back of it. We are mostly just weekend campers but I really like your buildout and may do something similar. I've watched countless youtube videos and most are the same old platform over drawers setup but I really like your notched out corner that adds a lot of usability to the space. As I plan out my storage areas I think I might keep a spot for our trusty 10x10 canopy.
Yes, that notch makes a huge difference to us in terms of usability and flexibility. If it weren't the two of us in there, It would be nice to make it even larger. As-is it seems like a good compromise- Plenty of foot room at night. If it were larger I would need a rail or net along the side so that my feet dont fall into the notch at night, or you could have a flip-up board that gives you footroom at night but preserves the open space during the day.

Before I get ahead of myself though I need a topper. ARE was at the top of my list. I have a lot more research to do. Have you considered adding a vented fan to the roof of the canopy? Living in Florida one of my main concerns is the heat and humidity here and I dread that once I get a topper and do a test run it will just be unbearably hot back there and I'll hate it.
I have another thread somewhere about my ARE topper. Short story is I have some buyers remorse about it, and next time would have liked something that sealed better around the liftgate. ARE makes plenty of types of toppers and may have modified their design as well. and another possibility about why our build/service sucked is that we bought during national covid shutdowns which may or may not currently apply.

i have considered a roof vent. ultimately never seriously, because by and large we have been living out of the truck in places where it is cool at night, and we never ever spend time in the bed during the daytime. the once or twice its too hot in the bed i have a nice USB fan that plugs into the power bank and clips to the bedrail and works well.

Having the window at the head of the topper is key to improving airflow around your face, although it has no screen.

it would be even better if the windows we have in the topper opened the other direction. as-is, when we slide the windows open, the screened/open area is at the foot of the bed. however, you want the breeze on your face and chest when its hot, so that is annoying. and also, it means if you have the windows slid all the way open you need to get back into the bed to close them. having them reversed would fix both of those problems, but i dont know whether that is possible.

if i were to buy the same topper again, i would get the gullwing version windows. a little pricier and bulkier, but still elegant and would give us massive airflow in the times it isn't buggy (which is usually, and still have smaller windows to slide open for lesser airlfow when it is buggy.

a roof vent would be nice, especially with a fan, but might be noisy near your face (remember how close you are to the topper roof in this setup, unlike in a van or RV which is the typical roof vent/fan setup). i dont have anything against it i guess, but i like the idea of being able to mount a big solar panel or roof rack or wahtever i want up there and preserve the clean 'stealth' look.

if you didnt care about that, a neat option would be to put in a large flip up skylight over your head, which would give you a big sky view, lots of ventilation, and when open would fix the low headspace problem which i think will be a dealbreaker for a lot of folks with this setup. something like this: https://www.lewmar.com/node/11297 (plenty of options out there for the boat market, but you would have to make your own screen if in bug territory)

i feel you, though. we are actually moving to the tropics soon. when (if?) the truck arrives we will try it out. although we dont expect to be doing much camping for a while.
 
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charwest

charwest

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char & tony
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2019 Ranger XL FX4 Supercab
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Healthcare
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the first iteration of the cooler attachment used a cam strap, but it was annoying to have to thread and attach it everytime. and bungees were also tricky. but i wanted a secure and robust attachment that would keep this in place in a rollover. so what is a common way to secure heavy things in place during a rollover, but is instantaneous to engage? seatbelts! these came from the local junkyard and are preadjusted to the cooler so it only takes 15 seconds to secure and release the cooler, which makes it easy to pop it out of the truck for use as our camp table (its the perfect height for our low camp chairs).
one note on the cooler: one thing that does annoy us about this setup (using an in-cab cooler with ice as our fridge) is how much noise it makes when offroading. on the first day it doesnt matter much as everything is still frozen, but as the ice melts and you have an ice-food-water slushy mix in there starting on day two, when offroading it makes a lot of noise while slushing back and forth as we rock-crawl and muck around on off camber terrain. to fix this, you could probably drain the water, but we dont do this to preserve as much cooling potential as possible (and we can use the water if we want).

however with our setup, you can strap the cooler into the bed if you want. it straps reasonably nicely between the two OEM load attachment points in the bed cutout. for aggressive offroading, i would pad between the cooler and the bedwall (with a folded blanket or big jacket) so it isnt banging against the bedwall, and use some aggressive cam straps or bungees.

img_1573-jpg.jpg


our cooler is the yeti roadie 24
https://www.yeti.com/en_US/hard-coolers/roadie-24-hard-cooler/YR24.html

we like this one because its big enough for our purposes, fits behind the drivers seat with lid opening out the suicide door (ie: easy access by opening suicide door, dont have to take cooler out of cab or fight the drivers seat to reach in), fits a bottle of wine upright (wife says thank you), and seems to do a decent job keeping things cool. there are non-yeti (ie, not ridiculously expensive) versions which i bet would also do fine. an advantage to the non-yeti versions is that many have a drain plug, which would make it easier to drain water. the yeti insulation material does not seem to be anything magic and i dont know why a walmart brand cooler wouldnt do a great functional job. honestly we chose the yeti because it had cleaner lines, was easier to clean, and the build quality was better, but with no fantasy that the cooler function would be any better.
 
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