Family of 5 trying to figure things out.

Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations
Ok. We are still looking over everything and trying to figure this stuff out. Unfortunately we do not have anyone else we know personally that overlands and the local scene is just a start up that we haven’t yet been able to connect with. Heres what I am wondering... can a family of 5 do this in a Tacoma prerunner double cab? What would the sleeping arrangements need to be, who makes tents/campers for families of 5? Would we have to use a trailer? We are wanting to do remote camping on BLM land and such near national parks for the next few years. Do trails in places like capital reef and remote camp. Is the vehicle a realistic option both for size and for its lack of 4wd. I believe since it is a trd with rear locker it can do most all we would want but can it also accommodate a family of 5? What has been your experience with this? Any other large families out there doing family road trips with a similar vehicle? Any thoughts would be appreciated!
Family of 4 here. Three adults and one 2.5 year old. You'll be cramped, uncomfortable, and quickly tire of sitting shoulder to shoulder in an extended cab Taco.

As for the tent, go to Wal-Mart and buy one of the "easy up" tents made for 8-10 people. No sense blowing all your coin on a hobby that you have never done.
 

TripLeader

Explorer
If you use a large $100 tent around Capitol Reef, make sure you write your return address inside so the people downwind will know where to send it.
I've seen a cheap tent experience in the Utah wind. Didn't look enjoyable. I was glad I had a quality tent.

I've also seen a cheap tent experience at the Boulder Field "campsite" on Longs Peak at Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park. They might have well just put their sleeping bags into trash sacks with streamers pinned to them. Would have been less weight to carry for the same experience.
 

shade

Well-known member
A solo experience sleeping in a camping bag doesn't sound like fun.

Doing it with four others wouldn't improve it.
 

The Artisan

Adventurer
Cab over truck with custom 18 to 20 foot pod with pass through
3 can sit in front make 2 jump seats 5 foot wide with seatbelts on the front of the pod. This become seats for the other 2, dining area and sleep area for 2 when table is down and middle converted. Futon style couch that fold to a queen bed. High enough that somone can put most of their body under it and still keep their head out. Shotgun kitchen and full 3x7 bathroom in the rear.
Kevin
 

gatorgrizz27

Active member
I don’t have experience with those trails, but having owned a lot of 4wd/AWD trucks, as well as a couple 2wd trucks with lockers, the answer is “it depends”. With one exception, which was turning around with an empty utility trailer while cutting firewood, I’ve never been stuck in a 2wd in a place that I had business being. If that’s your mentality, you’ll be fine. If you’re the type that enjoys challenges and will try to see how many places the truck will take you, rather than being conservative, you’ll get stuck. Most of the “maintained” roads will be fine in decent weather.

The problem with a 2wd, is for the most part you’re stuck the second your forward progress ceases, and the tires dig in. In a 4wd, someone who knows how to drive can typically get out of there. I’d recommend getting a winch regardless, you can get a Warn VR-8 for $500.

From a space/comfort perspective, if the three kids fit in the back without complaining on a road trip, it should work. Your backpacking perspective is a huge benefit when it comes to gear, it is insane the amount of stuff that some people carry. I did a week in Colorado last year hunting out of a 4000 cu backpack, some people can barely make it a weekend with a fully loaded Suburban.

I’d steer clear of the RTT’s unless you plan to stay in a difference place every night. They don’t make any sense to me for the typical 2-3 nights in a state park campsite scenario. Leaving to get ice, drive to the trailhead, etc, requires breaking camp.

If you need a large tent and the ability to handle severe weather, I’d look at some of the lightweight tipis. They are cheaper than RTT’s, more versatile, and light enough that you could carry one on a typical family trail. 7 lbs with stakes, screen doors, and the center pole. Bonus is that you can run a stove if you’d like.


An ARB awning mounted to the topper with a drop down screen room is also a great place to eat, sleep, and hang out in decent weather.

Assuming that you don’t have elderly people with you, I see no reason not to stick with a backpacking sleep system of an inflatable pad and down mummy bag. The overlandkng perks can be stuff like decent chairs, a 2-burner stove, steaks, and a cooler full of beer. ;)
 
Here’s what I just got. Sleeps 6 easily and should be able to go ANYWHERE. Self contained with 40 gals of water, kitchen, hot water, etc. Got this so I could head out with my wife + 3 kids (7, 5, 5) and a dog. Even fits the garage to keep the HOA happy. Relatively big investment upfront, but much better value than a lot of other Offroad trailers. Check YouTube for videos. It’s called the Opus Offroad Air
 

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CrazyDrei

Space Monkey
Like you setup and will start working thru your build thread - i'm got a family of 5 but will probably end up being a family of 6. We are looking at pop-ups as an alternative to ground tents- I'm curious how you sleep your family in a A-Frame popup?
Inquiring minds want to know...
Sorry guys, just saw that you wanted to know.

Camper has a couch that unfolds into a full bed, I have an 8" futon mattress and a 4" tempurpedic topper on it, thats where my wife and I sleep. two toddlers share the dinette which folds into a twin size bed. I put big plastic bins between the two boys so they don't fight all night. Newborn has a Summer travel bassinet that sits on the kitchen counter over the stove and sink.


Infant's bassinet.

The bassinet is only good until the infant starts crawling, then it becomes unsafe. In an A-frame the heat rises up and so even though the bassinet is next to a window, it's a foot higher up than either of the beds and gets approximately 5 degrees warmer air. This is great for cold weather camping.

Hope this helps. And I apologize for a really slow response.
 

CrazyDrei

Space Monkey
Here’s what I just got. Sleeps 6 easily and should be able to go ANYWHERE. Self contained with 40 gals of water, kitchen, hot water, etc. Got this so I could head out with my wife + 3 kids (7, 5, 5) and a dog. Even fits the garage to keep the HOA happy. Relatively big investment upfront, but much better value than a lot of other Offroad trailers. Check YouTube for videos. It’s called the Opus Offroad Air
Air Opus is a fantastic looking trailer, however for the $20K they run seem too expensive and impractical. It's off-roadability looks unbeatable mostly due to the weight or lack there of. Have you had a chance to inflate and deflate it in rain, snow, or winds higher than 20mph? Doesn't seem like fun at all. It reminds me of a much more refined and more civilized Jumpin Jack trailer.
 
Air Opus is a fantastic looking trailer, however for the $20K they run seem too expensive and impractical. It's off-roadability looks unbeatable mostly due to the weight or lack there of. Have you had a chance to inflate and deflate it in rain, snow, or winds higher than 20mph? Doesn't seem like fun at all. It reminds me of a much more refined and more civilized Jumpin Jack trailer.
just got back from a thanksgiving trip. You can read my trip report on the forum. No regrets with this setup at all.
83072612-8C76-4662-9F76-F899D7618636.jpeg
 
I’ll also add that this will comfortably sleep 5-6 adults, has a great furnace that keep us warm when it was 30deg outside, has a 4 burner stove, etc. great setup for a family.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
They are real nice, but so far out of the scope of the OP's quest. If his wife / family develop a liking for camping, it's worthwhile. But it's an even worse / more costly solution than an RTT, at this point.
My neighbor has a similar trailer, used it all the time the first year, but now it just sits in his driveway, even with his grade school son in Scouting. His wife's not a fan of camping nor are they taking many such trips as a full family. Pretty big expense for 1 year of use.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
There are many ways you can make your adventure fun and comfortable, but you will never know until you go out and try.



We also travel as a family of 5 and pull a little solid side pop up trailer. My wife can set it up by herself in under 30 seconds, my best time was under 10 seconds. It's insulated, has heat, AC, water tank and has enough room for all 5 of us. It's also overbuilt for it's size. I did do a axle flip and 31x10" tires for off road use.




BLM land around Capitol Reef



Random beach at an end of a dead end trail at Lake Mead.



Ski and snowboard base camp in Mammoth. As well as "camping" at the hot springs after a day of skiing.



Truck not hooked up but enjoying the view on the Homer Spit in Alaska.

We love this little thing, it tows easy, we store all camping essentials in plastic bins that either stack in the back of the Suburban or tuck under the beds in the camper. Best of all once we get into an area, we can set up base camp, unhook the trailer and go explore trails in the truck without the added weight of gear.

We considered an RTT, while it would be an absolute dream for the kids, I spent twice as much on the trailer and fully protected from all the elements and always have a dry comfy bed even in a wind, thunder or snowstorms where an RTT would be impossible to setup.

Ultimately, start by actually getting out there. Use what you have or get a tent at walmart and start with that. Figure out what worked what didn't, make adjustments and go out and try again. And to answer one of your questions, YES, there are many families traveling and exploring in your TRD, it's a great and capable truck even without 4wd with plenty of room in the bed for all your gear.
Did you rig bunk beds for the kids?
I’ve been eyeing the aliner with the added dormers the hard side / all weather capabilities is very attractive vs our tent on a trailer. Especially after our mild Moab wind storm that we just managed to barely avoid tent damage.
 
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