Ready to build...need advice and honest info about storage/carry capacity issues

Sunpilot

Observer
I'm getting ready to build an exploration vehicle. The vehicle will primarily be used to transport and sustain my girlfriend, her very small dog, and myself. We anticipate weekend to week long trips and want to be as self sufficient as possible. That means carrying food/water, fuel, and gear for at least a few days off the beaten path. I do not (at this time) anticipate towing a trailer. I do anticipate a RTT, recovery gear, and at least a fridge. The two vehicles I am considering for my build are a 4 door Taco short bed(probably 2006-2010) or a 4th gen 4Runner. My question is... How much gear do you carry? I know one can never have enough space, but do you find your rig adequate for a few days to a week in the wilderness? I should add I am probably going to use a rear bumper with swing away carriers for tire, fuel, and whatever else I can carry out there. What kind of items do you find necessary and do they all fit? Tell me what you can pack in your rig, on your roof or roof rack, etc, and how long you can stay off the grid.

I have been reading a ton of threads, but most of the time the gear carried is not the focus of the thread. I think it would be most interesting to find out what, exactly, people can cram in their rigs!

Thanks for your co-operation, insight, and time.
 

Joe917

Explorer
How long is a piece of string?
The variations and requirements are endless. What is good for one is not for another. The ones that have it right have been traveling for years and are usually on their 3rd or fourth vehicle, and they all have completely different set ups. The best advice I can give is go with the vehicle that you are comfortable with and had the most weight carrying capacity. An offroad trailer could be a great solution but is a PITA on tight trails.
We live full time in our truck, carry all common spares, tools, water for a month or more if needed and fuel to go 2000 kms. Then again we are 9 tonnes+.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
How long is a piece of string?
The variations and requirements are endless. What is good for one is not for another. .
Yep.

You are the only one that knows what you need. I say start out with the basics, and go take some trips...you will discover what you need and what you don't. Me personally, I like keeping it very simple. Duffle, cooler, and a chuck box...and not much else.

I can stay on the road for weeks on end with very little.

14713661_10154666457704630_7404119941895749953_n.jpg
 

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Sunpilot

Observer
I realize my desires are not the same as everyone else's. My questions are more...what type and amount of gear can a person get in these vehicles. I know what I need, but I would like to hear what people fit in their rigs....
 

Dalko43

Explorer
I would say that if you are deadset on a RTT, go with the Tacoma. It will be easier to keep the COG low on that kind of setup, and you'll still have plenty of storage space in the pickup bed beneath the tent. If you can do without the RTT, go with the 4runner. Slightly better build quality, optional v8, some select few 4th gen's also came with rear lockers...there is obviously some amount of subjectivity to this, but for 2 people, a small dog and assorted gear, a 4runner seems to be the better setup (if you don't want a RTT).

Either one should be fine for storing the basic gear that you'll likely require: fridge/cooler; tool bags; camping gear; clothing; dog; water. So payload wise, you should be fine with either one, as long as you pay attention to the amount of weight you throw on. When you throw all the previously mentioned gear on and then start adding hefty tires, front and rear bumpers, thick skid plates, sliders, ect. that's when you might start to see issues with braking, acceleration and other potential safety issues. These two vehicles are light/medium duty vehicles at best, so just be mindful of the weight.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
I realize my desires are not the same as everyone else's. My questions are more...what type and amount of gear can a person get in these vehicles. I know what I need, but I would like to hear what people fit in their rigs....
I have a lot of room to spare, basically my gear fits from the back of the wheel wells, to the front of the bed and below the bed rails. Keep the sleeping bags and pillows in the extra cab. I could probably get it even down even more if I ditch the chuckbox, but that thing is really convenient. I don't like fridges, because it ads weight and complexity. So I do a lot of dry and canned goods, which most I make myself. You have to stop and get fuel..so you can replenish ice and food then. Seems like most want to carry all of their supplies all at once, me I carry "just enough" and restock on the road. Good time to try new restaurants and holes in the wall too. ;)

I camp off a motocycle too, you really learn what you need and what you don't real quick. Real Estate is at a premium on a bike. The truck almost seems over kill at times. Then I see people who pack the hell out of their rigs and have it waaaay over payload. It is really about what your needs are.

Me personally I don't care SUV's, like to keep the gear separate from the passenger compartment for the most part. Do own both a truck and a SUV...truck gets taken every time. SUV is the grocery getter.
 
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XPLORx4

Adventurer
I prefer to keep all my gear enclosed in the cabin (not exposed to theft, rain, or dust), so my choice would be the 4Runner.

If you plan to get a camper shell, the truck will be a good choice. The difficulty would be having to climb into the bed to reach the stuff closer to the cab. Here's an example of "expedition"-type gear that you can fit inside a rig such as the 4th-gen 4Runner, while leaving a "seat" on the rear bench for your canine companion:

12v fridge, a 6-gallon Aquatainer for water, a 2-gallon garden sprayer full of water (useful for water conservation), 2 chairs, 8-person tent, inflatable queen air mattress, 2 camp tables, 3 sleeping bags and pillows, 2 weber propane grills, 2 bags of food, rubbermaid tub full of cooking/camping supplies, propane lantern, portable PETT toilet, 2 medium-sized duffle bags.

If you get a roof rack, you can put stuff like the tent, chairs, and tables on the roof, which will allow you to fit a 2-person inflatable kayak inside. OR you can fit a large dog crate in the cargo area, and then use the space on the rear bench seat for gear.

Things like recovery gear, gloves, and a small tool set (as well as high-power LED flashlights) accompany the rig at all times in various storage cubbies or under the seats.

The longest I have been self-sustaining "off-the-grid" is 4 days. The main thing you need for a longer trip is water and food (and a way to keep your battery charged). The capacity of your fridge and access to a water source are key factors. You can use a LifeStraw water purifier if you opt to pack less water and you'll be near a natural water source.
 
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Sunpilot

Observer
I prefer to keep all my gear enclosed in the cabin (not exposed to theft, rain, or dust), so my choice would be the 4Runner.

If you plan to get a camper shell, the truck will be a good choice. The difficulty would be having to climb into the bed to reach the stuff closer to the cab. Here's an example of "expedition"-type gear that you can fit inside a rig such as the 4th-gen 4Runner, while leaving a "seat" on the rear bench for your canine companion:

12v fridge, a 6-gallon Aquatainer for water, a 2-gallon garden sprayer full of water (useful for water conservation), 2 chairs, 8-person tent, inflatable queen air mattress, 2 camp tables, 3 sleeping bags and pillows, 2 weber propane grills, 2 bags of food, rubbermaid tub full of cooking/camping supplies, propane lantern, portable PETT toilet, 2 medium-sized duffle bags.

If you get a roof rack, you can put stuff like the tent, chairs, and tables on the roof, which will allow you to fit a 2-person inflatable kayak inside. OR you can fit a large dog crate in the cargo area, and then use the space on the rear bench seat for gear.

Things like recovery gear, gloves, and a small tool set (as well as high-power LED flashlights) accompany the rig at all times in various storage cubbies or under the seats.

The longest I have been self-sustaining "off-the-grid" is 4 days. The main thing you need for a longer trip is water and food (and a way to keep your battery charged). The capacity of your fridge and access to a water source are key factors. You can use a LifeStraw water purifier if you opt to pack less water and you'll be near a natural water source.
Thanks for your input...this is the type of info I am interested in...what people actually fit in their rigs. I'm impressed that you get all that into a 4Runner.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Unless you deal with SF down toen parking challenges I would go long bed and tachoma habitat and call it good.
The short bed in practical stowage terms is really short, and in your case a 6ft gives you options to set it up with a sleeping platform under a normal bed cap, which can be cheaper and offer more use options over a RRT.
 

Sunpilot

Observer
Keep in mind that fitting things is only part of the game. Reaching them is another. For me, moving things to get to other things gets tiring real quick, which is where extra room, drawers, and other solutions come into play.
I figured I would use a drawer system for that reason.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
I figured I would use a drawer system for that reason.
Just throwing it out there, but a drawer system is not necessary nor practical for everyday use. First figure out what kind of vehicle you want (pickup or SUV) and then plan your gear storage accordingly. Plastic bins, old pelican cases, duffle bags, ect. should be sufficient for storing your gear. Also keep in mind that the more gear you throw up top (like a RTT), the higher your COG, the more drag you have, the more weight you're carrying.

I'm not sure if you plan on making this a expedition-only rig, but if you're DD'ing it, you're going to want to maintain some sort of balance on mods and practicality.
 

cdthiker

Meandering Idaho
I spend a lot of time working and playing all while using my truck as a base platform. It is also my DD so I keep it simple. My usual load out stays in the truck for most of the year.
1 cot with the end chopped off to fit the six foot tacoma bed. Under the cot I stash two large rubber tubs. up front is camping supplies. Tent, clothes other soft goods. pots pans is in Another with foot stove etc. That one goes near the tail gate under the cot with in easy reach. If I am on the road for work I have several milk crates of supplies and books that will also fit under the cot. Up front not under the cot is a five gallon bucket with tire chains, tow straps etc. Another Med six crate for tools rope etc. Cooler gets slid in near that up front pined by the wheel wells and other bins. The space left over is plenty for my 65 pound lab mutt to hang out in. or he rides shot gun and there is room for a second cooler or several water cubes with just enough foot room to swing my legs off at the base of the cot to put on shoes etc.
All of this lives under a mid rise ARE MX capper. There is plenty of room left over for a few base camp duffles. When on the road and not sleeping or using the back of the truck I usually leave my bed set up with a pad on the cot and bag rolled up back packs or duffles get tossed on the cot and do a decent job of staying in place while on the road. If the wife comes along the cot comes out and its sleeping pads only in the back of the truck. Bins get tossed in the cab for sleeping ( regular cab tacoma bench seat) I toss a rocket box on the bars up top for extra room as needed. It does not seem to ding the MPG too much on this truck perhaps 1-2 mpg. Fully loaded rocket box on roof, I still return 20-22 mpg with teh 4 banger.

Because of the way I have things set up there is plenty of room for fishing poles skis and poles along the sides of the bed between the cot and the wall.

I like simple, this set up has taken me all over the rocky mounatains and west to the coast. I drive about 30 k a year for work and spend a lot of time on the road.
While not off grid per se this set up has served me just as well for back country travel here in Idaho. I have gone from a few days to two weeks+ with this set up.
Simple is good, less things to break and worry about, more cash left over to spend on steak and whiskey and the gas to find a fine place to enjoy it all.
 

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Sunpilot

Observer
Unless you deal with SF down toen parking challenges I would go long bed and tachoma habitat and call it good.
The short bed in practical stowage terms is really short, and in your case a 6ft gives you options to set it up with a sleeping platform under a normal bed cap, which can be cheaper and offer more use options over a RRT.
I'm set on either a short bed or a 4Runner. I just sold my Jeep Rubicon and I appreciate the shorter wheel based vehicles for the type of areas I travel. Sleeping in the bed isn't an option for us. I can limit what I carry, no problem. I'm just interested in knowing about how much I can get in these vehicles so I can plan accordingly.
 

Sunpilot

Observer
Just throwing it out there, but a drawer system is not necessary nor practical for everyday use. First figure out what kind of vehicle you want (pickup or SUV) and then plan your gear storage accordingly. Plastic bins, old pelican cases, duffle bags, ect. should be sufficient for storing your gear. Also keep in mind that the more gear you throw up top (like a RTT), the higher your COG, the more drag you have, the more weight you're carrying.

I'm not sure if you plan on making this a expedition-only rig, but if you're DD'ing it, you're going to want to maintain some sort of balance on mods and practicality.
This will be used solely for expedition type driving. I have another vehicle. I am retired and have the time to travel to those obscure places, and that is our intention. The rig will be set up to accommodate us in the most efficient way and I won't have to worry about loading and unloading stuff. I want it ready to go whenever we are ready to go.
 
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