Essentials

Essentials List for Full Time Truck Camping

There is no heat in the back of the truck (4wd 2006 access cab Toyota Tacoma), named Lilith. There is no insulation in the back. When it gets too cold  I put on a sweater or two. A hat. Gloves. Heavy socks. Or drive south or  downhill.  There is no cooler with ice. There is no fridge. No bathroom. This set up is for my style of camping.

  1. Topper:  An A.R.E. DCU 30″-36″ aluminum topper with liner and windows. Liner is essential to eliminate condensation and hail noise. After 6 years I still love it. You need to “build your own” on the A.R.E. commercial website.  Getting into the back I needed a step stool. This folds up to a tiny space. Also great for guest situpon and a seat for panning gold.
  2. Rack on top of the cab:  This is the place for the big shovel, a window scraper, two tables, a bag of big tools like saws, and a chair. It is a Thule 859XT Canyon Basket. Works great. Really want one of those door steps to get up near the rack. 
  3. Bedding: An old carpet remnant on plywood. I love sleeping on a hard surface. Two sleeping bags.  1 cheapie sleeping bag  and a fancy down one I bought in 1968. In winter the down bag goes inside the cheap one. Toasty. My pillow is an old sweater filled with winter clothes.  The best reading light.
  4. Water:Scepter Water Cans (5-Gallon)with a drinking water hose, a shut off valve and a hose bandit. Once a year (Jan 1?) clean out the 5 gallon containers with a bit of bleach and water, then empty and let dry before refilling with potable water. I also have 4 plastic 1 gallon water jugs from the grocery store. They have screw on tops (the kind that flip open don’t travel well). Walmart has a cheap, easy way to refill with very clean water. Also have a Dollar Store 1/2 gallon plastic, screw top container for sun tea. Usually filled with water until needed.
  5. Cooking: 20 pound propane tank and a single burner Coleman Propane Stove. For the big propane tank I needed a different hose/connection than the one that comes with the Coleman setup. (I have found that this big tank is way too much. Am trying to decide how to downsize.) You will need a windbreak. (Sometimes that windbreak is not enough. Check out the strange wind solution!) For dishes I use steel.  Compact Stainless Steel Dish Set is the way to go. Easy to clean, very hard to damage, and are very light. A folding table that works. I also have a second, smaller table that holds the stove. A light for cooking at night or dawn. Finally found the perfect fry pan .  For morning coffee I have used an  AeroPress for five years every morning. Still love it. Easy to clean. Finally caved and bought a great Yeti insulated cup. No cooler. Hate those things. Food and spices are stored in clear boxes. Works. 
  6. Tarp: A white  12′ x 20′  Heavy Duty White  10-mil  Tarp .  Loved the tarp for four years.  Gave up on it. It grew heavy! Bought a nice nylon small tarp. (After much heavy use this tarp still holds up very well. I have abused it and it still looks new. No tears or holes.) Two painters’ extension poles,  a few PVC poles, some paracord and heavy-duty bungee cords.
  7. Safety items : A fire extinguisher, a heavy-duty 16′ 6 gauge booster cable ( and instructions on how to jump someone else’s car. I can never remember the sequence ), a Tow Strap,  a weather alert radio, whistle, a Jump Starter/Power Pack (This finally pooped out after 4 years. Haven’t found a replacement yet. Thinking about this one, (Maybe in October.), a 900 lumen LED flashlight for protection (shine that in bad guy’s eyes!) , and a  Goal Zero Yeti 400 . The Yeti finally pooped out after 6 years of daily use. Found I didn’t need all that much power. I replaced it with an outdoor solar panel charger with two usb ports. Also still have two  solar panels (from the GoalZero set up) with usb ports. I only charge a Kindle, a cell phone, 2 Anker batteries and my favorite reading/cooking light. When I go to a library I use the laptop.
  8. Chopping: A hatchet, and an old machete.
  9. Relaxing: Love, love the hammock.
  10. Bathroom For instructions and items check out the post called Noodle
  11. Bungee cords, cable ties and carabiners.
  12. I have milk crates, clothes, hand tools and books. And more books.