Now that we've spent a few months living out of our truck, we've realized that we're doing it the hard way. Not that this is entirely a surprise. I mean, obviously traveling can be easier in a self-contained van or RV. However, traveling and camping with a truck doesn't have to be hard. It's probably simpler with one person, rather than two people and a big dog. It's also probably less of a hassle when you don't need cold and warm weather gear in addition to car camping and backpacking gear. And I'm sure it also helps to have your gear dialed in, which we admittedly do not.
Since we started this adventure in November in Utah, it was cold. At least by our desert rat standards. We realized before we left it would be warmer for us to sleep in the truck. This means when we arrive at a new camp, we need to unload everything in order to set up our beds in the truck. We've used our big car camping tent for gear storage. So, essentially, it's alot of work to set up camp. First, set up a tent. Well, OK, first find the Bourbon, then set up the tent. Second, unload everything in the camper shell and organize in tent. Third, take a break, drink more Bourbon. Typically, then I set up our camp kitchen and start thinking about dinner and re-hydrating whatever we are having while Ra begins making the bed.
The bed is a whole other production. Initially we were using an inflatable Coleman airbed, which of course sprung a leak pretty quickly. We'd have air for a few hours, then it was flat. We had some pads underneath, so it wasn't entirely awful. (We've since graduated to a much more comfortable and less problematic memory foam mattress.) We did bring ALOT of blankets and car camping sleeping bags. It was warm enough for me, but Ra was still cold some nights, even sleeping in layers and his down jacket and a hat. Cozy, but it takes some time and effort to lay it all out. I thought more than once four or five hundred dollars for down quilts would be great. As is often the case, we could solve alot of 'problems' by throwing money at 'em.
One of our favorite things to do is check out other people's rigs, gear, and set-ups. We are trying to dial it in, simplify, and make things easier and we love to see what other, more experienced, road warriors are doing. Over the last few months we've seen many interesting vehicles converted in to RV's. In addition to all varieties of vans, trucks, and RV's, we've seen several school buses and ambulances. The coolest was an old European military ambulance a Danish couple outfitted and shipped over here. Interestingly, they said it's problematic for Europeans to purchase RV's here and it's easier to outfit their own and ship it over.
On more than on occasion, often if it is cold or raining, we've looked upon folks with self-contained set-ups with some degree of envy. People can actually pull up to a campsite and not even emerge from their vehicle for hours! How nice would it be to pull up and enjoy a cocktail and dinner, all the while staying warm and out of the wind? To have a refrigerator and more fresh food? Ice cubes for cocktails and cold beer?! Having gear organized and not having to constantly dig through Rubbermaids? Not having to climb out of the truck, while holding back a German Shepherd Dog, in the middle of the night to pee? Oh, it all sounds so delightful. We fantasize about different set-ups. Were we to win the proverbial lottery, what would we even want? The possibilities are endless. Something lifted, preferably 4x4, and with a fridge - that's about all we've figured out.
Rig envy notwithstanding, we have come to appreciate a few things about our truck. With a four wheel drive pick-up, we can go places many other rigs cannot, allowing us to get more remote and enjoy a quiet spot all to ourselves. It's simple not having to worry about how long the vehicle is or whether we can turn around or what spaces we can fit in. Most importantly, we spend more time outside. We've noticed that folks with bigger, more comfy rigs, tend to stay in them. While there are times it would certainly be more comfortable inside an RV or van, we are outside, enduring whatever nature is throwing at us. Being outside is the whole point, after all.
Mostly, we are just happy to be able to be doing what we are doing! While there are certainly better and more comfortable options and it would be fun to have $150,000 to blow on a vehicle and gear, we are just happy to be out and about. We are making it work with what we've got and are grateful for the experience. Ra worked really hard to renovate the camper shell and it's working out beautifully.