2013-06-05

What's in the truck

So, I moved my house into a pickup truck. Unsurprisingly, not everything I owned fit. So how did that work?

First, I had been toying with the idea of being nomadic since I was a kid. I used to design offroad campers out of legos when I was like 5. In college I got on a bit of a minimalism kick as many of you know. I also carried enough stuff in my school pack to travel the world or go on an impromptu uncomfortable backpacking trip. At that time I started targetting everything I owned fitting in a backpack... this was not feasible though given my many hobbies. So I never got close.

I moved out to the bay area with just that little daypack. BUT behind that I mailed about one SUV full (with seats down) of stuff. That's not including things like a bike I purchased on this side, a futon bed, eventually a futon couch, etc. in 2009 when Jess and I hiked the Appalachian trail, we decided we had to go on the road eventually. Ever since then I've been targeting everything I owned fitting in a vehicle. When we purchased a vehicle we had this idea in mind. We considered purchasing something better for the city, but Jess likes pickup trucks and it fit our needs even then relatively well. So since then I've been targeting fitting my stuff in the Tacoma. About a year ago I realized that fitting BOTH our stuff was going to be hard and started thinking through the list in my head very critically.

All plans go out the window upon confrontation with the enemy. But as my manager at Google said, plans are useless, planning is essential. When I went to fit everything in the truck it fit... not easily as it needed to to later add Jess' stuff, but it was enough to get out of the apartment.

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So what's in there? Here's a short list

  • rubbermade tub of tools (saw, hatchet, machete, awls, punches, needles, plyers, gloves, measuring tools, etc. This box also contains the tire repair kit and inflater)
  • rubbermade tub of truck tools (full ratchet set, locking pliers, some fluids, 16000 lb rope, snatch strap, shovel, etc.)
  • rubbermade tub of cooking supplies (old aluminium pot set, cast aluminium pot, utensils, stove, hygene stuff, spices, flutes and penny-whistles, mugs, etc.)
  • rubbermade tub of instant/backpacking food
  • huge tub of specialized gear (spare backpack, climbing gear, snowshoes, ice-axe, important documents, warm boots, etc.)
  • large tub of clothing and books (3 pair pants, 2 pair shorts, 4 shirts, boxers, socks, a couple pretty wallhangings)
  • cardboard box of bulk food (rice, qinua, couscous, amaranth, oatmeal, etc.)
  • large duffel of SAR/backpacking gear (hiking poles, cookset, fluffy pants, etc.)
  • fullsized guitar in hardcase
  • 5 gallon bucket with lid (currently contains a deer hide I'm working on, originally contained left-over 2x4 ends I've now burned)
  • 4 1 gallon plastic water containers
  • large bag of wool (I intend to felt it, but haven't gotten to it yet).
  • loose: 45 lb bow, 55 lb bow, quiver of arrows, atl-atl, firedrill parts, walking-stick flute, second green deer hide, sawed off packframe
  • small duffel: tanned deer-hide and other materials for making things
  • small box: electronics! (laptop, kindle keyboard 3G, bluetooth and usb keyboards, chargers, inverter, cellphone, spare hard-drive)
  • On top of platform: wool blanket being used as a sleepingpad, 2 sleepingpads, down quilt, silk liner (so I don't kill the quilt), big duffel for laundry
  • in jump seats: More food, daypack with a few items in it.
  • in jump seat storage compartments: tire-chains, jumper cables, scraper, flares, first-aid kit, duct-tape

This isn't exactly minimal, I've got a lot of stuff that while nice is probably not *needed* per say. I have too many hobbies and interests it turns out :D. Ultralight backpack

So, that's what I've got. I was going to hang on to my personal floatation device since I still want to find a swiftwater class that fits in my scheduler, but it didn't fit in the truck. I've got probably 150 lbs of tools. I just repacked the truck yesterday because a friend and I realized that it was healing slightly - I'd loaded the left-side heavier which is where I sit and where the gas tank sits.

I have a ham-radio in the glove compartment. I had a CB though the antenna was a mag-mount which, with all the 4-wheeling I've been doing, has now been knocked off and broken - so I need to do a better mounting. My laptop's battery is dead, but can be use it off the inverter. The 12v socket I installed in the rear is very useful for this. My cellphone can be used for data tether, it's slow but sufficient for writing long emails. I'm on $3.00 a day plan now every day I use it. My kindle is a 3G so I can check my email for free anywhere in the world. For blog posts I've been using various free wifi. At the moment I'm in a coffee shop. A lot of laundromats have wireless as well.

When Jess moves in I'll probably have to give up the fullsized guitar, a bit of food space, a bit of clothing, most of the books, and maybe a bit of the cooking gear to fit in Jess' stuff. I keep making passes through the stuff and getting rid of things. Speaking of... who wants a blood-pressure cuff? I've been toying with the option of building a roof-rack on the cab (since my cap is above my cab this wouldn't make the wind-profile much worse). It's going to be annoying though and hurt gas-milage, so if I can avoid it all the better.

One big mistake I made. I couldn't figure out how to get a gas-tank on the roof in time (I didn't get a holder for my jerry-can). I gave up and put it in the back. I'd already added new gaskets and tested it so I thought it didn't leak... well 7000 ft of elevation and a low-pressure front made it leak. It destroyed a shirt and my wool blanket. I saved a couple of other pieces of clothing with my brother's advice of using dawn dish detergent. Hint: if you carry a noxious liquid make REALLY SURE it won't leak. I'm never carrying gas inside the vehicle again if I don't have to. So, for now I have no spare gas-tank, which kindof sucks... oh well.

I've been surprised, I'm doing a lot more off-roading than I expected. I knew I'd do it to get to good boondocking sites, but at least up on route 80 where I was hanging out last week the good sites really *require* a truck if you're going to do this routinely and not damage your vehicle. This week I've been hanging around the bay area. I came down for the weekend to see some friends and plan a backpacking trip with them, and didn't get out soon enough to make the gas cost worthwhile. I had some errands to run around town anyway. More on those projects soon :).

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