Truck Living

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by avagdu, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. avagdu

    avagdu Monkey++

    Watch the Video

    My wife and I lived out of our truck for a little over four months in summer and fall of the high desert. Besides being a little cramped, it was very affordable and I enjoyed it for the most part. It was a necessity because we were living on only one minimum wage income at the time.

    The camper shell for shelter was the most integral part of the truck, and a full size futon mattress for the bed. I also added some styrofoam insulation underneath and later a queen size memory foam mattress on top cut a few inches to fit. Two queen size down comforters were sufficient most of the time for warmth.

    We reused 1 gallon beverage containers for water most of that time, but I upgraded to 5 gallon water jerry cans afterwards. Water spigots were available at parks and gas stations.

    Shelf stable food was kept in an under bed storage container, we cooked with a two burner propane stove and aluminum camp pots, although a smaller stove would have sufficed for most food we prepared. We used mostly disposable dishes and utensils to save water.

    We used a stainless steel bed pan and grocery bags for a toilet and a collapsible Nalgene Cantene or a TravelJohn for liquid waste.

    For our daily hygiene routine we used hot water, liquid soap and camp towels. For future use, I am putting together a substantial camp shower system with pressurized water once I can afford the components and assemble them.

    We first used instant coffee, then french press and finally moved on to using a percolator. Water was boiled daily and kept in a large thermos so hot water was available throughout the day.

    A portable handcrank/battery powered radio was used with an FM transmitter connected to an iPod for music or listening to podcasts.

    Small electronics like cell phones we charged with the car battery. A deep cycle marine battery was used to run larger portable electronics like laptops off a 700W inverter. It would run a laptop for 1-2 hours per day for two weeks before the marine battery would need to be recharged from A/C. Afterwards I got a more energy efficient 12V charger for the laptop but I haven't tested the run time since then. We frequented public wifi hotspots for internet connectivity.

    I would not hesitate to go back to this lifestyle but now that we have a pet, logistics would be slightly more complicated.

    Let me know if you're interested in this topic or have any questions.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
    duane, GOG, Gator 45/70 and 11 others like this.
  2. Meat

    Meat Monkey+++

    Cool. I could do this easily. Probs why I haven't been kicked out of the house yet. I might like it. Ha ha ha ha. [afro]
  3. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Just one comment, without pictures... it didn't happen. :)

    Asia-Off-Grid and Seepalaces like this.
  4. avagdu

    avagdu Monkey++

    You never know :sneaky: Sometimes we had to move parking spots early in the morning to stay discrete. I thought maybe a Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater would work to heat up the truck fast during those cold mornings but I never got one to try out.

    @azrancher There's a video detailing the truck living setup above
  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Kitty Litter buckets! Why did I not think of those? Perfect. They are square and that is what I have been wanting. I have always thought the round buckets waster space. Awesome set up. What is the approximate height between the bed and ceiling? Looks snug. Futons are so cheap and often I see them for about $20.

    Excellent video. Thanks for sharing. Living that way certainly helps you realize what is important and what isn't.

    What about this type of toilet? DIY Portable Toilet I think you could use the kitty litter for smell absorbing also.
    duane and Ura-Ki like this.
  6. Meat

    Meat Monkey+++

    I also know how to "borrow" power so I can watch my big screen and stay warm. [afro]
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
    Ura-Ki, Dunerunner and Yard Dart like this.
  7. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Neat Vid.. Really would be rough in colder country, I bet. My son and I spent a weekend camping out of the bed of my Toyota on the Truckee River close to Squaw Valley Resort in October. Damn it was cold....:eek:
    Motomom34 and Ura-Ki like this.
  8. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    This is the truck you need for Truck Camping! Picked this up 5 months ago for Cheap at the auction! Also got the trailer and both heavy canvas tops with insulated bed panels and top inserts! Does really well off road, and gets pretty good fuel mileage! [​IMG]
    Rsparks, duane, BlackhawkFan and 7 others like this.
  9. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    I was with you until you got to the part about your toilet arrangements. I'll be damned if I'm going to crap in a plastic bag and call it "living".

    Yes, I understand that when SHTF that may be the only option. If so, I'll deal with it. Until then, I'm going t live like it's 2016. Indoor plumbing for me, please! :)
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  10. avagdu

    avagdu Monkey++

    If you have a larger vehicle you can use a chemical toilet or a 5 gallon bucket. We didn't have the room for it. Solid waste was not usually a concern. I could generally drive somewhere with plumbing once or twice a day if I needed to. The bed pan / grocery bag combination was for any late night emergencies that might occur.

    I spent some nights in the Mojave desert in February with this setup. I just slept in thermals, maybe added a sleeping bag I don't remember. Sleeping is not the difficult part, it's waking up in the morning!
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
    Motomom34 and Tevin like this.
  11. Olympic mountain man

    Olympic mountain man just a lonely cook

    I grew up that way when we moved back from down south things were tight and we lived that way 3 of us mom, dad and me then after about a year we got a 17 foot travel trailer. I spent an early part of my childhood learning to live off the land and basically be MacGyver learn to work with very little but I will tell what it definitely made my family closer !!!! you learn to appreciate things in life!!
    enloopious, Motomom34 and Ura-Ki like this.
  12. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I believe I have stated it before on this site. But, I will do so again. I can live pretty danged simple, and certainly cheap, if I were forced to. (I have lived in nipa huts with part dirt, part concrete floors. I have lived in a single room - no air con, that was under 11 square meters (115 square feet).) I can sleep in a hammock tied between two posts or trees - I have, actually, many times.)

    However, the one thing I am NOT going to do without, is a proper western toilet with a bum gun. The "bum gun" part of that is, well, picture the spray head and hose in your kitchen sink. Those are commonly added to bathrooms here. What we (westerners) know to be "toilet tissue" isn't used for that purpose, in this part of the world. By the way, install a bum gun in your bathroom and try it sometime. You may never use toilet tissue again. I haven't, in almost two decades of living abroad. I like to call it a poor man's bidet. :D

    FYI: Here in SE Asia, toilet paper is called "tissue". But, it is often put on a table to wipe your hands with during meals - in cute dispensers. They do sell paper towels, though. But, typically, only the wealthy buy those. Napkins, we would call them from the states. However, asking for "napkins" in this part of the world will get you a feminine product. Be prepared.

    In closing, I'm 50 danged years old, by golly! There are just some things I refuse to do without - even if the entire world comes to an end!
  13. avagdu

    avagdu Monkey++

    Good idea.
  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    ...or you could end up soaked and covered in your own poo and running for the shower to clean off. :mad:
    I would not hesitate to add that it takes *some* practice, lol!
    Some folks really are, well maybe most people are --dependent upon toilet paper. Like Avagdu above, or any of our off grid members may describe alternative methods for proper defecation, I will also share in what little wisdom I have in the hope to inspire others to break out of that box we call the porcelain throne room. I once tried my hand at living in the middle of nowhere, without running water and no means to appropriate toilet wiping accoutrement. I also have had some experience in field expedient squat-shitting, by means of the military. I have to say, squatting really is effective, as it permits ease of flow and directs your fecal matter safely. I would dig a small hole and squat, and before too long I had a nice steaming pile of fertilizer without the unfavorable stain on the backside. No need for wiping, either, imagine that. Of course, there are days after you've had the chili special and a few beers, in which case the back-blast area will be a little contaminated. In such cases, I could have prepared a small water bottle to effectively rinse the unsightly mess from my rear quarters. Drying off may take a minute of waiting,

    With truck living, I can definitely see the need for a portable potty concept, as squatting on the ground isn't always going to work out.
  15. avagdu

    avagdu Monkey++

    Indeed! One of my main goals that entire time was not getting arrested by the police for vagrancy or sh**ting on someones lawn for that matter. :D
    Motomom34 and Brokor like this.
  16. enloopious

    enloopious Rocket Surgeon

    Too true! I only deficate on people's lawns whom I have an affinity for. EX: governors, politicians, local officials...

    I recommend trying it. Go to your nearest public official and tell them I said it was OK.
  17. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Sounds do-able for me avagdu, Thanks for posting!
    If? and when I loose my job which is becoming more of a guarantee with the price of oil and contractors working for 15 bucks an hour I have a plan!
    Similar to yours, Only I have a bit of land west of here...Its starting to look better day by day!
    Motomom34 likes this.
  18. avagdu

    avagdu Monkey++

    I should add that living this way the only expenses were food and fuel, about $300 a month if I recall.
    Motomom34 and Asia-Off-Grid like this.
  19. BlackhawkFan

    BlackhawkFan Monkey

    I've used sand for TP. It doesn't hurt like you'd think, even when done day after day after.... Just be careful you don't use that same sand to wash your dishes.
  20. Meat

    Meat Monkey+++

    Plus child support. [afro]
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