Welcome to my house! Affectionately named “Truckie”, this is a 2016 Ford F150 4X4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 with over 10,000 lbs of towing power. (Insert in Tim the tool man grunt noises here).
‘Supercab’ means it has the half size row of backseats in the main truck cab, complete with suicide doors (maybe not technically called suicide doors, but it sounds cool). Big plus on this truck, it comes with the full length truck bed, 6.5 ft long. Awful for trying to park, excellent for trying to sleep.
This truck has been perfect for car camping. It has vinyl seats which are easy to keep clean, especially with a dog, also the rear seats flip up, which is great for storage. Another plus was this truck came with 4×4. There have been more than a handful of times I actually needed it, basically if you’ll ever be in snowy conditions, it’s a must-have. I’ve had fantastic luck maintenance-wise with this truck. Practically takes care of itself.
Truck topper / Camper Shell
It’s fitted out with a Leer 180 topper. It is considered a ‘mid-rise’, giving more head room. VERY useful so you can at least sit upright inside. The topper comes insulated, helping both in summer and winter conditions. Another useful addition with this topper is the interior dome light connected to the truck battery, and the slider tinted windows fitted with screens.
This topper in particular was hard to find due to Ford coming out with this spoiler-type shape on the tailgate for 2016. But, thankfully I was able to grab a ready-to-go model about 2 hours from my parents house, instead of having to custom order one.
Inside the truck bed, I went for simple.
I built a bed consisting of plywood and 2 x 4s.
My engineer of a father decided I should create ‘doors’ to easily access storage underneath, hat was done by cutting the top piece of plywood in half and added hinges to the legs of the bed.
4 ft wide x 6.2 ft long was plenty of room for both me and Indy (75 lb golden aka little spoon). The bed itself was about 8” in height, just enough so I could sit on it and my head would be just below the topper ceiling. I only wanted it 4 ft wide to leave an aisle on one side to get in and out easier.
Here’s a video of my excitement of buying wood at Lowe’s.
The bed was sturdy, and with the addition of a few memory foam pads, extremely comfortable. In fact, I have a hard time sleeping on regular mattresses anymore!
There was plenty of plywood to use a leftover piece as a shelf. The topper has a lip that runs on the inside of all three sides of the truck bed (excluding the tailgate). There are c- clamps on the inside that hold the topper in place. I was able to used the plywood (that was the length of the topper essentially) and drill out round holes to fit on top of the c-clamp bolts. It wasn’t level, but it held weight fine, and if it popped off while driving, it was a very simple fix to get it back into place. I even added a hanging shelf to it by screwing dowels to a smaller piece of wood. I then screwed some boxes with lids to keep knick knacks in. That hanging shelf became more of a junk collector than anything, so I’d recommend having less surface area for things to accumulate. I also added some large screw-hooks into the underside of the shelf for hanging things like keys, towel and headlamp.
Finish any wood
With the shelf and bed frame, or any wood going in your vehicle, be sure to coat it in an outdoor paint / primer / finish, whatever you can to seal it from mold moving in. I painted the shelf and bed with a few coats of outdoor paint. At first, I had only painted the bed and left the shelf unfinished. Within a month the shelf was growing fuzzies like crazy. I had a few little wooden crates to hold things, and even though they were painted, they still got mold and mildew. Just be wary of any natural products in your vehicle (wood, jute, cotton, etc), especially in humid environments.
To mimic a mattress, I used memory foam toppers. I thought I could get away with one foam pad, but my hips were not going to let that slide. I ended up with 3 pads stacked on top of one another to finally reach my Goldilocks standard.
Walmart has them in Twin XL size, a little long, but then you can bunch it where your head is for that extra pillow feel.
With those being a synthetic foam, along with fleece on top, it never needed washing, the sun would cook out any odors.
I did check with other people, they verified I did not stink, although I can’t say I had visitors very often….(like… never, Indy isn’t big on sharing).
I used a 45 degree top-quilt and had 2 pillows with silk pillowcases (sounds fancier than it is).
For winter, I upgraded to a 10 degree top-quilt, and eventually added in fleece blankets.
Having an aisle was invaluable. Getting in and out of the truck was easier for me & Indy both, putting on shoes, using it to cook when I had to stay inside, easy reach down access to under the bed… I can’t imagine not having it.
I found a rug (runner size) that fit just perfect between the bed and the truck. I used scissors to cut out around the wheel well. It kept dirt and wet paws from getting into the bed. The rug also was a huge comfort for my behind whilst I sat in my favorite spot, the tailgate of course!
Your dad has a million of these, or your co-workers dad does. Go find you some. You will need to bungee down upright things. For instance I had a container for Indy’s dog food that had to be bungeed down. Another great use was hooking it onto the topper glass window to create a 90 degree angle. If you don’t do that, it will stay open at more of a 90 degree angle which lets any precipitation in (think morning dew or god forbid, rain).
Tupperware bins have always been a staple in my life. You could classify me as tidy. I have found that having specific locations for your things make it so much easier to find them, or even discover sooner when something is missing.
I managed to collect various sized Tupperware bins from other people. Whatever I could fit under the platform bed worked out in a jigsaw puzzle sort of way. Those little plastic squares paid off. A truck topper is not exactly weatherproof, and water would constantly seep in during downpours. Bins also help with other fun issues, like bugs and rodents.
I’ll drive into how to live in a truck with a large dog in another article, but in regard to storage, this one item is worth its own section.
I swear by this air-tight 33 lb capacity food holder I got. Don’t be fooled, it’s listed as 35 lb but I could only ever fit 33 lb in there.
BUT It NEVER made the truck smell like dog food which meant no animals trying to break in! Worth every penny.
I wouldn’t change a thing with my set-up
I learned it’s best to not try to plan for situations that haven’t even happened yet. We are resilient creatures, when the time comes, it will work out.
Feel free to ask me any questions! I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have found out what works and what doesn’t. Cheers! xx
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