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Reducing weight

Granby jeep boondocking expedition adventure

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#1 Boonie

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 04:24 PM

It seems everybody wants to carry more, move from a 1/2 ton to 3/4, 3/4 to 1 ton, the high-end "expedition" campers are now on a Ford F550 chassis. That's the American way. Bigger is better, but what about the classic European expeditionary vehicles based on a Land Rover Defender where you have to think about what you carry. Every vehicle is a compromise, where are you going, how long will you be gone, what type of accomodations do you require? For me, I live in Colorado. I don't go on expeditions, but I want to go to remote places where it is hard for the crowd to get to. I stay in one place no longer than seven days. To accomplish this my vehicle will be smaller and will by necessity have to fit in my garage, max 7' tall. But at the same time I want to live inside the vehicle. (I have put away enough wet tents, and/or set up enough in the rain.) My vehicle will be a stretched Jeep YJ with a  narrowed and custom fit FWC Granby. (Maybe a future thread.)

 

So I would like to ask the experienced adventurers; What do you carry that you never use? What add-ons are ineffective, but just add weight? What have you done to reduce the weight you are carrying into the boonies? What are you carrying that you absolutely would not leave behind even if it meant leaving something else at home? Thanks in advance for your insight.


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#2 Alley-Kat

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 06:18 PM

To me, with my Ford Ranger and ATC Bobcat Shell that I built the interior, low weight is essential.

 

I only carry water in the 2.5 gallon plastic containers, I usually have 2 of them, no water tank for me. Easy to recycle the plastic containers and buy more water when needed. Also field refillable if needed.

 

I carried my cast iron cookwere for a trip or two and then they were no longer needed or wanted.

 

My first interior design was all 110VAC electric using a Honda 2000 generator, my second interior design nixed all the 110VAC stuff including the generator and now I have a propane furnace and stove top with the propane tank. Saved a little weight going with the second design.

 

I had built a sink in a cabinet, however, I never used it, I now have a plastic tub that is a multitasker, sink on counter top and storage bin in a cabinet. To me, sinks are an enabler to use more water than necessary.

 

I created an inside portable shower (modified utility sink for the pan) and a modified Zodi shower curtain using an outside Zodi Extreme water heater. I filter water from any local source with my Sawyer drip bag filter system for the shower, I only need about 1 gallon per person. So, I don't carry any water in the Zodi water heater tank. Thus all of this only weighs about 15 lbs.

 

Absolutely necessary for me is my 135 watt solar panel and 100 amp/hr Lifeline AGM battery to operate my 12VDC only fridge, LED lights, Fantasic Fan in roof and the propane furnace fan. No other 12VDC electronic devices,like TV, charging stations, etc. No electrical connection to the truck battery.

 

All my interior cabinets, seats, etc, are 1/2" plywood with some construction techniques of dado's for strength and routing out part of the 1/2" plywood on non-visable areas retaining strength where needed.

 

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Looking forward to your build thread on your stretched Jeep YJ with a  narrowed and custom fit FWC Granby.


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#3 Taku

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Posted 22 September 2016 - 11:25 PM

Similar to Alley-Kat. ATC Ocelot, part built out by myself. No fridge, just ice box ATC installed. Don't need the refrigeration, use ice if really necessary. Small Propex furnace which is more than enough even in zero degrees to keep the camper comfortable. Did install a two burner propane stove. No sink, we use a plastic basin. Carry water in 5 gln to 2.5 gln containers, so can take just what we need and no pump, etc. We do carry an ARB compressor since deflating the tires does help with long washboard roads and when I carry my float tube it inflates quickly. Built the minimum number of drawers we felt we needed - other storage is in plastic bins or nylon bags (Mountainsmith Cubes) that are also just taken as needed. That is the big stuff to keep the weight down - if that makes sense.


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#4 Boonie

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 12:13 AM

Alley-Kat,

Great the hear from someone else who thinks that light weight is a valid option. Thanks for you input.

 

What do you use for a stove top, do you carry an outdoor grill and what size propane bottle do you carry? What 12vdc fridge do you use? I have heard the battery drain is very high with these, so I was thinking of staying with the LP/12vdc frig in the Granby.

 

 I was thinking of a similar inside/outside shower arrangement, but for what little hot water that I use, I was thinking of solar hot water, or a Zodi concept water tank that I could heat with my cooking stove. To avoid the battery drain of a furnace fan, I would probably not use the Granby furnace with fan, but change to a catalytic (maybe a Wave 3). What do you use for a toilet? Gray water collection?

 

I have a Renogy 100w suitcase solar panel, and was thinking of adding 100w flexible panel on my roof. I assume your single battery has been able to handle your needs. I will also have a Fan-tastic vent fan and LED lights.

 

Many campers that I have had over the years have used 1" pine with a 1/8" plywood skin for cabinet construction that surprised me as both cheap, lightweight and strong, so I was thinking that route for the cabinets, lockers, etc.

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The stretched Jeep/Granby idea was inspired by the Action Camper


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#5 Boonie

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 12:23 AM

Taku,

Have not heard of a Propex furnace, so thanks, I'll check that out. Is your 2 burner stove permanently mounted or removable? I was thinking of taking the idea from pop-up campers and have mine removable with an attachment point on the outside of the camper.


Edited by Boonie, 23 September 2016 - 12:23 AM.

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#6 Alley-Kat

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 12:59 AM

Stove top is a two burner SMEV.

 

In the first interior I had two 12VDC top loading compressor fridge/freezer (depends on how you set the temp, either one or the other, but not both), and they were very low amperage units, about 0.8 amps per hour after initial cool down, Second interior is a Truck Fridge 12VDC front loader where the cooling plate makes a freezer at the top of the interior of the fridge. I can make ice cubes and keep ice cream and other stuff frozen. It's not as efficient at about 1.5 amps per hour.

 

I decided from the start, when I got my ATC Bobcat Shell that I may want several different interiors, so, I built lightweight boxes, without backs and screw them together and the bottom ones are screwed into the wood floor pack.

 

Shower details are illustrated in my camper build, go there to see the first and second interioir build.

 

I'm the 9th build down from the top in this fantastic thread compiled by Mark BC about a lot of owner builds (fantasic ideas abound).

Read them all, it'll keep you out of the bars for a long time.

 

Camper Builds.

 


Edited by Alley-Kat, 23 September 2016 - 01:00 AM.

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#7 idahoron

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 01:03 AM

When I decided to get the camper I was using a camper shell. I had several rubber maid totes with my camping gear, food, recovery gear. I had everything pretty well set up for one guy, but two could work as long as they were close friends or married. I bought the camper and moved some stuff into the camper and some stuff didn't go in because the camper had it already. after it was all said and done the truck and camper was only 600 pounds heavier than the truck and shell used to be. But I am MUCH more comfortable. And my wife is MUCH, MUCH more comfortable.


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#8 Stromtrooper

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 01:16 AM

take the back rest off, if you don't sleep down there... 40lbs I bet. We had it out, I put it back in, but gonna take it back out I think. Not very comfy and blocks the window. I do prefer to sleep down there sometimes but oh well. Stop eating doughnuts, switch from IPA's to Mexican Lagers to loose weight.  


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2007 FWC Eagle


#9 cwdtmmrs

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 01:38 AM

I am always amazed at some of the weights posted and all of the suspension modifications involved to carry the loads. I have a 1986 Toyota Turbo pick up with a mid '90's ranger II (now Eagle) and I am under 1000 pounds wet, completely loaded for a 2 week hunt. The camper is equipped with a forced air furnace, Wave heater as well, Reflectix artic pack, 2 burner stove, 3 way fridge, 350watt Honda generator, 12v compressor, on demand propane hot water heater/inside/outside shower, BBQ, leveling blocks, hunting gear, and some recovery gear. My vehicle with the loaded camper is 4700 pounds. I think the older models were much lighter than the new offerings are today. I do not carry a lot of items that need refrigeration. Mostly freeze dried foods, instant drinks with water, etc. I carry a minimum amount of water if I know there is water where I will be staying. I pump it into my house tank through a ceramic filter. Anything I haven't use for 2 or more trips gets left behind. Basically, I pack like a backpacker. The result is a very light, comfortable, nimble rig for use in the bacxkcountry.

 

CWD


Edited by cwdtmmrs, 23 September 2016 - 01:42 AM.

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CWDT

#10 Wallowa

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 02:56 AM

Interesting answers...of course the "what is essential and what is light weight' is an entirely subjective evaluation of the person building or using the camper/vehicle..

 

I agree that many tend to keep "adding to cart" with no end it sight.  But having said that, it may work for them.

 

Guessing what you absolutely need will depend on your use.  And again, defining "absolutely need" gets out in the weeds.  Simple slam dunk like carrying a spare tire...for most of us over our lifetime the spare tire has been out of sight, out of mind and never used...but like your next breath, when you need it you need it...question of probability. 

 

My high lift jack is a case in point....it will most likely never be used...but like Dumbo's feather it brings peace of mind, but never over-confidence...

 

Our full kit Hawk on a '05 Tundra SR5 AC is just what we like, not need, so we are happy as clams at high tide!

 

Phil


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