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Limited Storage? 10 lbs of stuff in a 5 lbs cabinet.


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#1 Boonie

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 10:23 PM

In Tim's build, "84 Fleet - 09 Tacoma - Project", he showed how he added ski drawers under his camper. A great solution to meet his needs and that begs the question: What do you carry that you don't have room for, or just doesn't fit anywhere or I wish  FWC had given me a place to store my Cheerios.

 

Boonie


Edited by Boonie, 24 March 2020 - 10:24 PM.

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#2 Zoomad

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 03:02 AM

I've got quite a bit of gear I stuff into my camper for long trips. I tend to have pretty much everything I need and then some.  I carry enough tools, spares and fluids to choke a horse.  Camp gear, food, water and other beverages.  Since my camper is open to the cab of my truck much like yours will be it is ultra important that everything is inside a cabinet or the lower bench.  If it's not in either of those it's tied down some how.  Mainly because I don't want loose stuff hitting me in the back of my head if I hit the brakes hard avoiding something on the road or coming down a steep trail.  

 

I've learned the hard way to that aspect. Taking mine off road also proved that if it's not tied down it's going to look like a bear tore then place up when we stop for the day. Everything goes all over the place.  

 

I've got two large open cabinets with doors on my drivers side, each have a plastic tote that carries different items. One holds dry foods/breads/snacks.  One contains camp gear. Each cabinet has a little room to stuff other items in or around the totes and the doors are lashed to each other with a rubber latch found on some roto-molded coolers.  The third cabinet nearest the door isn't as deep as the propane tank enclosure fills part of it's depth.  But I leave smaller items like a 1/2 used roll of paper towels (a full one won't fit), bungee cords, flashlight, remote for my LED lighting inside the camper (being able to turn some of the lighting on and off from outside before climbing in is great when it's dark out). There's probably a couple other items in there I can't remember now.  But it's handy because I can reach into this one just standing outside the camper with the door open.  

 

My large bench on the passenger side is where I stuff my extra bottled water, gatorade and beer that I don't need to have in my fridge as I rotate them in as I use the ones in the fridge. Also contained inside is a soft gear bag of larger camping gear, lantern, hammock, straps, air pump for inflating mattresses and such. Another soft gear bag has my spare fluids, 2 gallons of coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, ATF and engine oil.  There's a couple spare lockout hubs for the front axle, serpentine belt, zip ties, tire repair plugs and mechanics wire.  in the corner I've got a milk crate with an extension cord, jumper cables, a couple chunks of 2x4's, fuel pressure gauge and a spare stub axle shaft. Next to that is a tool bag with my large tools, 1/2" drive sockets, ratchet, breaker bar, large pliers, BFH, and two bags containing my metric and standard end wrenches. I'll have complete spare front axle shafts stashed in there before my next trip too.  There are some other spares stuffed into the corner for the engine, ignition wires and injectors.  

 

My camp stove is tied down to the top of the cabinet and it's hose is stashed in the propane box outside. Fishing poles ride up there too as the length reaches into the upper bunk area along the wall out of the way.  

 

Underneath the cabinet on the driver side near the door is my main tool bag (atlas 46 tool roll) that's easy to reach if needed. A folding shovel is also right there in easy reach.  I've got a roll up style aluminum table that also stows under the cabinet, but it sits on top of the wheel tub in a tight spot with a folded up tarp.  

 

My kitchen gear is loaded into one roller style pelican case that fits snugly between my ARB fridge and the lower bench. Near the door I stack in my chairs and the step needed to get in and out of the camper easy.  

 

The only remaining original storage space in mine from FWC is the little narrow cabinet with slider doors above the window on the passenger side.  I keep my inflatable sleeping pads in there along with a couple of rolls of TP and a stash of plastic grocery sacks.  

 

I'm probably overpacked for what I do, but I follow the idea of "better have it and not need it than need it and not have it.".  


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#3 Boonie

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 07:44 PM

Zoomed

 

I will have to take notes than go to the pictures of your rig to figure out where you store all that stuff. The point is you have either found or modified your rig to accommodate the stuff you carry. You have also verified that just throwing it inside on the floor doesn't work. I like the idea that you use containers that you have obviously found that fit your spaces.

 

Boonie

 

PS. I saw the "mechanics wire", but I don't see where you store the duct tape.


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#4 Zoomad

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 04:52 AM

Zoomed

 

I will have to take notes than go to the pictures of your rig to figure out where you store all that stuff. The point is you have either found or modified your rig to accommodate the stuff you carry. You have also verified that just throwing it inside on the floor doesn't work. I like the idea that you use containers that you have obviously found that fit your spaces.

 

Boonie

 

PS. I saw the "mechanics wire", but I don't see where you store the duct tape.

 

 

 

 

I should go snap some pics to show the layout.  But yeah, everything has a spot to be in.  However, it didn't start out that way.  It really took multiple trips to figure what needed to go where.  Really it depended on what I need quick without having to get all the way inside and what was good to have along, but don't always need to get it quickly.  I find each time I go out I get another idea or shift a location.  

 

I've got space behind each seat that does not get overlooked either.  It's where I keep stuff I need to get access to quickly and without moving anything other than leaning the seat back forward.  Behind the driver seat I keep two plastic ammo boxes. One contains my equipment for my onboard air compressor, Air down tool, Hose and digital tire gauge.  The other one houses my hydraulic bottle jack and accessories.  Behind the passenger seat is my first aid kit and fire extinguisher.  

 

Oh I got a roll of duct tape, actually 2 rolls.  Both are gorilla brand tape, one clear one black.  One is in the cabinet closest to the rear door of the camper and the other is in a dual access cubby up front.  That's actually a pretty slick hidden in plain sight deal.  Since my camper was originally equipped with a 3 way fridge there is a vent out the outside wall that is removable so you could light the propane pilot for the fridge and in the case of a Blazer camper it's also to access the two front bolts that attach the camper to the bed rail on that side.  Once the 3-way fridge got the axe it's where I chose to put the fuse panel I installed for the 12v wiring.  It has a lift up door from the inside I can reach into or pull the vent panel from the outside and grab what ever I have inside there.  


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#5 Zoomad

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 01:33 AM

Ok Boonie here's a visual tour of my camper's storage. Keep in mind right now the camper is fairly empty right now and not packed for a trip so I'll explain if there are any items not in the picture that would normally be there. Plus doing the last couple of changes required a little more working room so stuff came out.

First off looking right in from the camper door. You'll see the ARB fridge in the isle on the left. The kitchen pelican case will squeeze in between the ARB and the lower bench. It's a tight fit so it don't move at all on or off road. I usually pack a small cooler right in front of the pelican to allow for quick access to cold drinks from the front seat while on the road. The step normally gets folded up and set with the camp chairs where it's sitting right now. Pardon the dust...I didn't muck it out after the last trip to the Great Sand Dunes.
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Up on top of the counter top rides the camp stove. Behind it are my fishing poles and further up is just an assortment of blankets and small pillows. Most of anything I keep up here besides the stove are usually just the blankets and stuff like that.
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This is the small cabinet backed up by the propane storage box. You can see some of what is stuffed in there. Given the state of things I might have to put a lock on it to keep my TP secure as it's pretty quick to get to if you gotta go! But there's a roll of gorilla tape in the bottom, flashlight, straps, some assortment of brackets for the just in case need to patch the woodwork back together, box-o-bungee cords and the dog's light up collar so I can see her in the dark at camp.
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Still on the driver's side, in front of the furnace and beside the ARB is a nice space for stuffing some of the more irregular shaped objects. My roll up table goes above the wheel tub there. I added some netting under the cabinet to hang onto soft/light weight items. My camera tri-pod fits perfectly between the wheel tub and the ARB. The tarp is there for makeshift shade or something to lay on under the truck if I have to work on it for any reason. I keep an extra pair of old shoes back here because I've been known to head to the mountains with only Teva sandals on and might need more appropriate footware.
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Middle cabinet. Normally I put a tote in here with my non-perishable food. Bread, chips, snacks, canned goods and such. There's usually enough room to put a few other items on top of the tote or to the side.
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The front cabinet. Camping gear and other miscellaneous goodies. This is one I don't need to get into regularly because it's closer to the front of the camper (can't reach from the back at the door) and due to a slight tactical error on the design the ARB blocks the door to open unless I open it up. Really I can't complain because I didn't have the ARB during the build up phase so I didn't know any better. But If I forget to latch the doors together at least this one can't swing forward at all. Seen here is one of the totes I use so you can see the space leftover for other loose items.
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The very front part of the cabinet. This is the area where a 3-way fridge was when I first got my camper. FWC just had a board that dropped straight down and the very front and met up with the bottom board that we ended up cutting the corner off of. This sacrifice was for comfort more than anything. The 2 hour drive home when I bought the camper with the 3-way fridge in there would not allow my seat to recline to my liking and I was sitting almost upright and hated it. Knowing I wasn't going to keep the 3-way we cut the bottom shelf to allow the seat to go where I want it. We added a piece of trim to keep small items from rolling off the shelf while driving. What you'll see is two doors for access to some small storage spaces. The panel in the center is my electrical monitor, the panel in on the upper right has a 12v outlet and two USB charging ports. The switch at the bottom right is the master power for the camper. I can shut all the power off to the camper through that switch and eliminate draw to the aux battery when the camper is not in use.
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The upper cubby is just a place that I store small items like power cords and such. It's actually deeper than the door opening but due to the location you really can't see inside it.
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The lower cubby has access from inside and out. Mainly for the electrical system, but I've been known to throw my air-down tool in here for multi-day trips for easy access. I need to build a bracket for the shunt that my electrical panel uses to monitor amp draw.
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Here's the same space from the outside with the panel off.
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Going back inside looking at the rear section of the small cabinet over the passenger side window. I always have grocery sacks in this spot as they are easy to get to for using as small trash bags inside the camper and truck as well as outside while cooking. Sometimes I'll stuff another roll of TP up there for the longer trips. Also seen here is a rain poncho if the weather turns wet.
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The front half of the small cabinet houses a couple Klymitt sleeping pads, an inflateable Klymitt pillow and my cooling towels. Running a K5 without any A/C in the desert the cooling towels are life saving. I'm sold on them. You can kind of see the LED light strip I attached to the bottom of this cabinet and at the very front there's another 2 USB charging point (perfect for charging your phone when you go to bed in either spot)
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Getting into the lower bench storage, this is at the rear closest to the door. This is where I put my large tool bag, cordless impact and drill I carry on trips. Seen in the pic is the crate that holds the extension cord, jumper cables, fuel pressure gauge, spare stub axle shaft. Seen next to the crate is a bag with other spare parts for the engine. The plastic ammo box holds my volt/ohm meter and electrical supplies. There's a giant pair of slip jaw pliers down there too for the "what if" repairs where pair of big pliers is required. I usually stuff clean red shop rags in the corner for easy access too.
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Midway up the lower bench storage you'll find my stash of fluids needed for the truck. There's a couple of spare lockout hubs for the front axle in there along with a bunch of zip ties and mechanic's wire. There's room for more gear over the wheel tub as well.
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The next soft sided bag in the lower bench is camping gear. These bags are great as they keep stuff contained together and not loose rattling around in the bench itself.
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Up front in the bench I have my extra supplies of bottled water. I'll toss gatorade and my beer up here. As I use cold drinks out of the ARB I replenish from here one at a time.
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Moving to the area just behind the driver seat you'll find my ammo boxes with my air tools and my hydraulic bottle jack. I usually end up tossing my jacket back here if I'm running in the mountains for when it gets chilly. There's room for some other small items but I try to keep it open so the ARB has proper ventilation.
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This is looking rearward under the cabinet so you can see the kind of space available to stuff gear if it's needed.
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Moving over to the passenger side, you can see where the fire extinguisher rides and just see the side of the first aid kit.
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With the seat back forward.
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I've learned where things make the most sense to be put over the last two summers of use. I'll probably refine it more as I use it, but this setup has proven pretty efficient given the small space my camper really has compared to newer FWC campers.


Edited by Zoomad, 29 March 2020 - 01:52 AM.

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#6 Boonie

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 04:29 AM

Zoomad,

 

The ARB and kitchen Pelican case seem to block the access between the cab and the camper. One of the benefits we have is that pass-thru between the two. Do you find that having it blocked limits your use of the cab while camping? As explanation, I have intentionally designed entry into the camper through the passenger door. I think your passenger seat back is the only thing that folds forward limiting your easy entry where my Jeep seat, the whole seat folds forward making entry into the back much easier. Also because I do not have the right side bench to sit on, I can use the cab seats for reading or whatever.

 

I like the idea of storage bins that carry stuff in and out while loading and unloading, so I would like to pick out some universal size and design my cabinets to fit them, so they become an integral part of the camper. (or maybe it's finding containers that fit my cabinets?)

 

Thanks for the insight into your camper.

 

Boonie


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#7 Zoomad

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 04:43 PM

When I'm in "camp" mode the pelican case comes out right at the beginning.  It has to come out to allow for the lower bench to fold out for more room to sleep on.  Call it my version of a roll over style couch converting to a bed.  

 

But in my case the main access to the camper is the back door.  I'm a big dude so climbing into the camper from either front seat even without the ARB in there is not an easy thing to do.  I've done it, but it's a pain.  Now I have gone from the camper to the driver seat in a pinch but I've found about the only way to do it is feet first which requires me to be standing with the roof up.  I ended up doing this one time camping up on Hancock pass when it was raining in the afternoon.  My wife sacked out on the lower bench with the dog taking a nap and I slid up front to be able to sit comfortably and fiddle with my ipad.  Had the wife not been napping we could have both sat back there and passed the time while it rained.  

 

In general, hopping in from the front to the back wasn't a main goal in my setup. I'm using 2002 Silverado bucket seats that do slide forward and tilt but don't provide the same level of access to the back as a stock K5 passenger seat setup would as they release and tilt the entire seat up to the dash for better access.  Even before I had the camper, my Silverado seats was good enough for kids, but tough for a big guy like me.  I like having the access to the cab of the truck for sure.  I can reach stuff up there if I need to. Fire up the truck before packing up to leave.  Plus it provides a more open feeling to the camper and the cab of the truck. My dog likes the access and freedom to move from the back to the front when she wants to as well.  


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#8 Boonie

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Posted 21 April 2020 - 07:03 PM

I should not be surprised that out of 431 views, there have been so few responses. I think it is the difference in mind set between I can build it better myself, make the camper to fit me, and buy it, I'll make me fit the camper. For the most part as Zoomad showed, we can figure out how to use the space provided by the manufacturer. But does it really fit everything we individually take or do we compromise?

 

One of the ingenious You Tube builders of a van combined building the space to fit his needs, but also exchanged some of the containers/boxes that stuff comes in into his uniform containers that fit perfectly in his cabinets. That's an engineer for you!

 

A lot of work or can we better stuff 10# into a 5# bag. Just my thoughts,

 

Boonie


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