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Building my primitive camping truck

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Picture of Building my primitive camping truck
So if any of you guys keep up with my blog or have seen some of my other instructables you probably would see that I am a pretty avid camper. I prefer camping more on the primitive side. IE no AC/heat, in a sleeping bag or cot and in a tent. I also love to go exploring and do a bit of 4wheeling where permitted.

Anyhow enough of myself, this is just a general guideline as to how I built my current camping rig. Ive had a few people on here ask me about my Toyota and how i built it so I figured Id do a quick instructable. I currently drive the truck daily and use it virtually everywhere. I have built it as a multipurpose vehicle for camping, hauling stuff, tailgating and even the occasional nap in the back on campus. YES I sleep in the bed of the truck in the parking deck sometimes during my breaks and its damn comfy. Kinda like my own lil portable fort.
 
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Step 1: Choosing the correct truck

Picture of Choosing the correct truck
So for this build I was pretty picky about the vehicle I was going to use for the build. After all it was going to have to get me around town daily yet be rugged enough and capable enough to drive me to remote destinations. Here is the general list of criteria I followed when I looked for my truck:

-within my price range (college student remember?)
-small/compact size
-manual trans (incase the battery died I can pop the clutch and start it)
-carbed (easier for me to work on in the field)
-6ft bed (wanted adequate hauling space)
-4wd
-capable/reliable
-decent gas mileage

Quite frankly the criteria I had set proved harder to meet than I had generally thought. Finding a reliable carbed truck in my price range was next to impossible. I finally settled on a 1984 Toyota Pickup. 4cylinder and manual.
TigerNod24 days ago

I think you may drive the coolest car I've seen in a while :D

loafers7 months ago
Beaut choice of truck mate! I've got a YN65 Hilux like yours but with a trayback, tough, simple, reliable and of course good looking.
You said fuel economy was a priority, what economy do you get? Because mine is anything but conservative on fuel..
I love seeing how people in other countries set up their camping rigs. Camping setups here in Australia are quite different to the stuff I see on overseas rigs. You've done well keeping it functional and simple.
sam24th (author)  loafers7 months ago
Oh I love these lil trucks. Actually looking to pick up a matching 4runner now. Anyhow the truck is far from being a prius but on the same note is much more efficient than any jeep I've ever driven/owned. I get a steady 20mpg city and 24ish highway. My jeep on a good day gets 13-14 to a gallon. I do have to say though that I am quite jealous of some of the rigs you guys have over in Oz. I'm dying to get a long range aux tank for it.
Rainh2o sam24th7 months ago
Wranglers will get 20 MPG. I drive mine 89 miles roundtrip to and from work everyday and it has the 4.0 in it with a manual in it. The secret is pumping up the tires (mine I set to 10%over the rating) and keepin git under 60, closer to 55 mph and shifting as soon as you can without bogging it and keeping the RPMs down around 1800-2000 when you shift. It can be done. Thats highway miles (20mpg) you get better mileage though on the highway.
sam24th (author)  Rainh2o7 months ago
Well thats a manual wrangler that sees mostly highway driving. I mostly see city driving. My jeep gets 14mpg city with 33s beign an auto. My yota gets 20 city with it being lifted on 33s and loaded with gear. I don't think there are gonna be anything else that gets much better plus as stated I need a truck bed which a wrangler is kinda lacking. Not saying I dont like them, Ive actually had an older YJ, but just not what I was looking for in a vehicle when purchasing.
UFT sam24th1 month ago
I have had a 4x4 yota with hard top and manual lockers. to bad I ruined engine with fuel emission liquid in gas tank. I'm looking at a small 6 cylinder astro passenger van extended and most importantly all wheel drive awd. thinking of turning it into camper van just don't know how good gas mileage it's going to get. I looked at odysee surveillance van website and they installed the tower portable a.c. units in there astro vans with auxiliary second house battery to power lights and a.c. I like the hard tops esp the metal ones. just my preference though. but I'm thinking about getting a pop up top for it by Colorado canyon camper tops. YouTube has videos on the installations.
sam24th (author)  UFT1 month ago

Shame hearing about the toyota. I actually thought about a van type of build, but I wanted something I could wheel offroad also as this is my primary wheeling rig. I did take a gander at the Colorado Camper tops and wow they look freaking awesome, if I had a van I would go that route with the conversion. I have done a bunch of extensive upgrades lately though on the pickup. Added lockers, new Tcase for lower gears, chromo shafts so I dont break them. Also am adding a roof top tent to it soon and may be getting rid of the soft camper top. Not so primitive anymore haha. Might do an instructable on mounting my RTT once I get it.

loafers sam24th7 months ago
I haven't had mine for long, but at the moment it gets 12mpg on the highway doing a steady 55mph and unloaded, and actually gets better economy in town, it doesn't feel like it has the strength to fight the wind at highway speeds. I'm gonna see if a carby rebuild, some new plugs, leads and gaskets and a good tune up make much difference. I give it some leeway seeing as it has 300,000 miles on it though. Mine has a Carbed 3Y motor in it, how about yours? Have you done any engine upgrades to yours?
sam24th (author)  loafers7 months ago
Engine was rebuilt and bored .20 over when I purchased it. Its got an LCE head with new valves, LCE header and full exhaust system. Also the 22r in the truck has a bit more displacement than the 3Y. It has an aftermarket cam from LCE aswell. The engine itself has less than 35k miles on it documented. I bought the truck from a former Toyota tech.
loafers sam24th7 months ago
Well that would explain it, my mate's ute with a 22R has far more go than mine with the 3Y, and uses a bit less fuel too, fortunately they aren't expensive motors over here so I might look into getting one later in the year, thanks mate.
Pbonito2 months ago

You wouldnt still have the design plans for the roof rack

sam24th (author)  Pbonito2 months ago
I didn't write down the measurements or anything when I made the rack. I just started cutting and welding.

I had a very similar setup with an 80 Toyota. Only difference was a hard top cap. I miss that truck, but ended up cracking the frame being stupid with it! Nice set up!

Zwhiz2 months ago
Sweet set up! Love the old solid axle yotas.
All you need now is a girl in it n your set
sam24th (author)  DELETED_kdiesel3 months ago
Ha, wish I could actually find a girl willing to come camping with me around here.
bakdrft3 months ago
Primitive? You mean semi-comfortable. I primitive camp and i dont bring along a cot or truck. Im happy with a pack sleep pad and bag highlghted with a camp stove.
astral_mage4 months ago
there are instructables on that alrdy. if u they (the commenter if bother to look 4 them)?
astral_mage4 months ago
u should also go 4 a pass thro window on the truck. so u can get in there in case of a problem.
astral_mage4 months ago
look in to using flexible solar panels. to charge up yr battery during the day. being flexible they can take some twisting.
djwoodbutcher7 months ago
I like the CB. Days before the web I listened to shortwave. Still have my Kenwood shortwave.

GPS is way over-rated. Folks need to learn map & compass. Does GPS stand for General Public Stupidity?
that and how screwed up we are to put our trust and our lives in some elses hands that we never met!!!!!!
A GPS allows you to keep your eyes on the road while traveling alone. It also saves time since you do not have to pull over to keep checking the map. Perhaps MAP stands for Massive Assbag Personality.
Juklop4 months ago
Is the cot attached to the bed somehow? or do you fold it up when driving around?
sam24th (author)  Juklop4 months ago
It folds up when I am driving around and strapped down or up on the roofrack.
e1mann485 months ago
Hey I really like the roof rack you have goin on there, is there any way that you could post a DIY? Or an explanation on how you did it? Or just some closer pictures for me of your rack so I can figure out how I mount and weld it on my truck
sam24th (author)  e1mann485 months ago
I will try to post up a DIY for the roof rack sometime. I am currently planning a similar one for my 4runner but it will be a full length rack. Just been busy with school and work. and trying to get the pickup built up this winter for next season.
ShadowJesus6 months ago
This is badass!
Nice rig. Sure miss my old Toyota. :( I totally would have done something like this to it.
gpavlovsky6 months ago
Love your truck man! Looks very Mad Max-y.
Can you tell me more about the LED lights you used? Do you have a link to eBay?
spylock7 months ago
I wouldnt call it primitive,Id say its a nice,well equipped,go just about anywhere kinda truck,great job,Id be proud.
spylock spylock7 months ago
By the way,if you dont mind my asking,where did you get your camper/tent shell for the bed,and do the come to most popular truck makes and models.I really like.
sam24th (author)  spylock7 months ago
The camper top is made by can-back. Unfortunately the company is limbo right now. You can still get soft tops from soft-topper as well as best top. They make them for most popular truck models.
stephenf7 months ago
Looks like lots of fun. So many possibilities for add-ons ...
How does the soft top hold up at highway speeds?
sam24th (author)  stephenf7 months ago
Soft top holds up great at highway/freeway speeds. Ive drive it to Atlanta and Virginia beach aswell as the outer banks with it on. No problems thus far.
snoopindaweb7 months ago
Nice surface. Kind of a rougher version of the old Black "Heat Crackle" paint like used on a Sportster's Drag Pipes during a hungry Man's rebuild..?
I put the same stuff in the bed of my truck six year ago and its held up well,I have two spots about the size of a quarter where it popped off due to my lack of prep.on a couple of bolt heads,but its good stuff for the money.
Thank You.
jbaily7 months ago
This is definitely going on my to do list
bsmith1267 months ago
Excellent. This is a great idea
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