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I made a standing desk using shelving, it's similar to the one in the attached photo, although I used much larger brackets for the main desk.
Great idea.How about feeding some rope through the conduit so that the roof bars can be tied to the vehicle?You might also be able to use plastic tube, if the load isn't very heavy.
Zinc carbon batteries are still readily available. They're usually the cheapest batteries you can find and are often labelled heavy duty.
I'd never heard of a storm glass before (thanks for that) but it does remind me of a weather stone :-)