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Old 07-26-2012, 10:49 PM
VMo VMo is offline
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Default Help with truck bed topper living project



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Hi guys, joined to pose this project to those who probably know better than me whether its feasable. Problem is I am running out of time and options.

I have a job, a good paying one at that. I am fed up however, with throwing away money on rent. I do not want to buy a house where I am currently stationed. I also got myself into a bit of a bind with debt and having the extra money from negating living expenses would help me start over and never go down that road again.

Which leads me to my project. I am planning on buying a camper top for the truck bed. I mean the bear minimum shell that is solely a roof for your truck bed, not the RV looking thing. I was going to throw a mattress in and use it solely for sleeping. Nothing more. Pretty easy right?

Except that I have a dog, which id like to avoid having to give up. Especially considering I COULD rent a place if I wanted, I am not too keen on making the dogs life a living hell or giving him up either. So there in lies the problem. Just one 80 pound furry wrench in the plan.

So the solution, and where you all hopefully come in to guide and advise me, is to insulate and Air Condition the shell effectively enough to withstand the northern California summer heat while the truck is sitting in a parking lot. No electrical outlet available. Thats right, I know, crazy.

Is it even possible? What insulation would be best? How would I power the AC unit? What is the best and cheapest AC unit? Would it sufficiently make the bed of my truck cool enough for a dog for some 8 hours in the california sun. Would parking under the shade effect the ambient temperature sufficiently?

So there it is. Please help me out. A simple, will NEVER******* happen would help at this point. My lease is up on saturday and I could possibly find a place for the dog while I test and work out the issue. Maybe test it with a thermometer through a few days and see what I get. Id like to avoid temperatures exceeding 85 F for the dogs sake.

Thanks again in advance

Last edited by TxHills; 07-26-2012 at 11:21 PM.. Reason: Do not bypass the word filter
Old 07-26-2012, 10:52 PM
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Are you looking for something to just cover up the bed at the top of the sides of the bed box?

We had one made that is fiberglass that covers the bed and leaves the box itself covered and protected from the weather and theft. We have the 8' bed and it cost something like 900 bucks back several years ago. .

call a few of the local truck speciality shops in your area. likely someone already has one made and in stock.

Or get a camper shell for now, and sell it later on when you get the cover for the bed.
Old 07-26-2012, 11:12 PM
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How about a camper to fit in the bed of your truck. Way cheaper than rent in the long run and set up to stay in already.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:23 PM
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Sounds like he wants to use a "canopy", i.e. a hard shell that is the same height as the top of the cab of the truck.
He specified "Not one of those RV-looking things".

With that in mind....
1) parking under shade will help, but not be enough.
2) I dunno about AC, but the canopy windows open, you could use a solar-powered fan for airflow, which would help. (Windows of any kind, open in California would probably mean a quick break-in though.)
3) Insulation will be tricky, but you could go to Home Depot and find something, like styrofoam sheets to attach to the interior of the shell.

Honestly, I'm not seeing it doable within the confines of safe enough to risk the dog's life.
Old 07-26-2012, 11:30 PM
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There are battery powered ac units for sale. Most of them are designed for either marine applications or for secondary use in semi trucks where you don't want to run a generator. A lot of the marine units use water to carry the heat away, so you have to be sure what your looking at. I would say, with the price of the unit + problems running ductwork to get the hot air out, you'd be much better off just doing the truck camper idea. With that said, it is doable if you really have your mind set on it. Keep in mind though that no matter if you have an ac unit in there or not you will inevitably constantly run into people that will throw a fit for leaving an animal in there for 8 hours. It could be a chilly 65 degrees in there all day and some people would still just see a dog in a truck and call the cops.
Old 07-26-2012, 11:58 PM
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Google "tiny homes"
Or "tumbleweed houses"
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:23 AM
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Is it just aesthetics as to why you don't want a camper? There are many many options for affordable mobile living if you go that route. Just curious what the motivation is to put time and money into an idea that already has a better solution. It's kind of like asking people to help you figure out how to fit a square peg in a round hole. It can be modified to do it, but most people would rather just say "Hey, get a round peg!" I'm not trying to discourage you though, it's a free country and you can do what you want, just curious about the why.
Old 07-27-2012, 12:27 AM
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I was thinking about putting a shell on my truck and sleeping in it when I visit my bother and I found some videos on Youtube that show how to make a portable ac unit out of an ice chest and a 12v fan. Not sure how long a couple of bags would last but I would think that it would cool the back of the truck pretty good. I just need to get a solar charger to keep the battery up.
Old 07-27-2012, 12:53 AM
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The main reason is aesthetics and hassle of getting the camper on and off the bed. I want to get something that is cheap as well. Something I can afford with the next pay check. Iv seen no small RV, tow behinds or anything under a grand, which would be my target.

Now those tiny homes are AWSEOME and look affordable but the footprint is still very large and looks like you need land. I dunno if you can roll those into an RV park.
Old 07-27-2012, 11:54 AM
bltjr1951 bltjr1951 is offline
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If the animal people find your dog cooped up in hot truck, they'll take it away from you.
Some use force and break open truck to rescue animals.
Old 07-27-2012, 11:58 AM
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I would get rid of the dog. Free to a good home ad. What you are describing really isn't humane for yourself by our standards in this country. If I had to do it then I would not subject the dog to it as well bc it sounds like he will be cooped up in it while you work. So while you only sleep in it the poor dog spends most of his time in it.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:49 AM
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http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/4x4-DUEL-...item4168b1dcee

Get one of these or build one and put a bed on it. Replace the windows with a wooden thing and put some insulation in there. Or attach a ton of blankets to the inside to keep it nice and warm. Safe space that way too. You can also take out the passenger side seat and turn that into a dresser to store your clothes. Walmarts and other 24 hour stores let you park and sleep there over night so you have free parking. Add a nice plastic roof rack or something and you can have some extra storage space for your things. You can rent a storage unit also for your preps and other things that you don't want to have mobile. It's really easy to do. Food is a problem. You can't store food in a fridge and it goes bad so you have to either find someplace to store it like a root seller or buy fast food everyday.
Old 07-28-2012, 11:43 PM
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Default This wont help with the dog, but I built this.

http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...d.php?t=172112
Old 07-31-2012, 06:05 AM
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Without running a generator or plugging in, the a/c is probably not going to happen.
Old 07-31-2012, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VMo View Post
I do not want to buy a house where I am currently stationed.
Military?
What are your hygiene & personal grooming plans?
I live in a 12x20 cabin and haul my own water, I can attest to the fact that hygiene is difficult to maintain in un-plumbed small spaces.
Old 07-31-2012, 10:14 AM
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If you have access to ice or frozen bottles of water you can make an AC out of an ice chest and a 12v fan, then use a small solar charger to keep your truck battery up. A nice size chest should cool off the back pretty good.
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:43 PM
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This guy says his swamp cooler works good as long as the temperature is under 100. So maybe if you parked in the shade like you said and had 1 of these, it might work. He doesn't say exactly how long his ice lasted him, but he mentions that he built a similar model that uses water instead of ice. For the low cost of making one of these, i'd say give it a try.

Old 07-31-2012, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by falloutmike View Post
I would get rid of the dog. Free to a good home ad. What you are describing really isn't humane for yourself by our standards in this country. If I had to do it then I would not subject the dog to it as well bc it sounds like he will be cooped up in it while you work. So while you only sleep in it the poor dog spends most of his time in it.
Mike's right - that isn't how you treat your dog if you care about him.

IMO - When I took on my dogs, they became my responsibility for life. They deserve that sort of commitment. If you don't feel that way then you shouldn't have him.

If it was me, I'd definitely be putting my dog first instead of having him suffer and languish in the back of a pickup bed every day "so I could save a few bucks". Come on dude - think about what you are proposing. If you are gonna keep him, suck it up and make other sacrifices in order to provide him with a decent home - same as you would a child.
Old 08-01-2012, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bltjr1951 View Post
If the animal people find your dog cooped up in hot truck, they'll take it away from you.
Some use force and break open truck to rescue animals.
Especially in CA!!
Old 08-01-2012, 08:35 PM
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I work with homeless vets that some times have dogs. In order for them to get housing and help they need to give up the dog. Pup would be better with a family with a home if you are gonna rough it. I get you love the pup, but you gotta get yourself figured out first.
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