This post has been a long time coming. I think one thing I want to be clear about is that we are not rig people, per se. We don’t exclusively stay in campgrounds or boondock, never have. We enjoy staying in hostels, hotels and motels, we like the break from driving and getting to know an area by foot.
I was a backpacker traveler for most of my life; both Mikey and I are third culture kids, and all of it shapes how we travel as a family. We like going local. We avoid expat stuff. We think the point of traveling is to learn about and enjoy experiences that are completely different, so we try to go there, and do not gravitate towards what is most like home.
A little history so you can see how we’ve evolved?
1. ’94 F150 4×4 Supercab with Campershell and Truck Tent
This is what we first used to travel and camp around Baja. Mikey built a bed/storage area in the camper shell and we attached a truck tent to the truck.
The set up worked well.
Except for when it was windy or rainy, then it just miserably sucked. The last time that happened, around Cabo Pulmo, was when we were looking at the people camping next to us in their hard-sided something-or-other, all warm and snug and eating hot food (while we shivered and scarfed down cold tortilla with peanut butter and jam) and we were all…. Oh yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah. That’s what we are getting!
’89 F350 4×4 with 4 Doors, custom side boxes and ’85 Alaskan PopUp Camper and SOLAR PANELS
This was a good set up. We were broke when we assembled it all, but we had time on our side, so slowly, surely we got it all done for a pittance. Flatbed for the truck was $150, Alaskan PopUp was a steal at $600. Truck was $800. Time that Mikey spent fixing it all up and wiring the solar panels while I went crazy watching 3 kids solo = priceless.
This was a great for going places – we could get anywhere with it. But we had too much stuff on us, since we were carrying everything we owned.
With setting up that took over an hour, it got old.
’95 F350 4×4 with 4 Doors. ’85 Alaskan PopUp camper with solar panels. ’56 Benroy Teardrop.
For this particular assemblage, we had more money than we had in the past, but no time to pull things together.
We bought the teardrop at the last minute because we realized we were going to be SQUASHED, and since we didn’t have the time to transfer the flatbed or the custom boxes to this truck, we didn’t have an outdoor kitchen anymore (this is crucial for us since we like to wake up before the kids and drink coffee in the dark together). The teardrop provides the outdoor kitchen, some extra play space and another small room.
This configuration… was the best we could do given the time we had to get ready, but it’s WAY too small for us. I mean, we like traveling small and light but this is honestly too small. The Alaskan is perfect for 2 adults, not 2 adults, 3 small kids and 1 labrador retriever.
We have fun and make do with it because we love traveling more than we love being comfortable. But I wouldn’t recommend this set up for a family of our same size or larger.
We have our eye on the Scamp 5th Wheel – with a queen sized bed, bunks and a shower, it should have it all, but still be small and light enough to go places. If we go that route, we’ll probably also get a 5th wheel truck bed with side boxes.
If you have any questions about any of this or the truck engines or work that he’s done or how any of this handles on Mexican roads, please ask here. Mikey will answer.