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Old 04-27-2012, 09:45 PM   #1
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What to do with the 'stuff'?

One of the biggest advantages of an Airstream (at least for us) is the low step-in height. Of course, the other side of that, as you are all aware, is that there is little exterior storage space. So where to the lawn chairs, grill, tools, etc. go? On a 5'er or MH, they go in the basement. No basement on an Airstream. Put them in the pickup?

That's been the answer we've been given several times. Maybe I'm worrying about things that don't need worrying about, but I've camped enough to know that wind can come up pretty quickly, and I don't really like the idea of leaving the grill, chairs, etc. out while we're gone for the day. Putting them in the pickup means that we're carrying their weight around wherever we go.

Is there a better solution? Tonight I wondered about whether a removable "box" would work. I'm thinking of a fully-enclosed storage rig (doors on both sides and rear) that could be unmounted from the truck at the campsite. Think of a pickup camper and you're on the right track. Does anything like this exist? If so, who makes it? If not, anyone interested in developing the idea? I'm no engineer, so I wouldn't know where to begin.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:59 PM   #2
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Why not just get a lockable canopy for the bed of your truck? You are worrying to much.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:29 PM   #3
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Truck

We a lockable cap for the back of the pickup truck. Works great. The weight is not an issue once you are out and on the road if you pack carefully. Some of our stuff goes in totes and then into the truck so that it is easily lifted out when we need it at the campsite. Dutch ovens/grill stuff etc.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:59 PM   #4
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We keep our BBQ stuff in a tote, bring it out and store it on the carpet in front of the AS. Also have another tote for misc, lanterns, and other outside stuff. Also keep it on the carpet, keeps it(the carpet) from blowing away. We carry the camp chairs in the PU, but when we are in campsite and not using, we fold them up and put them under the trailer. If we are worried about anything else when we leave it either goes in the AS or into the PU. Maybe one our bigger concern is the generators, we do keep them locked with a chain, but if we are going to be away for a time we would probably load them back into the PU.
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:30 PM   #5
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My concern is twofold. One, I don't like leaving stuff out at the campsite when we're gone. There is too much opportunity for the wind to come up and move our stuff to someplace else where it doesn't belong. Two, I don't like carrying extra weight around in the pickup when we're sight-seeing, shopping, doing laundry, etc. Hence my idea for a removable box. If we're going to be at a campground for some time, it might be worth the effort to unhook the trailer, back the truck to the back of the pad, remove the box, hook up the trailer and park it. Of course, with a pull-through spot, it would be simple: pull in, unhook the trailer, drop the box. That assumes that the spot is long enough for all of this.

Sempi2, you mention a carpet. We've never had one, but I've seen them at several people's coaches. Aside from the looks, which is a personal preference, do they help to keep the trailer cleaner? Just wondering if that's something we ought to check into.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:18 PM   #6
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We keep almost everything in the bed of our truck under a tonneau cover. The cover is locked but would offer little resistance to any determined effort. But the stuff is out of sight and out of the weather. And out of our way if we arent using it.

When encamped for more than a night or two we often set up a folding alum table and set the grill on it, and we put out our chairs and side tables. If weather threatens we fold the chairs and put them inside the rv or in the truck. The grill stays out regardless. And, after five years, we continue impressed with honor amongst campers. Granted this is generalization but is our experience. We try to be reasonably prudent and avoid recklessly tempting opportunists who might want our stuff.

Our truck bed is pretty full, all the gear weighs a bunch. Chairs, cords, hoses, an outdoor rug, they dont add much weight and affect gas mileage very little on their own. Sure, everything adds up but these things are a small increment. Our gas mileage is 15 with all the gear and 17 empty truck bed. Not worth emptying the bed for the 2 mpg difference when most of our annual miles are towing anyway.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:26 PM   #7
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David,
I forgot to mention our outdoor rug -- wefound it a few years ago at CW. It is approx fifteen by seven feet, grommets at corners, and is very breathable. Does NOT kill grass because light and moisture both get through it. So it also drains if rain lands on it, another good thing, and yes, it does help keep our rv cleaner. But we often dont get it out if only staying a night or two, there's just not a big urge to homestead that much sometimes.

A different thing we started last year to help keep the trailer clean is using a terry cloth bath mat inside the trailer door instead of only the Airstream door mat. The terry is more absorbent and toothier, catches more debris off our feet and shoes before we step on into the trailer. If weather outside is rainy or site is sandy then we put down an old towel folded on top of the mat.

The nice dark blue bath mat doesnt look like a bath mat to us, color matches our upholstery. And towel or mat are easy to take outside and shake out daily as needed.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:35 PM   #8
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Being one of the odd types who tows with a minivan, with the exception of generators (which we don't have), we do pretty much as Sempi does; in the van, in a tote outside the trailer or under the trailer. Most of our outdoor stuff is pretty inexpensive anyway so is both unattractive to potential thieves and easy to replace if it does go missing.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:46 PM   #9
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I, like most others here, carry my stuff in the bed of our PU. I started "Streaming" 12 years ago and I, like you, wondered where the stuff was going. Over the years I figured out the following: I got rid of all the unnecessary stuff I was hauling around. I installed a Lear, lockable, PU bed topper. I made a second level of storage by putting a second "floor" in the PU bed using 3/4" plywood covered with indoor/outdoor carpet from side to side at the top of the PU bed. I store the largest towable grey/black water tote on the first level of the PU bed along with a 20' X 10' carpet for use outside under the canopy. (Yes it definately keeps the trailer cleaner!) It is in its own canvas carry case. I store the outdoor kitchen I use, in it's canvas tote on the bottom level, along with 2-2KW honda generators, a tool "bucket" with all the common tools I need for set up or general maitenance. I have all of this on the first floor arranged in a manner that I can remove any one item without removing any of the others. I use what I call a "reach and get it stick", which is simply a long tong garden rack that I can reach each item and grab its canvas tote bag by the strap and pull it to the tailgate for removal. With these items on the first floor, I am left with about a 2' x 2' open space on the bed floor that is just in case I need to put something else in.
On the upper deck of this set up, I carry a small (100 PSI) electric air compressor. 2 floor fans for use under the canopy outside, a 10' X 10' collapsable free standing canopy for use over camp ground pic nic tables, a foldable table for use with the outdoor kitchen, and our Coleman "tailgating" gas grill and all of it accessories in its own canvas storage bag. Thats all that goes in the truck.
We carry 2 folding reclining chairs inside the trailer, and two folding canvas Coleman chairs for guest. Water hoses, black water hoses, leveling blocks, chocks, extension cords, outdoor lights, are carried in the Airstream storage compartments. 2 bicycles are carried on the front of the truck using a bicycle rack.
This set up took my gas mileage from 17 to 15 but I'm ok with that. Nothing gets unloaded from the PU unless I need to use it. I leave carpet, gas grill, outdoor kitchen, table, fans and 10' X 10' canopy out if we have used them when we leave. The generators stay locked in the truck except when in use.
This got long but I hope it helped you with the question of "Where does all the stuff go?"
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:14 AM   #10
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kb0zke,

I love the idea of a removable lockable box. To be big enough, it seems that it would be quite heavy and would need it's own support system, similar to a pickup camper.

Although I don't recall having seen this setup anywhere, you might be onto something. You could definitely and easily get something custom made. I know that our high school shop class will try to do something like this as a project for nothing more than materials cost, and our Robotics Team (the up and coming rage) will also do this in their off season as long as it involves wheels and a remote drive system.

I'm envisioning a massive truck bed-sized tote with wheels that drop to street level as you remove it from the truck bed, similar to a medical stretcher as it's removed from an ambulance.

Admittedly, all of this involves cost and would certainly be added weight. I have the lockable truck cap with rubbermaid storage totes for now...

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Old 05-05-2012, 05:19 AM   #11
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Maybe this is a solution:

http://www.fleetwest.net/
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:13 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by sempi2 View Post
We keep our BBQ stuff in a tote, bring it out and store it on the carpet in front of the AS. Also have another tote for misc, lanterns, and other outside stuff. Also keep it on the carpet, keeps it(the carpet) from blowing away. We carry the camp chairs in the PU, but when we are in campsite and not using, we fold them up and put them under the trailer. If we are worried about anything else when we leave it either goes in the AS or into the PU. Maybe one our bigger concern is the generators, we do keep them locked with a chain, but if we are going to be away for a time we would probably load them back into the PU.
Yep, this is what we do. Totes, black, to blend with the interior.

If we are worried about wind or rain, we fold our chairs and tuck them under the picnic table.

When we camp with the grandchildren, we have a large "camping box" with a lid, Rubbermaid I think, that all those extras needed with kiddies along go into. Items stay clean and accessible, box sits outside.

There seems to be remarkably little theft at campgrounds. I'm sure it does happen, but rarely compared to the number of campsites being filled daily out there.


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Old 05-05-2012, 08:30 AM   #13
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James, your setup seems ideal. I love the idea of the shelf for the tote and air compressor, other things. And the reaching tool is smart -- i use my old cosco stool to walk up onto the tailgate and reach waaaay in to tug an item out. The cords and hoses complicate it, they tend to snare anything they can. So I pull them away first, except for the extra 50' hose at the bottom of the pile. Just dont use it enuf to move it higher and do use it just enuf to warrant carrying it. For now.

Maggie, were with you on theft not being a big issue for us. we have suffered zero losses despite a report to the contrary in these forums. I've reconciled myself to the possibility someone will think they need our stuff more than we do. Everything we have is replaceable. Not worth shooting or getting shot over, not worth overly worrying about. Negative fantasies are barriers to fuller enjoyment of our fortunate lifestyle. We try not to tempt the fates
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:10 AM   #14
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Admittedly we are on the far end of trailer size, but we store almost everything in the 'Stream.

The grill, a Webber, fits in the rear storage compartment. The door is too short so we remove the grill lid to fit thru the door, then place it back on the grill once its in. I also store the small refillable propane tank with the grill (this is NOT the thread to hijack and discuss the safety aspects of that personal choice.)

The Sat Dish also fits in the same compartment. I modified the dish a bit so the arm folds up. The stand uses a piece of pipe and an old folding Christmas tree stand.

Chairs and a folding table are bungee corded against the wall inside of the closet.

The outdoor carpet is folded and placed on the floor for travel.

In the bed of the truck are the leveling blocks and wheel chocks. This choice is a functional one for easy access when parking.

What am I forgetting?
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