Longshot270's build, travel and tinkering thread

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Longshot270

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I'm starting this thread so I can actually organize the pictures on my phone and find them back later. For starters, I originally had the jeep patriot with custom winch bumper and many other upgrades but after a bunch of coastal trips with the trailer, it just didn't have the power I needed, so it was traded for a basic Ram 1500 4x4 with off road package.
 

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Longshot270

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Receiver hitch rod holder project
Problem: my fishing rod holders are 5 ft and I'm 5-8ish. The pipes chewed up mallets, hammers shattered the pipes, and my post driver is heavy. I also wanted something that was quick to set up and take down but still sturdy enough that a 4 ft wide stingray wouldn't drag it into the ocean. So this is what I came up with.

Clearance bicycle rack, 2x4s and 1.25" pvc pipe

For dedicated fishing trips, this can't be beat
 

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Longshot270

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Utility trailer/tent
I already had a truck bed tent that works great but my wife wanted to be able to set up camp and drive around. So we got a 5x8 utility trailer. I added 2x8 boards to act like the truck bed sides and cut the rear gate in half and have made a few minor adjustments. Note, it still gets used as a utility trailer so no permanent alterations are planned.
 

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Longshot270

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Truck bed canvas cover with kayak rack addition.

After a winter beach trip to Matagorda, TX to put a check mark in the box for "Drove Matagorda beach", test out some thoughts before a big trip to PINS, decided to make first the truck bed cover by welding 3x 3/4 EMT conduit to angle iron that matches the truck bed taper and angles. A canvas tarp from the army surplus store was then looped around and tied off. I could have bought a cover but they didn't leave enough clearance for my 110 at cooler to fit underneath and didn't leave much for future modifications. I lost most of the pics for this project (part of the reason for this thread) but it wasn't a very interesting project.

The next upgrade was 1/2 inch galvanized pipe welded to the angle and about 8-10 inches tall so the kayaks would clear the tool box but still be low enough that the belly of the kayaks would be even with my vehicle antenna. This keeps the wind profile down, makes it a whole lot easier to load/unload, and avoids the embarrassing experience of getting stuck under a low fishing pier or parking garage.
 

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Longshot270

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Ram 1500 back seat delete
I know this gets brought up occasionally, yes, do it if you don't have kids. It easily doubles your available space and discourages annoying people from wanting a free ride some place.

Removing the bench seat is pretty straight forward, undo 4x bolts of some less common size. I did not remove the seatbelts because they come in handy for holding bulky objects. I did rotate the mounts though to push them up against the wall. I then cut a 23.5"x"perfect fit" piece of plywood to give me a level surface and cover for the stag storage bins. Two scrap 2x4 blocks were glued just inside the rim of the bins to keep the board from sliding forwards. Two 4" access holes were cut and 5" circles glued to the plugs to cover the holes. Passenger side is my "material handling" side with a small chain and add-a-links, small ratchet straps, bow shackles, extension cord, gloves, roll of trash bags, soap and a few other random things. This is stuff that I am only likely to need access to when I'm already unloaded with camp set up. The driver side is for bad day stuff. Tire plug kit, flares, the five most common impact sockets for lug nuts, 2 ft breaker bar, axle strap, etc. This is the side of the dog crate so all I have to unload its the dog to get to these items.

I also painted it with a 50 cent oops matte paint from home depot to help hold the wood grains together and give grip to the moving blanket that lays on top.

A cheap 36x60ish rug is mounted to the loops and mounting points that had been previously restraining the bench seat. It covers up stuff that fits where the vents are and helps dampen sound.

Along the back row from driver to passenger is my tool bag and emergency wash water jug, orange mallet, bottle jack, air compressor kit, tow strap, heavy pry bar, jumper cables, basic electrics test kit, utility machete/saw, full qt of oil and empty oil qt bottle. My knock off traction boards for sand and stuff hang above that. The blue strap keeps the dog from tipping forward.
 

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Longshot270

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1,084 mile road trip from DFW to the south jetty on PINS and back.

Day 1, DFW to Giddings, Tx was pretty crummy driving with wet roads and occasional sprinkle. We were on the home stretch for the day when we ran up to a fresh accident just as the first responders arrived.
Got turned around and found a place to walk the dogs and reference the map for a bypass. The first attempt led to a locked gate because the paper map didn't have adequate resolution and Garmin doesn't know the difference between a private road and a small public road. The second attempt got us around the accident with a taste of 3rd world public road construction standards...but we eventually arrived with all our tooth fillings intact.
 

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Longshot270

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1,084 mile road trip from DFW to the south jetty on PINS and back.

Day 3, Giddings to PINS south jetty.
Our puppy, who is 10 weeks old and still not able to sleep through the night without a potty break, was our 5 AM alarm. We were running a bit slow so didn't actually get rolling until 7 am. 2 gas/pit stops and an essential trip to Roy's bait and tackle, we arrived at the park around 11. Sand conditions were excellent and driving to the end relatively hassle free. After camp was set up, got some hooks in the water and got the trip started off right with a beer, 3ft redfish and a 2 ft shark.
 

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Longshot270

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PINS trip

Day 4, started off a bit chilly but a nice sunrise put a good start to the day. Caught a variety of fish and my wife found some interesting shells. Unfortunately, this would be our only full day. While cooking supper the weather radio confirmed there was still a hazardous weather warning for the following night, so when the day's bait ran out, I rinsed what equipment I could and prepped it for packing up.
 

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Longshot270

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PINS to Giddings

Day 5, the puppy and I decided to start our last beach day off right by taking out both the Fuji xp140 and the old Nikon D50 with 300mm lens. I got a bunch of new pics for my phone and desktop backgrounds. Eventually the other members of the group woke up and decided to explore.
Packing up was slow after a 3 mile walk and we found that getting off the sand was a bit more challenging. Between mile 25 and 55, the sand had gotten churned by traffic and was a strange combination of damp/heavy but deep and fluffy. Once we got to pavement, I got halfway through airing back up when the cigarette lighter adapter melted and required improvisation. The pic is of the battery clamp-cig lighter adapter I've been using for years with this pump because the truck cig lighter fuse has to share with too many other things to run the air pump. I'm guessing the 10 amp fuse on the air pump didn't blow until the pieces had already welded themselves together. 5 minutes after cutting wires and crimp connecting them together, we were on the road again.
 

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Longshot270

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Christmas in Giddings

After getting back into cell service, the info came in of both sides of the family having members in quarantine. So, I took the day to unpack and remove as many pounds of sand as I could and dry out the damp tent and laundry. Afterwards, I repacked and watched movies. Christmas day we celebrated with the remaining family members before heading back to DFW. This morning, the puppy needed to go out around 2:30 am, after which I couldn't sleep. Did a little photo editing and made these posts. Now that the sunlight is peeking out, time to finish unpacking. Final thoughts:
1. cheap Amazon ORCISH traction boards are not premium items but they are a good bang for the buck purchase. I didn't actually get stuck but I did roll over them repeatedly while leveling and then park on them for 48 hours to keep the truck from sinking into the sand and they didn't warp. They definitely beat the 2x12 I used to carry. Keep things slow and I don't foresee any issues in a sand recovery.
2. Cigarette lighter adapters are more of a liability than a benefit. Cut and solder battery clamps. I noticed the pump also ran faster and cooler after rigging in the clamps. I'm thinking there was too much of a voltage drop using the original cig lighter plug.
3. 2x4 legs to turn my truck bed cover into a utility table worked very well considering they were an after thought made the night before leaving.
4. Roof basket module for the kayak rack was a huge benefit for sandy lawn chairs, ladders and traction boards. It also ensured that equipment was easy to get to during stops and breaks. I might also have enough space to still carry my ocean kayak for running baits next time.
 

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Longshot270

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First trip with the new adventure wagon completed. This little camper was nice. The 8x5x4 box fits into our utility trailer and provides a nice warm place to get out of the wind. It also pulls at highway speeds very easily. A few more tweaks and I think it'll be ready for a longer road trip.
 

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Longshot270

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Wife wanted to do an over night trip after work to possum kingdom SP so that was a good opportunity to practice setting up after dark in preparation for some of the longer trips we have planned.
Top 3 final thoughts:
-I'm definitely glad that camp can be as simple as putting the truck in park and unlocking the camper door.
-The factory truck headlights work good on narrow roads and trails but not so good spotting wildlife in more open areas when nobody is around.
-The shorter extension cord needs to live in the trailer.
 

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Longshot270

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Got a good deal on a lightly used old town expedition canoe and welded up a light weight rack to carry using 3 sticks of 3/4 inch galvanized pipe, 1.5 inch angle for the rails and some kind of firewall plug for a Toyota Tacoma to cap the ends. I was an inch too tall on the rear rack so a 2x4 got a channel cut in it on the router and zip tied to the cross bar up front. Actually glad for it because the canoe rides much better having the board spread the force of the tie down instead of foam or nothing.
 

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Longshot270

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Start of the solar project

We’ve been using the 10AH battery boxes for years on trips and kept them on the coffee table between trips for charging phones and other devices. Recently jumped into the budget solar with a HF 100 watt panel and charge controller. So far, even a half covered solar panel is increasing the voltage on the batteries while the inverter runs the camper lights and fans (38 watts). We’ll see how this long weekend goes.
 

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Longshot270

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Finally got to try the inverter box and stainless steel grill during an overnight New Years trip. Both worked better than expected. Ending voltage was about where I expected for the light load of our trailer and the grill didn’t collapse into the mud.
 

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Longshot270

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Trailer lift, interior insulating curtains, new pasta bowls for chili and potatoes, and phone charging shelf got the wife’s seal of approval. The mud/rock flaps also look like they’ll work.
 

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