2021 F-150 Powerboost short-bed, GFC build #3345

Hi all. I got my GFC installed at the end of April, and the first week of June I built it out for a month long trip to Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and then down to Oklahoma for annual tribal activities.

I designed it around my Portapotty, a 16 gallon RV water tank with 12v pump, and my camp stove on a simple slider. The goal was no holes in the bed of the truck, because I will be trading it in when my F150 Lightning is built. So I laid down 5/8’ plywood on the floor, cut to match the bed contours. And I put in BuiltRight Molly panels on the sides. everything attaches to the bed plywood, and some to the Molly panels, and for example, the water fill inlet/air vent to a board that snugs up to a D-ring mount on the GFC frame. I have Joolca water heater which is not mounted, but I have the water going out to the Joolca faucet permanently, which is really nice. Underneath the plywood floor, I actually have 1/2" foam “tiles” used for gym floors or similar, which were about $15 on Amazon, and really help to keep it cool in there, compared to how hot the truck bed was before the foam and plywood went in. Instead of using fancy rugs on the plywood to spare my knees, I just use old truck mats, which work well and cost nothing.

For accessories, I have an LED interior light set from GTF Overland, and a Front Runner wind fairing which cuts wind noise, not so sure if helps mileage at all. I have a Buddy Heater on one of the Molle panels. Lastly, I have a shower awning, which is really nice for cleaning up, instead of hoping that changing and wiping down between 2 doors is modest enough! And I have an invaluable little step stool. I bought a bigger 2 step stool, but was too big for the back of the truck, so it will go in the garage sale pile. Of course I have a fire extinguisher, knife, and bear spray mounted on my Molle panels, too. The joolca faucet magnetically sticks to a Molle panel. The blue jug is my “Grey water” tank for dishwashing and cooking fluids, instead of dumping on the ground, as desert ecosystems are pretty fragile. A Bouge RV refrigerator is right by the tailgate; it plugs into my Jackery, which keeps charged from the AC outlet in the bed. And that way I don’t have to leave my truck in “Generator mode” every time I stop for 30 minutes or even several hours. But I usually do run Generator mode during the night, which uses the hybrid battery mostly, and just runs the engine for a few minutes every hour. So all my stuff is charged by dawn, instead of an empty Jackery come dawn.

One thing I particularly like is my water gauge. It is the vertical slot on the water tank. So I can see what the water level is at any time.

I find this setup gives me plenty of standing or sitting/lounging room, whether due to rain or bugs keeping me in. Have not yet tried using the Buddy Heater or camping in this rig, but sure I will during my October ramble this year!




9 Likes

Cool build out. Is the anticipation that you will be able to fit the GFC on the Lightning since they share the the same body design? Just think, all that stuff in the back can now get stored under the hood! Watched a video on the lightning the other night. I absolutely hate Ford trucks (we use them for work, so I drive one everyday); but I will say, I think they’re knocking it out of the park with the Lightning.

So smart using the same body and frame! I wish Ram would do the same so I can swap my GFC over when their EV is finally ready.

yep - Ford says the '22 Lightning has the same bed as the '21 F-150. Which is why I am not waiting for a '23 Lightning, because I did not want to wait a year to go camping, and find out I needed a new GFC build for a '23.

2 Likes

Nice build! It’s nice to see I’m not the only one still using a buddy heater. It does require some trickery, though, especially in certain situations. One tip I have for it is to make sure you get some kind of fan to keep air moving. Otherwise, it really doesn’t do a whole lot. I use a thermoelectric fan, which is made for wood burning stoves, and it works incredibly well. I’ve never had a single condensation issue in the camper with the front vents cracked open in the tent. I’m actually able to dry out wet ski gear with it too. Also, if you’re using a larger propane tank with a hose, and travel from low to high elevation, only open the tank a little bit to start the heater. Otherwise, it will cause the heater’s valve to close from too much pressure (at least that’s my working theory). I often travel from about sea level to 6-9k feet, and had a lot of first nights with no heat until I figured this out.

thanks for Buddy hints. So far have not needed to use it. I do have a USB fan already that is a lifesaver in heat/humidity, and one of the thermoelectric fans for the Buddy. I have a month-long camping trip in Oct, and am sure I will use the Buddy then!

2 Likes

Nice build!
I have a 21 Powerboost as well. Have you connected the third break light? I have not connected mine yet, I don’t want to mess up some weird electrical voodoo magic thing.
I am thinking of getting those BuiltRight molle panels on the side as well. Do you find those are helpful?

" [Etmotox]
Nice build!
I have a 21 Powerboost as well. Have you connected the third break light? I have not connected mine yet, I don’t want to mess up some weird electrical voodoo magic thing.
I am thinking of getting those BuiltRight molle panels on the side as well. Do you find those are helpful?"

I had my local Ford dealer hook up the brake light correctly, and wire in 12V DC receptacles at the same time, too, as I also had heard about problems with the truck from simply splicing in.

The BuiltRite Molle panels are great! I have bear spray and fire extinguisher and coffee cup holders permanently mounted. I am trading my 21 PB F150 in on an new F150 Lightning in a couple weeks, but the Molle Panels are going with me! Definitely worth the price on those. BuiltRite quality rocks.

FYI, the Molle panels require Box Links to hold them on. Ford’s cost is bit high, and reviews said not worth it. I got from Amazon:

# ISSYAUTO 4 Pack Tie Down Anchors 
Compatible with 2015-2021 2022 F150 F250 F350 Boxlink Bed Tie Downs, 
FL3Z-99000A64-B

I am super happy with them. The key on installing is to use a hammer drill/driver (not just a power drill) and to lube the self tapping screws with plenty of bar soap or candle wax. My wife found a candle stub, which I scraped each screw with before doing the self-tap. I did the holes first (the self-tapping), then removed the screws, put the Boxlink up and started each screw by hand screw driver so as not to cross-thread. Those things are rock steady, well worth it. I don’t care about the locks, just did the whole thing in position. They are staying with the truck as my Lightning will come with the Boxlink tie-downs installed, and I would hate for the next person to have different screws that did not work with the threads these tapped.

Good luck!

1 Like

“mrbroll
Nice build! It’s nice to see I’m not the only one still using a buddy heater. It does require some trickery, though, especially in certain situations. One tip I have for it is to make sure you get some kind of fan to keep air moving. Otherwise, it really doesn’t do a whole lot. I use a thermoelectric fan, which is made for wood burning stoves, and it works incredibly well. I’ve never had a single condensation issue in the camper with the front vents cracked open in the tent. I’m actually able to dry out wet ski gear with it too. Also, if you’re using a larger propane tank with a hose, and travel from low to high elevation, only open the tank a little bit to start the heater. Otherwise, it will cause the heater’s valve to close from too much pressure (at least that’s my working theory). I often travel from about sea level to 6-9k feet, and had a lot of first nights with no heat until I figured this out.”


I was camping almost all month this month, and the Buddy Heater was awesome! Thanks again for the tips.

1 Like

I use generators in winter, a couple of pieces at once, for heating and cooking food, something powerful like them 10 Best Dual-Fuel Generators: In-Detail Reviews (Fall 2022) One feature I really like is the economy mode. This mode is engaged via rocker switch and allows the generator to adjust fuel consumption as loads are connected and disconnected. This setting gives you much longer run time with smaller loads and was sufficient - running one generator only - to keep the RV’s house battery topped off while the battery ran the RV’s blower motor. After a full night’s sleep, the 56200i’s fuel gauge hovered around the half-way mark.

I have a 2021 F-150 also. I don’t have a GFC yet but want to order one. I read on here about having to open the tailgate and rear hatch at the same time in order to have the hatch not bind with the lip of the tailgate. Are you experiencing this also?

Yeah, but seriously, isn’t a problem. Is due to the tailgate surface is like 6” wide.

Thanks, that’s good to know.