🐾 Dog Rig (2011 Doublecab Tundra)

I travel a lot with my dog, the handsome lab pictured below. Sometimes my husband and our Bernese Mountain Dog tag along, but most of the time it’s just me and the lab roaming around the rocky mountain west.

Truck is a 2011 Tundra DC Limited. I swapped out the suspension with the Old Man Emu kit and have been happy with that so far. I don’t get too far off the beaten path, so I don’t need anything real fancy. Tires are Toyo A/T something. Look kinda wimpy but apparently they help my already shit gas mileage so I’ll take what I can get.

The forum is telling me I can only put one image, so one image it is. Rest added in comments

6 Likes

Holy buckets I was on hold for a long time. Hopefully this won’t flag again.

Here’s the truck in not-winter.

First project was building out a half width drawer that would let me maximize vertical storage space while securely anchoring the Gunner kennel. The drawer goes 3/4 of the way back, to the front of the wheel well, and the remaining space is an open cubby to make use of the extra space on the far side of the wheel well. Bonus – the top of the crate is the perfect counter height for me. (GFC panel is juuuust a touch too high)

The kennel is anchored to truck tiedowns on the right, and D rings on the left. The box is anchored by one bed bolt (front) and a turnbuckle to a tiedown in the back.

The drawer holds dog gear and a mini-kitchen – jetboil, utensils, many varieties of instant coffee, cup noodles, bars/snacks, a few dehydrated meals.

When we’re “home” I’ll keep some extra gear behind the kennel but for longer trips I’ll use that space for the cooler. I am lazy AF so I’ve tried to design this thing in a way that I don’t need to move anything in order to get something else – AKA no platforms that flip up to expose hidden compartments. Since dogs don’t ride in the cab I use the heck out of that space as well, with some plastic drawer units and hanging storage.

The bungie net is super helpful for storing lightweight stuff like sleeping bags and aluminet. 10/10 would recommend this easy mod.

Project two was adding ventilation. I’ve been monitoring temps from the cab using an indoor/outdoor thermometer since last November, and have been seeing a pretty consistent 10º bump with panels closed in full sun. This is no biggie in the winter but will be a problem in the summer months, especially for long driving days. I also have a portable Ryobi fan that I run up next to the crate to ensure he’s getting good air, and I’ll pull him into the cab for anything over 90ºF.

I didn’t want to mess with wiring on the roof so I went with a solar boat fan. It moves approx. 1000 cubic ft / hour – not a ton of airflow, but hopefully enough to help keep temps down. It can run while driving and has a little battery so it can run at night.

I’m running one panel down to add light / accommodate for the fan. This made the tent fabric droop a little in the front, so I added a piece of 3/4" ply to keep it tucked in.

All in all took me about an hour and a half to install the fan. If the airflow isn’t enough, I can pull it out and add a 12v fan that pumps a little faster.

Upcoming projects include:

  • Custom magnetic tailgate cover + frame bags from VRNCLR

  • LED strings on lower level

  • Window screens for bug season

  • New running boards with a bed step?

  • Rear bumper step? (theme: am not tall)

  • Kinsmen Awning?

  • Waterport? Or some kind of other water thing

7 Likes

Added some LED string lights. Decided not to run them into the tent for now, might add more in the future. Looking forward to seeing how well these hold up since they were very inexpensive.

Also added adhesive velcro in the gaps of the tent to keep the bugs out. Some gaps weren’t too bad but several were quite voluminous:

I ran a continuous strip of velcro underneath the snaps. This seems to have done a pretty good job sealing gaps, but it was hard to deal with the extra fabric and looks a little sloppy :confused:

Some spots (corners, mostly) were stretched so tight that I didn’t want to unsnap for fear that I wouldn’t be able to get it back on… will probably stuff some foam in those gaps. The snaps are definitely a pain to work with, I wonder if they’ll stay in production. I think the Taxa Cricket popups are velcroed in, would be interesting to see if something like that could work here as well!

Did some fan testing on a 70F day in full sun:

  • Fan on exhaust mode, everything sealed – 10+ degrees hotter than outside air, rising

  • Fan on exhaust mode, panels closed but resting on closed latches to create small air gap (not driving, obv) – still slightly hotter than outside air, but stabilizes. Delta decreases significantly when truck is facing into the sun

  • Fan on exhaust mode, panels open, truck facing into sun – cooler than outside air

This makes me think that the fan works well, it just can’t get enough air when everything is locked down tight. It looks like GFC is no longer recommending the “dog hack” so I’m thinking of installing some kind of small vent to allow for good air movement when everything’s closed.

This orientation is hot AF! Would be perfect if I was backed in.

3 Likes

the sewing dept def needs some work - unfortunately. the use of a keeder type rail would have been good -

1 Like

These can be handy for getting tough snaps on and off without stressing the canvas as much.

2 Likes

I upgraded my v1 tent to the v2 version and during install I learned that it is way easier to snap/unsap simply by preventing the camper from opening all the way. Closing it about halfway and crawling towards the hinge was the only way I could snap the front because of how tight they are when fully opened.

2 Likes

What size Gunner Kennel is that? Lol I am ordering one today before their sale ends. I have been torn whether or not to get the intermediate or large size. My dog is about your size. It seems that intermediate would be the best for a dog that size because you don’t want too much space in the kennel: allowing for the dog to slide around.

Nice build!

Great tips, thanks @Sunsetsearider and @PNW!!

@SVTFordRaptor it’s an intermediate. He’s approx. 65lbs, 23" at the shoulder. It’s definitely more snug than his “house crate” but he happily loads up so I think it’s fine. They say a tight fit is better for travel safety, anyway! Feels good to know he’s secure, especially because so much of the driving I do is early early morning.

1 Like

Got the Rhino Rack Batwing installed – pretty easy to put up with the GFC mounting brackets. Looking forward to using it on a trip next week, until then I’m just fussing with it in the driveway so I know how to deploy/pack up efficiently. It’s a simple process, really pleased so far.

Both doors touch, but adjusting the legs prevents unequal stress. Not too worried about it at this time.

I’m attaching the back tension strap to a D-ring inside. I wasn’t able to get it to pivot a full 270º, so there’s a bit of a gap on the back. Kind of bummed about that.

Better shot of the gap. Ideally the awning would be almost flush with the tent. It’s hard to see here but the awning is placed far enough back for full range of motion – it’s not hitting the GFC on the hinge side.

The bag is just a tiny bit longer than the GFC but it’s hardly noticeable. I like how well the whole thing blends in.

I’ve also been playing with some limiting straps – my little fan works great, so long as it has a good intake. My dog spends a lot of time in the truck so I wanted a system that would let me limit in stages, from just a few inches to almost all the way open.

Came up with a paracord system that is super easy to use and automatically centers so I don’t have to worry about stressing hinges unequally.

Single strand thru pre-drilled holes near latches, velcro tab to hold it out of the way when not in use.


Matching strand threaded through GFC mounting brackets in the bed, small clip to tie the two together at the center. As long as the clip is centered on the bolt in the space frame, everything equalizes on its own.

The bottom strand has multiple end loops (attached w/carabiner) to allow for different levels of extension.

Extreme limiting – juuuust barely open, actually have to close the latches to keep it from closing on it’s own. This is really nice when I want to keep air moving but don’t want it to look open.

Medium limiting

High limiting

I also added a magnet to hold the clip when I’m not using it, so it doesn’t rattle.

I also put on this nifty fold up bumper step – makes hopping in and out much easier for these short little legs. Wish I had one one either side!

6 Likes

Man that is an outstanding set up. Well done!

1 Like

Nice! I’ve been looking at that same awning. What’s keeping it from opening all the way?

1 Like

Very nice! Looks almost exactly like setup! I like how you can pop the side doors for ventilation! I may borrow that idea!

1 Like

Honestly, I’m not sure. First I thought it was hitting the GFC at the pivot point so I bumped the whole thing back but that’s not the case. I talked to a guy on Instagram who got more range of motion than I did but had to crank on it really good. Rhino Rack said it should get 270° and I could warranty it if I wanted but I’m not convinced it isn’t user error… will keep playing with it!

1 Like

Will you post a link for that step? Slick…

Sorry for the slow reply, been out of service! The brand is AMP, I got it on Amazon.

AMP Research 75305-01A BedStep… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0041FXOFI?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

I was out at the end of July and ran into some rain. With the fully open panel, water runs from the hinge down the GFC frame. To she the water from the edge of the panel instead of the hinge I stole your ventilation idea, but did it a little differently. Just one length of paracord attached to the panel, then looped over 1, 2, 3 or 4 of the GFC mounting brackets depending on how open I want it to be. Seems to self balance and work ok. Secure the paracord with a bit of velcro as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

I think this config is looped over two mounting brackets.

Paracord is just knotted on one side of the panel hole.

Looped over one bracket has the highest opening, I set this a bit below horizontal for the most coverage.

I secure the paracord with a bit of velcro when not in use to keep it up out of the way.

Since I was messing around with the sides, I rigged up something for the rear as well. Here I didn’t want the paracord in the way, so I routed it a bit differently.

Stand alone loops in the panel holes which aren’t long enough to get caught in the door seal.

Thread one rope through the two loops and catch a knot on the latch. I added a couple of different knots to have different openings.

2 Likes