I am wrapping up my latest upgrades to The Fort, and I thought I should go ahead and share on here since I’ve been getting ideas from you guys since before I got the GFC in Spring of '22.
I got a Gladiator Sport in '21, here’s the original state.
I pretty much immediately started taking it camping. In the first iteration, I just loaded up some totes with tent camping gear, but I was not satisfied and started looking for a better way.
I am lucky enough to work a fully remote job, and I had a dream of working REMOTE remote! So I started trying to figure out how I could keep a Macbook charged with a deep cycle battery and some Harbor Freight solar panels.
I tried a few different things to make things more comfortable at camp so I could actually get work done. I got a big ass tent and tried a few different awning solutions.
I found the GFC on a YouTube rabbit-hole and decided to go for it. After waiting my turn in line for about six months, I planned a trip to Montana from Austin, TX to go grab it. It was an amazing experience and I was totally hooked! On the way there, I slept under the stars in the bed of the truck. If I’m being honest, I kinda miss that sometimes. I suppose I could go sleep on the ground, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen!
But I was so friggin’ happy to get the GFC!
After I got the GFC I started playing with different configurations, as we do. I tried making a little raised floor that I could store stuff under and make into a couch to work from. It was pretty much a failure, but a good learning experience.
The next iteration was a really big drawer that filled half the bed of the truck. The drawer went back about 3.5’, and the rear-most 1.5’ of the box housed my battery and inverter. I’m a shit carpenter, but this was a really fun project and I definitely learned a thing or two.
I built it so that the top could latch onto the drawer face and become a table with a couple of tent poles, sort of imitating the cool pullout kitchens I see all the time. It looked really cool and worked ok for one night, but it was not very stable, and after it fell the next morning when some windy weather came through. I decided it was not such a great idea and didn’t set that table up again!
But I got my REMOTE office, and it works really well.
So this was the state of The Fort a few months ago after my two-week trip to NM, CO, UT. Since then, I have re-thought the whole interior and built a new drawer, cabinet and couch system. I will include some build pictures of that in the next post!
Love the storytelling! Excited to see what you landed on.
Was your battery setup enough to keep the macbook charged? What’re you doing for internet? How long are you able to work out of the camper before it gets uncomfortable? Nice build! Thanks for sharing.
@Wavybert I might be able to answer some of your questions. I’m curious to see if others have experiences similar.
I worked from my GFC for about a month with:
- M2 MBP 16" - mostly documents and code editing
- 300W solar
- 1200Wh batteries
- Starlink Rectangular Dishy
Compared to starlink, the MBP sips once the battery is charged, and the battery is relatively small compared to most battery banks. A monitor would likely be another story. Apple has dialed in their power consumption so much in the past few years. I can work for 4 hours unplugged and only drop 10-20% battery.
Starlink is a power hog, so it gets turned off in the hours I don’t need it (sleeping, meditating, etc.).
Heat, cold and bugs are the things that make it uncomfortable for me
Thanks Steezeman, this is helpful. Im in the same field of work and was looking to do the same as you. Appreciate the feedback.
Thanks for the reply! Are you charging the MBP with an inverter and the Apple power supply, or somehow charging with the batteries? I have not been able to charge directly from any DC source, but to be honest I didn’t try all that hard.
Yes, Starlink is a powerhog. I just got one and took it for a short test drive, and was surprised at how much it was using.
Up until recently, I have only been working from spots where I know I have reliable cellular data service. So far I have only worked out of it for 4-5 days at a time. I’ve had no problem keeping the MacBook charged, but I do need to use the monitor kind of sparingly. It’s probably not necessary, but it’s nice to have. I just got a Starlink and as was mentioned by @Vice_Chief it is a powerhog. After this most recent trip with some new stuff added to the rig, I am thinking about some changes to my power setup as well. I definitely need more solar, the 100W panel will not keep up.
This is what you need:
I have the 100W version from a while back, and it has never let me down. Much more efficient than going through an inverter.
@FortWheelDrive this will help with power consumption:
@steezeman did you actually measure the wattage usage between this and your inverter? I was looking into these earlier this week and read somewhere that they are only 85% or so efficient which is similar or maybe lower than my inverter. Not sure there’s much of a gain by going to something like this if those numbers are correct.