I’ve been thinking about doing the van life thing for a while because I’m never home anyway, but I also don’t want to sell my truck… Has anyone actually lived in a GFC? It seems like it would be significantly less comfortable than a van, but I’m curious.
Don’t remember his name but I know one guy on here spent the entire winter in the Yellowstone area.
Depends on how much gear you throw in your truck and what size truck you have. If my tacoma is fully loaded with climbing crash pads then there isn’t much livable space especially in non-ideal weather. If I’m packing light for a long roadtrip (week or two) with only hiking gear then I have no issues at all. Less is best when feasible, then I could stay in my GFC indefinitely (fridge, freezer, water, solar).
I would think a big factor would be how much time you will need to be covert in urban areas. When I spent extended time in my Westfalia, popping the top in that environment was a beacon for every Ken, Karen and law enforcement official in the vicinity.
After I picked up my GFC last Labor day, I spent the next two months living out it. It was eventually frustrating living out of Home Depot storage bins and trying to find things. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been adding refinements like a cheap awning, which I just posted the details of in the awnings thread. I don’t have a rear window so another great improvement was a 1/4 inch sheet of HDPE to cover the back of the camper. I mounted it to the 5/16 holes with longer bolts and 1/2 inch spacers. I was going to use a hole saw and turn it into a molle panel, but now I mount all kinds of stuff to it with simple plastic ubolts and self tapping screws. I could easily mount a net and just throw stuff in that.
I’ve also purchased and IceCo 45L fridge, which is fantastic. The fridge is powered by a DIY 200 amp hour lithium battery set up that does everything a Goal Zero does but does not have an inverter. I just don’t need one. I don’t carry anything that needs 120v power. If you want to build your own, check out Will Prowse’s youtube channel. I watch a few and building it in an oversized milk crate was simple. I can charge the battery from the alternator (via a RedArc 1225 Dc-DC charger), from solar or from a wall socket. Best part: the whole thing only weighs about 45 lbs.
I did a rear seat delete that cost about $100 for the plywood, hinges and carpet. I’ve added LED lighting to the rear panel with a pair of $30 dollar Harbor Freight Rock Lights. Super bright. I’ll have to figure out how to install some defusers to cut down on the brightness.
My plan is to spend another couple of months in the GFC starting in the next few weeks. I guess it’s time to start that build thread. Any questions, let me know.
I’m about to take off on like a 3 month fishing, mountain biking, road trip this summer. I’ll report back.
Yeah that’s one of my biggest concerns. If I’m still working at my current job it would be a pain to drive somewhere secluded every single day. Not impossible though.
What did the Ken/Karen people do? Like sneak around and see if you were in there?
Damn that sounds so awesome. Where are you going?
That looks like a pretty sweet setup. I like the awning. It seems a bit more substantial and easier to set up than the tarp I’ve been using.
Did you come up with a good solution for storing clothes and things?
I have a 1st gen xtracab that I’ve taken the rear jump seats and the passenger seat out of, so I can fit my cooler, water tank, and my dog in the cab. I also added a shelf across the back.
If you don’t mind my asking, what do you do for work? Do you work remote?
WY, MT, ID, probably the PNW, and hoping they let me in to Canada.
I have zero plans. Just going to play it by ear and see where I end up in my pursuit of trout and good biking.
The awing cost about $120 on Amazon. I can set it up in about 5 minutes now that I’ve done it a couple of times. I replaced the tensioners with Nite Ize cam jams and I’ve ordered new poles to replace the laughably cheap ones that come with it.
Storage became a real pain as time went on. Just before the cap went on, I bought 4 good sized Home Depot plastic tubs. The problem was the were all exactly alike. I had to open a couple before I found what I was looking for. I finally marked them with painters tape to tell them apart. But digging through tubs to get to stuff got old fast. At the moment, I’m using milk crates and molle panels for storage in the bed. It’s just temporary to see if I really want to put the money into a home built goose gear type of system. I’ll take some photos this afternoon and post them.
I’m between jobs at the moment. I write code for a living. One of my goals for my upcoming trip is to see if I really can work from the truck. Pre-covid that might have been a hard gig to land but now… I might be able to do it. But it also might drive me crazy working from a truck. Where ever I am, I’ll have to have a solid wifi connection. That rules out a lot of great camping areas.
I lived in this shortbed for 6 months while traveling the country. I don’t see why you couldn’t do the same in a GFC. Less is more. I kept my clothes in a duffel in the cab and all my gear underneath the sleeping platform. I had plenty of room for an additional passenger or two.
I did stealth camp while in metro areas. You could do the same in the gfc with the tent down.
Like I s,aid less is more. The kiss (keep it stupid simple) method is what I live by.
I work as a software designer/developer and am able to work 3 days a week remote just using my normal Verizon plan hotspot with 15gb. I was shocked at how little data I could use if I was doing dev work and careful. So don’t rule out those cool working spots!
We’ve fairly regularly done 6+ week trips out of our little truck as a family of 3 for several years while working remotely. Both out of the GFC and our old craigslist camper shell. With the GFC and setting things up to maximize interior space for inclement weather stints being the best things we upgraded to make it “livable” long term, but we still get soft every 10-14 days and do a reset in a hotel.
Flying solo should make it more easily achieveable and more sustainable long-term. Like @GFCnortheast said K.I.S.S. is the key.
That sounds amazing. I would love to do something like that.
Obviously just my opinion…Living in a van/motorhome is a totally different thing than the GFC. If you want to do van life, get a van. If you want to 4 wheel off-road to a secluded spot and set up camp for a couple days off grid, get a GFC. If you want to party at a bluegrass festival for a week get a 1973 GMC Painted Desert.
I live out of my truck (DCSB) through the summers for around 3+ months at a time as a wildlife biologist and a few months in the winter. It works out that I need the truck because my survey areas are across the Great Basin area and almost all of the roads I use are unmaintained. A lot of the roads can be driven by most high clearance vehicles, but It helps to climb the steeper roads when I can to shorten up my survey time. The GFC is new to me this summer season but the truck life is not; and much needed for me because of the unpredictable weather and roads. I need to be able to pack up and leave to the next location very quickly and this is every day.
You can do all this with a van, minus the steep remote locations. You should weigh in the the van/truck decision on what you seek to do and how often you plan to be in the areas you desire to adventure to. Living in the GFC has not been that difficult. Quite easy, but I am a solo 100% of the time. I leave sleeping gear stored above in the closed wedge and an organized food/storage system below. I leave valuables like most gear and most clothes in the cab so I can have the back to be mostly just living space. I could see it possibly getting a little more cramped with 2+ people for extended living situations if you don’t have your kit dialed down to a minimum comfort. But by myself, I can bring everything i need with me. Hope this helps let me know if you got any questions.
Obviously it’s different. That’s the whole point of this question…
Idk man I thought the same thing with not wanting a van n using my truck but pretty much…after upgrading it to be livable I would just recommend a van u got to think about waking up early n having to move the bed around to get changed then closing it all up the actual space u got for chilling with a female…the heater, a fan plus adding a refegerator and a electricity system takes a lot of space then clothes n cooking… your shower has to be outside so I definitely will end up in not so enjoy able weather… a van is way more suitable for all that shit… I got mine hooked up pretty good though just way different n your gonna not end up with the same comfort… your got to have a bed rug for water n dust for sure definitely need a heater n a fan I thew alot in it to make it the best living space I could but ya u loose comfort going that route.so I would say with all I spent I easily could have had a dope van build…but at the same time all my shits payed off so I grind it out n loose a lil of the comfort do one traveling construction job my savings back set up.
I lived in mine for 20 months and have slept in it over 500 nights since I picked it up 3 years ago