This is a pretty good overview of preparation, tire safety, and various other issues to make your towing experience and your camping trip a success.
The information about increasing highway speed with the tires mentioned does bother me. Going much faster than 65 mph while towing doesn’t take into consideration other factors besides the tires and their integrity. Wind speeds, wind pressure from large trucks, and surface conditions matter greatly. Driver error is much more likely too. Our towing experience is far less than our driving experience overall. Please drive conservatively.
Way back in 1996 I was running a business. We were in the tile, marble, and flooring business doing commercial projects throughout the Eastern United States. There was a lot of traveling involved. Some months my American Express Card was up $10,000.00 for miscellaneous supplies and for hotel costs. We had a lot of guys with us. We were mostly installing floors for a company called May Department Stores. We did a lot of stores each year for the little company that we were.
Anyway, I ended up buying a new truck that year. It was a 1996 Ford F250 XLT Regular Cab with a 351 cu.in. W block V8. It had two fuel tanks with a switch over from one to the other tank. The mileage was awful – about 10-12 miles to the gallon. It was jet black with a brushed chrome cover on the tailgate. It had a front chrome bumper and grille. I installed a chrome diamond plate saddle box made by Weatherguard in the eight foot box behind the rear window. The tires were tall and I think they were 10 ply and built to support a heavy load. They had a sort of spinner design full hubcaps on the wheels. There were heavy duty suspensions parts too, but other than stiff springs and shocks I don’t know what was added.
I just loved that truck. It wasn’t super comfortable over washboard roads, but you really felt solid while driving it. The engine was torquey and powerful. I thought the truck looked great.
I really miss having the independent vent windows this truck had. It was the last time any of my trucks had vent windows. There was nothing better on a warm summer night than having the windows open and the vent windows breaking the rush of air and allowing just the right amount of air flow into the cab. Dropping these was a mistake.
Because there was always extra materials leftover from the jobs that the customer was throwing away, I was renting trailers that we filled with the overruns. I should mention that we didn’t buy this carpet and materials. The customer bought it and we installed it. So these rolls of carpet were simply free to us. Ultimately, I purchased a Hallmark Motorcycle Trailer that was big enough to take those extra rolls of carpet and that we used to bring our job boxes and tools to the projects. That trailer was matched to my 1996 F250. It was black with diamond plate rock guards and fenders. When hitched to the truck they were a black and chrome, diamond plated, vision. They were also well matched mechanically and pulled well. The trailer had electrical brakes and was good with the heavy weights we were towing.
Ultimately we ended up putting over a quarter million miles on that truck. It had several minor accidents. Once a boat being towed ahead of our truck had the boat windshield fly off and dropped onto the hood of the truck at freeway speeds. It put several punctures into the hood, which we fixed. Another time a woman came along and tore off the driver side door in a parking lot. There were other accidents as well. That truck took a beating, but was ready to work all the time.
In the end I had the truck repainted and had the dents and dings knocked out. I gave it to my son and he drove it for several more years.
This was our first trailer. It was in bad shape when we bought it, but we removed rust and painted the frame. We replaced the awning fabric and installed a fresh marine battery, a new microwave, and a new 12v 15 inch TV. This video also shows that we were working on removing fading and peeling graphics, and we were polishing off years of sun damage, and waxing the exterior.
We had a good time with this little trailer. It was just what we needed to start out. It served us well on many trips, including one to The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and up through Montana, The Little Bighorn Battle Field, Mt. Rushmore and other places along the way.
We have a newer and more spacious camper now, and we like it, but this little guy has a fond spot in our hearts.
More luxury, space, state of art doesn’t necessarily mean more fun. A little elbow grease and a modest budget may be just fine to get involved with trailer/truck camping. Smaller units are easier to maneuver and fit in older state campgrounds. They are lighter weight and can be towed by half-ton trucks.
I believe in getting the sleeping arrangement right, getting a good mattress, or combination of mattress and pad. A comfortable night, safe and secure, with the rain and cold (or heat) on the outside, while you are sleeping can’t be beaten. Add a short trip to the bathroom at night to the list. Life is good!
Expressing a few thoughts about having, using, and driving a pickup truck seems like a good way to open my ideas up about my business plans for FP4T, LLC.
The trucks of today are impressive.
There is a diverse assortment of complementary attachments and tools that aren’t available without a truck.
It’s a way to change your living experience.
Let’s get into these thoughts and consider them in more depth.
Current Truck Design & Technology
Where to begin? Certainly all current automotive design is a vast improvement when we look back at what was available a decade or more in the past. But there seems to be more involved concerning light truck development, as compared to a standard car. Both have the safety advances and the driver assistance features that we already expect. A recent pickup truck from any of the automakers has new features that really augment a truck and that reduces the negatives of owning a truck, while amping up the advantage that a truck has to carry a load, tow, and to do so in comfort and style.
We are already used to some features and they are ubiquitous since trucks and SUV’s are so popular. Having a four door crew cab for example, and GPS Mapping Systems. Multiple USB ports, Bluetooth, and a dozen cup holders for comfort. Fuel mileage is greatly improved, while tow capacity and performance are much better. I used to get 10-12 MPG in my 1996 F250. It had dual fuel tanks with a switch to change tanks. My current F150 with an EcoBoost 3.5 averages between 18-19 MPG. It also has more torque and tow capacity.
There are many more positives. The point is that a truck is both nice to have for utility purposes, and it extremely comfortable, easy to drive, and is fun.
Trucks Fit Our Lifestyle
There are so many opportunities for recreation that requires equipment to enjoy. Quads, motorcycles, bicycles, gear for climbing, boats and other forms of watersports. Add to those my favorites involving camping. Camping trailers, tents, and all the stuff we carry to enjoy our truck camping experiences. Glamping – as they say.
And that’s just the fun stuff. We’re also a society of DIY remodelers and builders. We spend a lot of time and money at the big box retailers buying two-by-fours, plywood, cabinets and appliances to improve our homes. It all has to be carted home.
It’s no wonder that we feel a special attachment to our pickups. They are the key to much of what we consider our happy and productive free time.
The Direction of My Narrative
With all that said, I want to explore this world of stuff. The trucks, the trailers, and the equipment that is tied into this lifestyle. There is just so much to consider and to enjoy. We can look into sports, into businesses, and into travel topics. We can fantasize about the vehicles that are simply out of our financial reach, but at the same time find solutions that we can afford.
There are a lot of ways to enjoy our trucks. Let’s not eliminate any of them. I can start us off with what pushes my buttons, but I am hoping that some of you will want to share your ideas and experiences to. I would welcome your contributions to the topics related to trucks, trailers, tools, and toys.
I hope we can have some fun exploring these truck related topics together.