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Overnight tent camping at trailheads

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Old 03-02-2013, 07:25 PM   #1
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Overnight tent camping at trailheads

The green-vested folks over at REI couldn't help me out so I thought I so pose to the question to the experts on TW:
Has anybody used a backpacking / lightweight tent to sleep in the back of their beds?

I do a lot of hiking/backpacking in the summer and I'm looking for a 1 or 2-person tent that would fit in the 5ft bed + tailgate down on my double cab. I like driving to the trailhead the night before to get an early start on the longer trails, but most trailheads are gravel or rocky areas where it's no fun to pitch a tent on the ground.

I want to be able to use it on multi-day hikes so I'm NOT looking for one of these:
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:29 PM   #2
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I love my bestop for not having to setup anything when I get there

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Old 03-02-2013, 07:34 PM   #3
Very Nice !
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i looked into something like this a little while back.

The things I came up with is to just measure the width of your bed (wheel to wheel)and buy a tent that fits.
if you put wood across the bed (there are notches on the side to put the wood) the wheel wells wont impact the width and you can lay a piece of plywood over the top of the wood "beams" you put in. Then you can also store stuff under the platform you create.



if you look up overland and expedition setup you will find some expensive yet badass options.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattmxracer View Post
I love my bestop for not having to setup anything when I get there
One day...just can't afford it right now. I'm looking to get two birds stoned at once by getting a lightweight tent that I can pack with me on longer hikes.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroReutz View Post
One day...just can't afford it right now. I'm looking to get two birds stoned at once by getting a lightweight tent that I can pack with me on longer hikes.
You would be suprised, I just saw one for a double cab short bed go for 200 on here this week, used of course. I understand what you are saying
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:43 PM   #6
Very Nice !
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Ive seen tents that are 4' wide and if you tailgate down you can find one 6' long.


From past camping id say bring a tarp and put it over the top of the tent and strap it to the truck. No matter what tent ive had after a few uses in the rain they always leak. the tarp will help a lot. you can get a regular 4x6 dome tent for like 50 bucks and a $20 tarp will ensure you stay dry.



here you go....$30
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Camo-Camoufl...item56524ca16f
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packfan88 View Post
if you put wood across the bed (there are notches on the side to put the wood) the wheel wells wont impact the width and you can lay a piece of plywood over the top of the wood "beams" you put in. Then you can also store stuff under the
This is a great idea - when I looked at tents at REI it was hard to find one that would fit inside the wheels. Only trouble is that I'd have to carry a 6ft+ sheet of plywood in my 5ft bed (maybe angled). Makes me wish I wasn't living in an apartment with no garage.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroReutz View Post
This is a great idea - when I looked at tents at REI it was hard to find one that would fit inside the wheels. Only trouble is that I'd have to carry a 6ft+ sheet of plywood in my 5ft bed (maybe angled). Makes me wish I wasn't living in an apartment with no garage.
Could you make the plywood in sections somehow? Same sort of idea as an extendable dining table sorta thing? Basically make 1 section 5ft long and another 1 foot long. That way you can slide the 1 foot section in toward the cab of the truck and not be hassled with carrying a piece of plywood longer than your truck.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:50 PM   #9
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Maybe pick up a cheap bivy sack and just sleep in the back of your truck. Then toss it in the cab before you set foot on the trail?
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:14 PM   #10
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I picked up a Grand Mesa by Kelty and love it. Fits between the wheel wells and is perfect for a long bed with the tail gate down.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:08 AM   #11
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I've got the same truck and similar issue. I prefer to get the TH the night before departure, but setting up a tent at the TH is at best a little sketchy, sometimes outright prohibited.

If you're planning on using the same tent in the bed as on the trail, seems like the requirements would be to have a tent with the same approximate footprint as the bed dimensions:

L (tailgate up / down): 60.3" / 78.3"
W (total / wheels): 56.7" / 41.5"

I'm estimating with the gate down length, based on bed height. These are 2013 dims.

So, I guess you want a tent that is ~ 78" x 41" if you don't want to build a deck. 60X56 if you made a deck, taking into account the lack of added gate length. I'm also in an apartment without a garage, and I'm thinking about making a really simple one. Two 1x4s and a sheet of plywood could easily go under a bed or behind a bookshelf. Damn you, San Francisco!

IMO, its probably better to just crash in a cheap bivy sack at the TH and toss it in the cab than to compromise your backpacking tent specs. You'll be hauling that thing on your back for days...

EDIT: a quick check on REI 1P tents shows the shortest footprints to be around 86", so I don't know...
EDIT 2: changed the deck dimensions, to correct for the removed gate length.
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:03 PM   #12
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The other thing is do you really need a tent? I've just parked and gone off into the brush and slept on the ground. Or you could put a tarp over the bed with pole to support it. You really only need something to keep the dew off you so you stay dry. Of course this all depends on where you're camping and what time of the year.

Also, keep looking on ebay and craigslist. I found a Snug Top Hi Liner for $320, in great shape, on craigslist. I built a sleeping platform because the wheel wells are too close together. All our gear fits down below. It's even better for scuba diving. Gear goes up top, tanks go down below.
I made some curtains for the windows that are black with black out fabric so I can even camp in town and no one will know I'm inside.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:40 PM   #13
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as far as a platform goes, you could buy a piece of plywood and cut it down the center and install a hinge in the middle to re attach it. Then you fold it in half and stow it behind your couch in the apartment or under our bed. You could also get a canvas bestop and attach a tarp behind it when your ready to sleep in it. Your problems are not un surmountable, just need some creativity.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OffroadToy View Post
I've camped at trail heads many times and started the hikes early the next morning. We just either crashed out in the bed of a truck or put a tarp down and slept on a foam pad.
This. Before I got my topper (with a sleep platform), this was always the method.

Either bivy as minimal as possible (pad + sleeping bag) or camp with a tent/etc in whatever the nearest (legal) spot is.
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:28 PM   #16
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i dont get it.

you want a tent you can pack about on hikes and set on the ground? but at the trailhead, you want the SAME tent off the ground? why?

buy a great pack tent, and just use it on the ground at the trailhead..not an option?
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