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Z71 Suburban Camper

Discussion in 'Under Construction' started by NOSOK, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. Sparksalot

    Sparksalot Full Access Member

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    What kind of camping do y’all have in mind?
     
  2. NOSOK

    NOSOK Member

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    To secure the bed platform to the Suburban, I used a pair of heavy duty 12 ga brackets, which were attached to the middle set of rear seat mounts with 60mm M12-1.75 bolts. In the pic below, these aren't fully tightened, since it would jack up the rear platform when they were cranked down. Now that the platform has settled, I should be good to tighten them more.

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    I wanted to mount it to the truck in 4 places - 2 front and 2 rear. However, the rear mounting locations (the ones that hold the D rings), were basically underneath the legs and I couldn't figure out a clean and simple way to attach brackets. I think mounts on just the front is sufficient, so I wasted a lot of time trying to fit the rear.

    We then added a layer of thin, rubber-backed carpet on top of the platform. This wasn't necessary, but makes it look a lot nicer when the mattress is not in there and will help prevent whatever stuff we may transport from sliding around. The carpet was just secured with staples. Spray adhesive would've made for a more professional install but if we want to make any change to the platform in the future, would be very difficult to remove.

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    The folding design means there's enough room to reinstall the 2nd row seats if desired.

    For a mattress we're using a 3" Tempurpedic memory foam topper. I bought this a while ago and didn't really like it so it was sitting around for years. It's perfect as a camper mattress though. If I had to buy a new mattress specific for this, I would've gotten something cheaper. It's a tad wider than the rear area at ~51" across, but squeezes in there with no issue. I'm 5'10" and the mattress is 6' long. If I stretch out fully, my feet will hang off the edge a bit, but otherwise very comfortable. The platform is oversized to allow a few inches of foam extension to be added if wanted.

    Only downside is that memory foam gets quite firm when it's cold. It'll soften up eventually from body warmth but there's not much give initially. Sure beats a Thermarest in a tent though.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. NOSOK

    NOSOK Member

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    Primarily off grid at Forest Service camp sites or BLM land. https://freecampsites.net/ is our go-to to find spots.

    We'll also stay in rest areas or Walmart parking lots if we're in between camp sites.
     
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  4. Sparksalot

    Sparksalot Full Access Member

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    So, quasi overlanding as you choose. That's cool.
     
  5. NOSOK

    NOSOK Member

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    Yep pretty much, except we're not exactly hardcore about it. If we're going for more than 3 days we'll generally supplement the camping with a night in a hotel.
     
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  6. 89Suburban

    89Suburban Full Access Member

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    Cool build thanks for sharing.
     
  7. NOSOK

    NOSOK Member

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    For food storage we picked up a 12v fridge from Amazon, the Alpicool C30. We went up to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone this Thanksgiving for about a week, and had no complaints about the fridge. However most of the trip was sub 40° so it can't really attest to hot weather performance. Didn't pull much more than 35 watts when the compressor was on. My only gripe is Alpicool describes the fridge as "30L" or "32 QT" but it's more like 28L when I measured the internal volume myself.

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    The fridge is mounted where the console used to be. There are not a lot of sturdy mounting points there, but I modified a piece of C channel to fit over the studs that hold an SRS sensor. I riveted a few L brackets to the plywood to hold the fridge in place (seats prevent lateral movement) and we have a bungee cord that's wrapped around the fridge handle and attached to the rear bracket. It doesn't move around at all while driving (even under hard braking), but it's on my list to secure this better. Those rubber strips are the same carpet used for the bed platform but upside down.

    Not the most attractive without the fridge, but I'm planning to make a small removable storage area and some cup holders. Down the road I'd also like to put the fridge on some undermount drawer slides so it can slide back and give a little more room while driving.

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    Then on the back I have something I'm not exactly proud of for vertical support, but was rushed to get the fridge mounted last week before we left. I'd like to redo this but the only option for mounts are the front seat bolts and the 2nd row studs (which are a good 8" away).

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    We got a GoalZero Yeti 500x as a battery backup. I put together an 'energy audit' using a KillAWatt, but I believe it was massively overestimated. I forecasted the worst scenario of both people using a laptop on power for 8hrs/day, running the fridge at 30w continuous for 24hrs/day, as well as running a cell signal booster for 8hrs/day. Debating if we need the 500x as it might be overkill for our needs, but we also didn't charge laptops from it this trip, so I think we'll hang onto it. Seems nicely built.

    On the subject of the signal booster we picked up a WeBoost DriveX but ended up returning it. It made a slight difference but not enough to justify a $400 price tag.

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    I spliced a connector to the fridge charger so it could be used simultaneously with a laptop car charger in the GoalZero. I had to do this since the GoalZero only has one 12v "cigarette style port" and one barrel port. I didn't want to plug the chargers in the AC plugs since going from DC -> AC -> DC is not the most efficient (it would lose at least 10% of the energy, probably more)

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. mb1500

    mb1500 Full Access Member

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    Awesome, keep the updates coming!
     
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  9. Tonyrodz

    Tonyrodz Resident Resident

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    How about a Jackery? I've heard they're very good.
     
  10. Sparksalot

    Sparksalot Full Access Member

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    I removed all of the rear seat in thecopcar. Most is space for the overland hound. The rest will be where a 35 or 40 L fridge will go.

    as far as consoles go, all the various public safety models use a floor plate that’s tied into the front seat mounting points.
     
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