We purchased our Livin’ Lite slide-in truck camper at the end of September from a seller on Craigslist. It was road-ready at the time, but we needed to figure out how to pack our necessary belongings into it for the trip. We took the camper to Maine for a few days in late October for a trial run, and those few days really helped us figure out what we needed to do to set it up for a year-long adventure.
It rained almost the entire time in Maine, so we found out what it feels like to spend almost all of our time inside the camper. While the space is small, it is surprisingly roomy, and it really wasn’t bad staying inside. Utilizing both the couch and bed areas, both people and dogs have their own space.
After the trial run, I (Tara) felt that I needed to figure out a system for storing clothes, shower supplies, a first-aid kit, and extras like books, journals, and small craft supplies for off-grid entertainment. Enter The Container Store and some 15-year-old dorm room accessories leftover from college. The Container Store provided plenty of hooks, a hanging towel rack, a collapsible canvas trash bag, and a hanging storage bag with several pockets for large and small items. The storage bag holds the first aid kit, laundry supplies, extra pillowcases, extra washcloths, and a plastic jar containing a Marimo moss ball (lovingly named Bombadil). Plastic drawers from college fit perfectly under the storage bag and hold the entertainment extras. An old college shower caddy fits neatly into a corner of the camper’s bathroom for use in the camper shower or for carrying supplies to a campground bathhouse.
Packing cubes turned out to be vital for organizing clothing. We used a combination of luggage, duffel bags, and the closet for clothing storage, and space in the luggage and duffel bags is so much more compact and organized with packing cubes and stuff sacks dividing different types of garments.
Fitting an entire kitchen into two small storage cabinets was a challenge, but we utilized the below-sink cabinet to store accessories like pots, pans, and utensils, and the above-sink cabinet for dry food goods, with some items transferred into smaller, stackable containers or baskets.
With so few cabinets, we have to make use of every space, so we store all of our dishes and bowls stacked up together in the microwave. We cut non-skid drawer liners into squares and interleaved them between each item so they don’t break while bouncing down the road.
We could not fit our outdoors gear inside the camper, so we are using an enclosed bicycle carrier on a hitch rack as well as space in the cab of the truck. To maximize space in the truck, George and his cousin removed the back seats of the truck and built a wooden platform for the dogs to sit on and where we store their food. Underneath the platform is space for two storage bins for our gear. Some other extras, like reusable grocery bags, a yoga mat, and trekking poles, fit around the bins.
The last part of the camper set up was adding some home-y touches, including curtains, photos, and postcards.