There are over 20 setups and takedowns of our campsite on the adventure. With a “normal” campground this isn’t really a problem because you pretty much pitch your tent next to your car. But on our trip we looked for places that were more rustic (the kind of campsite that is classified as “primitive”). These sites are usually isolated and involve hiking at least a few hundred yards from the parking area to the campsite. The beauty of these sites is that you’re not surrounded by other people and you usually have a great view. The challenge of these sites is that you have to carry all of your gear down the trail to the campsite. Since we are staying at each site for several nights we have a lot of stuff to move and we didn’t want to carry it all and make lots of trips. So Dave came up with this nutty idea to build storage cabinets mounted to the truck that could be removed from the truck and be rolled to each campsite (thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act almost all campsites in National Parks are wheelchair accessible so we knew this could work). Below are photos from a typical set up. . .
We arrive at the campsite (in this case Three Sisters Overlook on Wrangell Island). It’s a beautiful site with a view overlooking a straight where whales are often spotted. There is a 1,200 foot gravel and boardwalk trail leading to the site which is perched on a bluff.
The crank handles are inserted into holes in the sides of the cabinets and the landing pads are cranked down far enough to slide the wheels on.
The wheels are then cranked down until they pick the cabinet up and off of the truck frame. The safety pins which keep the cabinet from sliding off of the truck are then removed. The cabinet is then pulled sideways until it is clear of the truck.
The cabinet is then lowered so that the wheels are touching the bottom. This makes it easier to push. With the wide wheelbase the cabinets are very stable. Any additional cargo such as firewood is placed on top of the cabinet and it is pushed to the campsite.
Upon arriving at the campsite, the cabinet is moved into place (we like to place the cabinets back to back, it takes up less room and makes for an excellent work area). The cabinet is then raised via the cranks high enough to place temporary wood blocks under it. The landing pads are then retracted enough to slide the wheels off. The landing pads are then cranked all the way down until they lift the cabinet off of the temporary wood blocks.
The wood blocks are removed and the cabinet is then lowered to the ground. The wood blocks and firewood are stored under the wheel wells.