Tag Archives: No Build Buildout

All’s Well That Ends Well…

If you’ve been reading along you know that the delivery of the Rubbermaid cargo bin I ordered from Amazon has been a colossal cluster coitus with the USPS handling things. I now believe that if you want to be a driver for FedEx (another recent bad experience) or the postal service you’re required to take an intelligence test. If you fail, you’re hired.

It was scheduled to be delivered last Thursday. In fact, at 9 a.m. it was at a postal facility in Orange City that was only 3.5 miles away from the delivery address. But it didn’t make it to my mail drop and 9.5 hours later, according to the USPS package tracking app, it was in Stuart, FL which is about 175 miles away from the delivery address. From there it went to Orlando and Orlando shipped it off to Jacksonville. It languished there for a bit before being trekked off to a place called Lady Lake.

On Sunday, the 13th of June, Amazon offered me the option of getting a refund. I did because there was no telling how many more places the bin might visit. I got a message from Amazon saying that the refund was being processed and would be in my account in about 5 working days. 

Monday, I went to the local Lowes and purchased a Commander 40 gallon bin…

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It’s not as sturdy as the Rubbermaid. I’ve seen a smaller version of the Rubbermaid chest which is well constructed and that’s why I wanted it. But I figured this will do. Then, as I was driving near the maildrop on the way back to the swamp I stopped in. And THERE IT WAS! Well, I ordered it, I want it, and I put it in the back of the SUV. No sense trying to send it back via USPS, who knows WHAT would happen to it? I then spent two hours on line trying to get in touch with someone at Amazon to see how we can rectify the situation. Of course it isn’t easy and I’ll just blame, for now, the extremely ugly weather situation as being responsible for the poor internet connection. There’s thunder and lightning all around.

See the source image

Finally got through to a, believe it or not, competent customer service rep, and I got the bin paid for. I know there are lots of people who wouldn’t have done that and just said they made a huge “score.” But I’m not like that. Shame on me, huh?

So now I have to go back to Lowes and return that bin I just bought. Like with Home Depot I’ll have it reimbursed to me as store credit that I can use anywhere in the country. I don’t like to go out in traffic until rush hour’s over. Hopefully the rain will have stopped by then. This is the third day in a row or liquid sunshine but we’ve needed it here, deep in the swamp/

I thought the bin might be a bit oversized reading the description on Amazon and looking at the dimensions listed on the carrier itself. Ya just never know how accurate those things are, but there’s room to spare. I put the carrier in the hitch and as you can see it’s not so big that it obscures the license plate which could cause me to get pulled over. And it’s far enough from the back of the SUV that it doesn’t interfere with opening the tailgate. It’s all going to work out just fine.

I have a locking hitch pin to keep the carrier from being removed by bad guys, and the bin itself can be locked. I have ratchet tie-downs to keep the bin from bouncing and sliding around. I also have a Yeti lock set up that I used when I had my Yeti living in the cockpit of my boat.

I’m going to buy a substantial eye bolt, drill a hole in the bin and then run the cable through that and under the lower rails of the carrier. None of those precautions are going to stop really dedicated thieves but we all know locks are just intended to keep the good guys out anyways.

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Working Out…

No, not THAT kind of working out, sillies! My idea for converting the Mitsubishi Montero Sport for camping and land cruising seems to be working out.. 

When I went to pick the SUV up in Ft. Lauderdale I told my friend Stef that I might just “throw my tri-fold mattress and the fridge in the back and take a trip this summer.” Well, it’s not that simple. Got stuff to lug around like a tent because some parks and the like won’t let you sleep in your vehicle. A table. A chair. Canvas for a shade awning. Tools, computers, solar generator, etc. How do you fit it all in?

Well, I started by taking the the back seat out opening up all that room. The seat folded down, but not completely flat, so out it goes. I had a problem with getting the tailgate open which I detailed and had to tear off the covering to get at the latching mechanism. That could be a blessing in disguise. Without it on I can open the gate from inside the van which you normally can’t do. Instead of putting the covering back on I might just cover it with some kind of fabric. I don’t know. That probably won’t happen and I’ll just leave the guts exposed. I just don’t get hung up on esthetics. 

I spent hours poring over online images of how people had tricked out their vehicles. It was hard to find any specifically about the Mitsubishi Montero Sport. Recently I discovered that the Aussies have the same vehicle. They call theirs the “Pajero.” Having lived in Panama for eight years and speaking Spanish I pronounce that as Pah-HAIR-oh. Down under the Crocodile Dundee wannabes call it a Pah-JAY-row. Now I could see how others did it even if they put the steering wheel on the wrong side. 

What so many of the buildouts have in common is they take up the whole width of the vehicle.


While this provides plenty of storage below to stash things like the folded up tent, folding table, etc. I want an aisle on one side for things like drawer cabinets, water jugs, fridge. Can’t really do it with something like this.


I have an electric saw and drill and the basic skills to build this, but have you seen the price of a piece of 3/4-inch plywood lately? The cheapest 4X8 sheet at Home Depot today is going for $54.68. And, the last time I looked that stuff is real crap. A lousy whitewood 2X4X8 is going for $8.24 and even a 2X2X8 will set you back $4.48 for crying out loud!

A lot of people have gone for what they call a “No Build” solution. They do this mainly because they use the vehicle for other things besides camping and need to be able to take things in and out of the vehicle so they can use the seats they’ve left intact. 

Even with my seats gone the biggest problem with the Montero Sport are the intrusive wheel humps. This is not mine, but exactly the same. 


I thought about using milk crates as a base for a mattress platform. Sort of like this…


The crates, sold by Home Depot and Lowes, are higher than that stupid wheel hump on the passenger side, but then I’d need to figure out how to even it all out.

My brother Mark sent me a link to a video I’d seen previously and had bookmarked for future reference and seems like just the solution I need. You don’t need to watch the whole thing, but at least the first 8 minutes to give you the idea of what I’m thinking about.


Now, if I take the middle, outboard leg off I can lay the frame on top of the hump and even everything out with the PVC pipes. That gives me plenty of room to store stuff beneath the bed and leaves almost a foot and a half aisle on the driver’s side to put things in. (“In which to put things” for you grammatically pedantic jerks <actually me much of the time>)

To that end I ordered this bed frame from Amazon last night. It has exactly the measurements required.

bed At the same time I also ordered this table which my brother recommended from his own personal experiences in car camping…



Regardless of the stowage available under the bed I think I’m going to have to add a trailer hitch cargo carrier.


I’ll fit it out with a large Rubbermaid-type container with a lock. In here I’d keep things like my stove, 11 lb. propane tank, tarps, that sort of thing. 



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