DIY

The Top 10 Accessories to Install on Your Truck for the Great Outdoors

Reading Time: 6 minutes

With summer just around the corner it is the ideal time to plan for road trips, beach bumming, and camping with friends. The best spots to hit up may not have a hotel or a bed and breakfast nearby. Why not use your truck, and equip it with these ten essential truck accessories guaranteed to make your trip one for the books.

1. Rooftop Tent and Shelter

Protect yourself from the elements with a tent which folds out from the side of your roof. Gone are the days of struggling with fragile tent poles and the battle to raise a tent. You can also choose to equip your truck with just an awning, perfect for parking and relaxing on the beach. Rooftop tents, and shelters vary in size. Some can greatly expand creating enough floor space that would put some apartments to shame, while others can fit just a single person laying down. If you plan on camping with 3 or more people check out ARB Simpson Rooftop Tents, or even the Mt. Shasta Extended Stargazer Summit Hybrid from CVT Mt. Rainier Tents. For the couple that wants to enjoy the great outdoors, consider the Front Runner Feather-Lite Roof Top Tent.

2. Rear Drawers/Storage Systems

Pickup trucks and SUVs have the great advantage of space in their rear compartments. Installing drawers or storage systems can help organize and secure all your outdoor equipment. You can still utilize the top of these storage systems as an extra cargo shelf, or even as a counter top while you’re cooking. The best thing about rear drawers and storage systems is how functional they are after the trip. They are a perfect solution for work trucks carrying tools and special equipment which you wouldn’t want sliding around the back of your truck bed. Check out the storage solutions of Decked, Frontrunner, and TruckVault. If there aren’t any that fit your needs, there are lots of off-road specialization shops which can customize a storage system for you.

Nowadays, there are barbecue grills you can pull out from your tailgate. There are also stand-alone burners that easily stow away.

3. Fridge

Opening an ice cold beer and enjoying the sunset is the perfect way to cap off your day in the great outdoors. Beyond just the beers, a portable fridge and freezer is great for keeping your favorite food fresh. A separate portable fridge and freezer is also perfect for those fishing trips where you need to keep your catch fresh until you get back home. Typically the size of a large cooler, a portable fridge and freezer can easily fit in the rear of an SUV or truck, and even some sedans. Checkout Kings Portable 12v Fridge & Freezer, Engel Eclipse Fridge Freezer, and the ARB Elements Fridge Freezer for reference. These products can also be found in stores which supply boat equipment.

4. Power Supply

Running your engine to get power during the whole time you’re camping will hurt the environment. We want to protect our surroundings as much as we can so our children can also enjoy them. More importantly, using your truck’s battery can also drain it to the point where it can no longer start your car’s engine when you need it to. Thankfully we can harness the energy of the sun with portable solar panels. Depending on the size of the solar panel, they can have an output of 110W – 250W. Extremely portable, these solar panels fold in half, and can be stowed neatly away.

Get even more power by using either an auxiliary car battery, or a portable battery pack like the Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator. This easily plugs into a 12V cigarette lighter, and comes in a small package. Check out the Xantrex XPower Powerpack 600HD for more power output. It’s strong enough to jump start your truck incase you get stranded, and the greatest thing about it is you can charge this at home before you set off on your adventure.

5. Kitchen

Hotdogs cooked over the campfire and smores may have been the standard camping menu in the past. Nowadays, you can rival a Michelin Star restaurant with the portable cooking provisions you can install in your truck. Pull out a barbecue grill from your tailgate, and cook your steaks to perfection. If that seems a little excessive, there are always the stand alone burners which easily stow away. Checkout the George Foreman Propane Camp & Tailgate Grill as a portable barbecue grill solution. Party King Grills’ SWING’N Smoke Varsity Grill is another option, but requires it to be attached to your tow hitch. For portable burners, you can take a look at the Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner, and the Coleman Guide Series Dual Fuel which can use unleaded gasoline.

Truck roof racks not only save space; they can also be the mounting point for auxiliary lights.

6. Bathroom and Toilet

The call of nature can happen anytime when you’re out exploring. We have evolved beyond digging a hole, and taking care of business. Solutions come in many forms like the $25 Luggable Loo Camping toilet, which is literally a bucket, or the WolfWise Easy Pop Up Privacy Tent with a Domestic 5 Gallon Portable Toilet. Unless you can hold it till you reach the nearest gas station, these are your best ways to go, when you need to go.

Solutions for showering at the campsite, or beside the beach after surfing has evolved from just hosing yourself down. The Road Shower is a water supply tank that can be mounted on your truck’s roof rack. You can pair it with the WolfWise Easy Pop Up Privacy Tent to create an actual shower room.

7. Roof Rack

Need extra space? Why not carry bulky items on top of your truck? With a myriad of options to fit your specific needs, a roof rack comes in handy when you want to have more space for your passengers. Have your roof rack installed by a professional for effective mounting, and make sure to strap down everything that is loaded on it. For pickup trucks, there are bed lids with racks mounted on top of them. Beyond the space saving factor, roof racks can also be the mounting point for your auxiliary lights. Check out ARB, Thule, and Rhino-Rack as reference when choosing your roof rack.

8. Wheels & Tires

Your truck or SUV came with tires that were optimized for comfort. Camping outdoors may require you to hit the trails, or even find your own roads. The correct wheels and tires will keep you from getting stuck along the way. Consult a professional tire centre before deciding on which wheels and tires are perfect for the activities you want to do with your truck. Installing the biggest wheels and tires are not the instant solution, because this usually requires modification and additional components to accommodate the size.

Don’t forget to bring a first-aid kit. Read about the roads before setting off, so you may load the correct recovery equipment.

9. Handheld GPS

Camping brings you to the far corners of the world. Where the roads end, adventure begins. Sometimes we tend to wander way too far that we forget our way back. Having a capable and up to date handheld satellite GPS is key for your safety, most especially if you need to be rescued for any reason. Examples like the Garmin GPSMAP 64S is a rugged yet portable GPS, the Garmin inReach Explorer+ has an SOS device feature.

10. Safety/Recovery Gear

Being prepared for any emergency situation during a camping trip can buy time till rescue comes. Simple gear like a first aid kit with an epipen, or a bite kit can go a long way during those unfortunate situations. For vehicle recovery, having a tool kit stored away is handy, and can be used for more than just fixing your truck. Assess the roads before setting off so you may load the proper recovery equipment. If you are headed towards sand or mud, anchoring recovery tracks on the side of your truck would be a great idea. In extreme scenarios having a winch installed to the front of your truck can help.

Remember that the best accessory you can get for your car is a better driver. Take off-road classes if need be, or even basic survival skills.The great outdoors will always be filled with great memories of road trips and camp stories. Don’t miss out the opportunity, and take the road less travelled to discover a new side of your world.

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In the Garage with CarParts.com is an online blog dedicated to bringing DIYers and devoted car enthusiasts up to date with topical automotive news and lifestyle content. Our writers live and breathe automotive, taking the guess work out of car repairs with how-to content that helps owners get back on the road and keep driving.

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