I stopped for coffee on my way to work this morning when I saw my dream overlanding vehicle-a crew cab F-350, DRW, 4x4 with a flatbed pulling out of the lot. Since my family is outgrowing my regular cab rather quickly I've been putting a lot of thought into what will eventually become my DD/expedition vehicle next. A crew cab Super Duty will give me all of what I need-room for kids and dogs in the back and plenty of power and room for hauling. I've only recently been thinking in terms of a flatbed though-I toyed with the idea of putting one on my current truck because of the infamous Super Duty wheel well rust problem, but I can't justify the cost right now. Nevertheless, researching flatbeds has shown me a lot about their utility with regard to work and overland travel. In addition to it's overland duties of hauling kids, dogs, and gear to campsites all over New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and once in a while to Maine, I need a truck that can haul a full cord of green firewood with no sweat. In looking at commercially available flatbeds and work bodies I think I came up with a good compromise. The drawings presented below would not be a completely fabricated "one-off" design, but rather an assembly of off-the-shelf parts with some customizing here and there. I started with the dimensions of the Truck Craft TC-500 aluminum flatbed:
Truck Craft TC-500
I'm thinking that I would source their bed, and though I didn't include it in the drawing, their tailboard (complete with lights, etc...) as well. The cab guard I sort of freestyled-they have cab guards but there were no exact dimensions, so I put together something that would be high enough to allow carrying canoes, kayaks, lumber, etc...on top without worrying about bumping into the roof or cab marker lights. The side and undermount boxes could be sized from just about anywhere. I also thought that it probably wouldn't be that hard to make them easily removable by bolting them from the inside using captive nuts fastened to the underside of the bed. This way you could quickly go to a clean flatbed if the need arose to carry something very large. The box that is mounted directly behind the cab is the toolbox/fuel tank combo that is currently installed in my regular cab. The fuel tank is the second tank of my two tank SVO system. It holds 60 gallons of vegetable oil. The amount of storage in the top is almost negligible so I'm not too concerned about access-all I carry in there now is spare filters and a funnel. On the side you'll see stake pockets which would allow me to insert homemade wooden stake-sides to convert to wood hauling mode. Since the boxes will be mounted flush, they could stay in place with the stake-sides on. With 4' stake-sides I will be able to carry just over a cord and a half with the boxes in place, which is probably enough, considering a cord and a half of green ash weighs over 7,000lbs Back to the matter at hand however, as this is an overlanding site.
Between the four storage boxes, a planned receiver hitch carrier for the rear, the overhead racks, and the ample bed space (I plan to design a removable "tailgate" to go between the boxes) the truck should easily accommodate everything from a weekend of canoeing and camping at the Delaware Water Gap to two weeks of camping and exploring the Great North Woods of Maine. Please give me your feedback on the design: