R1T Overland Rig Possibilities

joelg

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Hi! One of my primary uses for the R1T is as an ideal roadtrip/overlanding vehicle. It has 4 spacious seats, good range, and tons of storage to start. But I've also been daydreaming abut building a custom camping rig that would fit in the bed and provide storage for camping gear and a platform for a rooftop tent and hopefully some solar panels and backup batteries for off-grid charging. The rig could also be set up as a basecamp allowing the truck to do local trips while the backup batteries charge off the solar.

I know there would definitely be a hit to aerodynamics on the highway but otherwise does anyone see issues with this plan?

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bajadahl

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I say dream big and I like your plan..... I'm sure there are a ton of technical details to be ironed out and I don't want to squash your ideas.... it's ideas like this that eventually lead to awesome break thoughs in design and implementation.

My only thought is that you will need to account for the spare tire in the compartment under the bed, and you probably want to design in access to the power and air in the bed of the truck. So if your rig as you call it had a false floor of some type where you could get to the spare without removing the whole thing that would be optimal... In my opinion a less optimal option would be to move the spare tire somewhere into your rig so that the lower storage compartment was no longer used during trips that included the rig.
 

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You'll get max 8km a day with any kind of meaningful solar setup, and thats if the R1T doesn't move.
I would like the solar for that reason, as if I'm camping for a week, thats an extra 45km of range.
I wouldn't bother with auxilliary batteries/base station. More hassle than its worth, and the car is the battery in any case. Rooftop tent would be good, especially if solar could be on top during the day and either folded out or a hard roof at night, however water collection tarp and some storage for water would also be a good idea for a proper camper. The spare tyre compartment would be able to store probably 50 litres of water maybe, but you'd want more if you're doing an extended trip. You could easily store the spare tyre on a metal rack that lives on the bonnet. Put a kitchen in your gear compartment, a fridge in the frunk and you've pretty much got the entire bed free to play with.
 

ajdelange

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If those 10 panels he shows are 300W panels he'd get about 1/4 kW from each in full sun for a total of 2.5 kW and he might get as much as 4 hrs equivalent full sun per day (perhaps more in parts of Oz or in the US desert areas) for 10 kWh which might give him 25 - 30 mi (40.5 - 48.6 km) in sunny weather in the summer. Provided, of course, that he didn't use any of the juice for anything else.
 
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My hope is that 10 300W residential-roof-top-style panels would be enough to set up a basecamp during the day to charge up the backup battery and then transfer that energy into the truck via an L2 charger overnight, topping up the R1T with enough range to run around the next the day. The idea being that you could drive out into the wilderness and maintain your charge enough to always be able to get back out of the wilderness and to a real charging station. 25-30 miles per day seems sufficient for that.

Also, worst case scenario it's possible to limp along at 25 miles a day and get back to civilization no matter how far out you go.
 

ajdelange

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Of course what would really be nice is if the truck had a panel in the bed with 10 - 20 standard connectors for solar panels into each of which one would plug a panel within certain spec limits. Behind each of those connectors would be a MPPT upconverter which would charge the vehicle battery directly. Not only would this load miles but the energy would also be available for use around the camp through the 120 (and we hope 240) V outlet(s) in the bed. This is entirely feasible and would make a great addition to the truck but I doubt they'll do anything like that. Thus you will have to have a separate controller(s) and a battery to store what the cells collect plus an inverter to charge via L2 as you indicted. The battery takes up room and is heavy and all the conversions lose energy.
 

Coast2Coast

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This company, out of Montana, makes custom, clamshell platform tents with a steel frame for support and fold out sides. By removing cushions from the platform bed, you can stand inside the bed and by using the fold up sides for attaching the solar panels, you've actually got an overland rig where much of the design, fabrication and installation work is already done. The downside is the company's products are so popular there's a 9-12 month waiting period

If it were I, I'd start with something like this and then add on custom features to an already proven platform. https://gofastcampers.com/ (Once the first platform tent is built for a Rivian by GoFast, subsequent orders will go fast/er.) (Or, better yet, get ahold of a Rivian-Amazon van and start customizing.)
 
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TRivian

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Yes! Love this. So excited to see what kind of accessories are going to start popping up for the R1T once they become available.
 

Hexijen

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I'm also planning to build an overland travel vehicle with a similar design

  • Its true that even an impressive solar array like the one you have shown won't add a lot of miles to your range, but it is within the realm of possibility. At the very least, you can offset some or all of the drain from whatever power you are looking to use while on the road so that you can more easily plan your trips. In an emergency, limping back to civilization is an excellent feature, if you think you may need that
  • Instead of having wings that fold out, you may want to consider a folding panel that you remove and set up away from the vehicle. The advantages are that it can be more easily angled to the sun no matter how your campsite is laid out, and that you can place the panels in the sun but the vehicle in the shade (if available)
  • Here is a table of all the solar panels I could find before I went crazy. I used this to figure out the maximum number of watts I could cram onto the roof

  • Length (in)Height (in)Thickness (in)Weight (lbs)Power output (Watt)Watts per sqftWatts per lb
    Renogy 12V 50W Flex26.5200.162.875013.617.4
    Renogy 12V 100W Flex4821.60.084.210013.923.8
    Renogy 12V 160W Flex59.226.50.086.216014.725.8
    Renogy 12V 175W Flex59.226.50.086.217516.128.2
    Renogy 24V 300W Fix64.6391.574130017.17.3
    Renogy 320W Fix65.939.11.3840.832017.97.8
    BougeRV Flex4121.30.986.6910016.514.9
    GiarIDE 12V (18V) 100W Flex50.3204.4510014.322.5
    DOKIO 12v 100W Flex43220.092.2410015.244.6
    TP-Solar 12V 100W42.320.40.16.2910016.715.9
    SunPower 18V 110W Flex45.921.90.84.411015.825.0
    RICH SOLAR 12V 100W Flex41.127.20.114.810012.920.8
    Newpowa 12V 200W Fix64.5726.571.3831.720016.86.3
    Go Power 18V 100W Flex44.621.40.12.910015.134.5
    Genssi 12V 100W Flex41.3326.770.12710013.014.3
    MiaSole Flex M101.638.32.39.535013.036.8
    Overland Solar Flex 160W60220.12616017.526.7
    Goal Zero Boulder 200W4053.51.754220013.54.8
    Newpowa 200w fixed66.228.52.531.720015.36.3
    BougeRV 180 Flex58.2726.380.382418016.97.5

  • AT Habitat - after comparing the leaked R1T stats to the options for the habitat, I think it should be possible to get one fitted properly into the back of the R1T
    • In the end, this isn't the tent ill be going for, but its similar to the one you posted, and takes care of building the rest of the camper for you
    • PRO: it can be removed for daily driving if you really wanted to
    • I did a VERY SLOPPY edit for my own considerations:

Rivian with AT Habitat sloppy.jpg


  • A feature I would love to see is a way to charge the batteries from the truck bed port, so that rooftop or suitcase solar could be plugged in directly or with a charge controller to deposit that back into the battery easily
    • At the moment I am planning to have at least a small battery bank so that I can run a Level 1 charger cable from the camper to the charge port up front, since it does not seem to currently be included as a feature
  • One thing I am concerned about is maintenance if taking the truck to central america. I know they mentioned there is a charger network all the way to the bottom of south america, and there is alot more charging infrastructure then I had realized, but I'm still wondering what Rivian would have to say about vehicle repair. If anyone has seen info on this please let me know
I've thought about this a lot while quarantined :p
 

Rivy

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Nice write up! That edit looks sleek. I like the Kimbo camper myself...and will just take the hit from the increased air resistance.

So Hexijen you in for a Rivian Rip to South America?
 

Hexijen

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I have already talked to my company about working from the road :)
 

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