Food and Rig Weight


I know stocking up like that can save you lots of money but don’t you worry about the weight of all those canned goods in your rig. I’ve been in other groups that say get rid of the canned goods and buy when you get there to save on weight… Your thoughts on this?


I, too, had read the advice about carrying a lot of canned goods

This is a great and valid point! Before my first trip from VA to the Slabs I, too, had read the advice about carrying a lot of canned goods.

Food and Rig Weight

Food and Rig Weight

At that time I did not have computer access on the road to locate cheap stocking points, unless I dragged the rig into a town to a library. I didn’t do that. True, Walmart has some cheap stuff but a lot of their prices were higher than what I could get from the low price stores in my local town. Same quality food, just a better price. One market, Food Lion, was always running loss leaders and I stocked up on those.

I noted that many folks pulling a rig have a long one and all kinds of other heavy stuff. Microwaves, large TV’s, AC’s, furnaces, full-size fridge with freezer, large holding tanks, and a range of items that certainly make life on the road a lot more comfy.

My rig, ’70’s 17′ TT, then, and now, has only a 12″ B&W TV (a friend has offered a free 13″ color TV and I will toss the B&W) 3-burner stove with oven, small fridge, sink, hot water heater, shower, toilet, a bed-sofa combo and a dining table. A couple of closets and under seat and overhead storage areas. The TT weighs 3000 lbs. before I add the food, water, etc.

My PU easily handles the trailer and if not for the slight motion of the TT when we hit bumps or such it is easy to forget it is breezing right along. With a straight 6 cylinder engine, maximum torque and horsepower are developed at relatively low rpm’s that match my speed of travel.

I have an air-over-water pressurized water system but it stays empty when I am on the road or at the Slabs and is filled only when I am at a public CG that has a spigot I can keep hooked up to. Pressuring the system is a real pain in the absence of a hose hookup. I carry three or four gallon jugs of fresh water, and a 6 or 7 gallon container with water. Ten or eleven gallons add from 80 to 90 lbs.

This year at the Slabs I will probably get one of those large water tank deals where the tank sits on top of a tall structure and run the hose into the water tank. Will then have to get a 12-volt pump that should be easy enough to install by the water tank in the TT. I think it is the Oasis Water company that supplies the tank and water. No deposit required but a minimum refill of so many gallons.

I don’t know how many cans I bought before leaving VA, say maybe a hundred or so. A lot of the dry goods I bought were pastas, some cereals, small bag of flour, and were mostly light weight. Like many chefs, I carry far too many small containers of spices, but they weigh very little. Milk, juices, ice, etc., went into a large cooler. Two or three cases of beer were kept in the PU bed unless I was cooling down a 12 pack or so. I carried a couple 5 liter boxes of wine. Six or eight 2 liter bottles of ginger ale to cut the wine 50%. All but one were in the PU.

I carry a minimum of pots and pans to keep weight down and because I do a lot of one pot meals when I am stopped for a while. One cast iron skillet, cast iron dutch oven, one slope-sided sauté pan, two small pots. A stainless steel bowl for salads. I do not use regular dishes but carry disposable bowls, plates, cups, plastic knives, forks, spoons, etc. My chef knives and kitchen tools are carried in a plastic tool box.

Along the road west, I bought more canned and dry goods at cheap places. Say I had a couple hundred cans and each weighed a pound, which was not the case for small tomato sauce or tuna fish cans, I would be adding only 200 pounds to the TT, plus whatever the dry goods weighed.

I had no problem with doing that because of the uncertainty of where I could find cheap stuff along the road. This time out, I will have net access and can locate any cheapo stores along the route should I run out of an item I stock here. First time out, I was not sure what food items I would consume regularly but now know.

I learned that canned and dry goods are right expensive in the Slabs area of CA. I was glad I brought what I did. Even though, as I noted in an earlier post, I forgot about having a lot of good stuff that got loaded toward the back of a shelf. I made a list of all the food I had onboard and where it was stored but didn’t consult the list often enough. This time all food and locations will be on my laptop in a database.

Von’s in Brawley was like Safeway back east. A huge shopping bill on basic foods, not including extremely expensive fresh meats that I rarely purchase. A NY strip or sirloin I will splurge on, now and then.

I do, however, get jalapeno loaf (meat) and jalapeno cheese at a market in Niland and when I can find them along the road. Two slices of rye, piled with the meat and cheese, some mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, MD hot stuff, I got myself a right decent meal when I warm up a can of soup or pop a can of Franco-American spaghetti. At the Slabs, the spaghetti is already warm when sitting on the counter and I don’t even heat it. One less pot to wash. A couple glasses of wine, or some cold beer, my idea of a right good meal!!!

Photo by Chas Redmond.