When we moved to Banff in October 2019, we bought a pickup truck so we could go to places and we put the RV in storage before selling it in the spring.
We didn’t look for very long and bought the first pickup truck we saw for CA$ 1,600. It dated from 2000, already had a lot of kilometers and was quite rusted. It had a standard size cargo, 6.6 feet (1.80 m) and folding rear seats with “suicide” doors. This created a very large storage space without taking away our space for driving.
Buying a pickup truck and having it insured in Alberta, Canada
Before buying our pickup truck, we met with several insurers or brokers to find an insurance.
It was much more expensive than in Quebec! In Quebec, we paid less than CA$ 700 to insure a 26-foot (+8 meters) motorhome weighing more than 5 tons.
In Alberta, our French driving history was not recognized and we did not have 1 year of a Quebec license yet for it to count. They also asked us to change the Quebec license to an Alberta license and therefore pay for a new driving license. We got away with paying CA$ 2,200.
Registration and inspection
Once the funds were gathered, we went to buy our new vehicle. There, we also had to pay for the registration. Then, since the vehicle was over 10 years old, it had to be inspected. We had to pay around CA$ 3,000 more to have the vehicle repaired and the tires changed. Huge investment!
A week after picking up our car from inspection with all of our papers in order, the pickup truck broke down. The steering shaft split in half when PA came home from work one evening. The garage took care of the towing and graciously fixed it for us.
Converting the pickup truck
In order to live in the pickup’s cargo, we bought a topper roof (canopy). We were looking for a taller model to have more space inside. We found one for CA$ 600.
Next, we built a base flooring so that we had two drawers of the length of the cargo for storage. We kept our motorhome mattress which was super comfortable. With its angle, we took advantage of the space to build a shelf.
Pierre-Adrien did everything with materials found on the sites of his (first) work and the tools lent by his company and our landlord.
For the rest, we mainly used what we had in the motorhome. The curtain fabrics, all the kitchen supplies, the camping gear… We only bought a second-hand gas stove and the gas cylinders, then a second-hand electric cooler.
To secure our storage in the cargo, we have set up a latch system with a lock between the tail door and the flooring.
The kitchen in the pickup truck
To set up our kitchen, we just had to take out the stove and the gas cylinder. We put everything on the tail of the pickup. With a board on one side and an open drawer on the other, this provided a wind-sheltered space for cooking.
We also had a barbecue grill that allowed us to cook over a fire pit.
The other features of our pickup
From our home in Banff, we got a large mosquito net that we cut and stapled so that we could protect ourselves from mosquitoes inside the cargo. We could also open a window to ventilate without getting bitten everywhere.
Inside the pickup truck, we had storage boxes with food and toiletries. The electric cooler was plugged into the 12v plug when we were driving. So we could lock up at night and avoid attracting wild animals.
Thanks to the “suicide” doors, with a shower curtain, we could have a shower area out of sight. Even though we were very often alone on our camping spots.
Finally, we had a large tarp that we used for shelter when it rained.