Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
Astrid X
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Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Postby Astrid X » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:27 am

Hi ePlaya,

I'm looking for some advice on sourcing the bits and pieces for a Costco carport set-up on short notice.

I'll be in San Francisco for a few days before hitting the road. After that, I will only be in places for a day or two before arriving at BRC.

I'm staying in a van for Burning Man, and the intention is to set up a carport over the van for shade/protection. I'm leaning towards using lag bolts to secure it because I have no idea how or where I would get rebar bent into the required shape to use. But I also have no idea where to source lag bolts! I went to Bunnings here in Australia, and it had nothing even close to 14 inches with the hex head. I would also need to get chain cut into pieces.

Am I able to source these things (and ratchet straps) from Home Depot (I think that's the large, hardware chain in the US)? Keeping in mind I don't have time or facilities to do much prep to anything. Or should I be buying online? I've found lag bolts on Amazon, but I'm just unsure buying this stuff without seeing it.

I've read the carport/lagbolt vs rebar/ratchet straps vs rope vs mule tape threads here until I'm cross-eyed, and I'm feeling quite overwhelmed at the logistics of organising this from overseas. Any help/reassurance is very appreciated!

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Token
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Re: Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Postby Token » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:42 am

Do you have people in SF? Friends to help out with local information and logistics?

Driving a big van in SF is no fun.

On the lag bolts vs rebar topic - forget it. Lag bolts are grand but you have to have good tools, power and all that jazz.

With rebar you get the pre-cut 2 foot length from the store, a pair of vice grip pliers, a big hammer (get the 3 pound or 1.5Kg) and lots of duct tape. No power tools, no chains and links. Simple and proven.

Lag bolts are simply an elegant refinement that replaces some of the muscle work of pounding metal with a hammer with a screw gun. Safer on the toes and shins for tents and whatnot but for a carport, no difference as the legs is where the anchoring goes anyway.

Now, Costco Carports are sold at Costco, which is a membership only warehouse store, so you gotta be a member. Again, will a local take you there? If you are a member Down Unda' will your card work?

Other brands are Shelter Logic and they are available at car part stores like Pep Boys or similar. Look it up.

Make sure the carport has sides to fully enclose the van.

And finally, rope also works just fine. No need for ratchet straps. Learn how to tie a Truckers Hitch.

I like rope much better as it vibrates way less in the wind. Although it is sexy to hear ratchet straps sing in a gale, if you are trying to sleep, it gets old fast.

And if any/all of this quest fails, you can always just get a few heavy duty tarps and 12" carpenter nails and use the tarps as a lean-to against the van as a backup plan.

Good luck in the dust.

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Popeye
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Re: Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Postby Popeye » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:11 am

What Token said.
Except I use a straight claw framing hammer to pry the rebar out. If it is especially tight pour a little water down the sides of the rebar or/and pry against the bottom of your vicegrips with the claw.
Oh, buy real vicegrips not some knock off.
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Astrid X
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Re: Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Postby Astrid X » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:29 pm

Hi Token and Popeye, thanks for responding!

Doesn't the rebar have to be bent into a candy cane shape to tie ropes to? That's why I was leaning towards bolts.

I know how to do a Trucker's Hitch and Bowline for setting up tarps, and was thinking to use mule tape, but I read about using large ratchet straps across the whole structure to secure it to the Playa, and that seemed simpler with less stuff sticking out for people to trip on.

With regards to Costco, I thought we would just buy a membership. Will they only sell to US residents? I've previously written down Shelter Logic as a back-up.

Thanks again!

Astrid X
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Re: Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Postby Astrid X » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:47 pm

Ok, I just watched a YouTube video on bending rebar with pipes. Will a simple bend like that be sufficient for securing a carport? I reckon I could do that here and bring it with me, assuming the pre-cut stuff I found at Bunnings is as soft as that! It's called a slightly different name to rebar here.

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BBadger
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Re: Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Postby BBadger » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:58 pm

The San Francisco Costco or others in the area may not even have carports in stock at this time of year. You should find out if they'll carry them. They're perpetually in stock in the Costcos in the Portland, Oregon area, but this is the land of rain for most of the year.

If you can't bend your rebar, you can buy lag screws for a few bucks each and buy a ratcheting wrench + socket to place them into the ground without power tools. I had to do this when my impact driver wasn't working so well. They went in pretty quickly. I'd suggest getting some washers for them so you can actually place a rope around the head.

That or get some larger screw-type camping stakes.

You don't need to bend your rebar. If it's long enough, you can duct tape it to the legs of the carport themselves and then guyline as needed.
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Astrid X
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Re: Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Postby Astrid X » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:32 pm

Thanks for the advice BBadger! We've called the Costcos in San Francisco and they were in stock. We'll also be in Portland for two days prior to leaving for BRC. So I'm hopeful but not totally assured we'll be able to get one. I'm keeping an eye on Craigslist for second-hand ones in places we'll be through on the road. Worst comes to worst we'll get a Shelter Logic.

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Token
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Re: Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Postby Token » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:54 pm

Image

Image courtesy of Bob the Couch.

Astrid X
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Re: Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Postby Astrid X » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:14 pm

Thanks for that, Token - very helpful.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I feel a lot better about pulling this off.

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Re: Organising a carport set-up from Australia - help, please!

Postby Leighlandowling » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:33 am

Hey Astrid. We are coming from Melbourne and doing (trying to) the exact same set up as you. Also having trouble finding a car port to go over our uhaul cargo van.
Walmart has a fully enclosed 10x20 carport for $102. It is plastic though so I'm not too sure how it will hold up in the wind though. We were just going to rebar all the legs into the ground, do you think you'll need to tie it down with rope too?


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