We buy a freezer at Costco. Checking out, we ask for details on delivery. Costco employee says "Oh, we don't deliver". We had been used to Costco in CA which at the time would deliver large items.
I ask "Well, how do people get big things like freezers home".
Costco person says "Easy, just put it in your pickup, we'll help you load".
"Hmm...we don't own a pickup".
Costco employee looks somewhat confused.
Then says "Easy, just get your neighbor's pickup".
The next week we bought a pickup.
Having a truck in a big city if you're a in tech or some other desk job is probably kind of pointless. But if you're not in the city and plan on saving thousands and thousands of dollars doing some of the work on your property yourself, you can't really live without it. Seriously, the thing has paid for itself already (bought it used) and haven't even had it a year.
It all still feels a little weird to me. There was a time not long ago where I never thought I'd own a car, much less a big pickup! I'll admit that this lifestyle feels very inefficient.
Though, I wonder if my carbon footprint is actually smaller, since I spend most of my vacation time working on stuff at home (rather than flying places).
So another vehicle was warranted: why not get one with the trailer "built in" (truck bed) so I don't have to have an SUV and a trailer that I have to hook up every time? There's other reasons I needed a tow-capable vehicle, but the utility of a truck just made the most sense.
I agree that there's an entire class if stuff (lumber/plywood) you can strap to your roof or get a little trailer for that doesn't warrant a truck, but having one makes a lot of the stuff I do weekly so much easier.
P.S. Trucks are just more fun!
P.P.S. They're also cheaper to lease than SUVS thanks to crazy resale values.
Your list of items "(getting plywood sheets/siding/lumber, dump runs, towing, etc)." all seems perfectly doable with a trailer. I never had any trouble hauling trailers with my Subaru WRX sedan.
I don't understand the weird fascination with people trying to convince others that they don't need a truck. Does it occur to you that I was aware that trailers existed before getting the truck and that their existence factored into the decision?
I don’t live in rural US (neither rural nor US). Here in UK you see more 4x4s in the countryside, part fashion, part poorer roads - but there is definitely plenty of countryside perfectly well served by regular cars, and you do see a lot of them about. Few trucks meanwhile.
So my imagination can’t quite figure out the difference.
There have also been a number of mudslides in the neighborhood that block the only exit road in the past, and having a 4x4 vehicle would be the only manner of escape. Similarly, it's in the forest, so a when a tree falls across the road (and they do), freedom is only a truck, some straps, and a chainsaw away.
So how much of this could have been done with an SUV? Maybe 60%. And SUV and a trailer? 90%, and a lot more of a pain in the ass to deal with. So why get an SUV and a trailer when the workload specifically calls for regularly hauling oddly-shaped or bulk items? That's exactly what a truck is designed for. If I already had a vehicle capable of towing a heavy trailer, the truck would have made much less sense. But given the needs, another vehicle was warranted, and mid-size 90s 4x4 truck checked all the boxes.
England has a population density of 275 people per square kilometer, 281 if you consider the entire UK. UK also has an agricultural area of about 23 million acres, at 70% of available land. That means that a huge majority of UK land is developed and actively used, and over an area of 23 million acres.
The US population density is 36 per square kilometer. That is about 1/8th the population density, which is already a huge difference. In addition, the total USA land used in agriculture is about 900 million acres, which is nearly 40x greater an area. So we are currently at 40x the agricultural land, at 1/8th the population density.
The kicker to this is that the US agricultural land use is only 44%. So not only do we have 1/8 population density, 40x the agriculture land mass, we also don't even break 50% of land use for agriculture purposes. This all combines to mean a few things.
1. People that have land in the USA tend to have a lot more land.
2. There tends to be large amounts of unused land all over the place with no development.
3. A lot of land is being developed for the first time, instead of redeveloped.
This doesn't directly answer your question as far as needing a trailer vs a truck, but it should give you an idea that the USA is much less developed and a lot more rugged than the countryside of a much older and more established and smaller land mass like the UK. Trucks make it a lot easier to handle all the unexpected situations that occur from having the land situation we have.
One other point I'll add at the end of this. The USA also has extremely different and varied climates compared to the mild oceanic climate of the UK. This means more of every type of weather and bigger extremes. This takes huge tolls on both the roads and how tame undeveloped land is. For instance, in the midwest, it is not uncommon for large semi trucks and pickup trucks with huge tires to be the only cars capable of driving on the highway as the highway is covered in a foot of snow and they're the only vehicles capable of driving in it.
I see a lot of fashion trucks but most of them also get used for towing or hauling on the weekend, and a lot of that stuff wouldn't fit in a car and would be unsafe on a trailer. A lot of people around here also have motorboats that would be too big to safely pull with a car.
Snark aside, why would I buy an Audi A3 when I already have a Honda? My truck is much more capable than your A3 and was probably much cheaper. Regarding safety, it's actually really safe because I only drive it when I need its hauling or towing capability.
That said, as a former A4 owner, towing 1000+kg with an A3 seems like a death wish to me.
Agree with you on the tow ratings though. It's a really good idea to have some healthy margin between the stated limit and the actual load, unless you're just going down the street.
Not only that, but in some applications the stated limit is irrelevant. Utility trailers aren't usually a big problem, but a lot of people mistakenly think they can tow a 7500lb RV with a half-ton truck just because the manufacturer says the tow rating is some ridiculous number like 11,300 lb.
But realistically, payload is what you hit first, especially a family towing a travel trailer. A very typical half-ton pickup will have around 1500 lbs of payload capacity . This includes driver, passengers, cargo, everything but fuel. The authoritative number is particular to the truck and is given on a sticker on the door jamb. So if you have a trailer with a 7500 GVWR, you need to plan on around 1050 lbs on the tongue, which leaves you ~450 for everything else. Two adults could easily put you over. Add kids, dog, coolers, firewood for the campsite, etc, and suddenly a half-ton isn't looking like a good choice for a trailer this size (7500 GVWR is what a typical ~30 ft travel trailer is spec'd at).
There are other factors that also come into play, like wheelbase vs trailer length, but in general I think most people don't have much to worry about if they respect the payload rating on the truck. Many people ignore it (on purpose, or not) however. I've seen more than one F150 towing a 35 foot trailer. On anything other than flat, level highway with no crosswind and little traffic I think that would be dangerous.
 Technically Ford will sell you a particular F150 configuration with a 3270 payload, higher than many F250s, but IMO it's still not as comfortable towing as a bog standard F250. But if you don't tow very often the compromise may be worth it since the F150 is significantly more comfortable for daily driving.
> 7500 GVWR is what a typical ~30 ft travel trailer is spec'd at [...] I've seen more than one F150 towing a 35 foot trailer.
I see what you mean now. I cannot imagine towing a 30+ft trailer with a half ton. I feel iffy pulling our 16ft TT with the T100. It's well within capacity, but I definitely feel the truck working. And yeah, flat ground is smooth sailing, but the first hill you hit and the pedal is down all the way and if I don't hit it just right I've got to tell the auto to shift to 2nd.
Probably could have gone one size up, but I'm honestly really happy with the T100.
In America at least, its rare for a non-SUV or truck to be officially rated for towing. So when you put a trailer on your little sedan and your brakes fail going down a long hill, insurance will have your head.
Yes. Don't remember if it is 1500 or 1600kg. If a trailer is heavier than 750kg it does also have brakes, so that isn't a problem. It is an American thing thinking that you need a car 2x the weight of the trailer to tow it
Most people also do not realize - you need to count the weight of the trailer, hitch, cargo and passengers against the rated tow capacity of the vehicle.
... to tow RVs. Different game entirely than towing a utility trailer, which is more commonly all that you find Europeans towing behind a sedan.
I own a consulting company and I am a civl / environmental engineer that ends up driving a lot of forest service roads. ...so I have a 4wd truck. There are definitely weirdos out there that make a lot of judgments about me because I drive a truck.
So they don't constantly ask to borrow you and your truck? ;)
The reason for this is different countries have different ideas of trailer safety- the US prioritizes allowing larger total weights to be towed at higher speeds, but Europe prioritizes allowing people to tow larger trailers with smaller cars.
The European approach is to have less weight on the tongue of the trailer, which allows a smaller car to tow more without being overloaded, but results in a less dynamically stable configuration. They compensate for this by having lower speed limits for trailers and additional licensing requirements for drivers towing heavy trailers.
You're of course welcome to own a pickup truck if you want, nothing wrong with that. And I'm sure plenty of people don't live in suburbia with U-haul dealers everywhere. But if you do, it's stupid simple and you can save a ton of money.
I'm sure the experience varies somewhat by location but it usually involves some combination of:
- very long lines, particularly on weekends. understandable, but adds hours and stress
- the vehicle you "reserved" online last week so you could do that job today? yeah, it's not really reserved. it may or may not be available; they "overbook" because they expect a certain number of cancellations. again this is understandable and something you see in a lot of industries, but yuck.
- lots of bogus-ish fees like "cleaning fees".
That all said, I own a home and have never felt the need for a pickup truck. I do fine with a hatchback and a roof rack.
The main disadvantage is that you're driving something larger and more unwieldy, like backing up.
But the advantages are numerous. Still lots of seating in the minivan. Much lower deck to roll/drive/ride things on (I can't recall if the trailer tilts).
It's basically a portable pickup truck bed, maybe it's even bigger.
But its only an old Ford Ranger and not a F950 that is raised enough to crawl over boulders on Mars.
But in all seriousness, he gets asked about 1.5x a week if someone can borrow his truck, it's insane how far this "ask" stretches itself. It drives him a little bonkers, but he's also a pretty nice guy so he says yes more than he should.
Anyways, I'd probably buy a smaller pickup because of how often my partner buys and sells used furniture as a hobby, but I don't want to be the friend with the truck in the city.
Also, I have to laugh at all these anecdotes about owning a pickup as a personality trait. I wasn't inducted into some pickups dudes club when I got mine. People haven't treated me any differently - still a nerdy, introverted guy who does a lot of outdoors sports. I drive to the grocery store or trailhead or city park in my truck, do my thing, and go home.
Maybe we have different definitions of what "much trouble" is. It takes like an hour to do anything with UHaul where I'm at. It's insane how bad that company is at doing the most basic thing that they've been doing for like 4 decades.
My neighbor did the same thing, and built his entire deck, brought in all his concrete, boards, materials, etc in with his Mazda 3 on a small utility trailer.
These small trailers are so useful and cheap, I don't know why you'd spend any money renting one. And they're actually more useful than these pickups with short stubby beds that are only good for a half ton anyways.
Mind you I don't have a pickup truck either, I have a Honda Fit-sized car. (See re: no space). Just considering it for when this car wears out.
The return was easy.. just take a few pics on my phone as part of their return process, and then drop the keys in a drop box.
But I haven't had a terrible experience at UHaul, as long as you go to one of their big locations. (I always go to this location in Chicago: https://firstname.lastname@example.org,-87.6406812,3a,75y,1... , even if it's not the closest, it's easy enough to get to and they don't run out of stuff...)
So many instances of showing up after reserving online, and the staff says, "Uh, we don't have that truck."
Most recently, my friends couldn't get their reserved truck (on their moving day) because their site (and backend) was down nationwide. They had the truck, but _because_ everything's digital now, they had no fallback ability to rent out the reserved truck.
But then they are happy to slap a receiver onto any passenger car that is not rated to tow at all and let you load up as much as you want into one of their box trailers.
But if it makes you happy, I guess that’s all that matters!
Initially, they take pride in being able to help someone, but eventually they’re giving much more than taking, and they cannot bring themselves to say no, whether it be to keep themselves happy because “if I’ve helped them before, why should I not help them now…even though I don’t really want to”, or to avoid confrontation.
Pride is always a liability, so I like to try to keep away from it as much as possible.
That statement seems so broad that it can't possible be true in every circumstance. Always?
It is more of a general principle of keeping one’s emotions at bay to prevent your biases from clouding the data and your judgment.
I am sure there are evolutionary reasons for pride (i.e. ego) such as helping you fight with intensity for scarce resources or for maintaining tribal bonds. But in the modern world, it those circumstances are rarer and someone can use it against you pretty easily.
I think pride has all kinds of positive and negative features in the modern world. When I take pride in my work, I think about it more carefully and try and deliver a higher quality work. “Pride” and “Craftsmanship” seem very linked to me. That pride helps me deliver high quality work, which keeps clients around and earns referrals, which keeps me paid and food on the table.
When I don’t take pride in the work I do, the standards and quality can slip. I’m much happier if I can deliver work to a client that I can stand behind and be proud of. I think that’s in many ways an asset.
I certainly don’t disagree with you, though, that there are many scenarios where pride , hubris, and ego end up being problematic.
I love it myself. I've moved with it, carried music equipment to gigs with it, brought home countless DIY projects from the hardware store with it, and even camped in the back of it. But I also have done many many favors for friends.
Of course a minivan has other associated stigma, but you can haul things around without being asked to haul other things.
I once read an article by a crane operator that mentioned something like 40% of his jobs were for people who saw him craning something and asked if they could hire him to crane something else nearby.
Some people have asked to use my truck, or asked for help loading a moving van.
I have asked for free legal advice, tax advice, help installing flooring, help loading a moving van. I have borrowed a neighbor's truck.
I have asked for tons of help debugging code or learning some new concept.
Sometimes I have turned people down who asked for help. I am grateful to the hundreds of people who have helped me in ways big and small. I understand when people can't. For the most part, I am happy to lend out my truck on occasion. While it is getting used, I'm probably using a browser for free on an operating system for free.
A while back I was using a park "for free" when I noticed a family I know working together to pick up all the trash. I know they weren't being paid. They're just super cool like that.
Sometimes it just feels great to be super cool in some small way. Some people go out of their way to feel like that at least twice per month.
Hasn't been a problem for me, but I recognize that this is probably because all my friends have some kind of pickup of their own.
...I helped a lot of friends move.
But... the idea that you would have to plug it in on a multiday trip... yeah, I'm laughing. I just drove central AZ->Sacramento->Ft. Bragg->SF->San Jose->Sacramento->AZ in a Prius. Nope, I'm not digging the charging idea.
I don't recall having that many problems with the borrowers. I helped some people move, maybe once a year. The way it works is they reciprocate with something else, or else, you discover they are not your friend. That's useful to know.
I fully expect that to be something the local u-haul rents out for cross-country road-trips.
Electrical motor torque (from rest) screams to be marketed to American truck buyers. It's the one EV market that probably didn't ever need environmentalism as a boost to be successful.
I gazed with amazement at all the fanboyz in the threads above about what a gamechanger this E-truck is. Oh. 230 mile range OPTIMAL. Some hope of a range extending $$$ option.
wrt to your comment, of course that would be a game changer, if a hybrid E-truck could get 40+ mpg with a 400+ mile range. (No comment on the aerodynamics and efficiency at speed) And the imagination goes... yeah, you could now financialize on-site construction generators... emergency power generators... whoa baby let me in where do I invest. Because you could market this to sportsball enthusiasts and then scale. In the US, maybe?
Well, I in fact own a 2001 Tundra V8 4WD which I recently refurbed $3K into because it just works. But I sure wish it got 40 mpg instead of an optimistic 13 mpg. Extra gas tanks are a well known technology for extended off road excursions, for a century now.
There were a few times I wanted to let him go but we needed his truck.
We weren't doing things the buttoned up proper way at the time but most small businesses cut corners to make things work. You can go broke being excessively compliant.
It is much less hassle and money to throw a few bucks an hour at the guy who is willing to use his own to run the errands if thr company doesn't need the truck for anything else.
That does not go away.
Here every family basically owns a pickup. Idaho has a lot of BLM land, (second in size only to Alaska). So sports like boating, RVing, and ATVing are very popular here. As we got more ingrained into the culture here, that is very outdoor activity oriented, we decided that with a truck we could own an RV. We have always been huge mountain bike riders and the convenience that a truck offers for mountain biking is incredible. We also drove in friend's trucks and realized that with the Platinum trim from F-150 for example, you get a very luxurious experience inside. Trucks offer HUGE cabs (larger than a lot of SUVs), with the convenience of a huge bed for throwing toys or moving things, a hitch to tow incredible amounts 10,000lbs+ and 4wheel drive that can take you anywhere. There is a lot to love about modern trucks. Even the gas mileage isn't much different than SUVs (mid-20s mpg).
Yeah, we ended up buying a truck within 6 months of moving out here. Our family was shocked because "they never saw me as a pickup truck driver". Every time I told someone back home that I bought a truck it was always pure shock as they reconciled the stereotype of a pickup owner with what they knew about me.
When my parents visited they were absolutely fascinated by the endless sea of pickups. When you parked at a restaurant for dinner, the parking lots are almost entirely pickups, with only a handful of cars scattered throughout.
When my mom first drove in my pickup, she was shocked at how nice it was. It offered great views of the road. It has heated, cooled, and massaging seats. Panoramic sunroof. A huge interior. A huge mulimedia touchscreen. And they drive like any modern SUV in comfort. She eventually said "Yeah I see the appeal to pickup trucks now".
Eventually I convinced them to move out here during COVID. They have been really happy with life out here. But now my dad is getting the itch and now he too is shopping for a new pickup. He never considered owning a truck before in his life.
I don't fit that stereotype for a pickup driver. And whenever I meet people through work or whatever that find out I drive a pickup, they are always taken back. Everyone has a certain type of person in mind for a pickup, especially people in the city. But pickup trucks are the best selling vehicles in America. Much of middle America lives and dies by their truck and they are standard purchases for a lot of families.
Edit: Ok so I'm seeing from a lot of the comments now that everyone is quick to say "You don't NEED a pickup", "You can rent one when you need one", or "I go mountain biking all the time with my Prius/Tesla". So just to be clear. I am not saying that you can't go mountain biking unless you have a truck. I mountain biked for 10 years in a VW Passatt and Toyota Corolla. But the truck offers a lot of convenience and is nice to have. I love having it and thats why I bought it. I'm sure I could jigsaw stuff I am hauling into the back seat. I did exactly that for several decades. But I love tossing stuff in the truck bed and not worrying about it scratching the leather, making a mess, or making it fit. Just toss it in the bed and drive off. Wash the bed out with a hose when you are done. Go anywhere in the truck. Tow anything. It's Comfortable and safe. Try fitting a kayak and/or paddleboard in your car. Yes, again you can buy racks to put it on the roof, and I used to own those. They are a royal pain. Now rent a pickup and throw it in the bed and drive off. You'll be at the lake before the Prius has finished safely attaching their kayak to their roof. I enjoy it and that's why I bought it.
> Trucks offer HUGE cabs (larger than a lot of SUVs), with the convenience of a huge bed for throwing toys or moving things
Generally, the huger the cab, the smaller the bed. It actually annoys me how popular 6 ft (or less!) beds have gotten in recent years. Especially when so much lumber comes in 8 ft length.
Most people buying pickups don't use the beds for anything other than groceries. Buying a pickup is just a form of social signalling that you belong to a certain in-group. Those people buying trucks with 6-foot beds don't care that lumber doesn't fit in them because they use their trucks exactly like I use my Volkswagen. On the rare occasion they need to put lumber in the bed they'll let it hang out the back, just like I put it on my roof bars.
I love it
But I'm a bit of a cheapskate and I only ever get the XLT, not the Platinum. Only luxury I really care to pay for is CarPlay. But to each their own!
Adult Bobby buying his first pickup truck but it being a Toyota Tacoma feels like a real episode of a KoH sequel
Robert starts his new remote office job and buys a new truck for its utility as a non-commuter vehicle. Hank desperately tries to hide the fact that his son would buy a foreign-made truck. The Gribble boys unravel it all.
This episode brought to you by Toyota.
And one step up from that, full truckload delivery is often $75-150, and sometimes even comes with a forklift. Often you can get it thrown in free if the order is large enough.
Also, HD is not the only place I buy supplies. Sometimes I drive an hour one way to get supplies at a rate _far_ better than HD.
Also, don't get a fancy-boy pickup. You can get a capable truck under $10K if you look around for a bit, and it will pay for itself in no time if you do a lot of your own work around the house.
Oh, the hill is starting to give way. Cool, build a retaining wall (including getting the base rock to fill it). Oh, we ran out of firewood this winter. Cool, build a bigger wood shed (BTW, firewood is a lot cheaper if you pick it up yourself). Oh, the siding on the house is rotting. Cool, grab some plywood, tar paper, and siding and fix it myself. Oh, the weeds on the property have overgrown again? Rip them all out and haul them to the dumps.
I've saved probably tens of thousands of dollars including the price of my truck by doing these things in-house instead of hiring. All thanks to my truck.
When you don't have one, you don't do these things (because hiring people is expensive). But once you get one, it opens a completely different world of "wow I can do this myself." I found rentals don't cover that gap. I resisted getting a truck for so long, but once I got one I kicked myself for not doing it sooner.
They showed up outside of the expected delivery window, left a stack of drywall in my front yard in the rain, and didn't ring the bell or notify me in any way. I found it several hours later.
While I understand they were likely overworked due to Covid in this instance, this kind of thing happens often enough I can only use it when I have space to securely store materials delivered several days before I need them.
To their credit, Home Depot did refund me; but I still had no dry wall when I needed it.
Also, you can't get immediate delivery when you're in the middle of a project and mess up a cut on your last sheet of plywood. There's no ctrl+z with a saw.
If you’re doing a project you very much need to be able to run to Home Depot that same day and pick up additional bulky items.
>> I don't drive that much.
Not someone you want to share the road with. He was a big guy, married with two teenage boys and a dog. He was so far over the payload limit on that Jeep...
I don't drive the pickup during the week though (I mean pre-covid when I drove places), too inconveniently large for that.
Seems like madness to buy something as big as a pickup and drag round that weight (with the poor MPG that comes with it) and deal with parking such a behemoth, all for something you do so rarely *
* obviously if you're a farmer or running a business or something, that's different - but that's not what this thread is about.
We've moved 5 times in the past 6 years and I spend a lot of time with outdoors hobbies (mountain biking, surfing -- pickups are hugely popular for both). But not owning a truck has never been an issue.
I’ve always considered myself a GM//Chevy guy, but I’m strongly considering this truck.
And I love that it doubles as a Powerwall...
Eliminates the need for a generator (I work from home so if the power is out I can just take the ICE for errands and have the truck power the house — you don’t have to be a truck person to find that pretty nifty!)
That is a really cool feature. I think for extended outages (which we do have) a propane generator fed by a big tank is great. But most outages are a day or less, so having that all ready to go in your truck is really cool.
When I buy sheet steel I use a station wagon because it's easier to plop it down on a roof rack and get it off later then it is to stick it in a truck or van.
Be aware of the weight limitations of your car.
Over-specing vehicles is one of the ways the well to do advertise their well-to-do-ness. It's like a marble countertop but for the roads.
Sure you can put three kids in the back row of a Sentra, it has three seatbelts there after all. Sure you can haul plywood on anything with a roof-rack, that's what it's there for. Sure you can shove a washer in a Prius. All those things work great. Bust for most of HN to do them regularly would be "behavior below one's pay-grade" so to speak.
I every one owns a pickup, why don't you simply rent one (à la Airbnb, e.g with GetAround) for just a day?
I've never owned a vehicle (other than a bicycle, but I live in Paris) but can easily rent any kind of car/truck/van anywhere in Europe. It saves me a lot.
So at the end of the day, you need a car, period. I live in a midsize American city after living in a major Canadian downtown and wish we didn't need the car (we both bike a lot), but I really do. And personally, an electric pick-up is gonna be mighty appealing for my next car in however-many years because it removes the main reason I've never gotten one before: gas. I can only imagine how big a win the lack of gas is gonna be outside of America where gas is hilariously cheap.
This works when you're the outlier. If we are ever successful in making cars the exception rather than the rule, it will be far more difficult to just go rent one on demand.
I found that since I didn't need it most of the time the Home Depot Truck Rental for a couple of hours shifting freezers, flooring and other bulky items worked out well for me.
Saved on gas all the rest of the time.
But it really requires a Home Depot within 30 mins so not for everyone and if this had been an option, I probably would have just gone for the truck.
Offroading, boating, horseback riding, dealing with snow, hauling firewood. Sure, you can get a 4x4 SUV like a 4runner but just get a dang truck. lol
What kind of activity requires so much transportation?
There has hardly been a weekend since I bought the place in that time where I don't have some project that involved some amount of construction material. Even just a weekly shopping trip can fill up a full sized truck when you live 30 miles from town and do all of your shopping at once. Also, I have 4 horses on the property (not at all uncommon here), so that alone justifies the truck since I have to go get a few thousand pounds of hay every so often.
You may live in a city, and never need to move anything, but for lots of people they use a pickup every weekend.
... how expensive is renting a vehicle there ? here in france it's like 40-50€ for a day
Also consider that you get to eventually sell / trade in the truck. Vehicles depreciate, but you get some value out. Rental payments all disappear.