20' container shelving design

So my Burning Man camp has a 20’ container we have for our storage which gets delivered to us at the event, and then gets picked up and taken off. Really, REALLY handy, so much easier than having to load up a box truck, haul it in, unpack, then pack back up, then unload and pack back into a storage unit.

We only recently got it, then the pandemic happened, but now it’s on track for BRC 2022 to happen. Yay! But we basically just have a mess in there. Boxes are stacked 2 high, the poles for the shade/kitchen are all on the floor along the center, I think. Misc stuff is piled in, and the various random bikes which were abandoned nearby that we grabbed were thrown in on top. So I want to make it so we can be at least somewhat organized.

Inspired by Syonyk’s cargo container shelves (and other ones), I’m thinking of doing something similar, but probably lining both sides to have the storage bins (the black & yellow ones), smaller ones at least, probably narrow end towards the center aisle. There might be room for that, or it might have to be long-side towards the center aisle.

2x4’s in the corrugated edges for the back uprights, 2x4s across the ceiling/top edges to keep the shelves from falling inwards during transportation, and 2x4s across the floor to do the same thing to the bottoms. Maybe 4x4s where the 8’ 2x4 cross pieces meet. 1/2" OBS/plywood, and probably 2 2x4 cross pieces approximately evenly space to help with top weight.

Before I get started, a few requirements:

  • We have a bunch of 10’ EMT conduit for our shade structures, need to be able to secure that
  • The container gets picked up by a big forklift, lifted onto the flatbed to be moved around, so it gets shifted around a fair bit
  • Most of our bins are of 1 or 2 sizes of the black with yellow top
  • We have some non-bin stuff, which I’d like to be able to secure, such as shower structure, camp stoves, 55gal blue barrels for grey water, etc
  • Doesn’t cost a fortune, as I’ll be bankrolling these upgrades unless we raise more money than we expect from camp dues, but I’ll spend the money to do it Right™, rather than try and cheap out

Things I think I need help with are how to keep the bins on the shelves. I’m contemplating a few options.

Simplest, would simply be to screw on a 2x4 cross piece secured to each of the front uprights. I’d then have to size the height of the shelves to allow enough room to pull them up and over.

More complicated would be some kind of cross-bar (e.g. like a door) that can be removed. First instinct was some slide down ‘U’ brackets like these ones, but then I’ll need something to keep them secured on the top. Doable, but annoying. Maybe could use some captive nuts on the opposite side of the 2x4 and bolt/tighten through.

Then I came across these brackets which you slide the 2x4 through, which would work great. Probably only need to secure 2 end at all, which would be the end by the doors. Maybe even just a bolt-through at one of the uprights to keep it from sliding out.

Another thought I had was using perforated angle iron or square tube. Bolt through to the other side, tighten reasonably with some lock washers. Bit more work to secure/remove, but quite workable. Also have the thought that maybe there’s some kind of straps/loops that I could use EMT conduit for, potentially. Slide through and then tighten down.

Then on one section towards the doors, maybe just do without the shelves but the 2x4s along the sides with O-bolts and/or hooks to help secure things like the bikes and non-standard size stuff.

How much EMT are we talking here? Maybe a couple large pieces of PVC affixed to a shelf/wall with caps like this: Van Roof Conduit Carrier Kit Truck Lockable Top Mount Ladder Rack Tube Holder | eBay

We’re talking a 40-50 all told I think. It’s one of the EMT conduit shade structures with tarps between and on the sides with bungie balls.

Why not just a few hooks and some ratchet straps or pull straps around the shelves once the containers are on them?

Hm, would it be fine to leave ratchets tightened for most of the year in hot and then cold and then hot temperatures, but mostly dry (Reno, NV)?

In general, that’s not a bad thought though, and has the bonus of being low bulk and high strength, by and large.

Another thought would be some toggle latches, along with some custom length webbing (might as well ratchet straps then) or with the 2x4 + brackets to keep the 2x4s in place. Not as crazy a design.

I do kinda want to keep things simpler, since I won’t be the only one managing the stuff in there.

Should be fine, UV tends to do a number on ratchet straps, but just staying mostly tight shouldn’t be a problem.

Though really, they don’t have to be tight except when stuff is being moved. Just have someone go ready it for transport before you go.

I have to wonder about Infrastructure-as-a-Service for Burning Man… I need to get myself out there one of these years. Maybe once the kids are a bit older.

Hm, more of a PITA to get back there, once it’s off Playa, and loose the straps, and then get back there early enough before it’s staged to the Playa to tighten them back up. A thought though.

That’s involving Outside Services (OSS), and it’s a bit of a sensitive thing lately because there were far too may Plug-n-Play camps. E.g. camps setup to make money and charge $$$$$$$$$$$ to provide living, gourmet meals, etc. This year a change, a lot of the OSS vendors have been cleared off the list of approved, and there will be NO shelter/RV/trailer deliveries to the Playa this year. Doesn’t mean you can’t bring one, and have others come and stay in it with you, just the person bringing it in needs to be part of whomever is staying in it. Probably will be some leakage, but should hopefully cut down on the walls of RVs in some spots for camps.

Regionals are a great place to start. Typically either a day long event, or a short 2-4 day campout, or both. Idaho Burners Alliance, and looks like they have a local Regional event on their calendar coming up weekend of 18-21. Seems like they have a redone house as a home base, and sounds like it’s going to be there, or something like that. Dunno your schedule, but worth checking out probably. Or at least emailing to see what it’ll be like. Always kid friendly, and usually varying amounts of interactive stuff to do.

You could always make the trek down to the desert for the LA Regional Burn some year :wink: Of course, might as well just go to the Big Burn at that point, given it’s essentially “on your way”.