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Old 07-16-2016, 07:21 PM   #201
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Lightbulb How we roll - Camp gear

Over the next couple months i'll share some thoughts on some of the gear we are using around the rig and camp. We decided to give several items in our gear-bag an upgrade since we'd had many items from 2007ish.

One thing I researched and desired was to have (in general) a single battery type/source, also my focus would be on USB chargeable devices. All the below items (except the Helix camp light) are powered by 18650 rechargeable batteries. Not sayin' that's right or wrong...just what I decided on for our use.

Some of the items we upgraded to:

(these are example links and I have no affiliation other than a happy camper)

The following USB chargeable flashlights:
Nitecore MH20 flashlight for my wife,

Nitecore MH27uv flashlight for me,

Nitecore HC90 headlamps one for each of us...we use headlamps a lot!!

About a dozen 3400mAh 18650 Li-ion batteries we charge via packable solar panels, or Li-ion battery packs (see next items)

CHOE foldable solar panel one for each of us...we put these up around camp or hang them off the back of our EDC/hike packs.

Anker 20,000mAh USB chargeable battery pack one for each of us!

Two Princeton Tec Helix Basecamp Lanterns. These are powered by standard AA Alkaline batteries. We use them both inside the van and around camp in "Red" and "White" modes. We'll also grab them and hang them from each of our hammock's ridgelines when out on a hang.

That about does it for the electronic gadget upgrades. I'll post back here with some thoughts on the items as the 2016 camping season progresses. We are still heading out ~1 week a month on some sort of adventure.

Hope you all have time to do the same and enjoy family and friends in the great outdoors.

: ) Thom
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Old 07-24-2016, 05:40 PM   #202
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Lightbulb Rocket Stove in camp...

Greetings,

We were able to test out a small rocket stove I had purchased from a builder off ETSY website during our recent mini-adventure. (I have no affiliation with the builder, just a happy camper!)

It ROCKED! Yes I guess that is a pun ; )

Attached is a shot of the unit with the (optional) pellet hopper filled with about 2 cups of regular pellets from a 20lb bag we purchased at the local Home Depot for ~$5. I went ahead and also added some more to the hopper to test if this was possible and the flame/burn remained. This was in contrast to our StoveTec Lantern that is a Top-Only-Burn pellet stove and will not allow the adding of pellets once the burn has begun. So this newer, simpler stove is a nice addition to camp. It put out a nice amount of heat and we could have easily cooked with the unit had we wanted to.

The other shot is of the stove a couple days later in the trip utilizing small pencil sized pieces of camp wood. It was also comfortably warm and could have been used to cook on. The burn was easy to maintain as the wood simply burns and moves by gravity (just like the pellets) down the fuel-feed ramp.

: ) Thom
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201607rocketstovepellets .jpg   201607rocketstovewood .jpg  
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Old 07-26-2016, 01:50 PM   #203
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Lightbulb removing the 3M di-noc hood wrap

Well we finally did it...we took off the nearly 6 year old 3M carbon fiber di-noc hood wrap we installed in the fall of 2010. I can tell you that it was ready! 6 years of outside UV rays had taken the cool factor down to a dull haze and the need to do a weekly rub of back-to-black to get it to look passable for even 3 to 4 days.

The image attached shows the rig as it was last week on a mini-adventure down the Oregon Coast, the two inserts show during-removal and then gleaming white factory finish that was still underneath.

There was quite a bit of elbow grease involved in removing the wrap after all these years. 3M states that the wrap has a "3 year release" and "4 year life". We will not be re-wrapping the hood. Part of the reason we initially did it was for 1) protection and mostly... for bling. Well...at this point in time the van is blingy enough ; ) I do have a replacement WeatherTech deflector as the original had developed a crack and needed replacing. We'll mount it when it arrives in a week or so.

: ) Thom
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:03 PM   #204
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I like it better white. Of course, now you have to update your avatar.
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:07 PM   #205
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I like it better white. Of course, now you have to update your avatar.
Thanks! And my wife and I agree. The gleaming whiteness is growing on us. And the hood is never really seen from the cockpit seating so there is no glare.

And yes on the update, gotta head to the dunes for a photo op this afternoon.

PS...attached photo from dune-trip
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Old 07-27-2016, 10:40 AM   #206
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Exclamation ? The perfect "Toad" to pull ...

There are times when Cari and I get to a camp, setup the Noah Tarp (now using a Noah 20 and/or Noah 9) a couple of alite "Bison" chairs, a small breakdown aluminum table... and we find ourselves wanting to take the van further up a forestry road/trail and explore, or maybe even head back to the nearest town (usually an hour or so away) and run some errands. BUT the idea of leaving all the _gear_ out with no rig in camp sort of begs those-with-mischief-in-mind to grab-gear-and-go.

So we have pondered bringing along some small-minimalist car behind the van, though hadn't run across anything that fit our lifestyle...until last week.

We had a mini-adventure down the Oregon coast. During the ~25+ years we've lived in the Astoria Oregon area we had never ventured south of Newport on the coast highway and wanted to explore Florence and the Oregon Dunes recreation area. We had a great time exploring the coast and small towns. One day driving north on hwy101 I spotted a small 2 seat dune-buggy/UTV of sorts and quickly called out to Cari and she was able to spot it also as it drove south at highway speed. I was determined to do some research once home as to what the little gem was and if it would be a candidate for a tow-behind with our current 1/2 ton van. I know our van can comfortably pull ~2400lbs as we did with the 15ft Parkliner trailer during the 2013>2015 seasons, so this gave me some vehicle target max weight to hope for in a toad.

Enter the "Oreion Motors Reeper"

At around 1600lbs, 2wd/4wd, 2 passenger, 58hp 3cyl engine claimed to average mid 30's off road and low 40's on highway, towable on all fours... well I was drooling, and so was my wife. I'm going to do as much research on this as I can and then make a decision on if we should add it into the mix. I can see this easily replacing my daily driver (a 16 year old Toyota Echo with same millage range, on my easy ~4 mile daily country-side commute).



The idea of going from a street legal glorified atv to off road/forestry trails puts a smile on both our faces. Time will tell if this might work for us.

Here is a link to a quick video on the 2 and 4 passenger "Reeper".

: ) Thom
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Old 07-27-2016, 11:57 AM   #207
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Assuming because you have two of them you like the Noah tarp? We won't have an awning on our soon to come rig as was thinking about these or a plain tarp or something like it. Could you review the tarp system including the poles and stakes you use and how you use it? I'm guessing the big one is best for no wind days... Thanks! Love the dune buggy!
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Old 07-27-2016, 12:53 PM   #208
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Originally Posted by Surfmore72 View Post
Assuming because you have two of them you like the Noah tarp?..Could you review the tarp system including the poles and stakes you use and how you use it?..
Greetings and THX for the Q on tarp use, happy to share what we are doing.

So we have utilized Noah Tarp 16's (two of them) for several years around camp. Only recently have we used NTs attached to the van by way of the newly installed awning rail seen below (1.5" x 10'8" aluminum) :



As mentioned elsewhere we had several close calls with the (well built) Fiama F45 and chose to go with a simpler and hopefully more wind-resistant tarp setup.

We used the NT16 as seen below for a handful of trips.



Set up with gear ties to rail and then supported by a two or three folding/adjustable 8ft poles (we got ours from REI and Sportman's warehouse...we have 6 of them and 2 of the smaller 6' poles). We set up the NT16 so that about 6ft is behind the end of the rail so we can cover the aluminess galley box that swings toward the curb/camp side. This worked fine but...

We pondered the advantage of the NT20, thinking the extra 4ft would allow us to drape ~4feet from front of rail over windshield...which we were able to do as seen below:



One thing we noticed right away over the NT16 in its grey color was the NT20's green actually was cheerful in tone/mood. That and it is like a circus tent under the 20!!! And we had winds one afternoon of about 35 and it just flapped and poles hopped up and down a few times relieving wind pressure. We would have been awning-less if only with the F45 as it can not be used in much of anything over ~20 that we've attempted before rolling it up.

OK, so why the Noah Tarp 9 in the mix? Well, doing my pondering/what-if game if do, I thought of the times when we set up for a trailside meal and would appreciate cover over the camp kitchen setup area. The NT9 is so easy for one person to setup, and I could have done the below test with only one pole had I tweaked things a bit. So even simpler than the ~5min this two pole set up took.



=====and just to mention the other tarp in the mix... We have a 12ft x 20ft "Snow White Cool Tarp"



We use the CT on trips that we would have to park the rig in direct sun and want some shade and cooler temp under cover. The CT does just what it is advertised to do. We actually used it on a trip where the weather went from high 80's (it was wonderfully comfortable under the CT) to a low 60 by week's end and we had to have coats and beanies on it was noticeably "cold" under the tarp compared to simply walking out from under it. We're used to mid 60 weather and it is _shirtsleeve_ temps to us, but it was COLD under that thing. So unless the weather calls for temps in the 80's or higher we will not be using the CT.

This tarp is a bit on the heavy side at ~15lbs so we sort of tossed lines over the top of the van and did not utilize the awning rail as an anchor. Winds simply lift if up off roof a few inches to relieve pressure and it works great even in rain storms (it got really bad that afternoon).

a parting shot of the CT in use (I posted this back on pg20 with more detail)...



Feel free to ask any clarifying Q's, always happy to assist.
: ) Thom
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Old 07-27-2016, 10:39 PM   #209
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When I met you at Sunset Falls I was really admiring your awning setup. We utilize this style of awning at work, but we also use a lot of PVC to help create rigidity in the structure. You may consider a few things: utilizing some pic plumbing 90's to go over the edges of your tarp bar, and then adding some crossbars and vertical legs to create a roofline to shed water and keep the wind from flapping your tarp and possibly scratching the van. The whole system would work off of the elasticity of the bungee ball ties which will draw the awning tight.
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:01 PM   #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancave View Post
When I met you at Sunset Falls I was really admiring your awning setup. We utilize this style of awning at work, but we also use a lot of PVC to help create rigidity in the structure. You may consider a few things: utilizing some pic plumbing....
THX for the PVC tips Vancave.
I've got a dozen or so bungee-ball-ties in the camp bag so i'm half way there : )
The next step is a bit harder.

I LOVE PVC.

my dearly beloved?
Not so much.

: ) Thom
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