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alta825 08-14-2007 06:42 AM

Key items to stock the van with...
OK, the hard part of locating and obtaining a van has just been completed. Now comes the fun part of trying to stock it so it's ready to go at a moments notice.

Aside from keeping the fridge stocked with Inversion IPA and Mirror Pond Ale, what are some of the ther key must have items?

What things have really been useful for you guys, whether for cooking/cleaning etc...mostly will be used for mtn bike trips to the mtns in the summer and the desert the rest of the yr.

Coffee press already on the list along with our comfy camp chairs. Your input is welcome!



Wanna 08-14-2007 09:05 AM

You might want to double up on that Mirror Pond Ale. :b5:

Buji 08-14-2007 10:16 AM

Even though I have yet to make my inaugural trip in the Chimera, I can speak to what I have used when Jeep camping:

more foodstuff:
Add some Jones Candy Soda (all natural no high fructose corn syrup) for the kids and if you really want, swing by a mexican supermarket and get some mexican cokes in the bottles. (also no HFCS)

Costco also has some instant potatoes (just add water or milk) that dry store very well, the brand is IDAHOAN, and they're actually quite good.

Zatarains has individual pre-cooked servings of Jambalaya, Gumbo, Red Beans and Rice, Yellow Rice, Chicken and Yellow rice etc etc that are in easy to eat out of bags. Those also store dry very well (have kept a few in my camp bag for a while now) Got these at Food Source, kind of hard to find but are worth it.

hot sauce. stores well, helps a lot of food taste better (imo)

small salt and pepper shaker combo unit.

Gin goes a long way mixed with 7-up or tonic water. Also can be added to your water tanks to help keep from freezing, or so I hear.
It's a heckuva lot easier to carry a bottle of gin and tonic waters than the 36+ beers equivalent.

Capri-suns. Not my favorite because of the corn syrup, but they pack extremely well because of the bags, and are a pretty good hangover remedy. Good insulation once they're cold to keep food chilled too.

Non foodstuff:
PIT-TO-GO BBQ and fire pit:

If you have onboard air, I would consider a pneumatic jack to lift the vehicle for tire changes.

Binoculars. Even a cheap compact set is just one of those things that's nice to have around. I carry a compact tasco set (12x25) that I got from walmart in a bag with the following:

Swiss army knife (a small backup that's always in the bag.)
Waterproof matches
Thermal emergency blanket (looks like aluminum foil)
firestarter block
small first aid kit with bandages, creams, light pills, water sanitizer, safety pins, etc
Bite-MD anti-itch pen. (also useful for numbing cuts, has benzocain in it)
Compass with clear window for map overlay and signaling mirror
Wind up emergency light and radio.
Life saver candies

This all fits into a pack a little smaller than the size of a typical fanny pack.

I am looking into either a telescope, or high-powered spotting scope/binocs for stargazing. The concerns with a good telescope are of course the abuse that the trail will put on any fine optics :D

Small bag of firelogs (the ones that are meant for backyard firepits) in case you can't find firewood)

Variety pack of about 30 different sized bunjee cords.
General purpose nylon rope.

Boy Scout Handbook.

A good leatherman. With a bottle opener. I can't tell you how many times it has been my hero at the campground. Good for cutting limes AND opening the corona.

Good Petzl head lamp with red filter (for late night trips so you don't shine light in other people's tents)

FRS or family band hand radios (two).

even a simple GPS for the trail is an excellent idea. At the very least, make sure it can 'track' the path you take, so you can look at it and reverse your steps.

EPRB radio if you're going to be really out there boondocking. These are the emergency beacons that can cost a couple of hundred bucks and you will most likely never ever use. But if you do... it's like having an extra life in a video game.

Multi-purpose axe/wood saw/shovel (smaxe kit)

CB and Radio Scanner (with weather channel monitoring)

extra roll of TP in a heavy duty ziplock bag.

extra heavy duty ziplock bags.

Contractor Bags (heavy duty 3 mil black plastic bags) for trash, tarps, emergency poncho :-D

This is all off the top of my head, and like I said is based on my typical jeep outfitting. I'll let some others add to the list :D

jage 08-14-2007 10:21 AM

I have a small bottle of pure peppermint castile soap that I use so I never feel guilty about opening the gray water tank.

Liquid blue deoderant for your porti potti if you have one.

Extra butane if you're planning on using the portable stove (that stuff runs out quick IMHO)

Recovery equipment, hookless strap, tree saver, good board for your jack base (in sand).

That's about it, it's more what I've stopped having to take, like we no longer drag the lantern around with us, nor the big portable stoves.

I don't know doesn't seem like a lot, hope it helps!

philrod 08-14-2007 04:19 PM

Buji. If your interested in a telescope, you might take a look at orion telescopes.
they have refractor type telescopes, which might hold up under offroad use better than other types. they also have spotting scopes & binoculars and a reputation for good service.

philrod (and no, i don't have any interest in the company)

Ed in Montana 08-14-2007 04:32 PM

Must stock items
Good question. Here's a quick list of non food items:

Cooking equipment beyond pots, pans and plates:

- Cobb Premium charcoal grill (small and portable)
- Cobb extras, fry pan and extra grill top
- charcoal and fire starter packed in plastic bags (12 briquets per bag) stored in rear bumper.
- small folding grill for open firepits
- medium size aluminum dutch oven
- large aluminum pot (used for pasta, dish pan and water bucket)
- three gallon one foot high water container (for shlepping drinking water)

Extra furniture/shelter
-Two large folding net chairs (for SMB owners)
-Two small folding stools (for guests)
-one small folding metal table (holds Cobb grill)
-older model Kelty Carport (in lieu of Fianna awning) handles wind much better in storms.

Extra stuff
-Two hi beam headlamps (for night work outside)
-Bug spray and roll on bug dope (keep in drivers side door well)
-Handi-wipes, TP, and hand sanitizer (keep in passenger side doorwell for quick cleanups)
-long handle window squeegie for cleaning outside windows
-white-mesh windsheild screen from SMB (allows you to look out will letting some light in in camp, acts as bugscreen for front windows).
- massive amounts of tools I hope I never have to use...

Let me think of food and drink next....

jage 08-14-2007 05:13 PM

OK, I keep a small folding hand shovel in the driver side door... that goes with the roll of TP when #2 in the bush is favorible, a multi tool, small trash can and a 1/2 gallon or so lemonade pitcher (for schelpping water or whatever). Have a hand axe and small tools in the back door, also a Cresent ratchet and wrench kit I picked up at Costco- it used to fit perfectly under the seat, but now my Xantrex is there so I need to find a new place for it. Also in the back door is a huge breaker bar and the 4 sizes of lug sockets. The PO had a 4way and I found it to be cumbersome to pack. The key for the lugnuts is a different size than the plain lugnuts (duh!)

Along the food lines my wife started putting the instant mashed potatoes, rice and rice mixes (spanish rice, zataran's etc) into ziplock bags with the add-ins written on masking tape and applied to the bag. Stores much easier and it's already divvied into individual meals.

I always have my Garmin GPSMap 76CS when I'm in the SMB too.

Oh yeah, and a small handful of those $1 walmart ponchoes tucked around for when it rains and I don't want to get my good raingear out, or for guests.

BroncoHauler 08-14-2007 06:14 PM

Re: Must stock items

Originally Posted by Ed in Montana
- Cobb Premium charcoal grill (small and portable)
- Cobb extras, fry pan and extra grill top
- charcoal and fire starter packed in plastic bags (12 briquets per bag) stored in rear bumper.


How do you like the Cobb grill? I've looked at it online, and it looks very efficeint and relatively small.

I haven't decided whether to go with a gass grill for convenience, or a charcoal grill


Ed in Montana 08-14-2007 08:28 PM

Cobb Grill
BH, the Cobb Grill isn't for everyone. It is very efficient with fuel, relatively small, and surprisingly versatile as a grill, smoker, and frying surface. But on the downside, it is expensive, it has a small cooking surface and it is slow. I would not want to cook anything major for more than four adults on the grill, and it takes from 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours from ignition to dinner on the table.

But I like to cook and make sure I have enough time for the grill to warm up. I like the small size and the fact that I don't need to carry an extra propane tank or 10 or 20lb bag of charcoal. Also, the grill is well enclosed and doesn't throw sparks in dry, fire prone country. It cleans up very easily as well.

I wouldn't carry it on a big camping trip with lots of people though.

EMrider 08-15-2007 02:56 PM

One or two boxes of Cosco latex gloves are also very handy. I find myself reaching for these things all the time when doing various things around the van and/or campsite.


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