Discussion in 'Outdoor World' started by JK47, May 17, 2018.
Back to the woods for another episode of camping and gear trials. As I rolled into the same Campground as last time (Bluejay in the Cleveland National Forest, SoCal edition). A group of girls yelled I like your ride, and I gave them thumbs up, next thing I know it was an all out camping party, my buddy that bailed on me last minute, missed out BIG TIME.
Anyway I kind of fudged getting all the pics of the things I wanted to talk about due to being in a completely drunken stupor and forgetting which way was where.
These were my 20V Dewalt chainsaw for cutting dead fall for the fire pit, and worked wickedly good for a small non gas solution.
A Hammcok Gear Incubator 20° that @MrTeaRex hooked me up with, that goes under your hammock to insulate your backside, also worked amazingly well. I didn't even need my top quilt. http://www.hammockgear.com/incubator-econ-20/
A slightly larger foldable table that was the cat's meow. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BKRK59K/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Also, a larger foldable chair that was supremely comfy and had no problem holding my 205lb frame (Ive actually lost 20lbs in the last 6 months and feel great). https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0728H6BXD/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Now for the picture porn...
The supremely clever and well thought out Firebox in titanium with optional tin carry case, this truly is a gem. Great back up option to a gas stove, and takes very little space or weight, and has a plethora of options (burns sticks, fuel tablets or holds an alcohol stove).
8" foldable GSI frying pan
This one I've had for a long time and have been through a few (lost in the bush throwing at trees for target practice). The Cold Steel shovel, that has sharpened edges, and is quite fun around camp.
ARB EZ deflator makes airing down your tires a breeze. A slick design that works very quickly and precisely.
...and to get air back into the tires when the trail ride is over, Orange County's very own Viair based out of Irvine. This model 300P compressor is rated for up to 33" tires and aired up mine from 20psi to 36psi in a minute or two, and hooks directly to your battery with jumper cables
almost gave a dislike for mentioning "group of girls" while camping party, and then only seeing photos of fire and tires.
not like I provided photos of campers at 11,000ft, in natural hot springs above treeline in the colorado mountains on a backpacking trip from ages ago.
so fair is fair.
On to the reason for coming back to conquer Santiago Peak. I needed to get to the "Ridge Road" I spotted across the way last time up here. It's actually a continuation of the same road that takes you up from the Hwy74, the North Main Divide road.
Kind of steep in a few places, pitch in this pic was 9°, but I saw 12-13° a few times and didn't want to stop to take a pic, needed to keep the forward momentum to prevent the possibility of sliding backward in the rocky, soft and sandy stretches.
Last time up I didn't take any real trail pic's because it was a pain in the ass taking off the gloves and hot as heck stopping for too long.
There it is, the start of my Ridge Road !!! This pic is looking back at the radio towers on Santiago Peak
Maybe a bit hard to see in the photo, but I used a heat gun, fishing line, and Goo gone (don't use Goof Off, it will ruin car paint), to remove the Jeep, Sahara, and Wrangler badges and stickers. I left the "Trail Rated" circle badge alone because it looks ok to me, and would leave a indented void. The passenger side void is taken up by the antenna mount. I like this clean, simple, and subtle look, a little too busy in front of the doors for my taste before.
On and on it goes, where it will stop, nobody knows...
Further along, looking back at the Santiago Peak radio towers again.
Here are a few excellent resources for California trails, by the same authors. The smaller one only has SoCal, while the larger has Central, Desert, and the same SoCal trails. Very informative and helpful, with trail etiquette, and lot's of tidbits of info, and bountiful data points. I picked them up for almost nothing used on Amazon.
What a fun day exploring and getting to know my Jeep better. The suspension handled beautifully and airing down the tires was a must for a comfortable ride.
Until next time friends... maybe we should do a camping/wheeling jamboree?
Very Cool, Man.
Is this thread for sharing our own outdoor adventure/camping gear or just @JK47 ?
Just not sure if I can share here?
A few new cool pieces of gear have arrived, and today's episode is brought to you by the letter "T", for table.
First up is a trick Trailgater table for my Jeep JLU
It's pretty darn sturdy and is claimed to have a 60lb weight capacity. There are a few cheaper options for Jeep tail gate tables, but this one looked the most well built and useful.
Next a nano table from GSI, that punches above it's weight and is extremely well thought out. This is the small, there is a large size as well.
Handy instructions printed to the underside of the table
8x11 piece of paper for scale
...and of course a beer
Snow Peak makes a similar table that's perforated for even lighter weight, but looks like a hassle to assemble compared to this and is more expensive to boot. This mighty might is a perfect companion for backpacking and setting up the Snow Peak stove to boil some water for a quick meal or coffee.
That GSI is sexy! Definitely looking at the larger one for the kit I am daydreaming about for my planned laid back camping in Japan trip.
Sesame-Street reference appreciated
Since I didn't want to add a heavy ass winch to the front of my "Mall Crawler" and needed a way to escape if stuck on a median, I mean tree/rock/mud. I decided to go with the next best thing, a Hi-Lift Jack, particularly the extreme model that can be used as the jaws of life to pry open doors/windows/etc, a clamp, and a winch. Make no mistake these jacks are big, heavy, not user friendly, and unstable, but will save your ass or someones life if you take the time to learn how they work.
I bought an accessory kit with the proper attachments to do the winch deal, and another specialty jack strap (the blue one in pic below) to grab a hold of the holes in a wheel for another jack point option (can never have too many of those if stuck). A hefty 30' 20 000lb strap and a 100' Dyneema 20 000lb rope for extra long stretches to an anchor point (not shown).
Ive seen all kinds of options for mounting the Hi-Lift jack (usually they are fire engine red), from the hood, bumper, spare tire carrier, to the roof rack. I never really cared for any of those options and was thinking of just tossing it on the floor behind the drivers seat when going for an adventure... Until I stumbled across the Dominion Offroad mounting bracket.
Dun Dun duhhhhh
Made in Santa Ana, California. This robust and solid option keeps the jack inside and away from the elements, and up and out of the line of site of the rear window. I'm impressed, a very slick and clever design, and the owner was super cool and friendly when I went to pick up the gear at his warehouse/office today. The strap hanging from the top of the back seats is to secure the bag at the bottom of the pic that houses the front roof panels when removed for that open air feeling (targa top stylee). The strap hanging from the child seat anchor points is to corral bags of groceries (feed through grab handles and cinch down).
Wait, there is more !!! An ingenious attachment to add tools like shovels, axes, fishing rods, and sledge hammers (I know @purr1n is busy with life, and the blumenstain orca will eventually make it's way south for execution).
More items have arrived and will be added soon... Over and out.
P.S. Stay thirsty my friends
This thread is pretty much the opposite of all outdoor gear I've ever owned (backpackable/alpine/pedal-powered), but damn it's good to see this stuff. Definitely a bit eye-opening.
Makes me miss living in a country with space and and where car ownership is practical.
I think the new term for some of this stuff and what's coming up is "Glamping" gear.
I'm addicted... to Snow Peak!!! Here's a mini cast iron Dutch Oven hand made in Japan, for the unreasonable price of $105 on sale. This thing is legit, I made a bad ass beef stew the first night, and a wicked lamb stew the next.
The only problem is, that I could devour the whole thing by my self. I needed bigger and badder. Hence the Snow Peak 26 !!!
Look at that, more nesting gear.
The finished product, a BIG batch of lamb stew.
I ground down the rough stock cooking surface of my Lodge 12" skillet in hopes of a better experience, and seasoned it 5 times with the meme oil of Flax. Wow, not bad now compared to before.
The Flax oil has given it a bronze tint, and is much much better than before.
Still I yearned for more cast iron... Enter the Field No. 8, this IS the real deal, the outside is rough like the Lodge, but the inside is smooth as velvet, and the balance in hand is marvelously uncanny.
This is Heirloom quality gear
More glamping coming up !!!
I like camping in CA there is some cool places especially if you have a thousand trails membership.
"Chillin' and coolin' on a hot summer's day, just me and my posse, and ..."
Hard to kick it cold chillin' without something to keep the beer frosty and nice. Enter the roto molded cooler, with Yeti being the most recognized brand out there. After some homework I decided against Yeti because of the premium price and not being made in the USA, contrary to what they may lead you to believe. I was interested their 20 quart cooler only to find a made in the Philippines sticker on the bottom when I went to purchase it in store. I missed out on a sale for the RTIC China clone by literally 20 minutes and RTIC refused to give me the sale price, so they were black listed as well.
After more cooler study, I came across the made in the USA Grizzly brand that tested very well in head to head tests against Yeti and friends. Their 20 quart cooler was $175 vs Yeti's $200, but I picked up a discontinued color directly from Grizzly's website for $125 and added a center divider that can be folded into a cutting board. My original intent was to use this as a fishing cooler and it serves that purpose very well for the small surf fish I catch.
I was so impressed wit the 20 quart, I bought a Grizzly 15 quart as well. The 15 quart comes with a shoulder strap instead of a handle (I bought a handle as an option), and works very well with the slimmer profile, and can actually be used as a handle if cinched down all the way. The 15 quart lacks the oversize screw in drain plug of the 20 and it's bigger siblings, but is easy to manipulate and drain without issue. It's main use is my out of town/isolated work lunch/snack box.
Roto molded coolers are known for their ability to retain cooler temperatures for much longer than regular coolers (multiple days vs hours). At the cost of interior room, due to the thicker insulated walls.
It's a Dometic CFX-40W 40 quart mobile fridge/freezer that runs off of 120V/24V/12V !!! Full on Glamping now my friends.
Plugged it in after delivery and it only took an hour to chill 40 bottles of beer to 37°
I did order the optional thermal cover that helps retain and maintain the temperature more efficiently, and all included pic's are with it on. The "W" in the model name stands for WiFi, and with the Dometic app installed, the temperature can be monitored, and settings can be changed when your phone is connected to the cooler. There is also a USB port for charging and powering said devices.
A few people on the Jeep forums have complained that the fridge will shut down fairly quickly when plugged into the 12V socket in the back of the Jeep. Voltage drop (the fridge can draw as much as 7A) from the long run of small gauge wires is the culprit according to the manufacture. To alleviate that problem, I purchased an ARB fridge wiring kit (Dometic makes ARB's fridges). The Aussie company ARB is legendary when it comes to quality offroad products. I ran the 10ga wires (unlike car audio, the ARB kit runs both + and - directly to the battery) through the firewall (pain in the ass snaking both wires through the grommet), and mounted the connection box in the back out of the way (the plug is not a typical 12V lighter style, but the 12V power plug screws off and reveals a small 2 prong end).
The Dometic fridge has 3 levels of shutdown voltage so it won't completely drain your battery when the vehicle isn't running (approximately 10V, 11V, and 12V). Other Jeep owners have said they will get 24-48 hours (outside temp dependent) of use without the Jeep running before the fridge shuts off on the medium setting. Some people use solar panels to help keep the battery charged when the vehicle isn't driving, and Dometic just came out with a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery pack PLB40 that can power the fridge for 48hours (fairly small, but pricey).
The big advantages of the fridge are; size savings at almost 1/3 smaller than a similar capacity cooler, not having to source ice, and not getting food soggy from condensation.
At home this will be my dedicated beer/Vodka cooler (yes it will hold a bottle of spirits or wine standing up), on the road it will be awesome to know perfectly maintained temp cold beers and food will be there when ever needed. It's possible to do grocery runs and not worry about perishable foods going bad if a stop is required on the way home.
More top notch gear to come...
Researching off and on for the last 10 or so years, I finally bit the bullet and purchased a roof top tent or RTT. RTT's are fairly expensive and for the most part I had leaned towards the made in Italy Autohome Maggiolina models. I have been patiently waiting for the appropriate rack system to hold the tent on my Jeep, and it was finally released a few weeks ago, the Rhino Rack Backbone system (I'm not a fan of the exo skeleton Gobi racks). Most Jeep roof racks don't have the capacity to hold a bicycle or kayak (80-90lbs dynamic weight), even cars generally have 140-150lbs capacity and can hold a tent on the roof. The problem is not the weight crushing your roof, it's wind getting under and literally tearing your roof off when driving. I settled on Rhino Rack's Pioneer platform rather than their crossbars, due to the lower profile.
After speaking with the Autohome USA rep in Santa Cruz, over the course of several weeks, I decided against them because of his piss poor, passive aggressive douche baggery. I the started looking at the second option I had considered, the made in Portugal James Baroud. Specifically the the Space Evo in gray. I missed out on a sale a few weeks ago, but luckily found an excellent condition used JB Space in gray in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Friday morning I started driving to pick it up, and spent 26hrs of 34 driving to and from to pick it up, and it was worth it. I saved 45% of retail for a 9/10 condition tent in the color I wanted!!!
Slept in it out back of my apartment when I got home early this morning. It is legit, and very comfy.
Didn't see the Hi-Lift update 'till now. Grab a Sierra Jak-Jaw - helps make using the jack a little less "widow-maker".
Also, when jacking slinky jeeps, strap the axle to the frame with a tree strap and a clevis before jacking anything so you don't need to jack out all the suspension down travel.
Another thing, you've got the camp gear thing down, but are you bringing fluids/spares? A lot of what makes going overland possible is knowing what spares can make or break a trip. U-joints, hose clamps, spare rubber tubing, coil packs, etc., and a good field tool kit are indispensable. That, and any liquid in the Jeep, you need to bring. Gear oil, transmission oil, PS fluid, brake fluid, etc.
silly aside: Back in my rock crawling days, after a day of wheeling and while sitting around the campfire drinking beers we'd have hi-lift olympics: set the jack upright on the ground, set the pins to lift, then put one foot on the jaw and try to lift yourself off the ground by actuating the lift arm with your other foot. I think the furthest I ever got was 14 pin clicks.
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