Archives for posts with tag: camping

Firelookout Route

Last week I posted about the quickest route to visit all 47 U.S. National Parks. If you’d like to optimize your own routes, there’s a website called RouteXL that will help you do it. If your route has 20 stops or less, it’s free.

For example, if you wanted to leave Portland, Oregon, and spend a night in all of the states old fire lookouts, this would be the quickest route. Click map above (click it for a live version).

To create your own route, add locations in the field at the top-left of the page and then click the Find Route button at the bottom-left corner of the page. You can then use the Download button at the bottom-left of the page to share the route, download it in any number of formats, or open it in Google Maps.

If you’d like to camp in an old fire lookout, here’s a link to all of the available sites in the western United States.

Links:
RouteXL.com
firelookout.org
recreation.gov

Here’s a beautiful video from Petrolicious about a man who learned to drive and camp with his parents in a ’50s-era Willys jeep. He still has the jeep and the original camp trailer they would tow. This what camping and making memories is all about.

 

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It’s spring and you’re probably getting ready for a camping trip or two. In case you’re wondering what to bring, I’ll share our camp list, our checklist for everything we bring.

First though a word on how we pack. I have a drawer system in the truck and a lot of the tools and recovery gear live in there. In the flat area above the drawers we have room for three plastic bins (like the ones in the photo above) and one cooler. That makes four solid items that can easily be strapped down. Always secure your load inside the vehicle. You don’t want that stuff shifting on the trail, or worse, flying around in an accident. All of the soft stuff (blankets, sleeping bags and the like) go between the space left over along side the bins. Usually I can get us packed and still see out of the rear window.

For longer trips, I take out the back seat of the truck and bolt a couple of D-rings to the floor of the truck where the seat bolts go. In that space, low and central, I’ll strap down 21 gallons of water in 3 plastic jugs. That’s enough for a maximum of 10 days for my wife and I at a rate of 1 gallon per person per day for drinking, cooking, and dishes.

You can see one of the water containers in the picture below. Read the rest of this entry »

How cool is this? What a great trick to add to your list of camp kitchen skills. Give it a try during your next off-road adventure. Greg, I’m looking at you! 🙂

Thanks to my lovely wife, Natalie, for the tip!

Mil-Spec G-Wagen 240GD, via WCXC

This, apparent former Bundeswehr (ex-military), 1986 Mercedes-Benz 240GD just showed up on Bring a Trailer. It’s a 2-door, long wheelbase, open top model that’s been fitted with a rooftop tent, stove and cabinets. It’s said to have heavy-duty axles. Power comes from a 4-cylinder diesel which, if my experience with the 240D is any indication, will make it pretty slow.

The speed, or lack thereof, is one caveat. Registration might be another. The ad states that documents for registration will be included. It doesn’t state that the car is registered. OK—it’s a diesel, and older than 1998, so no California smog test, but it’s still a European import. It’s something to think about. Still it could make a fun overlander.

The car is listed on Craigslist and located in Los Angeles, California with an asking price of $25,000.

Tons of photos after the jump.

Links:
Bring a Trailer post
Craigslist ad Read the rest of this entry »

Snow Mountain Wilderness • WCXC
Photo: Gregory MacDonald

A couple of weeks ago my friend Greg, from gadmachine, and I went on a quick trip up to the Mendocino National Forest, south of the Snow Mountain Wilderness. While there, we made some seriously good camp fires. We also set up an interesting camp, that I thought I’d share with you.

We set up two 10′ x 20′ tarps in a roughly A-frame shape. The open ends were parallel with the small valley we were in, so that the breeze could flow through. The top was open so that smoke from the fire could easily escape.  We put the tents in the eaves of the tarps so they were protected from rain. The main thing though was that the tarps reflected the heat of the fire and kept any breezes from blowing in behind us. This made for a comfortable, warm camp even with the temperature around 26˚F (-3˚C).

There was hardly any snow. There’s been precipitation since, so call the ranger’s station if you’re planning to head up there. The campsite, which Greg had scouted years earlier, was a very nice one: flat ground with trees in a nice little valley.

An image gallery and a map with our campsite near Bear Creek pinpointed, can be found after the jump.

Related Links:
Fire Skills: The Elevated Long Fire

Four Essential Campfire Tools for About $30

Read the rest of this entry »

dinner

I found this post on the blog Wandering the Wild, which gives ideas on camping food. This post is geared toward hikers but is also helpful for overlanders interested in no-nonsense provisioning. I like the way they pack everything in space-saving Zip-loc bags as well.

I’ve found dried soups (just add water and heat), canned goods, and single-serving, shelf-stable milk very handy for simple cooking on the trail. Except for cold beers, it’s not that difficult to travel without a cooler.

Link:
Food, Wandering the Wild

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All photos: Josh Ashcroft

We’d been planning to visit the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area on our way home from our summer sailing trip. Then in Portland we had the good fortune to run into someone that had actually been there. Amazingly, he recognized our truck from this blog and flagged us down to say hello. To make the most of the chance meeting, we got together for a coffee and swapped travel stories. He said he’d been to the dunes not two weeks before and that they were definitely worth a visit. And he bought us coffee. Thanks again, Josh!

It turns out that the Oregon Dunes are largest coastal sand dunes in North America. They stretch along 40 miles of coast, cover 5,900 acres, and crest to 500 ft. You can camp there. What’s more you can get out and explore this coastal park in your 4×4, motorcycle, or ATV. And we wanted to do just that.

A couple of days later we were in Florence, Oregon, at the northern end of the dunes. (Coos Bay marks the southern end.) We had our orange flag mounted and we were ready to hit the sand. And this is where it becomes a Reader Rides story because, despite my airing down the tires, the truck was packed to the gills and just too heavy to make it up any of the inclines without getting bogged down. Rather than get stuck a half hour before sunset with our summer’s worth of supplies, we packed it in and headed to Coos Bay for the night.

So let me tell you about Josh’s trip. It was hosted by Northwest Overland and featured training by 4×4 veteran, Bill Burke. They covered driving skills, tackling inclines, winch and Pull Pall recovery, and field repair by the looks of it. A lifted Tacoma snapped both its CV joints. But it also looks like they had a great time.

And Josh was kind enough to provide these fantastic photos, more of which, after the jump.

Links:
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area site
General map including camping, parking, trailheads, etc. (pdf)
Detailed map of riding areas and campsites (pdf)

Read the rest of this entry »

circletlakecamping_med

If you’re planning a trip up to BC, check out this post on the best campgrounds in British Columbia.

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In a recent article on the excellent Overland Tech & Travel blog, Jonathan Hanson touts his favorite overland storage solution as the Front Runner Wolf Pack, a $40 black storage bin based on a former South African military ammo case. It got me thinking about the solutions I’ve used and seen, so I thought I’d share them with you from least expensive to most expensive. Read the rest of this entry »