Archives for category: GEAR

In an effort to have an emergency shelter for anytime of year, I recently bought a “hot tent” (a tent that can be heated) and a camp wood stove to go along with it. I’d like to try it as well for 4-season overland camping.

I found two companies that both make tipi-style hot tents and camp stoves that seem to offer good value. The first is a Norwegian company called Gstove. The second is a Chinese company called Pomoly.

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Last year my wife gave me these Caterpillar-branded, LED work lights and I want to recommend them because I think they’re great. These 500-lumen work lights run on four AA batteries and have an 8-hour life on low power. The best thing about them though is that they’re magnetic. When I check the oil on the truck at night I take one out of the back and pop it under the hood. It’s such a joy to have the engine bay so well lit. They’re also great for sticking to the side of the roof rack as area lights for when we arrive at a remote camp at night. They’ve made a good addition to the truck.

They’re available for about $34 on Amazon. There are other versions (not CAT-branded) that are plug-in rechargeable. Reviews on those are mostly good.

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If, like me, you miss the days when car stereos had actual knobs for adjusting bass and treble, and didn’t look like they were styled for the interiors of spaceships, you’ll probably appreciate Blaupunkt’s re-release of their classic Bremen head unit. The original was offered as a tape deck in 1986. The updated version offers media slots and ports under a door where the cassette slot used to be.

The unit, officially known as the Bremen SQR 46 DAB, comes equipt with Bluetooth, an SDHC slot, two USB ports, and is iPhone/iPod compatible. On the downside, the screen is same size as it was in the ’80s but display and lighting color is customizable. So nice to have dedicated knobs and buttons. And so nice to see a car audio product with such a handsome, understated design.

Like most things with understated good looks, they don’t come cheap. The Blaupunkt Bremen will set you back about 450 Euros (about $495). Read the rest of this entry »

 

Maxtrax are often the first thing overlanders grab when they get stuck. They’re easy to deploy. Just do a bit of digging and stick them in front of the wheels. A set will cost you about $300, which seems like a lot for two injection-molded plastic planks. Have you ever wondered if knock-offs are a viable alternative to an original set of Maxtrax? The verdict seems to be favorable according to this video.

If you have a Jeep and haven’t done this upgrade, keep reading. This wiring harness enables your truck to send power directly from the battery to the headlights via a couple of relays instead of routing the electricity into the dash and through the light switch. In Jeeps I’ve been told routing the electricity through the switch robs a lot of power and causes dim headlights.

In this excellent video from YouTube user BleepinJeep, he finds that this $25 upgrade more than doubled the light output from his stock headlights. That was even better performance than he got from his upgraded LED lights on the new harness (and the LEDs didn’t put out enough heat to keep themselves free of snow). He takes you through the whole install.

You can get this harness from a place called K Suspension Fab but they were backordered at the time of this post. Here’s a link where you can find it on Amazon. That link is for H4 headlights. Check first to see what kind of headlights you have.

Thanks to my good friend Nathan for the tip!

If you’re looking for an interesting winter project, you could do worse than taking inspiration from this excellent DIY solar shower video. The shower is designed to fit on a roof rack, be heated by the sun, and provide a 30 psi stream of water with pressure generated by an air compressor. It’s reported to get to about 95˚F after a day of driving around in mixed sun and clouds. Not bad.

I don’t think I’ve seen a more well thought out project. And the project’s creator calls it H2OT. Watch him explain and demonstrate the whole thing in a sub-six-minute video. Excellent!

This couple has a really nice overland camp trailer set-up that designed themselves on used, military HumVee trailer. It’s so organized and has neat features like solar power, skylights, and rainwater catchment.

Thanks to my friend Greg for the tip on this video!

ford_bronco_t-shirt-aa-brown-feat

Through my illustration shop, Nik Schulz Illustration, I illustrated and designed this vintage Ford Bronco t-shirt. I draw them in original, factory colors, and am really happy with the way they’re turning out. This one is a 1973 in Carmel Bronze.

If you’d like to have a look, check them out here. More colors after the jump.

Link:
Ford Bronco tee at L-dopa.com

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Colorado-based Timberleaf Trailers has come up with a beautiful, lightweight, modern version of the classic teardrop trailer.

Teardrop trailers first became popular in the 1930s, a time when hundreds of new federal and state parks were being built the Civil Conservation Corps. Magazines like Mechanix Illustrated, perhaps eager to offer their readers a DIY way to take advantage of this new, national infrastructure, published plans for the home builder. The classic layout offered sleeping quarters forward and an open-air kitchen to the rear, under a large rear hatch.

The Timberleaf Trailer utilizes this same classic layout but weighs in at a very modern, and eminently towable, 1,200 lbs. Ground clearance looks to be about 7 inches.

The birch plywood construction appears to be first-rate, and the trailer offers standard niceties such as a polycarbonate skylight, R-11 insulation, 110V and 12V power via a 125aH deep cycle marine battery, USB outlets, and 12 gallons of fresh water storage. A built-in cooler and cookstove are optional extras.

Trailers, unlike rooftop tents, offer a way get some of the camping load out of the truck. They also offer a way to leave the camp set-up at camp. No need to fold up the rooftop tent for a quick day trip.

Prices start at just a hair over $15,000. It looks like a very nice way to see the country. More pics after the jump.

Hat tip to Silodrome, where I first saw the Timberleaf.

Link:

Timberleaf Trailers Read the rest of this entry »

Andrew St Pierre White, the South African dean of overlanding, stalked around the German overlanding expo, Abenteuer Allrad, this year asking, “What tires are overlanders using?” His aim was to get a sense of which tires the overlanding community is adopting. He also weighs in with his own experience with various brands.

He didn’t have confidence in my previous tire, the Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S, though I liked them. He had good things to say about the tire I’m currently running though, the Cooper Discoverer S/T. I’m happy with that one too. It’s a tough tire with plenty of grip.

See which tires he pans and which ones he gives a nod of approval.