The 120watt 12v solar camping solution for my VW Westfalia

I am very happy with the solar power solution I've adapted for my van camping needs. I can power all my toys! Read the rest

4-pack of LED lanterns for $15

Amazon has a good deal on this four-pack of LED lanterns. They take 3 AA batteries and collapse to a compact size. With 350 reviews, they've got an average rating of 4.7/5 stars. Read the rest

Hammock for your car roof

The TrailNest is a collapsible hammock that attaches to your car roof bars. At $500+, it's sold as a piece of luxury camping kit but I'd be more likely to use it for a parking lot siesta between appointments. The company says a rain cover is coming soon. TrailNest (via Uncrate)

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Man camped at Turkmenistan's "Door to Hell" and shot video of it

Nothing seems real to me now until it's been youtubed on a cellphone camera; that special mix of artifacty shadows, blown highlights and uncanny detail everywhere else signifies the zenith of media-era simulated authenticity. Elliott's there, though, and it's terrifying!

It's 4am in the centre of Turkmenistan's Karakum Desert, I'm sitting on the rim to what could be described as the world's largest campfire -- known locally as the 'Door to Hell', or officially as Darvaza Gas Crater.

"Bit windy," he says. Read the rest

Awesome $13 camping fan actually the same as $42 version

My daughter and I are planning a road trip to Yellowstone this summer in our VW Westy. When I asked her what would make it more fun, she said a fan.

I saw the $84 Happy Camper fan and passed as it was far too expensive (even for 2.) Just a few products down the list I found what appeared extremely similar for a mere $13 shipped. I decided to take the risk on this "Image Portable" version.

It arrived in a Happy Camper box, with Image as the manufacturer.

The fan is great. Takes 2 D cell batteries and should run for a long time. The LED lamp is bright enough to be used to light up the whole cabin when hung from the Westy's tent frame. With the pop-top down you might be banging your face into the fan, but the hanger/stand is really adjustable. You can turn it into a table top fan in seconds.

I showed it to my daughter, she sighed and she told me she meant a hand fan, the kind we get in Chinatown.

Image Portable LED Camping Lantern with Ceiling Fan via Amazon Read the rest

I'm excited to try out a thermal cooker

I just ordered a thermal cooker, they sound like wonderful camping tools. Anyone got recipe suggestions?

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Has anyone tried the ALLPOWERS 80W foldable solar panel?

I'm looking for feedback on this solar panel. I am looking to charge a 37 qt ARB portable fridge while rolling about Baja in my Vanagon. I believe this panel, with good sun, should out put more than enough power to run the fridge.

The Dometic fridge that has been in my VW for 29 years has sucked for 29 years. It barely gets cold enough for cans of soda.

Forums on line claim the fridge peaks around 1.5Ah use on hot days, and this panel should deliver (80w/18v) 4.4Amps. My smallish deep cycle battery is a 44Ah unit. I'm hoping that 6hrs of strong sun a day will get me to just around 24hrs of power.

Unless I get flagged off in the comments, I'm going to order one tomorrow or the next day, and run a test load on the system at my house this weekend. I can't be sure to have strong sun in the SF Bay Area, however.

ALLPOWERS 80W Foldable Solar Panel Sunpower Solar Charger with iSolar Technology via Amazon

ARB 37 Quart Fridge/Freezer via Amazon Read the rest

Cozy $150 micro-camping trailer pulled by bike has kitchen, bed, bookshelves

Paul Elkins built a bike-towed micro-camper for $150 and has made the plans available.

From YouTube:

Paul Elkins fell for micro-camping in 2002 when he toured the country in his cabover “stealth camper”. Sure he could make something more affordable, this year he began building a nomadic micro-shelter based on the Airstream design.

Using 4 recycled fluted-plastic campaign signs from a recent election, a $20 secondhand bike, 6 pine boards ($1 at Home Depot), screws, Duct tape and zip ties, he built his latest micro mobile shelter for only $150.

Calling it a “micro Airstream bike camper”, it’s a 60-pound “home away from home”, complete with butane stove, bread-pan sink, counter, food storage shelving, clothes-storage bins, LED lighting, bed, windows, pee jug, bubble insulation, stereo with MP3 player, and a skylight made out of a 1 gallon plastic tub.

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Nifty mini camping trailer

The Gidget Retro Teardrop Camper, with a slide-out queen size bed, is made in Australia. It costs between $13,000 and $16,000.

From Gizmag:

Many small teardrop interiors have little more than a cabin-filling bed with some cabinet space and maybe a TV/entertainment system and fan. Gidget's slide-out module gives its trailers the space for a seated lounge, a feature usually reserved for larger camping trailers. The foot of the queen-sized bed folds up, creating a bench with help from the under-bed footwell. The slide-out table completes a lounge area useful for eating, playing games and more.

Gidget's use of sliding hardware isn't limited to the cabin extension. Slides help keep the design of the tailgate galley neat and organized. The main counter of the galley houses only the glass-top sink, while appliances like the two-burner gas cooktop and cooler slide out from underneath the counter behind curved timber drawer faces. The kitchen sink is hooked up to a pressurized cold water system fed by the 80-liter/110-liter (21/29-gal) water tank. The trailer also has a 40-liter (10.6-gal) waste water tank.

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Stainless steel cookset

My daughter wants to do some backyard camping this summer. BioLite sent me a cool little woodburning stove, which uses sticks as fuel. I bought the Stanley Adventure Camp Cook Set for $11 to go with it. It's got a 24 oz stainless steel pot with a folding handle and two 10 oz cups. Read the rest

Kickstarting an inflatable "hammock"

Kozē is a giant, doubled-up parachute-nylon dry-bag that you wave around to inflate, then clip shut, turning it into an instant hammock-style sofa. Read the rest

A look at Airstream's new limited edition $114,600 trailer

Airstream is making only 100 of these Pendelton Limited Edition trailers. They have a U.S. National Park Foundation motif, and Airstream will donate $1,000 to the National Park Foundation for each Pendleton trailer sold. The base price is $114,600. It comes with a stainless steel oven, a 3-burner cooktop, a refrigerator, 2 30-lb. propane tanks, deep-cycle-batteries, 2 Samsung HDTVs, a Blu-Ray player, and a high definition marine-grade Polk audio system. If you want the accessory kit that includes woolen blankets, a dining set, throw pillows, hand towels, you can order it separately.

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Collapsible silicone pots would be amazing in small, urban kitchens

Camp-gear company Sea to Summit makes a line of collapsible silicone cook-pots with anodized aluminum bases. Read the rest

Beautiful portable camping kitchen

The Camp Champ is a stately and elegant mobile kitchen with equipment and utensils for six that collapses into a compact wooden box. Its construction reminds me of a magician's stage illusion! Read the rest

Fire-pistons: start fires by compressing air

The Survival School Fire Piston is a gadget that uses a hand-pumped piston to compress air, creating enough heat to spark a bit of tinder. Read the rest

Rent a camping tent in someone's backyard near Google X for $46/night

Need a place to stay near Google X in Mountain View? John Potter is renting out a 9' x 7' Coleman tent in his backyard on Airbnb for $46/night. You're allowed one shower per day and can eat inside too.

"It kind of is (outrageous)," Potter told CBS SF Bay Area. "But maybe they should build more affordable housing in Mountain View."

"Tent in garden next to google x" (Airbnb) Read the rest

Easy to use, camping and emergency fire starter

I am a huge fan of this Gerber survival series fire starter. It is cheap, rugged and easy to use.

After nearly 30 years of camping use, a block of magnesium I used as a fire starter wore away to nothing. They still sell the same tiny blocks of alloy, but I wanted to try something new. Maybe I felt in a rut. This Gerber Bear Grylls tool is a welcome replacement. Well sized to fit both my hands, the striker is easy to scrape down the rod and throw off some good sized, hot and long burning sparks. Snapping the two together results in an o-ring sealed tube with space for tinder. Gerber recommends jamming some cotton balls in there, I can fit 5 or 6 but also carry a few sticks of fat wood with me on every camping trip. Fat wood always works.

This is a simple, well thought out tool that easily fits in my backpack or sidebags on the bike. I'm looking forwards to decades of easy use.

Gerber 31-000699 Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter vis Amazon Read the rest

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