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Friday, July 10, 2015

The car test and winter plans



Instead of taking my perfectly good camper van to the coast, I packed camping gear into the Nissan Versa Note. One of the reasons was to test how feasible the little car would be for camping.

Just to make it interesting, I'd be coming back with a more heavily loaded car. My lovely wife was at my daughter's and was riding to the campground with her. Somehow I'd have to fit in all the gear, two adults and a dog on the trip back.

The good news is that I didn't have to leave camping gear on the side of the road. Everything fit. It would have been a lot tighter without the roof racks. The Sea Eagle 2 person inflatable kayak, paddles, and camp chairs rode on the roof. Had I needed to a lot more stuff could fit up there.

I did not realize that our campsite did not have electric power. The 120 volt mattress inflater was useless. Fortunately, the 12 volt air pump for the kayak had an adapter that fit the air mattress. My c-pap was powered using a 200 watt inverter plugged into the car. There was some concern that the inverter would draw down the battery too low to start the car. Just in case, I parked car in such a way that I could roll it down the hill and start it using the manual transmission. That wasn't necessary as the car started right up every morning.

All in all the camping test went well. There was a little problem with my camp stove. It fell apart as I unloaded it from the car. Somehow a key part fell off at home and I never noticed. That never happened before, but I usually run a stove test before packing it up. Time just ran out on me this year. To get through the camping trip I bought a cheap portable propane grill. That's one more thing that came back with me.

My lovely wife and I are still not settled on our plans for this coming winter. We don't know if we'll be hauling our sailboat down with the van. We've considered taking the car down and shopping for a boat in Florida. Between now and then we might figure out some other plans as nothing is set in stone. At least we now know that camping out of the car is a viable option.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. Of course camping out of the car is viable. Much of my teen and pre-teen years were spent with 4 of us (3 gangly boys and 1 portly mama) camping for weeks on end out of a Datsun 120Y (or B210 over your way). Roof racks were essential and often looked like they'd topple the car over. As the eldest child, I was responsible for ensuring that the tarp over the roof load was both secure and aerodynamic. That massive 50 kW of power on tap needed every assistance to get us to cruising speed.

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    1. At least I was able to travel at highway speeds, so that was good. We used to car camp a lot years ago, so I guess I was wondering if it was still a viable option for us or if we'd gotten too soft.

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  2. A amg battery just for the c-pap is a must. I bet your snoring sounds like a bear roaring. Is the Sixbear nickname due to it? I can kid I snore so loud the dog howls.

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    1. I've been known to snore like Six Bears, according to my Native American Friend.

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  3. Man, you sure don't let the grass grow under you. Seem like you launch out on the spur of the moment, and I spend half an hour deciding whether or not it's worth while to drive to town, then I decide it's not.

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    1. Once some friends invited us camping at the last minute. We were packed and out the door in 20 minutes. How's that for bug out practice?

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  4. You guys would miss sailing too much. Bring camper and sailboat!

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    1. The thought is we could go down to FL in the car and buy a boat down there. Now we know it's a viable option as we can take things like our kayak that we use for a dinghy.

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  5. Glad the car camping worked out.

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  6. Have you tried roll starting that car? I couldn't get a 2000 VW diesel to kick over. Made me wonder if there was some change in car electronics.

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    1. Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to try it. My old Mercedes Diesel was hard to roll start, so it might be a diesel thing.

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  7. Yeah I think diesel had a higher compression seeing as how that is the method firing. ie compression rather than a spark plug.

    So what size boat are you looking for if you purchase it in Florida?

    I'm kind of half ass looking for a sail boat, but no bigger than 23' or so. I'm looking for a really good deal. I think your 19' O'Day is a good size for me, as it's just me. I can step the mast single handed probably.

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    1. 23' - 26' seems about right. However, we do manage just fine in the 19'. I step the mast by myself without any mechanical assistance.

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