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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Field Tests



Nothing puts your camping stuff to the test like a camping trip that lasts for months. In general I was pretty happy with most of our stuff. After all, it's not like this is the first time we've ever gone camping.

The biggest upgrade we made was getting rid of the cheap thermocouple type cooler to a compressor type. We bought a Alpicool C15 portable compressor fridge freezer. The difference in power usage was amazing. In previous years we made the thermocouple one work by being at campgrounds that had grid power. The times we weren't we used ice. It wasn't an ideal solution but it sorta worked. This year we were off-grid most of the time and the compressor type made all the difference.

One of my blog readers gave me a couple of Exponent multi-fuel campstoves. They were used almost every day, and used a lot. One nice thing about them is that they can be turned down to a low simmer. A lot of campstoves have two settings; blast furnace or off. With fairly heavy use they consumed about a gallon of fuel each month.

The dehydrated foods worked out well, both Mountain House and Wise Company. I will buy more. The price isn't too bad on Amazon buying them by the bucket. The combination of compactness, quality, light weight, easy of preparation, and long term storage makes them very valuable. Often we stayed out in the woods longer because we didn't have to go into town for food. When I really didn't feel like spending a lot of time cooking, I'd just boil some water and make an instant meal. That was better for us than eating out or filling up on snack food.

My Coleman propane lantern was a disappointment. It would have been fine for weekend camping, but did not stand up well long term. Fuel consumption was significant and those one pound bottles get expensive. The most annoying thing was having to replace the mantles often. No matter how carefully the lantern was packed away, the mantles almost always broke. When it did work, however, it put out a lot of light.

What did work well was our LED lanterns and headlights. They got heavy use. A bigger LED lantern that took 4 D sized batteries was our main van lighting. The batteries were changed once during our trip. The headlamp batteries were changed more often, but I'd gotten a large package of really cheap AAA batteries. The batteries weren't of very high quality, but they lasted long enough that it wasn't worth paying a premium for really good ones.

Those are a few things that stuck out about our camping set up.

-Sixbears


10 comments:

  1. Every trip is a learning experience, I'm sure.

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    1. Indeed it is. There's always new things to learn.

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  2. nothing worse than a broken mantle just on dark. my fathers trick was to spray them with hair spray for traveling,seemed to work

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    1. I had not heard of that trick. Interesting.

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  3. My daughter camps and has discovered solar lamps. they seem to work for her.

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    1. Some other campers had them and liked them.

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  4. Six for a dependable fairly bright light I haven't found any that beat these for solar .https://www.amazon.com/Hybrid-Powered-Flashlight-Emergency-Battery/dp/B001NTT45Y/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1524578357&sr=8-3&keywords=solar+flashlights+rechargeable&dpID=4157aYI0zWL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch we use them like candles when the power goes out

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    1. Hey Gary! Thanks for the links. Basically, I just used what we already had in the van. However, those looks like good upgrades.

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  5. Thank you for the 'Real World' experience of your equipment. I always thought that a weekend of using a piece was no where long enough to find out the complete truth. It appears the LED lights and cooler are the clear winners on your trip.

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    1. I like it when other people post real world experience so I thought to pass that on.

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