Latest Blog Posts

Overlanding 101. Everything you need to overland.

Let the adventure roll on!

Hey Crucible adventurers, Today is overlanding 101. I am going to tell you everything you need to be an “overlander”. First, you need to buy an adventure vehicle, don’t spend any less than $40,000 on the rig. You should be able to get that out of an arm and leg on the black market. Then you need to get yourself a 12v fridge/freezer for your food. Because a cooler just sucks to try to use for more than a few days. Next, you need to buy at least 100w of solar panels as well as some portable panels for outside base camp. Set up a backup battery or two, so you can run all the equipment that you need

 

Here is a list of the minimum gear requirements: Lights, fridge, GPS units at least 2, Ham radio and a CB radio. Then invest in a great Roof top tent as well as an awning to aget out of the sun. Then you need…. I’m just joking around. Look, the only things you need to be an “overlander” and “Forge an Adventure” is this a vehicle that you can put miles on. And an absolute unstoppable desire for adventure. 

I started my overland adventures in a 1995, Subaru Outback that had 200,000 miles already on it. I didn’t have any fancy equipment or gear; I had a sleeping bag and pad, and a desire to get lost in the wilderness around me. I did do a few things to improve the comfort and its capability, I dropped the back seats down and tinted the hell out of the windows. I also hung a curtain behind the driver and passenger seat so you couldn’t see into the sleeping area. I put a tote in the back with dehydrated food, water bottles and a cheap pocket stove that I bought from a discount store. I also did have a hand-held CB radio unit that I got for cheap on an eBay auction. I still remember the first two trips I took in that thing. The first was up Payson Canyon in Utah with a couple of friends that were driving lifted four-wheel-drive Ford Bronco 2 rigs. 

 

 It took me a little longer to get to the spot, and my poor subby was coated from hood to tailpipe in mud, but hey, I made it. I put the back seats down and laid out my sleeping pad and bag. Nothing special, but It was awesome. The second was a lot longer. I loaded up a couple of coolers with food and water and disappeared into the desert around the Goblin Valley area of Utah. I had no cell phone reception and nobody with me. It was honestly one of the most peaceful times of my life; I relaxed in the back cooking my dinner. Watching the clouds drift through the sky miles away from the nearest person. I watched the sunset with the back hatch wide open and the sounds of the fire crackling and popping just beyond the back of the car. Drifting to sleep with the call of the wild reverberating in my ears. Disrupted only by the distant howls of a few coyotes.  

 

 Guys, I am serious when I say this – all you need is some ingenuity and the burning fire in your heart to explore. There was this one trip, I use that term lightly in this situation. I wanted to go to a particular gun show here in Utah to get some ammo. This is around the time when .22 ammo was rare to come by and if you did you were limited to one or two boxes at most. A friend and I decided to go up a day early and camp out in the parking lot so that we could be the first in the doors. The security guard at the venue where the show was being held saw us and told us we couldn’t be in the parking lot yet. So, we talked for a minutes and decided to try and crash in the gas station parking lot next door. I had it easy with the tinted windows, drop down curtains and the pocket stove you wouldn’t have been able to even tell I was there. My friend, on the other hand, was trying to sleep in his driver’s seat and had to keep going into the gas station to buy stuff so they wouldn’t call the cops on him. I don’t think they would have but hey who could blame them for making some extra cash. Know this is in the middle of Salt Lake City, the Capital city in Utah and here in the parking lot you have these two crazy 24 year old’s camping out just for ammo. I still laugh to this day about that night, and some of the crazy things that happened. It was however, one of the best times of my life.  

 

Here is the thing though and I want to stress this. In my opinion, there are many kinds of Overlanders/Adventurers. You could be like me and disappear for days on end into the mountains or, you could hold up in your loft apartment reviewing your lines for your next shot at a Broadway stage. What I mean by that statement is this, no matter what your dream or goal is, the “adventure” that Crucible is talking about in our motto is just that. It’s the desire that is in your heart and is pushing you every day to LIVE. I honestly support everybody in their own adventures and continue to hope that all my overlanding family does the same. Get out there, stick your neck out and get dirty. Enjoy what life throws at you and remember to stay fluid, that way, you can shift your path to whatever your heart is screaming for. Keep it up, and keep the Crucible community up to date on your adventures. We really do enjoy hearing the stories from around the world. Let us know of your travels as well as your goals in the comments. You never know you may find someone else in this community on the same path. 

 

Thanks for dropping in. I do hope that my ramblings help you to get out there, and experience LIFE. Until next time. 

Crucible Cam 

 

Let the adventure roll on!

Coleman Dual Fuel Stove, Is it the best?

Let the adventure roll on!

Hello, my fellow adventurers. I would like to tell you guys about the stove that is mounted in my rig. It is the Coleman Dual Fuel Stove. I absolutely love it and, basically, use it every day. It has become a staple piece of equipment, not just for camping and overlanding, but everyday life. I use it to cook my lunch when I am at work, and for coffee when I’m in the garage working on a project. Hell, I have even used it while doing yard work; I hurried and made some food so I wouldn’t make a mess in my wife’s kitchen. Now, to what you guys really want to hear; some tried and tested proof for this thing. It boils 2 cups of water under 3 minutes. That comes in handy when I make Mountain House Meals or Top Ramen with canned chicken. (Tastes like mom’s chicken noodle soup!) It does take a little while to make coffee in the system I have, but it’s an old percolator. However, it gets the job done.

 

I have been honestly surprised on how efficient it uses the fuel as well. I fill it up once or twice a season, and that’s about it, which is fantastic for a forgetful person like me. And the other great thing about it, if I forget to fill the fuel reservoir, all I need to do is snag some gas from the vehicle and I am back up and going. I have only used the Coleman brand fuel in it, so I don’t know how it does with Gasoline. I will try it out and update this article later; but if it is half as good as the Coleman fuel you will have nothing to complain about. The built-in wind guards have been a life saver on some of my back-country explorations. Even though, the current layout of the kitchen drawer hinders the proper deployment of them. They still sit close enough to the actual cooking surface to protect the flame. Being able to remove the grate for easy cleaning has reduced the amount of adult language around my campsite when it comes time to clean up. Not to mention, being able to remove that same grate and, on occasion, use it over the campfire for that authentic ash covered and overcooked hotdog that everyone has had. Considering the overall size that has such a tiny footprint, it is easily justified in having a permanent location in the back of my vehicle.

 

 Here are some of the technical specs for you guys to look over.

  • Dual Fuel™ design conveniently burns Coleman® Liquid Fuel or unleaded gasoline
  • 1 gallon of Coleman® Liquid Fuel lasts as long as 4.5 cylinders of propane
  • Wind Block™ panels help shield burners from wind and adjust for various pan sizes
  • Band-a-Blu™ burners for reliable cooking power
  • All-Season Strong™ technology provides reliable operation in all weather conditions
  • 17,000 total BTUs of cooking power
  • Fits a 12-in and 10-in pan at the same time

Whether you’re staying in a cabin, tent, or under the stars, the Coleman 414-700 Two burner dual fuel stove will enhance any camping adventure. Equipped with one 13,500 BTU burner and one 11,000 BTU burner you can whip up a meal in minutes. The Coleman Stove operates with 3.5 pints of clean-burning Coleman Fuel or unleaded gas. You get up to 8.5 hours of constant burn time when fully filled.

 

Now, that you have heard me talk about the things I love about it; let me tell you my complaints. I do believe it could be a little easier to ignite. There may be an easier option, and I may just be working harder not smarter, but that is honestly the only complaint I have. I have been trying to come up with more cons so I don’t come off biased, but when you get yours, you will fall into the same category that I am in now; scratching your head, trying to come up with something bad to say.

 

 

All being said, if you are looking at getting one of these to replace the propane stove, that you probably have right now, there are two options I would recommend:

First, the one that I currently have, which is the Coleman dual fuel Powerhouse version. http://amzn.to/2pb7ykR It is the more expensive version at $169.99, but is perfect for a family of 4-6. Unless, you’re like me and really enjoy your food a family of 2, the powerhouse version is perfect for you.

http://amzn.to/2pb7ykR

Second, the Coleman dual fuel Guide Version. http://amzn.to/2qBR7PC It is a little smaller with only 14,000 BTUs, but does have a larger 4.5-pint fuel tank. It is also a bit more budget friendly at $83.44, currently on Amazon.

I know they both are more expensive than most propane models, For Example;

The Texsport Rainer compact dual burner. http://amzn.to/2qbq6pt Currently $40.57 on Amazon.

http://amzn.to/2qbq6pt

Or the Texsport Compact Single burner. http://amzn.to/2pNvHAI Currently $24.25 on Amazon.

http://amzn.to/2pNvHAI

 

However, if you add in the cost of the small propane bottles as well as the extra space to bring a few, the dual fuel options make the most sense, in my opinion. I can’t forget to mention, I personally know people using their grandfathers Coleman Dual Fuel Stoves. These things really stand against the test of time. I hope this has been helpful for you guys. However, if you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below, and I will reply to you as soon as I can.

Thanks for stopping in, I really do appreciate it. Until next time. Remember, there is a whole world of wonders around you. Get out there and “Forge an Adventure.”

Crucible Cam

Let the adventure roll on!

Daily Driving My Xterra (Overland Vehicle)

Let the adventure roll on!

Holy Hell! The Last couple of months have been so busy. Never mind that, how is everyone doing? And, how do you like the site and blogs? If you have a moment let me know what you think in the comments. (I know, shut up).

Okay, let’s talk for a minute about a topic that presents itself often – My Overland Xterra . You can see that it is a budget friendly overland / Off-road vehicle. One question I get frequently asked is, “doesn’t it suck driving this with the low gas mileage and all the equipment in back?”

Camp Setup

I will be the first to admit that driving this vehicle has its quirks, but to me they are vastly outweighed by the freedom it provides me. For example, the rack in the back has my tools, flashlight, axe and other miscellaneous things attached and makes a fair amount of noise. And yes because of the gear in the back it sounds like there is a small monkey smashing on a drum set when you hit the bumps. The Bumper rattles because its missing a bolt and the winch support rubs against it. The CB Microphone swings around like a pendulum waiting to smash you in the head. I could continue but I think I have made my point. However, the simple fact is no matter what little things rattle, squeak or smack you it doesn’t matter. The fact is that I have everything I need in and on the vehicle to say, “Screw it” and disappear into the mountains for a couple days without any prep. Or, at any time I can pull up and help just about any stranded motorist with their problems. Whether it be a flat tire or smaller mechanical issue, I have it Covered.

Not to mention that I can walk out from my job on lunch, hang my hammock and kick back to watch whatever crazy adventure Casey Neistat is up to. (The man is awesome to watch, just saying). I can do it all, while my lunch cooks on the stove and my drinks chill in the 12v cooler. Let’s also completely look past the benefits it offers me in the winter here in Utah.

Hammock Lunch Link

Yes, it does suck as far as gas mileage goes, but that crappy gas mileage is miles into the wilderness. That’s mileage towards a new adventure. Sure, sometimes that adventure will be coasting down the hills of some canyon to get gas, but hey it’s still an adventure. Now everything stated above is obviously just my opinion but I truly can say that I wouldn’t change a single thing about my Xterra. I drive my dream vehicle every day and am damn proud of that. Maybe that’s because it is something that I built and is something that I can continue to mold into whatever my little redkneck heart desires or maybe I am just crazy.

 To sum this up daily driving an overland vehicle may not be for everyone. If you are easily annoyed with rattles and squeaks, or if gas mileage and speed are the things you from your vehicle than NO it’s not for you. But regardless of the opinions of others if your vehicle gets you to the places and adventures you want, Whether that be the mall of the hustle and bustle of the big city. Then to hell with what anyone thinks that’s what makes life an adventure.

Crucible Cam

RTT Lights

 

Camp set up

Let the adventure roll on!

Roof Top Tent Camping (RTT) Vs Ground Camping.

Let the adventure roll on!

Hello everyone, I would like to talk with you guys about my experience with Roof Top Tent camping (RTT) vs Ground Camping. I spent years camping on the ground and loving it. However as time went on and life filled up with things like work and other responsibilities. I noticed that I started using the inconveniences of ground camping as a reason to not get out and enjoy life. You know what I am talking about packing all the gear in the car and then either hiking it in or camping where you can drive to. Lets also not forget to mention the struggle of putting those dang poles together and fitting them in the sleeves of the tent. That is never easy at 2am with no moon out, so you are forced to use the headlights on your car or stick a flashlight in you mouth. I don’t think anyone is really fond of that 90s head pinch with the flashlight between your shoulder and neck either. Its 2017 we shouldn’t have to do that anymore. Also have you ever skipped putting the tent stakes in because you are tired from the hike in. What inevitably happens, you get woken up a few hours in with you tent blowing around like you are in a wind tunnel. And heaven forbid if one of the poles snaps and the tent collapses on you. Everyone has a slight panic attack at that moment.

I decided that I was going to find a way to camp that would remove those struggles. While at the same time removing any excuse to not get back out and enjoy nature. So I moved on to some other ideas. One being those tents that set up kind of like an easy up with the frame built onto the tent. They are great at being just that easy to set up and take down. But they weigh enough that you reserve yourself to camping where you can park your vehicle. I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying this but to me isn’t camping. You end up setting up around a bunch of other people. And sleeping with ear muffs on to block out the sound of their music in the middle of the night. I don’t know how many times I have been trying to listen to the sound of a distant elk bugling his heart away just to have it drowned out by some idiot hitting the panic button on his keys. The last time that happened I decided at that very moment there had to be a better option for me.

I looked into Roof Top Tents but couldn’t afford one at the time. So I started trying to figure out how to build my own and save some money. I looked online and found a bunch of other people that had done just that. When I went to order the parts to build it I actually found an older Mombasa RTT that someone was selling locally for $400. That was way to good of an opportunity to pass up, can you blame me? The next step was to build the mounting platform to give it a little more beef. I am not a small man and didn’t want to come crashing down in the middle of the night. If you have looked into Roof Top Tents at all you know that they cantilever off of themselves for the support on the side with the ladder. I wasn’t to sure about it but gave it a go anyway. It was incredibly stable and secure I literally sat at the top of the ladder and had a bowl of soup while I decided how to improve the factory design. It really didn’t take much I just extended the cross bars on my roof rack system a couple inches further to give a little more support on the joint. When I used it the first time I was completely blown away by how easy it is to set up and take down. No more pesky fiberglass poles to put together and no more ground stakes or guide ropes to trip over. It is as simple as taking off the cover, Undo two straps and pull the ladder down towards you. The hole thing opens up and drops into place. It takes less then 3 min to set up. I had finally found the perfect system for me, fast deploying, comfortable and stable. Now I know that someone is going to say “But Crucible if it mounts to your vehicle you can only camp where you vehicle can go”. That is correct but with my Xterra I can get pretty far off the beaten path. The next reason that I enjoy RTT camping more then ground camping is safety. I get way off the beaten path we are talking predator country. Because of that I never did feel as safe on the ground as I do on the top of my Xterra. When you are in the tent you’re a good distance off the ground which just makes me feel like my wife, me and our two dogs are much safer. That feeling leads to a less stressful experience and who wouldn’t want that.

To sum things up RTT Camping to me is exactly what I wanted it to be. There is nothing hard or inconvenient about it so I have no reason to stay home. Its comfortable and brings back some nostalgia of hanging out in the family tree house. And it above all it gets me off my butt and out in the world at a moments notice. Follow this link to see the video of setting up the tent. And while your there check out the other videos in the playlist to see the entire base camp setup.

Crucible Cam.

Let the adventure roll on!

Heaven exists and its hanging in a Hammock

Let the adventure roll on!

Hello everyone. I would like to tell you about my most relaxing piece of gear. It is of course my double nesting 450lb PARACHUTE HAMMOCK. I absolutely love this thing. There are at least 2 in my car basically all the time. As well as a few others waiting to be used. I have to tell you there is nothing more comfortable and relaxing then swinging in a hammock. It’s amazing what happens the moment you get in, your body and mind just slow down. You can just look at the sky and listen to the different sounds of nature for hours. I have so many different memories in these things that it’s hard to pick one to talk about. Here is one that really sticks

When we get together for a any kind of family function there are anywhere between 28-36 people. That’s either 12-14 Adults and 16-22 Nieces and Nephews. Back to the story, we were all together having a BBQ and I decided to relax. I went to the Xterra and grabbed my hammock. It was a damn good thing I had about 4 others in there as well because everyone wanted one. No joke I was worried there would be complete anarchy when I said I only had 5. We tied 3 off to the roof of the Xterra and then to some near by trees and the other 2 where just hung between trees. We set up a timer and started taking turns in them. Imagine if you will seeing 14 adults having to take turns like little kids just for a few minutes of relaxation. And getting told by a group of children under 16 that there turn was over. Best part they actually had to listen to their kids. So here we are 5 hammocks hung up and an whole mess of people playing what essentially came down to musical chairs with hammocks. I will say though that was a hell of a time that I will not forget anytime soon. I also learned on that day that even adults hate sharing.

Now that our trip down memory lane is over, I have to say that I have used my hammock in every situation from backpacking on the hunt, to relaxing on my lunch break at work. They are so versatile and I would dare say an essential piece of gear. (You guys may think I am lying about the work part but notice the pictures below.)

It’s incredible to think that in just a few seconds you can have everything you need for a night of rest or a few hours of relaxation in such a such a tiny package. Here are the specs on the hammocks:

Made form 100% 210T Breathable Nylon.

Packs away into a 6″ by 8″ Permanently attached stuff sack.

8′ long by 6′ wide when fully deployed.

Weighs in at less than 1 pound. And has a 450lb weight capacity. (That’s a good thing for a big guy like me)

This 2 person Parachute Hammock is designed for outdoor recreation enthusiasts and adventurers who like to travel light and want a comfortable place to sleep and relax. Small enough for a backpack or large pocket, yet large enough for you and you better half to relax comfortably, It is the ultimate in lightweight, portable comfort. Quick Drying, easy to hang, and even easier to use, this hammock makes anywhere as comfortable as home.

Did I forget to mention you can pick one up for yourself in the Crucible Outdoors store. Click here to check them out.

 

 

 

Let the adventure roll on!