Tire Pressure Secrets for Camping Trailers & Tow Vehicles

“What should the tire pressure be when towing?”

expedition-p-metic-tireThis is a common question. If there is one subject among trailer owners that is wrought with misinformation and voodoo, it is tire pressure and load capacity. A discussion about tire pressure is, well, a numbers discussion. Ah, numbers are our friends. Just in case you dislike technical stuff and a bunch of numbers, let me pique your interest with a couple commonly asked but rarely correctly answered questions.

Q. Tire pressures are always shown as cold. Can I set my tires after driving on them and what should I set them at?

A. You should add 5 – 6 psi above the specifications. For example, if the specification is 35 psi, then set your warm tires to 40 or 41 psi.

Q. My SUV/Light Truck came equipped with passenger tires. Is there anything special I should know?

A. Yes. The load carrying capacity of P-Metric tires when used on SUVs, light trucks, and vans is 91% of the stated capacity.

Continue reading Tire Pressure Secrets for Camping Trailers & Tow Vehicles

How to Choose an Inverter for Your Camper

samlex-pst-2000-12vIf you’re reading this you probably know what an inverter is. Just in case that is not the case let’s quickly cover the subject. I have been using inverters for decades and through a lot of trial and error, research and tenacity, have learned much. By sharing this I might be able to assist you in making a good inverter decision and save you from the timely and often expensive option of learning through mistakes.

Continue reading How to Choose an Inverter for Your Camper

popupbackpacker.com now has ads :(

Yeah, I know…

Here’s the deal. I built this site over 4 years ago mainly to let my kids and a few friends know what I was up to. This eliminated the need for phone calls, emails, and texts. Over time the site grew. Part is my fault because on the two Internet forums I visit I would sometimes just link to a post here instead of typing in a lengthy response. However, 80% of the traffic comes from search engines like Google. To date there have been over 1.5 million page views.

Now I am retired and on a fixed income. I have enough to live well enough, but this site costs money to maintain. Yearly fees for a domain, service hosting fees, and some licenses to make the software work properly especially on mobile devices. I am hoping I can generate around $20 per month to cover the operation of the site.

But I want to be completely honest about the ads and tell you how they work.

Continue reading popupbackpacker.com now has ads 🙁

VIAIR 88P Portable Air Compressor

It’s surprising that most people don’t carry a portable air compressor in their vehicle. Especially these days when gas stations no longer have free air and the pay for air stations that replaced it usually don’t work. I always carry a portable air compressor due to Murphy’s Law: when some can go wrong, it will. Especially when you are towing a trailer miles and miles away from cell phone coverage.

In the past the air compressors that lie in wait in the back of the SUV have been inexpensive mostly plastic affairs. They work for a year or two then die. When our 2006 Niagara tent trailer was vandalized and totaled by our insurance company, I had placed the air compressor in the trailer during the tire debacle. It was stolen too.

picture from the VIAIR website
.       picture from the VIAIR website

When we bought our new Milan in 2013, I decided to get the highest quality air compressor for the most reasonable price, which means Amazon is my best friend. When towing the trailer there would now be 8 tires to maintain. The VIAIR 88P had nearly 1,000 reviews on Amazon with a score of 4.6 out 5. It has been used for three years and this June I really put it through a hard test. It passed with flying colors.



Continue reading VIAIR 88P Portable Air Compressor

Camping in 114F Temps and No Air Conditioner (sort of)

I have camped in the desert during summer without air conditioning many times. In our local deserts, temperatures do occasionally hit 120F and once in a while even higher. See this post where I re-packed our wheel bearings in 123F temperature. The rare occasions we patronize a campground with electrical hook-ups is usually when we take our inflatable boat to the lower Colorado River in the middle of summer.

Old Age is Creeping In.

Staying cool in the hot desert during the day is simple: just stay in the shade. But as I get older, it is getting more difficult for me to sleep when the nighttime temperatures are 90F or higher. This June we spent a couple of weeks at Lake Mead and most days were above 110F and a couple hit 114F. Anticipating this, and not willing to stay in a parking lot campground with hook-ups away from the lake and in civilization, I came up with an idea – a portable evaporative cooler (aka swamp cooler).

Now, I could buy a generator, which is expensive and more importantly noisy. So that was out based on principle and philosophy. Being familiar with evaporative coolers, I first needed to do some simple math.

Continue reading Camping in 114F Temps and No Air Conditioner (sort of)