Monthly Archives: July 2013

Finding and Keeping Secret Places Secret

IMG_0136A common theme of many of my posts and articles is the desire for solitude in wild places. This doesn’t necessarily make me anti-social; just a preference to enjoy the peace and quiet that the wilderness can provide without other people to muck things up.

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For those who are tired of crowds in campsites or on the trail, finding your quiet place isn’t that difficult. But don’t look here in PopUpBackpacker for directions to my favorite secret places.

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Searching for Pebbles


smaller DSC00911After a cancelled backpacking trip last weekend due to the San Jacinto Wilderness fire, Monday morning found me traveling towards Nevada. Driving 55 miles per hour on back roads tends to turn the road into a gray blur separated by a dirty white dividing-line in the center.

Stopping to take a pee break, a silver reflection in the center of the pavement changed the character of the next four days to come.

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How to Level and Stabilize a Tent Trailer



One thing I really enjoy about a tent trailer is the open feeling when all the curtains are pulled backed and the windows are opened. You have a 360 degree view, with netting to keep insects out. Even in hot weather, the shaded interior is much cooler than outside, there is plenty of ventilation.

Tent trailers are a little different to set up than a travel trailer, 5th wheel, or a motor home.

It is surprising how many people do not know how to properly set up their tent trailer, in spite of the fact the Owner’s Manual provides comprehensive instructions.

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San Jacinto Fire Update


Mount San Jacinto 07/21/2013 10 a.m.
Mount San Jacinto 07/21/2013 10 a.m.

The San Jacintos are shrouded in clouds. A light rain fell overnight, dropping 0.78 inches of rain on the desert floor overnight. Good news. Hopefully any additional rain will be light, so our fire fighters are not endangered by flash floods. A flash flood warning is in place for the desert.

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Gray Water Solutions for Your Camper

Tote Selection
Our collection of gray water tanks used from 2003-2008

When camping in a recreational vehicle (travel trailer, motor home, tent trailer, etc.) it is more than likely you will generate waste water. Disposal of this water can become problematic. What follows are the methods and solutions we have used over the years.

If you camp in campgrounds with sewer hook-ups, then waste water disposal is not a problem. But I will suggest that these “parking lot” campgrounds are not camping. Pick you’re poison. Many campgrounds without RV hook-ups have an RV dump, where you can drive your camper to and off-load the waste water. Of course if you have a tent trailer, it would require packing up the camper before driving to the dump station. And if you fill your tanks before your trip is over, you would have to return to your campsite and set up the camper again. If you camp in dispersed camping areas, it is unlikely there would be a dump station within reasonable driving distance. To overcome these obstacles, many campers utilize portable waste tanks.

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Fire on the Mountain

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Fire has moved from the west side of the San Jacintos, crested the ridge and is now heading east. View from Palm Springs, CA.

On Monday morning, July 15th, a fire started on private property in the Apple Canyon area, which is just west of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) along the section known as the Desert Divide. The Desert Divide is part of the San Jacinto Wilderness, and the mountain creates the desert on the east side, which is the Palm Springs area.

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Apple Canyon Road heading towards one of the San Jacinto Wilderness trailheads.

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The Business of Backpacking


A friend of mine sent me an email asking me to look at a couple of reviews for a new backpacking product. Okay, I like to help my friends. Both reviews were on personal blogs. That’s okay, I like checking with people who actually use gear and provide honest feedback. Whenever looking at new gear and considering someone’s opinion, it is best to get a feel for that person’s experience and whether or not they have a vested interest in the product. Real everyday users can provide the best feedback.

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My Backpacking Watches

(L-R) Military, Swiss Army brand, Timex. (The bands on the Military and Swiss Army watches are not the originals).
(L-R) Military, Swiss Army brand, Timex. (The bands on the Military and Swiss Army watches are not the originals).

Are they gear? Doesn’t almost everyone bring one with them?

Okay, a theme with a lot of gear I talk about is a disdain for technology. I have hiked without a watch and find that I am pretty inefficient. A watch helps me plan distances, keep track of my pace, and ensure I get back in time so my wife isn’t worried about my safety. In clear weather it is fairly easy to determine the approximate time without a watch, but in bad weather you lose that ability.

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