Category Archives: General Talk

Camping & Camper Stuff We Use

A little over 3 years ago I compiled a list of the Backpacking Gear I Use. Several people have asked me to put together a similar list for camping with our trailer. What follows is a listing of most of the camping gear and equipment we use and most items can be found on Amazon and qualify for free shipping if you are an Amazon Prime member.

There are a few things that we used with our tent trailers and aren’t appropriate for our Milan 26RLS  dual axle trailer, but I have included them because I would use them if we ever bought another tent trailer.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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