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Category: Product Review

Reviews of products used, and links to those products.

Replacing the Alcan Leaf Springs - with Chevy 63s

I've very much enjoyed my Alcan leaf springs. The first set I had was near as perfect as I could ask, and working with Lew - the new owner in 2020 - on the second set was a pleasure, even if the end result wasn't as perfect as I could have hoped. Rather than go for a third set of Alcan's - which I am 100% sure would solve my problems - I'm going to try something a little different in the hopes of finding a solution that gives me a ride that is a little softer - but that…

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First Impressions of Electric Socks

It's easier to stay warm than to get warm. unknown I learned the hard way - as I tagged along on my first big adventure - that staying warm on a cold night is a whole lot more pleasant than trying to recover from a freezing evening by hunkering down in even the warmest of comforters when I finally went to bed. At least, that's when I should have learned. In reality, it took me a good couple of years, camping with guys who don't mind - or even relish - the cold, to realize this simple fact. It wasn't…

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Gear Roundup | What I Take With Me On Trips (2023 edition)

December 31, 2023. Another year in the books. Unlike previous years, there weren't any big changes to the way I planned for trips or the gear that I brought along. Rather, it was a year of small tweaks, with most of my energy going towards exploring and enjoying myself in the outdoors. Taken with the Rig Reviews, this series of posts give a good sense of what's working and what's not with the setup. So, without further ado, let's dig into what's on and in the truck at the end of 2023! Additions for 2023 are marked in red. Items…

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I'm Loving the Truck in Las Vegas (One Year Update)

"Seems ...Unsafe."

TL;DR - Having the Tacoma in Las Vegas is by far the best thing I've done for exploring, ever. The convenience of not having to drive forever at the start/end of a trip is worth it alone. Icing on the cake is that it's been even cheaper than I originally estimated (which itself was cheaper than driving).

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A New Perspective on Photography

September 1, 2023 Change has been great My journey in photography has closely coincided with my adventures. I picked up my first "real" camera - a Canon 80D - on a whim a year or two before I started exploring, but I never used it until I went on that first trip with a bunch of guys I now call good friends. At the time, I assured them that my Google Pixel (yeah, the very first version) was just as good as their DSLRs, if not better. Its lack of zoom was a benefit as it required more attention to…

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Ditching My ARB Fridge for a Dometic

May 21, 2023 When I showed up in Las Vegas for Three Days of R&R, I followed my usual procedures, picking up the Tacoma from storage, turning on the various systems, and then heading to the grocery store to provision my ARB fridge with a few days' worth of food. My ARB Fridge Bites the Dust As I was stopped for gas on my way to Utah, I happened to glance at the control panel for the fridge and noticed that it hadn't gotten any cooler than when I'd turned it on a couple hours earlier. No bueno. Thinking that…

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Gear Roundup | What I Take With Me On Trips (2022 edition)

December 31, 2022. Another year in the books. Unlike previous years, there weren't any big changes to the way I planned for trips or the gear that I brought along. Rather, it was a year of small tweaks, with most of my energy going towards exploring and enjoying myself in the outdoors. Taken with the Rig Reviews, this series of posts give a good sense of what's working and what's not with the setup. So, without further ado, let's dig into what's on and in the truck at the end of 2022! Additions for 2022 are marked in red. Items…

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How I Use My Garmin inReach Mini Satellite Communicator

A few years ago, I wrote a post about how I got started adventuring out into the middle of nowhere all by myself. I went into a bunch of details about my experiences growing up, and how those experiences shaped me into the traveler I've become. Still, one of the things I mentioned not being fully prepared for was a bodily injury or "now-we're stranded" problem with the Tacoma. It was about six months ago that I acquired a Garmin inReach Mini. I wrote about it only briefly as part of the Hiking Saline Valley trip that spurred the purchase…

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Replacing the Alcan Leaf Springs - with More Alcans

If I've learned one thing over the last several years, it's that bumpy roads are a lot of fun. The problem - as anyone who knows them can attest - is that in time, all good things get destroyed by bumpy roads. It is a conundrum. The key of course, is to replace the good things before they are destroyed. Preventative maintenance. The easiest kind - or the hardest, depending on your outlook. Anyway, after nearly five years of service, I successfully bounced, rattled, flexed my heavy duty Alcan Spring leaf pack to death - breaking my first leaf on a…

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Gear Roundup | What I Take With Me On Trips (2021 edition)

December 31, 2021. Another year in the books. After a crazy turn in 2020 with COVID-19, I'd say that we got through this year with a pretty good rhythm - though, still not the same as pre-pandemic years. My biggest takeaway this year was that - since @mrs.turbodb and I mostly went on trips solo - food stuffs really got simplified for us. Essentially, we traded variety for ease of preparation and cleanup. For us, it was a worthwhile change, though I can see how it would get monotonous for some folks. Taken with the Rig Reviews, this series of…

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Replacing My Seats with Corbeau Baja XRS...Or Not

The last few years have seen the number of miles on the Tacoma explode. It took 16 years for me to put the first 60K miles on the truck, and now - almost exactly 5 years later - it's sitting at 188,994! It's been a great ride overall, though I must say, it hasn't been quite so nice for my ass - and more importantly, back - recently. It's the seats, of course. Over time, the foam in them wears out, and while mine are still in fantastically good shape compared to other 21-year-old seats - a fact that I…

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A Better Fuel Siphon

June 17, 2021. I've used a fuel siphon ever since I switched from carrying extra fuel in Rotopax to using Scepter Military Jerry Cans. Siphons make the whole process easy - fuel cans don't need to move from their storage location in order to refill, and there's no risk of spilling fuel down the side of the truck or on the ground. The only drawback I've heard is that draining a 5 gallon jerry can takes three minutes instead of 45 seconds with a spout. But seriously, who is in that kind of rush? There are a plethora of fuel siphons…

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A Stereo that Just Works - Kenwood DMX906S

May 24, 2021. It was five years ago now that I made a huge mistake in the stereo department for the Tacoma. At the time, I thought I was fixing my first mistake in the stereo department, but it turns out I was simply prioritizing form over function - and that's never the right decision. But let's take a step back in history for just a second, to see how we got here. When I purchased the truck in late 1999, I got the fanciest stereo I could from Toyota. It was super gnarly. I mean really. Of course it…

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Involuntary Evolution to a New Camera and Glass (Canon R6)

Well, I ran over my 80D and favorite lens with the Tacoma. It wasn't pretty and I wasn't happy, but it happened, and you can read about it in Tragedy in the Tablelands. I'd already been pining after a new, full-frame mirrorless camera, but of course, with a perfectly working setup, I was unlikely to get one. Ultimately, I used this opportunity to pick up a brand-spanking-new Canon R6, and two lenses - an RF 24-240mm f4-6.3 IS USM and a wide angle RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM. It was an expensive day, to say the least. Candy store.…

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Gear Roundup | What I Take With Me On Trips (2020 edition)

December 31, 2020. What a CRAZY year! Still, we've been able to get out quite a bit, and as usual, what we take with us has changed slightly. Taken with the Rig Reviews, this series of posts give a good sense of what's working and what's not with the setup. So, without further ado, let's dig into what's on and in the truck at the end of 2020! Additions for 2020 are marked in red. Items we no longer take are struck through. The Truck Itself Obviously we can't adventure without the actual vehicle. To see how it's outfitted, check…

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Things to Consider When Choosing a Roof Top Tent (RTT)

Being a heavy user of my Cascadia Tents (CVT) Mt. Shasta roof top tent (RTT), I get asked - somewhat infrequently - what I think about it after all those nights on the trail. And, I often find myself evaluating it against other RTT offerings that I see on other rigs. So, rather than keep all that bottled up in my tiny little skull, I figured I'd share my thoughts with everyone - after 3 years and some 250 nights on the trail and in the tent. Brands (and durability/longevity) From what I can tell, they are all pretty much…

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