Courtesy of the excellent Autoblog site:
Charter subscriber Allen Padgett was kind enough to write and inform us of a source for military surplus aluminum sand mats (PAP): Colemans. The item number isÂ 251401. Price is $75 (plus substantial freight, one would imagine), for an 18″ by 10′ section. Sounds like a good potential for a group of friends to go in on to save shipping. Each 10-foot section could be cut into two usable five-foot lengths.
Availability is limited.
I seem to have become a magnet for snowstormsâ€”or maybe itâ€™s the long-term Wrangler thatâ€™s attracting them. First the entire northern Great Plains got slammed with a where-did-autumn-go blizzard just as Roseann and I headed for Alberta to teach a conservation seminar (even native Montanans were complaining), then the White Mountains in Arizona received two feet of snow just before I drove up for an elk hunt. The upside is, Iâ€™ve had excellent opportunities to get a feel for the Wranglerâ€™s handling on icy and/or snowed-in roads.
Roseann and I try to eat as much wild game as possible, to minimize buying into Americaâ€™s current industrialized and inhumane method of raising beef, pork, and other domesticated animals. So I was pleased to draw an elk tag this year, after two years of striking out. However, when I arrived in Springerville/Eagar in central Arizonaâ€™s mountains, I found the area Iâ€™ve hunted before totally snowed in and inaccessible. On my first try to get as far as possible up the Water Canyon Road toward the Big Lake area, I pulled out a stuck Toyota belonging to some local kids, then on the way down came upon a Ford pickup that had slid off the road and was within inches of tipping off the edge, held by a strap across the road to a tree.
So it wasnâ€™t just my desertified imagination that conditions were iffy. Nevertheless, the Jeep felt secure in four high. Itâ€™s way more stable than my FJ40, thanks largely to nearly two feet of extra wheelbase. The BFG Mud-Terrains applied themselves well as Snow-Terrains. Iâ€™ve been genuinely impressed at the ability of the Wrangler to handle long freeway drives comfortably, while retaining four-wheel-drive capability unbeaten by anything else available in the U.S.
Although I snowshoed into the higher areas south of Eagar and found a few tracks, it became clear the elk had moved out. I found a lower wintering ground that was mostly clear of snow, and located several herds, almost all cows, matching my tag. Two days laterâ€”the last day of my seasonâ€”I got close enough to one group of 12 to safely single out and kill a smallish one. It was very late in the day, so I had some work ahead. I field dressed the elk, stashed the quarters on a snow bank to cool (hoping the numerous coyotes, ravens, and bald eagles hanging around expectantly would leave them alone), loaded the backstraps (the choicest cuts) into my rucksack, left my Surefire Lumamax shining on low on the carcass as a locator, and walked the mile and a half back to the Jeep to retrieve the $12 plastic toboggan Iâ€™d bought for this eventuality. Two trips later, and 9:30 PM, Iâ€™d finished dragging everything out. So we have at least a yearâ€™s worth of all-natural elk meat in the freezerâ€”Iâ€™m very satisfied.
Overland Journal was selected by Pangolin Pictures and the SPEED Channel for their prime-time television series Dangerous Drives, which will be broadcast to 78 million households worldwide.
Overland Journal will be featured in episode 12, which was produced in December 2009, and documents the testing procedures Overland Journal staff use to evaluate vehicles and equipment. â€œOverland Journal has a reputation of conducting the most exhaustive and abusive equipment testing in the industry, which piqued SPEED Channelâ€™s interest in following along on one of our tripsâ€ says Scott Brady. For the testing, Overland Journalâ€™s Publisher, Scott Brady and Senior Photographer, Sinuhe Xavier traveled through 500 miles of Utah backcountry testing American Expedition Vehicleâ€™s (AEV) Brute and new Hemi powered Jeep Unlimited in the worst snow condition recorded in 40 years. The route ascended to over 8,000 feet, where the team encountered 40 inches of snow at the summit, requiring winching and progress at times measured in feet per hour.
In addition to testing the AEV trucks, Scott and his team were evaluating tents from Nemo Equipment, clothing from Arcteryx. Exofficio and Mountain Khaki, Lightforce lighting, BFGoodrich tires, ARB suspension components and rack/awning combination, and recovery equipment from Viking Offroad and Warn. Scottâ€™s vehicle was the popular Overland JK, built by the Jeep Skunkworks team with components from AEV, ARB, Adventure Trailers, Equipt Expedition Outfitters and Mobil1.
Why Fool Around?
When it comes to first-aid, the term â€œwildernessâ€ means any place more than an hour away from definitive medical care. Itâ€™s not that hard to find yourself in a situation like this, especially considering the backcountry and remote travel that we so commonly enjoy. It not only makes sense to be trained for such an event, itâ€™s a responsibility. Would you embark on a challenging 4WD or moto trip on dirt roads in the backcountry without a spare tire/tube, tools, or food and water? Of course, not. So, think about the poor logic of being unprepared when someone gets hurt or becomes unresponsive without warning or explanation and you canâ€™t call 911. What would you do? The decisions you make can mean the difference between life and death, or perhaps the difference between a full recovery and lifelong disability.
Thanks to Overland Training and Remote Medical International, I just renewed my certificate for Wilderness First Aid, or WFA (commonly called â€œwoo-faâ€) and CPR along with fifteen fellow overlanders. Over a three-day weekend, Janet Peterson and Kate Earle taught our group how to assess a scene and get to work quickly on helping those in need. There is a definitive protocol to follow that literally uses the â€œABCsâ€ to help you keep thinking straight, even after the adrenaline kicks in. The course offered through Overland Training includes CPR (with AED instruction) and some vehicle-focused scenarios. The class is super fun, easy to understand, and will educate you on how to be a better-prepared adventurer. So, why fool around? (WFA?) Get trained!
Ibuprofen: Hydrate before you medicate â€“ some very practical info from Janet Peterson
Camels at Altitude â€“ An adventure rescue blog entry from Kate Earle
I remember first hearing about the National Geographic Society’s new magazine, Adventure, and rolling my eyes at what seemed to be an obvious attempt to steal market share from Outside, where I was a correspondent. But the two coexisted peacefully for a decade, and I even wrote a few gear reviews for the upstart. So I was sorry to hear of its demise, or at least its transformation into an unrecognizable web presence.
But who knows: Perhaps disgruntled NGA subscribers will find themselves looking for a replacement magazine, a high-quality publication dedicated to worldwide, environmentally responsible travel and adventure. . .
Over the last several days I’ve spent some time camping in the desert and driving the backroads with K.C. O’Connor, marketing director for Four Wheel Campers. We ended this portion of his trip with a visit to Overland Journal headquarters where K.C. had a chance to show off the latest iteration of the new Overland version of their camper product line to some of our staff.
K.C. O’Connor discusses the new Overland camper with Overland Journal’s Design Director, Stephanie Brady.
The Overland edition has a full compliment of features and upgrades that are tailored to the traveler who will be away from towns and developed campgrounds for extended periods, traveling self-contained with a desire to live comfortably in remote locales. Some of the features include a low-mounted water storage tank, dual Odyssey deep-cycle batteries, solar power, power management, hot water heater and shower system, and a 12VDC refrigerator (as opposed to the traditional 3-way design).
Four Wheel Campers offers a full range of pop-up and hard-sided campers for many different trucks. For more information: fourwheelcampers.com (800) 242-1442
Scott Brady, the publisher of Overland Journal, recently had an eye opening experience with English food. We were on our way north out of London to visit some overland companies. We had set off very early, and by the likes of 8am we were famished and ready for some relief. Stopping in a small town off the motorway provided no obvious place for refreshment. The town seemed hardly awake and, grim morning that it was, we had to stop and ask for help. The only people we could find were a group of construction workers, and a particularly portly gentleman was happy to direct us to a local establishment for an â€˜English breakfastâ€™. To be fair to the English (I am one) English breakfasts can be stellar; this was not one of those. The fried bread had that slightly rancid taste accompanied by pure grease and no discernable flavor. Sort of like eating pressed lard. The sausage was similar to the fried bread; tasteless and greasy, though it was hot. The baked beans were from a can, so they were at least edible and the bacon was passable at the time. Twenty minutes later we both felt like we needed to visit the hospital. My insides were coated like the bottom of a frying pan the day after cooking a pound of bacon; that white congealed grease requiring a scoop to get rid of. Take away lesson was not to rely on large construction workers for dining advice and the parting comment from Scott; â€œI need to get my stomach pumped!â€
Overland Journal has recently been featured in the popular Italian 4WD magazine, Quattro X Quattro.Â With permission, they have reprinted our winch comparison article (from the Gear Guide 2009) in their September 2009 issue, translated into Italian.Â Their publication covers a wide variety of 4WD topics, and is definitely worth checking out if you know Italian.Â Expect to see more of our content there in the future!
Lately Iâ€™ve been posting some reviews on gear that Iâ€™ve tested over the summer. This latest report covers the new TiLite offered by Primus, a stove maker that has seen the dawn of this and the last century and will probably be around for the next. Quite different from the classic, original Primus stove, the TiLite is an ultra light, compact model that comes with a titanium pot. It presents the user with a featherweight tool able to transform fuel into fire with impressive control.
How hot, how fast? Capable of 13,500 BTU/h, this stove is fast, yet can simmer as soft as a whisper in the dead of night. I tested it with a liter of 65Â°F water at an altitude of 5,300 feet with an ambient air temperature of 70Â°F and barely detectable wind. (I had to use a different pot, because the included titanium version is just shy of a full liter.) It actually beat the manufacturerâ€™s claim of a three-minute boil by 30 seconds. Just for kicks, check those figures against the winning stoves in the Winter 2007 issue of Overland Journal.
So, what else can it do? Iâ€™ve been using the stove all summer for backpacking and overland trips and it adapts wellÂ to both scenarios. If youâ€™re the type of person who likes to travel light on foot, in a small 4WD, or on a motorcycle, this is a stove worth considering. If you’reÂ a person who takes too much stuff on a trip, then it’s definitely worth considering. The folding support arms have serrations effective at keeping not only the included pot, but larger cookware stable on uneven surfaces. Folded out they provide a 5 Â¾â€ diameter surface and when folded up tight they reduce the size of this 3.5 ounce stove to a svelte 3.6â€ x 2.9â€x 1.2â€. As such, Iâ€™m not restricted to using the titanium pot, but free to use a large pot, whistling kettle, or even a twelve-inch pan.
Thereâ€™s no need to fuss with matches or a lighter thanks to the piezoelectric ignition, and the sensitive fuel knob makes it a snap to adjust the flame from rocket-boost to a sultry simmer, even with gloves on. Aside from the weight and space savings, the versatility provided by the flame adjustment is one of the main benefits Iâ€˜ve experienced. The option to go from a mild simmer for delicate foods (with steady fuel delivery; no sputtering) to a 13,500 BTU/h blast torchÂ for boiling or heating quickly is a great benefit. The TiLite pot and stove each come with their own drawstring pouch and the whole kit can be stowed in the larger of the two; an eight-ounce fuel canister fits in the pot and the stove in its smaller pouch sits on the lid. Either of the pouches double as a pot holder if needed. According to Primus, the TiLite should only burn their proprietary Power Gas propane/isobutane fuel blend, but Iâ€™ve used the MSR and Coleman versions with no ill effects. Primus lists a 45-minute burn time for a standard eight-ounce fuel can, though I havenâ€™t verified the claim.
So what are the disadvantages?Â The only one I could come up with is the limitation of fuel type when considering global travel and extended trips. In that case, a multi-fuel stove would be a better choice.
Once you fire this thing up, you canâ€™t resist rolling the knob and will no doubt need to be honest with yourself about pyromaniacal tendencies. Though you may be tempted to impress your friends with the flame throwing capabilities, be mindful of fuel consumption so youâ€™ll have some left for coffee in the morning.
Heat output: 13,500 BTU/h
Burn time (not verified): 45 mins.
Boil time (as tested): 2:30 mins/secs for 1L water
Stove dimensions (folded): 3.6â€ x 2.9â€x 1.2â€
Stove weight: 3.5 oz.
Stove burner platform: 5.75â€ dia.
Pot dimensions: 3.7â€ h x 4.75â€ dia.
Pot weight: 4.3 oz.