Car camping and overlanding load outs? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 29 Old 06-10-2021, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
Dust Devil
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Car camping and overlanding load outs?

I intend to do more day trips than car camping but I'm thinking about making a DIY cargo drawer/bed platform system so I can go overnight or I have a nice place to sleep if I get caught out.

I want the system to fold up underneath the cargo cover for some stealth so I'm not a target for theft.

I have a good idea of what I want to do for the platform but I haven't done camping in a long time and I've never done any real off-roading so I don't know what I should bring for the camping or a basic recovery kit.

I'm going to be doing pretty mild off-road on desert BLM lands, no rock crawling if I can avoid it but I would like to build my platform so it can hold a minimalist overlanding loadout for more adventurous outings because people might want to copy it or even buy one from me and they might need more stuff.

I've been looking at overlanding and car camping videos but most of the overlanders seem to carry way too much and the car camping is mostly people living out of their Jeep. Neither of those are really what I'm after so I need better sources.

I'm going to start with my list of stuff to get:

A couple gallons of water

Extra oil

Extra transmission fluid

Extra brake fluid

Extra power steering fluid

A tool kit (also designed for scrap yard trips)

A folding dolly

Straps, a shovel, a pick and maybe some boards or milk crate style traction devices

Flares/fire starters


A sleeping pad with some blankets and a pillow

Window shades

Maybe a couple car door tents so I can have some ventilation without just having my windows wide open.


A Styrofoam cooler

A small camp stove

A mess kit

Some non-perishable food I can store in a hot Jeep


A pop-up shower/toilet shelter with a bucket or bag style toilet and maybe a solar shower

A change of clothes

Wet wipes

Paper towels

Toilet paper

Soap

Garbage/toilet bags

Am I missing anything? Is that too much?

I should probably organize some of that in to a go bag with some stuff like a flashlight, knife, poncho, mylar emergency blanket, nylon tarp, handheld GPS or maps+compass, etc.

Once I have a good list, I'm going to assemble my load out, organize it and design my drawer system to hold all of it at minimum height so I have as much headroom over the bed as possible.

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post #2 of 29 Old 06-11-2021, 02:22 AM
Delta0
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First aid kit?
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post #3 of 29 Old 06-11-2021, 04:49 AM
CJREX
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Do cell phones work in the areas you're going to be in?

If not, you may want to consider a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) in case of emergency.

Nobody wants to think about a possible emergency, but it's always better to be ready for one if it happens.

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post #4 of 29 Old 06-11-2021, 09:50 AM
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Jump starter?
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post #5 of 29 Old 06-11-2021, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Generally I believe I will have cell phone service in the areas I will be and the area I will do the most off-roading will be less than 10 miles from my home (which has good signal) and less than 3 miles off of the road.

I'll have to keep an eye on my phone the first time I go out there but I don't think I'll need a beacon. I think I would get a CB or UHF/VHF hand held radio before that but that is money I would rather not spend. I put a GPS on my list because I'm more afraid of getting disoriented and lost.

This does bring up a good question, what is part of a car camping/overlanding load out and what is just personal gear? I think a cell phone falls in to personal gear because you're going to keep it in your pocket or in a mount near you but when you have service it gives you location, communication and information, all important stuff.

Good call on the First Aid kit. I have a pretty nice one in storage but it is small fishing box size, bigger than I would prefer. It's kind of old-fashioned too, I would rather have a few packs of quick-clot, some tourniquets, cold packs and a snake bite kit but that's not cheap. I should probably spend some time on my go bag load out because that is probably where I should keep my first aid kit.

If I have to walk away from a stuck or broken down Jeep (in the desert) or just go for a hike, my go bag, water and sun protection are going to be important.

I have my little folding dolly which can carry 150lbs. That will be good for water and anything else I want to bring in my Styrofoam cooler but I don't know how well the Rollerblade style wheels will do in the sand. It's more for hauling tools at the salvage yard but could make walking out a lot easier.
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post #6 of 29 Old 06-11-2021, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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A jump pack is an interesting idea because it can be a big power bank for charging phones, flashlights, etc. The problem is cost and I shouldn't be off-road if my battery is not in good shape.

If I start doing 2-3 day or longer car camping trips, a 12v refrigerator is going to be on my list, then a dual battery with isolator so that I can use power without running down my starter battery. That would make a jump pack redundant. Eventually I'm going to live about 40 minutes outside of town so a 12v refrigerator/freezer is on my list for shopping trips too.

It probably doesn't fit for me but I should keep it in mind and account for one somewhere, probably under the rear seat or the glove compartment.
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post #7 of 29 Old 06-11-2021, 11:13 AM
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Good list you have so far. These are just some other items I'd say are really helpful when being away from main areas. It may seem like overkill but better to have it and not need then need it and not have it.

-Recovery straps are nice.
-A proper jack or hi lift. Scissor jacks sucks and if your rig is lifted it won't reach. I used to carry a hi lift (in my K5 and XJ) because of how versatile they are. Can use them as a "winch" and a a jack, but as a jack need to have points to lift at. I carry a small 2 ton jack in the WJ until I get bumpers and sliders on.
-Self fusing Silicone tape is a life saver. Used it twice in a bind. Once for a gas line link and another for a radiator hose leak.
-Gorilla tape or similar
-A tire repair kit
-Either a CO2 tank or a compressor to air up. I really like having a Co2 tank, I can use it for power tools on the trail and it air's up tires quick.
-Water purifier or iodine tabs, easier than transporting water.
-A good tarp and paracord
-A antibacterial towel is nice and don't have to worry about paper towels
Few other things to consider are items that can have more than one purpose, ie. wet wipes, paper towels and TP just use wet wipes. Soap, castile soap can be used for a ton of things

Depending on your budget and some other things, I'd look do these.

This storage system. Those windows are useless so might as well take advantage of the space.
https://affordableoffroad.com/shop/wj-storage-window/

Solar shower/water tank
https://kombilife.com/diy-road-shower-for-van-life/

I'd also recommended a solar panel charger or something to help with a charge if needed.

I'd invest in a decent rotomolded cooler or at least a good soft side

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post #8 of 29 Old 06-11-2021, 11:27 AM
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One of the paralyzing events that I've read about here had to do with the OEM design of the radiator. The plastic side tanks are known to split and dump contents instantly. If I needed to depend on my WJ for Overlanding and could solve a known Achille's heel being the cooling system of the WJ, that's one I would resolve before heading out.

The event I read here was on a drive-on beach in NC.
The rad let go once he stopped and setup. The WJ owner used craigslist to call someone to his location, bring him a radiator and even swap it for him on the spot. I know he put in another OEM designed unit but it got him off the beach without a recovery fee and the WJ was not overheated in the process.

The all aluminum unit is what I'd get.

I've also had the seal around the WP fail and it dumped coolant out. I was able to drive it for about 20 mins (roughly 15 miles) until I got it home but you might not be so lucky. When leaking, you'd still have about 20 mins until it had to be refilled again. I'm not sure if the parts store sells just the WP gasket but if you change the WP in advance (and you should), keep the old gasket handy.

"We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine." ~D. Trump, Jan 22, 2020.
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post #9 of 29 Old 06-11-2021, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Water purifier tablets won't do me much good in the desert but they are small so I should probably add them to the first aid kit in the go bag. Carrying water has three purposes, drinking and cleaning while camping, topping off the radiator if I get a leak or having water to pack out if I have to hike back to the road. There really is no way around carrying water unless I want to have a potentially deadly situation if anything goes wrong.

I have to look at my jack options. I'm not sure I want to take up as much space as a Hi-Lift. I would love to see a relatively light weight and compact option between an OEM screw or scissor jack and something like a Hi-Lift.

I have one of the bigger 12v tire inflator air compressors. I'll probably bring that but I have only used it on low profile 16" and 17" tires, not airing up off-road tires. I hope it can pump that long without burning up.

Tape, tire repair and paracord are good suggestions.

I like the idea of multi-use survival items for just in case scenarios but I think I can carry toilet paper and wet-wipes because I know I'll be using both any time I have to deploy the poop tent.

With a 12v fridge/freezer on the horizon, a dollar store or recycled medical Styrofoam cooler should be good enough for spur of the moment and unintentional camping before then. If I intended to do more, I would look at a better cooler but I don't and the Styrofoam will do the same job in the same space. I should probably look at good popular small coolers to make sure I have a space for one instead of just a spot for a recycled medical cooler but I probably won't be spending money on one.

The radiator and cooling system in general are concerns for me.

I think my electric cooling fan or relay are dead, it doesn't turn on when I turn on the AC. My mechanical fan clutch might be bad too because if I leave the car in drive while stopped, the temperature will go over 210° pretty quickly. I've seen it over 230° but I watch it closely now. After I get my engine dying issue figured out (probably the crank sensor), I want to do a full cooling system overhaul/upgrade to make it ready to run the AC on 115° days and hopefully not have any end tank or water pump issues. I would like to have an independent transmission cooler (not in the radiator) and engine oil too (I'm not sure exactly what I have but I don't want a water/oil heat exchanger). I'll also go over the belts, pullies and tensioner too.
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post #10 of 29 Old 06-11-2021, 05:27 PM
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get a fire extinguisher. it's amazing/bewildering, the number of people that don't have a fire extinguisher in their rides.

Uphill Slow, Downhill Fast, Tonnage First, Safety Last!
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post #11 of 29 Old 06-11-2021, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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I have some experience with fire and fire safety.

While I agree with the sentiment, I'm not sure i want to spend $200+ and a lot of cargo space on an extinguisher that has a good chance of extinguishing a car fire. Even a $$$ race car Halon system isn't 100% effective at stopping car fires, they just give the driver a chance to get out.

For a camp fire, a shovel and sand (it's everywhere around here) probably does better and there isn't much fuel load to burn out here.

To prevent car fires you mostly have to make sure your electrical system is properly fused and your fuel and oil systems aren't going to spray flammable liquids on your catalytic converter or other hot part of your exhaust. If you did have a fire and an extinguisher, you would probably stick it under the hood and squeeze the handle until the extinguisher is empty and then hope the condition that started the fire no longer exists. If you are successful, you've got a huge mess on your hands if it was an ABC chemical extinguisher. If you weren't successful, your car burns to the ground with everything you have in it.

This is personal opinion but I would rather spend money preventing a fire than stopping one...
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post #12 of 29 Old 06-12-2021, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, that list sounds pretty good. I'm going to compile and organize it.

One thing is the Go bag with everything I need if I'm separated from the car.

Tools and auto supplies should be three lists, stuff to keep easily accessible, stuff that can be buried a bit and recovery stuff that should be easy to get to and easy to pack in a way that won't get the rest of my gear dirty.

I don't want to bury stuff but I'm probably going to have some storage that is less accessible and I want to store stuff that I need infrequently there so I don't wind up putting something I'm going to need commonly in a spot that is hard to access.

Camp stuff should be organized so that if I'm going to set up a camp outside of the car, I can do it quickly and I can break camp quickly too.

Food and drink should be pretty accessible on planned trips. Otherwise it should be a few MREs and non-perishable foods in the Go bag and emergency water under the cargo cover.

Sleeping stuff and anything that doesn't fit under the bed platform (when folded) should be stored so it can be moved and the bed platform deployed as easily as possible.

After I compile my first list I'm going to start assembling my load out and look at how it is going to fit. I'll get more specific on the individual pieces, plan mounts for some stuff, lay out my drawer and start adding/subtracting items until I think I have reached maximum utility.
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post #13 of 29 Old 06-12-2021, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Devil View Post
A jump pack is an interesting idea because it can be a big power bank for charging phones, flashlights, etc. The problem is cost and I shouldn't be off-road if my battery is not in good shape. True, however, all sorts of things can conspire to stop a car starting.

If I start doing 2-3 day or longer car camping trips, a 12v refrigerator is going to be on my list, then a dual battery with isolator so that I can use power without running down my starter battery. That would make a jump pack redundant. Eventually I'm going to live about 40 minutes outside of town so a 12v refrigerator/freezer is on my list for shopping trips too.

It probably doesn't fit for me but I should keep it in mind and account for one somewhere, probably under the rear seat or the glove compartment.
My I suggest you take your rear seats out?
And fit a shelf instead.
A second battery is a can of worms.

Quote

SECONDARY BATTERY INSTALLATION

ONE OF THE DRAW BACKS IS WHEN YOU ARE INSTALLING A SECOND BATTERY FOR A TRAILER OR USING A BATTERY THAT DOES NOT CONFORM TO THE MANUFACTURER’S SPECIFICATIONS. THE PCM CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN EXTRA BATTERY OR THE ORIGINAL ONE.
IF ONLY ONE BATTERY IS CONNECTED TO THE BATTERY TEMPERATURE SENSOR THE RESULTS COULD BE INADVERTENTLY REDUCING OR EVEN STOPPING THE ALTERNATOR OUTPUT FOR BOTH BATTERIES.

SINCE MOST OF THESE TYPE OF ALTERNATORS PRODUCE ABOUT 14.2 VOLTS WHEN THE ENGINE IS COLD, BUT DECREASES TO ABOUT 13.2 VOLTS AS THE ENGINE WARMS, THE SECONDARY BATTERIES OR A NON-CONFORMING TO MANUFACTURER’S SPECIFICATIONS BATTERY SUCH AS AN AGM TYPE BATTERY MAY NOT RECEIVE ENOUGH VOLTAGE TO MAINTAIN A REASONABLE CHARGE RATE.

End of quote.
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post #14 of 29 Old 06-12-2021, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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I'll deal with those worms because I have to.

I am doing a bed platform with a nice big storage drawer. The rear seats are staying.

I'll plan a spot for a jump pack, that's why I mentioned under the rear seat or in the glove box, I just won't buy one because I can spend the money better elsewhere.

If someone wants to copy me and carry a jump pack, there will be at least one decent spot to put one.
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post #15 of 29 Old 06-12-2021, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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I just went to the dollar store and spent about $30 on first aid supplies.

Some bandaids, lots of gauze and tape, generic feminine products for heavy flow, bandages, triple-antibiotic ointment, cold packs, alcohol wipes, antibacterial wet-wipes, baby wipes, tweezers, scissors, a magnifying mirror, lots of stuff.

I think I need a snake bite kit, Krazy glue, Quick Clot, tourniquets and a pouch to finish it up. I should probably get Iodine too.

Maybe I'll split it in to two pouches: one small for the Go bag and a larger one to leave in the car.
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