Yes, you really should watch this. Trust me.
Yes, you really should watch this. Trust me.
The other day I was chatting with another member of the Expedition Portal staff about the word “remote,” and what it really means. How remote can one really get in the United States? What is the measure of the word? Is it miles from civilization, distance traveled, or some other quantifier? With a little searching we found one definition of remote––the Golden Arches Factor. How far can one get from a McDonalds in the lower 48. The answer is shocking, if not profoundly sad. The furthest anyone can get from a burger shilling clown is 107 miles. Or, by road, that distance is 145 miles.
With 34,000 stores globally, 14,000 in just the States alone, McDonalds generates more than 28 billion in sales annually giving it a GDP greater than that of some small countries like Latvia. It’s a bizarre concept to think that you could be tucked deep in the American wilderness, but not be further than 107 miles from a Big Mac.
Photo Credit: Bryon Dorr exploringelements.com
While the XPCamper V1 is a formidable camper system, it is only suitable for large full size trucks. Many of us want the ability to get down smaller tracks around the globe, or in our back yards, and the XPCamper (www.XPCamper.com) V2 was designed for just that purpose. The camper is designed to fit on a variety of mid sized pickups, but the most popular option here in the US is the Toyota Tacoma. More exotic, at least here in the US, builds like a Defender 150 quad cab and a Land Cruiser 70 Series pickup are already on order at XP. The V2 Proto build is on a 2013 4 door Tacoma, with the full spectrum of off road accessories; OME shocks, floating Firestone rear airbags, ARB front bumper, ARB front & rear lockers, Warn Winch and Cooper STT MT tires. Just like the XP V1 camper, the V2 is designed to fit on a flatbed in order to maximize living space in the camper and provide the maximum utility when the camper is removed from the truck.
XPCampers are arguably the most modern truck campers currently available on the US market. The high quality marine grade appliances, electronics and fittings let you know that the camper is built to last. The extremely tidy layout utilizes many ideas from boat interior design to optimize the use of all available space, while also making sure that nothing is shifting around during transit. The monocoque foam core fiberglass shell and smooth fiberglass interior structures would feel right at home in any luxury yacht. All these structures combine to provide a super durable, easy to clean, well-insulated and lightweight camper.
Loon Lake trailhead and amazing overflow sluice (trail starts beyond the shack) Photos: Caleb Knight and Jeremy Knight
This is an multi-part post written by Jeremy Knight about his first time on the Rubicon.
via West County Explorers Club: As the day grew closer, I continued my internet research and Erik sent me YouTube clips. I could tell that he was having second thoughts. Some of the video was daunting: people breaking things, people rolling over and doing major vehicle damage, people getting hopelessly stuck. What were we thinking? Did we really have any business doing this sort of thing? Or would we be like hikers on Everest, wearing tennis shoes and looking really foolish while begging for a piggyback ride to safety?
One thing I noticed in the videos was that nobody was driving an FJ. They were all Jeeps, mostly modified Rubicon’s, or buggies, but no FJs. Well, there was one video in which a guy in an FJ tried to clear a nasty rock shelf and ripped his entire rear bumper off. I tried to ignore that one, it almost looked deliberate. I finally found a blog called Last Great Road Trip that told a story of a group of FJs that successfully went through during the 2013 Rubithon event, a sort of Jamboree for Toyotas. Unfortunately they were all highly-modified with long-travel kits, 35s, and re-geared axles. To top it off, they were guided by some guy named “Woodie” who apparently knew all of the trail's rocks by name. Only one of them escaped without body damage.
The EvaKool RF60-FF Fridge Freezer is another Australian designed and tested product that has been recently exposed to the US market of overlanders. At a glance it is certainly not the most aesthetically pleasing fridge on the market, but that is not to say it’s not good. The one key difference between the EvaKool and many other fridges on market is that they started with an esky (ice box) and then built a fridge component which is attached to it. This gives the EvaKool great insulation, which is important when trying to get the most out of a fridge.
In February 2011 my wife Kate and I set off on our motorbikes from Wollongong in Australia heading for Woolwich in south east London. In 5 months we covered about 21,000 km across 20 countries. Firstly we crossed the emptiness of the great Aussie outback and then negotiated the manic traffic of Bangkok, Kathmandu and Delhi. Next came the fabled and dangerous Karakoram Highway through the mountains of Pakistan, up and over the 4600 metre Khunjerab pass and into China. More rough roads through Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan led us to Russia, through Ukraine and then the final 5,000 km push through Europe. www.wollongongtowoolwich.co.uk
“The Karakorum Highway through the highest mountain ranges in the world is one of the most spectacular places on planet earth. Throw into the mix a 15 mile lake that, since a huge landslide in 2010, now covers a section of the road and things start to get challenging………."
Then, as we rattled our way around a rough corrugated corner, the landslide finally came into sight. It was immense. The whole valley was blocked. We just sat there on our bikes, looking at the chaotic scene in front of us. In amongst the rocks, boulders and dust, men toiled. In order to get up and over the landslide, everything that was either going north or south from the lake had to be loaded and unloaded onto the back of 4x4 pick-ups or tractor & trailer. The scene was absolutely crazy. Gangs of labour were humping boxes, bundles and packages by hand on and off the vehicles.
All photos: Caleb Knight, Jeremy Knight
via West County Explorers Club: The off-road section of the Rubicon, the famous 4x4 trail in California's Sierra Nevada, west of Lake Tahoe, is packed with 12 miles of boulders and almost non-stop obstacles. On the 1 to 10 difficultly scale that we, and others, use, the Rubicon is a 10. The trails don't get much tougher than this.
What's it like to tackle this grandaddy of the off-road world for the first time? Well, Jeremy Knight, an overlander from Washington State, will tell you. His account was first published in the Expedition Portal forums.
The Ground Rules
There were times in my life when, had I known how hard something was going to be beforehand, I probably wouldn’t have tried it in the first place. Caution would rule and I would be content reading about other people, more capable or better equipped, grinding it out. It's almost always good that I don’t know in advance about the degree of difficulty, challenge, or stress involved in the endeavor, since life is much duller lived within my comfort zone. For me, attempting the Rubicon Trail in a relatively stock FJ Cruiser, with my brother, who has never spent much time off-road, was one of those times.
If you’re doing everything right and the stars align in your favor, your head will never touch the ground. Even when you are doing things right, your poor feet touch the ground all the time, and unless they’re properly protected, this could spell doom for your motocycle riding days. Proper boots don’t just enhance the riding experience, they protect your most vulnerable of appendages, your legs and feet. Within the pantheon of great adventure boots, none are as storied as the Combat Touring boot from Aerostich. Manufactured by famed Italian masters of footwear, Sidi, the Combat Touring boot is a motoring legend.
So...I've recently realized that I'm potentially spending way too much of my time on Pinterest, I think it's official—I have an addiction. I'm not organizing my kitchen with DIY crafts, nor am I looking at pictures of smores or things I could make for dinner, and certainly I'm not contemplating different colors for the living room. I'm using Pinterest to build a Jeep, a manly Jeep, one with big tires and bright lights, and other manly stuff. Believe it or not, Pinterest is helping me figure out how I want to build it, and organizing it in a way I've never been able to before. Yes, your special lady's favorite website has a purpose for burly scotch-drinking men...not that I'm exactly burly, and come to think of it, I don't drink scotch either, but Pinterest is rad.