Month: February 2022
iKamper Skycamp Mini Dry Run
I had a short to-do list today. First, I stopped at Main Line Overland where they were holding on to some parts that I accidentally left behind when I had them install the iKamper Skycamp Mini. Then I headed to Valley Forge National State Park for a dry run on opening and closing the tent, and to take some pictures.
I love that park. The Rangers are very friendly to overlanders and RVs. They also never had a problem when I came by to test equipment and take pictures. Nobody seemed to flinch when they saw me opening and closing the iKamper Mini. Its not like I was going to spend the night.
So it took under a minute to open the tent. I may have cheated, since I didn’t open the side windows. Closing it took a little over a minute, since I had to do a bit of tucking in on the sides. Here are some pictures of the tent fully open.
The 2″ memory foam mattress that comes with the iKamper Mini is actually pretty comfortable. Though my plan is to remove the mattress and stick a layer of outdoor carpet on the floor of the tent. This is to prevent any condensation, though I don’t plan to go out if the temperature dips below 40F.
Once the floor of the tent is lined with outdoor carpet, I’ll be using my 3.5″ Mountain Summit Gear self inflating mattress pad, my Big Agness Torchlight 40 sleeping bag, and my really comfy pillow. That’s the combination I’ve used over the past five or six years. I confirmed it’ll all squish nicely into the tent when I close it.
I decided not to get a 270 awning right now. I don’t need it for Easter Jeep Safari. Instead, I bought iKamper’s Mini awning that’ll provide enough protection at base camp. I might add a rear facing awning so I can cook in the tailgate area when it rains.
More to come on my next project, a 100ah LiFePO4 off-grid/overlanding power kit that’ll replace my current 40ah kit. The kit will include lots of power management, so it’ll know when to charge from the solar panel (when not moving), when to charge from the vehicle battery (when moving), and when to send power back to the vehicle battery.
Two blog posts over a long weekend. Boy I’m pooped.
Lighting Up The Moab Trails
How long should it take to mount auxillery lights that came off of your old Jeep, to your new Jeep? It depends on the weather. It finally warmed up enough to get this done. 🙂 So I finally mounted my Baja Designs Squadron Sport Spot and Cornerning lights.
They’ve been sitting in my garage since I rmeoved them from my previous Jeep, so dusting them off was the first step, as well as spraying some electrical contact cleaner onto the wire connections. It was more work than I expected.
I mounted the lights onto the steel front bumper. This time I needed to mount them on my winch/grille guard (2″ tube). I didn’t want to spend $40 each for four Baja Design mounts, so I ended up buying some cheap aluminum mounts for $50 on Amazon for. I’m happy with the result.
Second, on my previous Jeep I used an sPOD device to manage all my under the hood switched wiring, I had to dig around under the hood to find the Rubicon’s AUX switch wiring bundle. Once I found it, it was a piece of cake. Ground wires went to a bolt that Jeep recommends for grounding lights (IOW not to the negative battery post).
The AUX wiring bundle includes four wires. The AUX 1/2 switches use 12 AWG wiring, and are rated at 40A. The AUX 3/4 switches use 16 AWG wiring, and are rated at 15A. The spot and cornering lights are 2A each, so I connected the spots to AUX 3, and the cornering to AUX 4. I can combine them later if I run out of AUX switches.
AUX Switch Wiring Switched AUX 1 (F93 - 40A) Brown/pink stripe AUX 2 (F92 - 40A) Green/pink stripe AUX 3 (F103 - 15A) Pink/orange stripe AUX 4 (F108 - 15A) Blue/pink stripe ,------------+------------, | Aux 1 (40) | Aux 3 (15) | +------------+------------+ | Aux 2 (40) | Aux 4 (15) | `------------+------------' Unswitched Direct Battery (F72 - 10A) Red/white stripe Ignition (F50 - 10A) Orange/pink stripe
I’m a stickler for clean wiring, so I made sure the cables were cut with just enough slack. Then I used solder seal connectors to connect the wire ends, with heat shrink sleeves to make the connection even stronger. Then, to show how serious I am about protecting wiring, I covered the wiring with heat shrinkable braded sheathing.
Did I go overboard? Danged right I did. Heck, I even labled the cables so future me knows which cables go to which lights. Nothing is worse than not knowing where cables are coming from or going to. I prefer to do things right and not cut corners. Not sure a shop would go to such lengths, but I always try to.
Once the lights were mounted, and the wiring done, and the switches tested one last time, I drove a couple miles to the nearest Walmart. They’ve got light walls at the back of the store, perfect for testing. I parked perpendicular to the largest wall, about 50 feet away.
I aimed the spot lights so the center is level to the head lights. The cornering lights are almost impossible to aim, so I used the fins on the lights to get it as level as possible. Once I’m on the trail, none of this will matter, but I sleep better knowing I did my best.
I’m not quite done yet with lights. I need two waterproof LED strip lights. One for inside the iKamper Skycamper Mini roof top tent (RTT), and for under the awning. Luckily those are cheap at REI.
Easter Jeep Safari 2022
Easter Jeep Safari (EJS) runs from April 9th through the 17th. Nine days of exciting trails and more! Early registration opened up today for members (non members have to wait another week). I logged in and picked from their (very complete) list of trail rides. I’ve been to Moab a few times, so I already have four of the Jeep Badges of Honor (BOH) for the area.
Most of the rides take half a day or less, though they do offer a three day ride. I passed on that one, since I want to get all the remaining BOHs. Pritchet Canyon is rated 9 of 10 so it’s off the list (no interest in gigantic tires and lift!). I can do the trails that are rated up to 7 of 10 (8 is sketchy). I wanted to do Elephant Hill, but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are enforcing new restrictions, making it difficult to do. That’s OK, I’ve been there on my Harley.
This year I’m adding to the list:
Elephant Hill<– maybe next year
- Cliff Hanger
- Golden Spike
- Metal Masher
- Top of the World
Pritchett Canyon<– definitely next year
The EJS registration web site was slow in the beginning, but after some of the earliest members finished registering it sped up I was able to pick my rides. They’re all rated 5/7 of 10.
There’s a shorter to-do list, heading to the EJS trip.
- Cut a platorm to mount the fridge mount and my PLB40 battery to, so they’re secure, and have breathing room (not interested in drilling through my Goose Gear stealth platform!).
- Mount my 50W solar panel to my iKamper lid (to charge a second battery).
- Build a LiFePO4 battery box kit that the solar panel will charge (to power my non-fridge stuff).
- Create a small power distribution box for the tent, so I can have light, and charge my iPhone (etc.).
- Run some LED light strips and a dimmer along the roof of the RTT.
- Mount my Baja Design lights to the winch/grille protector bar in front (using AUX switches under the hood).
- Resist the urge to buy a 270 awning since its not needed for EJS…maybe for the Fall trip or 2023.
More to come once I start chopping away at the to-do list.