I am a bit sad that I didn’t make a bigger effort to do more camping this year but I will get one more weekend in before the end of September! So here’s a post, with Amazon links, that goes into some big detail about how I camp right now. Most of what I learned about Solar Panels I got from my buddy. Feel free to check out his blog. Odyssey Camper
Let’s start with the obvious, the tent. Napier Outdoors Sports SUV Tent is the one to get.
Now, I sleep in the back of my Vehicle and use the tent as an extra room. Really handy for those times that it rains out and you need a place to sit. Bonus, they are a Canadian company based out of St. Catherines.
Speaking of sleep, an air mattress is pretty much a necessity, unless you are a Buddhist Monk….but then again, you wouldn’t be camping in a Volvo XC90 then would you? :)
This year we went again but some idiot decided to hit my vehicle while we were camping again. I had to make due with a 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe.
Sadly, that was enough damage to prevent using the vehicle(tire destroyed).
With this tent, there is no rain leaking inside. All vehicles have ‘rain channels’ built into them, to keep water from specifically flowing inside. So, even in a heavy rain, which we did experience the first year, water just flow down those channels. A word of caution, you will need to know where those channels exit. That ‘grey part’ that wraps around the vehicle, goes underneath. I found out that it also went underneath the rain channels on my XC90, so I was literally directing water into the tent. It wasn’t much but I did have to re-position the bottom part so that water could flow properly. After that, it was fine.
Before you even leave your place, you need to setup the tent, make sure that it’s clean and waterproof it! Something like this would work just fine.
The first time I went camping in this setup, I got a typical air mattress to fit in the back. You will want to measure the back of your vehicle if you do the same as I did. Measure between the wheel wells! Otherwise it’ll be an odd situation when it’s inflated.
Also, do NOT get one with the built-in pump. They tend to be lower quality, heavier and you get really screwed if it breaks. Buy a good quality air mattress and then buy a separate pump.
This mattress is designed for back of vehicles with ‘side lifts’ to accommodate the wheel wells but again, check your measurements!
As for the air pump, well you don’t need anything fancy either.
Electric Air Pump, AGPtEK Portable Quick-Fill Air Pump with 3 Nozzles, 110V AC/12V DC, Perfect Inflator/Deflator Pumps for Outdoor Camping, Inflatable Cushions, Air Mattress Beds, Boats, Swimming Ring
You might even want to consider a cheap manual pump as well, just in case.
Now, the single air mattress caused a problem because I tend to toss/turn in my sleep, my poor little 95lb friend Nixy kinda went on a bit of a roller-coaster ride when I did. So then this year I bought some ‘individual’ type. While they look like they wouldn’t be comfortable, I was incredibly surprised and I’m a picky kinda guy for when it comes to being comfortable. (Hey, I ain’t 20-something any more!)
Then you can’t go camping without chairs!
These are THE most comfiest of chairs I have ever owned! Hell, if I was tacky enough, I’d use them in my living room! They are perfect for napping in and even better for sky watching. They recline all the way back, you’ll feel like it’ll tip over but it won’t.
Now I also use these chairs for when I drive somewhere and just sit on the edge of a lake or the like. I found that even with the tailgate of my Volvo up, when the suns high, there really isn’t enough shade. So, picked me up an umbrella!
Now, we live in modern times. That means having modern equipment with you requiring power. So yes, I have a solar setup as well.
To use a solar power setup, you need 3 things. Solar Panels. A Charge Controller(to regulate the power from the panels) and a battery(to store the power).
This would be a nice solar panel setup if you want to test things out.
Since it also include a charge controller, you would be 2/3rd of the way there.
For a battery, you’ll kinda have to figure out how much stuff are you bringing with you. It should go without saying that bigger electronics need more power. When I went camping last, this was the tech on our list:
- 11″ iPad Pro
- 11″ iPad
- iPhone 8
- iPhone XR
- ASUS Laptop
- a couple of smaller battery pack
- Nintendo Switch
The laptop was the killer power hog, followed shortly by the Switch. Neither of those devices were mine. Don’t skimp on the battery! I paid $300 for my battery and it does me good. (Except when my friend feels the need to bring All The Tech<tm> while camping….)
Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240, 240Wh Backup Lithium Battery, 110V/200W Pure Sine Wave AC Outlet, Solar Generator (Solar Panel Not Included) for Outdoors Camping Travel Hunting Emergency.
Critical Solar Panel Tip: You want to be very aware of shade. My last trip the setup was in a great area, surrounded by trees. While it definitely got the outdoors feel, it totally sucked for having to move the Solar Panels every 30 mins to keep them in the sun! Choose your locations wisely if you want solar power.
This is my solar panel setup.
What you will also want is some LED ‘bulbs’. Something like the following will provide some nice light in the evening when you are inside. While your phone has a ‘flashlight’ on it, it also needs power for everything else it does. Get a dedicated light source and be done with it.
And that’s my basic camp gear setup. Let me know if you want to see anything else about this.
Oh, in case you wanted your own Pirate Flag: