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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Since I am retired and have been a lifelong camper; I spend quite a bit of time looking over then sometimes beyond the obvious accessories trying to find items that can improve my camping experience... sometimes they are just conversation items, other times they lead to questions about my sanity... very occasionally they are good ideas...
Accordingly I sometimes see things in the movies or on the web that tweak my interest...

I was re-watching the "Hobbit" the other night and decided that perhaps a door bell might at least provide a conversation piece in camp...

A visit to amazon provided the following 4" bell (the 6" version looked like it might be too big to pack conveniently);
Body jewelry Silver Jewellery Natural material Nickel

I will attach it using a hose clamp) to one leg of the canopy (which supports my tent)... I tried it and its loud enough to wake me up (which, thinking about it, might not be that great an idea)...

It should let the occasional visitor ring for attention instead of having to yell or holler ...
(hopefully this will not result in a body cascade as happened in the movie...).

What unusual/strange/odd/off the wall things have you tried or do you use (successfully or unsuccessfully) ???

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here's another...
After tripping over uncounted tent guy lines; I decided that the tent needs some unobtrusive exterior lighting at night.

I rapidly considered solar garden lighting but decided that I would probably forget/loose them since, when ground mounted, they are not all that visible in the daylight.

My solution;
Street light Lamp Sconce Audio equipment Gas


Mout the solar garden light on a plant hanger bracket and attach them to the legs of the canopy that holds up my cubical (standing room) tent. The hose clamp allows easy installation and removal.

They make finding the tent in the dark much easier and a bit safer without lighting up the countryside/destroying the ambience.

A friend has since adopted the idea and adapted it to his popup camper giving him ... entry lights...

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
One of my pet peeves (not a big one, but a semi continuous irritant) has been the pillow's falling off the end of the cot (attempting to escape).... the sneaky little thing waits until I am asleep then tries to leave...

Room for additional stuff is almost always in short supply, so one of the design requirements is that the restraint system should not require extra room.

Last fall I decided to build a folding cot headboard to corral it.
Tent Tarpaulin Camping Tints and shades Hiking equipment

Pretty much invisible, in this pic, the headboard between the two up right is made of transparent polycarbinate...

It folds and stores inside the folded cot ...
Rectangle Chair Gas Bag Musical instrument accessory


all of the parts fit together with a slight friction fit.

To deploy (while unfolding the cot) the two cap are pulled off the up rights ,
The cot leg is unfolded normally,
The transparent piece is removed then each up right is positioned between the cot frame and the stretcher.
finally the transparent headboard is inserted into the up right and each cap is pressed into place ...(it takes longer to describe than to actually do it).

...Success! the pillow remains on the cot, all night!

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Almost since the beginning, people have had problems with food settling into the melting ice/ice water in coolers and getting soggy.

I heard that some folks use steam table trays to keep the food from getting soggy (found this solution on Expedition Portal).

After carefully measuring my cooler I was unable to find a compatible steam table tray or basket to protect the food.

So I decided to make an adapter to hold up a steam table tray in the cooler.
I purchased a stainless steam table tray from amazon and proceeded to make an adapter so that it would work in my cooler.

Bottle Fluid Bottle cap Beer Gas


One of the last jobs that I had before retiring provided access to some, 1/4 inch polycarbinate scraps so I used a piece.

I had a hole saw "kit", from harbor freight, in my home improvement tools.
I selected a hole saw with close to the same radius as the steam table tray corner.

NOTE; Always follow safety procedures and use personal safety gear/protection when working on projects

Then measuring carefully; I located and hole sawed out the corers, on a drill press, to fit the tray .
Rectangle Wood Circle Font Number


The hole saw donuts were removed prior to making the straight cuts. and are shown here just for clarity.

The straight cuts were made by positioning the plastic on a table saw and raising the blade while it was running (use hold downs/feather boards to keep control of the plastic, then moving the plastic to complete each cut before shutting the saw off and retracting the blade for the next cut.
The cuts were finished by hand saw then the adapter edges were deburred/smoothed with a file.
Finally the adapter was fitted to the cooler using a bench mounted disk sander including rounding two of the corners.

The tray works well for its purpose but, this size, is really only marginally big enough for weekend camps... I should have gotten the next size bigger cooler and a bigger steam tray.

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
How about a source of electricity in the tent?

RV'ers and Camper users usually have electric power so why not tent users?

I got tired of the glaring light from mantle lanterns so I decided to use electric lights in the tent (with the side benefit of being able to use a few electric accessories)...
Since I never camp in areas with hookups or access to grid power this meant that I would have to bring my own.

Being a confirmed DIY'er and naturally penurious I have long decried the cost of the, overly expensive (IMO), so called solar generators and power packs...

My latest effort is a relatively light weight (~11 pound) 50 amp hour battery attached to a small (and now obsolete) 80 watt inverter that I had as a spare. (a similar; modified sine wave, not obsolete, 150 watt inverter is available on amazon from Bestek; unfortunately it does not include an on/off switch, which was added to the red and black inverter to make it esy to turn off the inverter and lights, thus conseving electricity when sleeping).

Product Gadget Camera accessory Electronic instrument Auto part


The 12 volt 50 amp hour (600 watt hours) Lithium phosphate battery is made by Amperetime... (watch for a sale)... (this project does not require an Amperetime brand battery).
The inverter, has a USB port to recharge phones and other toys, it is secured to the top of the battery with high strength stick on Velcro, so it is removable, if necessary.

The carrier was made from 1" tubular webbing (amazon),
Secured together with Chicago screws (amazon),
and a modified kayak carry handle (amazon).

The handle was a PITA to modify to fit inside the tubular webbing...I would suggest using a piece of flexible plastic tubing, instead.

Total cost approximately $250...
It can supply enough power for the interior tent lights (two 350-400 lumen bulbs and to recharge the Bluetooth JBL speaker (for tunes).

It can be recharged at home using a lithium compatible charger,
or in the field from the vehicle using a DC to DC lithium compatible charger,
or (rarely) in the field using one of several portable solar panel setups.

I haven't tried it with the 12 volt refrigerator yet, but I wouldn't expect it to power the fridge for more than a day or two.
It also serves as an emergencypower source, incase of power failure, at home to power the table lamps in any room.. 350 to 400 lumen). (Yes; I use the same light bulbs in the tent as I do at home),

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
...Just finished my spring (Amazon) search for better tent lighting ideas... basically I found more of the same tired old things...
Previous research indicates that 300 lumens of lighting is considered by many to be a minimum; this agrees with what I have found over time. I go for 350 lumen, minimum, rated LED light bulbs (enough light to read comfortably at a distance of around 3 feet from the light). 300 will let you move around with out much trouble but I consider it to be on the dim side for most things.

At the other end of the scale are lights that are way too intense (1000 and more lumens). Unfortunately the more intense the light output the more electricity is used. since a battery has limited power it is important to keep the power usage as low as possible while still keeping an acceptable light level; The bulbs that I use have been tested and selected to work with the inverter for the best efficiency (some bulbs draw less current than others even with the same lumen rating; the combination that I use consumes just over 1/2 amp (including the power used by the inverter).

Many lights do not list the color temperature, which I consider important. Almost the whole purpose of switching from mantle based lanterns (besides getting rid of the fire hazard and extra fuel hassles) was to reduce the glare from the intense white light, a color temperature in the slightly yellow range of 2500 to 2700K or so helps this a lot, IMO.

The current, home and in tent lighting consists of 120 volt, AC, LED, 2500 to 2700K, 350 to 400 lumen rated bulbs. I tried 12 volt lighting but found there are fewer bulb, light intensity and color choices; also 12 volt devices are more sensitive to voltage drops due to wire length.

An early tent light fixture was/is a pendant sphere with a pull chain on/off switch; (hiding behind the globe in this pic).
Light Comfort Interior design Lamp Shade


The plastic globed fixture was modified from a ceiling fan light kit by using a pendant lamp hanger loop.
The cord is an extension cord with the female end cut off, knotted inside the metal fixture to give support.
Headgear Personal protective equipment Gas Automotive lighting Jewellery

the ring near the plug is (I think) a magnetic ear ring found in camp, the ring and document spring clips are used to support the cord from and along the tent seams. The black wrap is Velcro "one wrap" (double sided Velcro) and is used to support the lamp from central or corner hanger loops inside the tents

I expect to copy this fixture when I expand the 10 x10 canopy to 10 x 20 to provide overhead "porch" lighting.
(Edit)The part that I ordered form amazon is aparentlyooly compatible with a n 8" globe with an ~ 4" neck (a pain to pack)... I will see what I can make to approximate the correct part.

This fixture is quite old, it has been in use since the days of CFL bulbs...

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One alternative to the pendant lap is a floor lamp (another is an LED lantern on a table , but that is pretty common & this thread is about the unique and unusual)
I took a risk on a cheep chinese floor lamp at wallymart and lost; it was complete junk.
since I felt that I still wanted a floor lamp I made a run to Lowes and got a collapsible paint roller extension.
a little thought and fabrication converted it and the better parts of the chinese piece of junk into a collapsible floor lamp.

Wood Lamp Flooring Metal Art


The top/shade is a slip fit onto the pole, which screws onto the base. The cord runs down the outside of the pole. It disassembles into 3 (relatively had to pack) parts for transport.

Lamp Tarpaulin Sky Tints and shades Darkness


All in all, not not of my best ideas; mostly because it is awkward to pack and transport.

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
How do folks contain trash around their campsite?
I use a collapsible clothes hamper (from wally mart)
Tire Automotive tire Plant Vehicle Wood


Found it while looking for spring type clothes pins to keep chip bags closed...


I don't see them as being critter resistant but the work fine for dry, clean, non food trash... I burn organic trash and food packaging/leftovers in the campfire; to remove temptation from the critters..

Since I started using, and posting, it I have seen them for sale in outdoor sections for three times the price...

It collapses flat, for transport, and I keep a partial roll of trash bags in the bottom.

...much better than tying a trash bag to a tree, IMO.

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I realize that people in mosquito country often use bug zappers outside (I used to live in Illinois and vacation in Minnesota). I got tired of using chemical weapons inside the tent (with their potential health hazards), and they always seem to miss that one last tiny vampire.
Since I have electricity inside the tent (for lights & toys) I decided to try a small bug zapper inside the tent..

...Found this one at amazon;
Window Grille Product Fixture Rectangle

The documentation says 4,000 (vampire killing) volts, runs on 120 volts from the cheap 80 watt, modified sine wave, inverter.

After closing up the tent it clears all of the bloodsucking flyers in about 15 minutes... then gets turned off, to conserve energy/battery power.
...Note to self: install a switch on this thing...

(edit)
Gas Machine Event Grass Bag


Enjoy!
 
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