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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that times are tough for many but; what do you want/need/desire to help enjoy camping more? ...I try to do as much/many make/do-it-yourself (DIY) projects as possible to keep the costs down.

I just ordered the parts to make a second ceiling light for the tent. This one will help light the front area of the tent (hopefully)...

Here is a pic of the old one, that is used inside the tent.
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some parts will be a slightly different shape...ordered the parts from amazon (around $35, if I recall correctly). I will need to pick up a long extension cord to use as the cord when I go to wallymart tomorrow. I will try to post a DIY thread, with a parts list, after I get all of the parts.

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I have decided that I need another plastic hard case, to carry gear.
I typically use these from Harbor Freight (because I am more than a little penurious (cheap)); but only get them when they go on sale (so I am going to wait, and watch).
https://www.harborfreight.com/4800-weatherproof-protective-case-x-large-tan-56864.html
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They store under my cot (measure yours to make certain they fit) and come in multiple colors (to let you easily find the case that you want).
Note; I have no affiliation with HF, or wally-mart for that matter but they sometimes have good deals on stuff; watch what you buy a lot of it is cheap chinese junk)

I already have a couple of these cases and they are acceptable quality (good or better), IMO.

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I got another tent, propane stove + lantern, a top carrier that uses my weather stripping since I have no racks on car, dishes to cook on, a George Foreman portable grill, extension cord to use to plug in kitchen applicances at electrical campsites, an electric portable two burner cooker, a metal grill to put on portable stove, metal grill to put over fire, refreezable ice blocks for cooler, an electric heater to use on colder nights in our tent or if cabin camping... cabin.
Kool!... I really like shopping for gear; and buying it is even better...

... Just got a Mexican blanket from amazon to add some color to the tent/cot..... not sure that I care for the pastel colors though....Thought I was getting bright and bold primary colors... Oh well...

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just made up another tent ceiling light, for the future tent "porch".
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Some of the parts used in the original (post 1, above) are no longer available so I had to take apart and modify a "jelly glass" wall lantern fixture from Lowes.
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Project-Sou...ern/5001961417

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Have you tried Nanuk cases? I own several and I think their quality is impressive.
Is the interior pick-foam or does it come with closed cell foam options? I can't tell from the photo. Thanks!
No, I haven't tried Nantuck cases; I'll check them out...Thanx.
I ran into the HF cases in the local Harbor Freight store (junk shop).
I suspect the side latches are to make sure the seal is tight on the sides.

They come with the pick-a-part foam, which I usually just remove in one piece (mostly my stuff isn't all that delicate)...
The top has egg crate foam friction fitted into place then there is a couple of ~2" layers of pick apart foam and finally a layer of just foam on the bottom.

I like the ease of vehicle loading and unloading that the cases provide, I do wish the handles didn't stick out so much though, and the side latches sometimes get in the way on the larger cases.

Enjoy
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
The larger harbor freight Apache cases (4800 size) will be on sale for $10 off through April 24 2022, With a coupon (print your own)...
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I plan to get another.

Enjoy!

Edit, got one!
Its green ...'cause I keep getting the black ones confused.
...not certain how well three of these will store under the cot; but I'm going to give it a try.

The mini project for today is to see if I can cram the contents of 2 smaller cases in to this larger one.

Two of the 6 " diameter globe tent lights will fit into one end of these cases.
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Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Several friends have drones; they seem to be at least as addictive as Camping.

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I was surfing amazon yesterday and spotted a "improvement" on an old Idea;
called a camp stove mini heater.
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Its a variation on the old "coffee can" heater attachment that used to (and might still) be available for single burner Coleman camp stoves.
This one is supposedly made to fit many camp stove burners.
By looking around I found one priced just under $11 (they all seem to use the same picture in various orientations) and decided that it just might fulfill (be worth a gamble?) the occasional need to temporarily take the chill off of the tent; i.e. when people come to visit during the occasional rainy/sleety/ snowy, spring storm.
It seems to be a bit over 4" in diameter and around 5" tall, and from the pics is probably made of extremely thin sheet metal.

I have tried many tent heaters and have fallen back on a small can of fake fireplace fuel (gelled alcohol) for temporary emergency heat (and fire starting; a singe teaspoon is sufficient) as the most compact, packable, tent, heat source available. We well see if this can perform as well (It should pack in, almost, the same space as the gelled alcohol can).

I'm not going to hold my breath on this accessory as it is probably junk and will, likely, end up tossed in the trash...

...but we will see...

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I tried the clay pot thing over a candle and was very disappointed, also the pots are a bit on the fragile side.

For actual, relatively heavy duty, tent/auxilary (garage/home) heating I prefer a propane blue flame style heater with a thermostat (to conserve fuel).
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I like the portability of the buddy heaters but they do not have a thermostat (and a relatively high percentage do not want to work above 9,000 feet due to the lack of oxygen at altitude triggering the oxygen sensor).

I am hoping that the above stove accessory will open up a light duty option for occasional use... without the need to carry propane tanks.

If the mini heater turns out to be the junk that I expect; I may cut up an empty one pound propane tank and make a similar heater out of it. NOTE: CAUTION: this can be very hazardous: DANGER of EXPLOSION; do not attempt it if you do not know what you are doing...

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
The stove heater accessory (that I gambled $11 on) came this morning...
I am mildly amazed: it is better quality than expected and seems like it was a good deal (I'm fully satisfied and almost impressed).
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The stainless steel is only slightly on the thin side.
I was not able to find any areas sharp enough to cut myself on this example.
I used a file to widen the trivet notches in the heater to fit my stove
Fired it up and tried it out , resulting in some heat discoloration on the heater; which is to be expected.

I can recommend this heater at any price less than $ 25 (I paid almost 12 after hunting for the best price on amazon).

Its on the heavy side for backpacking but heavy enough to feel adequate for vehicle camping.
It took a minute or so to heat to red and start radiating with this stove, on propane.

Naturally the heater is limited by the heat output of the stove.

I would not recommend it for alcohol stoves as it can be expected/will radiate heat and warm the alcohol possibly leading to a large uncontrolled fire.

Once hot it is undoubtedly a burn hazard (use caution, and I would not recommend it for use around small children or the functionally unconscious.

All in all; I going to call this gamble and accessory a winner...

...Now I need to figure out how to pack it in a case... getting rid of the fake fireplace fuel will help!

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Since there is currently a stage 1 fire ban (limited campfires and restricted smoking) in some of my favorite camping areas; I have decided that it is time to get some appliances to allow fire-less food preparation while tent camping. ... It is very early in the year for fire bans and barring a weather shift they will only get worse, IMO...

Over the years I have tried assorted means of heating food without fire; specifically via; microwave, induction heating and solar what has stopped me has been the (solar) equipment bulk, lack of a large inverter and adequate battery power (microwave and induction).

2 years ago I obtained a 100 amp hour lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) battery (primarily to allow me to run a portable 12 volt refrigerator). this battery seems to be powerful enough to allow very limited, off grid use of a small microwave oven (700 watts) or an induction hob (at reduced power) for short periods of time. The key here is to limit the cooking time and power usage since batteries have a limit to their power capacity.

The 100 AH battery has a 100 amp battery management system (BMS) that includes limiting the discharge rate to 100 amps (think of it as a software fuse... exceed the discharge rate and the BMS shuts the battery down).
Since this is a 12 volt rated battery 100 amps x 12 volts = 1200 watts of potential power.
So I decided to get an inverter that is capable of transforming this amount of 12 volt power into 120 volts AC; to allow using more or less standard kitchen appliances for limited times..

Accordingly, yesterday, I paid a visit to my local chinese junk emporium (Harbor Freight store) and picked up a 1500 watt (continuous rated) inverter.
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I already have a small 700 watt, rated power; using a bit more than 900 watts of power consumption, microwave (picked up at wallymart, on sale last fall... (Yoda voice) Thinking ahead, I was...)

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some details in this pic may vary...

Now I have to get some wire and connectors capable of carrying 100 amps at 12 volts...
Fortunately I have some experience with high power 12 volt use (battery powered welding and winches...

4 gauge wire should be good for 85 amps over short distance and limited time.
3 gauge wire should be good for 100 amps over short distance and limited time.
2 gauge should be good for 115 amps over short distance and limited time. Note; none of these should be used for home wiring as they do not meet the NEC ampacity requirements.

additionally the wires should be flexible to minimize hassles; looks like its about time to visit the local welding supply and check out wire (welding cable) prices...
I have some 1-0 welding cable (more than big enough) in stock but it is heavy and stiff enough to be awkward.

Edit; I have used wire from jumper cables, in the past and Iit looks like I can get some 2 gauge jumper cables for around $45 or 4 gauge for around $30... BEWARE of copper clad aluminum wire; it will likely not last..

Anderson power connectors will be more than adequate for interconnection duties; I have a few housings but will need some terminals for these sizes of cable.

I expect some problems housing the package; it will need some thought, and I should evaluate the advantages of a Jackery or Bluetti 2000 watt power station although, I really hate to pay their excessive prices just for easy to handle packaging.

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yesterday I received a duxtop induction hob.hotplate. I have used simpial apliances both at home and camping and they work well.

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I expect to use it at about a 50% reduced power level (900 -1100watts) for camp cooking on batteries; to avoid this summer's fire bans while camping..
It normally is an 1800 watt appliance but has the option to select/operate at reduced power. ...so, since my battery is, allegedly, capable of supplying around 1200 watts I am gong to try using this thing at 1100 watts.
I, previously, have used a 1300 watt induction hob/hotplate while camping powered a small generator and it worked fairly well; this one is better quality and has an easier to clean glass top.

If the 100 amp capacity of my battery's BMS is not enough I will have to either give up on using induction cooking while camping or get another battery to expand my energy bank to 200 Amps/~2400 watts, split between both BMS's; which would give me around 2400 watts of power and be more than adequate to drive this appliance (if I get a bigger inverter.
alternatively I could get a larger battery with a 200 watt BMS but they weigh around 60 pounds and are not what I call easily portable; besides being a tad on the pricey side.

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Ordered some 1-0 cables to connect the battery to the inverter; they are heavier than needed for a 100 amp connection but If I get another, 12 volt, 100 AH, LiFePo4 battery, with another 100 amp BMS; and parallel the two, they will let me max out the inverter, or even go to a bigger inverter for; More Power (2400 watts, for limited periods of time)...

Enjoy!

Edit; I am pondering the potential advantages (and downsides) of microwave camp cooking and induction heated pressure cooker camp cooking... ( I suspect that air fryers take to much energy at this point)...
...I hope the weather patterns change, soon (bringing rain, to eliminate fire bans), so I can go back to campfire cooking and simplify...

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Hope this works, I had to bring a different computer on line...

Unfortunately, I really enjoy an (appropriately sized) campfire,; it serves as a social center/focal point to the camp (especially when group camping).

Since a member of the Forest Service burned down our favorite camping/recreation area a decade or more ago (see Hayman fire) I am more than a bit careful with fire. The local bans run in , I believe 3 stages; stage 1 being limited open fires and no cigarettes, to stage 3 which limits access to the area.

Currently our potential camping ares are under a stage 1 ban. Given the fact that we are in a major drought I can see it going to stage 3 very easily; and thus the implementation of flame-less cookery...

BTW; the cables came in yesterday; I haven't done a full power trial of all of the equipment yet, though.

One of the requirements for induction cooking is ferrous/magnetic bottom pots and pans. I have some in the kitchen but I have needed new camping pots and pans for a while so this looks like a good time to get them.

Oops; the computer wants to re-start so gotta go ; I will be return with more on pots and pans...

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
About the pots and pans;

Other than the induction compatible bottoms, one of my biggest with standard pots and pans is that they are a PITA to pack because of the handles. I found some with removable handles.

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I have some of the old aluminum backpacking cookware but these (they came yesterday with the cables) are substantial pans and if they hold up to use will be some of the best that I have.
Supposedly non stick they've got a kind of sparkly grey interior... no clue yet what it is.

Did a trial pack into the same case that holds the induction hob and (miracle) they fit

... Still waiting on a top/lid to keep the splatter under control and I will likely also get some silicone sheet to make clean up easier.

Ooops; computer needs attention again...

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I think I've got the computer under control now.. missing the days of 20 minute operating system replacement and implementation... The firewall and VPN were not cooperative, and I think I will need to replace the media center software. and perhaps go dual boot W7 & W10 or perhaps W7 and Linux. (this computer serves triple duty as an internet machine and a mini entertainment center (W7), with a few, old, games played now and then (mostly in the winter)...

Hauled the battery and inverter to the kitchen counter this morning. Need to put some quick disconnects between them; the cables are awkward. I'll try to do a test run making a fried egg sandwich for breakfast...

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Camping simulation of flameless cookery...

... my induction cooked fried egg was a failure (it was taking too long so I switched the pan to the stove before I starved...
Not sure what the problem is; tomorrow, I will re-run the fried egg trial using house current and see how that works...

I just nuked a hot dog (lunch) in the 700 watt microwave powered by the battery and inverter; it worked about as expected (Hot hot dog in about a minute. I'll try nuked popcorn later this afternoon...).

I need to down load the blue tooth app for the battery so I can see what is happening...

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I'm going to switch the cooking/food trials part of this thread to a (new) thread in Recipes since it will basically be about food and flameless cooking implementation/how to...

...Perhaps with a recipe summary about setting up the system with a 100 AH battery; which I see as applicable to small trailer campers and popups as well as vehicle tent camping (my favorite)... Larger RVs and campers usually seem to have more than a single 100 Amp Hour (AH) battery.

I'll try to keep most of the detailed technical and hardware parts at here, since we don't seem to have a DIY (Do It Yourself) section..

Enjoy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Roughly a week ago I ordered anther 100 amp hour lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePo4).

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There was a thump on the porch yesterday as it arrived.

The documentation said charge it; so I did, last night.
Today I will order some heavy interconnection cables (along with either some stainless studs or some stainless bolts to make into studs and some wingnuts or other quick disconnect options, to make interconnection easier) to put it in parallel with my older 100 AH battery; hopefully it will provide the power to run the induction hob for longer periods at higher power levels.

I'm not altogether certain that it was worth the extra $20 above cheaper batteries (although it did come with some nice literature/booklets).

I will post more as more supplies come in...

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
All of this electric equipment needs wiring and the wiring needs an easy method of assembly/disassembly (preferably tool-less)
An additional bump in the road is that the high currents (amperage) involved meas that the low voltage portions of the wiring needs to be very large/awkward.
The LiFePo4 (lithium phosphate batteries that I have all use metric M8-1.25 bolts to attach the wiring to the aluminum terminals; NOTE: just because the batteries and terminal bolts that I have are alike does not mean this is standard verify the sizee and thread of your battery's bolts before proceeding. (Use extreme caution when tightening these bolts since aluminum or brass is very soft and the threads are easy to strip; which would necessitate redrilling the holes and tapping to a larger bolt size or installation of helicoils to repair the stripped threads).
... another caution M8 bolts are very close to 5/16" bolts (used on some automotive lead/acid batteries), but use of 5/16" bolts will result in cross threading the holes; resulting in damage to the threaded portions of the terminals. DO NOT use 5/16" bolts in M8 holes. Get the proper hardware.

Since I would rather avoid these potential problems, my first thought was to install stainless or copper studs in the battery terminal holes and use either knurled thumb nuts or wingnuts to hand tighten the connections.

After a bit of searching on line (amazon), I found these stainless marine battery connections in the proper (M8 x 1.25) thread size;

Since I have two 100AH batteries so I bought 4
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(Edit) Note; the ones that I actually received have M8 x1.25 threads on one end and a 5/16 thread for the wingnut on the other.. The pic seems t o show 3/8 inch threads and wingnuts on one end.

A major caution needs to be understood;
These and similar batteries can easily supply currents that are quite literally enough to arc weld with. Use care to avoid shorting the terminals or making sparks SEVERE injury is possible; not just burns but also eye injury including retinal burns from such arcs. Protect yourself and those around you. If you must try welding with its attendant risk of battery explosion and fire use appropriate protection especially for your eyes. YOU are responsible for any risks you take.

I really prefer insulated terminals so I also ordered some insulated copper terminals with M8x1.25 threads. The user reviews say the plastic is rather fragile so I don't know how well these will work (haven't received them yet)..

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I expect to have to trim the threaded parts to fit the battery terminal, hole depth.

Enjoy!
 
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