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Afternoon Adventure By:Freddy Taul

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that an adventure has to be an epic trip to a remote place when, in reality, it can be twenty minutes from your house at a local park.

Less than nine miles from my house sits Chickasabogue Park, “an 1100 acre outdoor recreation area and wildlife refuge.” My family and I have come to love this park for its proximity to our house and kid-friendly atmosphere. The seventeen miles of trails traverse mostly gentle terrain providing an excellent training ground for my little explorers. It’s also a quick escape to the outdoors when I need it.

Flowing through the middle of the park is Chickasaw Creek. This winding water way is an excellent venue for kayakers and canoeists alike. Growing up I attended a summer camp where kayaking and canoeing were regular activities, which served to stir up an affection for these waterborne adventures. This past May my gracious wife bought me a kayak after years of wanting to own one. I was now able to take to the water and explore the vast water ways around us here on the Gulf Coast.

Earlier this week I took my kayak down to Chickasaw Creek to do some exploring. It’s something I’ve wanted to do all summer, but it just hadn’t happened yet. Upon launching into the creek I paddled east. None of my previous times on the creek had taken me very far due to naturally impatient little ones aboard. It wasn’t long before I was in uncharted waters (to me at least). To my surprise there were several people out enjoying the water and the slightly less miserable weather we’ve had this week. It’s an occasion to celebrate when the humidity drops below ninety percent around here.

As I paddled along I came across one of the oxbow lakes adjacent to the creek, so I decided to scout around. The lake takes you north from the creek before curving back west. At its widest point, it is no more than fifty meters across, and a couple hundred meters in length. When you reach the end of the oxbox you’re confronted by a narrow, tree-covered channel that appears to lead to another world. I lingered a moment deciding if I wanted to set out into the unknown. Lured in by the prime prospect of adventure, I paddled forward. A pair of Golden Orb spiders stood at the entrance of the channel as if to guard it from the outside world. They didn’t seem too concerned with my curiosity.

The murky waters and heavy foliage created the ideal setting for my exploration. Having no idea what I might encounter in the channel, including the possibility of alligators, sparked a true sense of adventure. Where there’s little risk, there’s little adventure.As I journeyed further down the channel the trees closed in upon me. At times it was easier to grab hold of their branches and pull myself forward. I began to wonder just how far they would grant me passage. Navigating these tight quarters had me wishing for a slightly smaller vessel as a 14.5′ kayak isn’t the ideal length for such a place. Thankfully, there were only a few tight turns to maneuver. At one point a dead thorn bush made an effort to thwart my journey, but a swift whack of my paddle sent the branches into the water and out of my way. That still didn’t stop a few thorns from catching the back of my neck or burying into my fingers, which I would have to dig out later.

Shortly after my thorny encounter, I reached my turn around point. That is not to say I could not have gone further, but it would have required me to dismount the kayak and drag it over some low branches. I assessed the risk at hand and decided it would be best to return with a friend before making the attempt. The afternoon was pressing on so avoiding a tricky situation in the channel alone was the wise thing to do. I backed up past the thorn bush, turned the boat around, and made my way back to the oxbow lake, then to the boat launch.

A good adventure is good for the soul. They leave us feeling satisfied and fulfilled. I began by saying adventures don’t have to be far off journeys. A short journey to a local park can satisfy us all the same. It might seem crazy to some, but I know this resonates with others. We all need adventure in our lives, so get out there and find some. It’s closer than you think.

Click HERE for more information about Chickasabogue Park.

Click HERE for information about Native Kayaks.

Click here for original source

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Trail Clearing with Lifestyle Overland

Our friend Kevin of Lifestyle Overland covers an essential trail clearing technique.

Click Here to view the original source.

During one of our excursions into the Santa Fe Nation Forest we came up on a downed tree across the trail. Always looking for an excuse to play with our winch, we took a few minutes to clear the path and block a new trail that was slowly being etched into the landscape. This is just a quick reminder to us all to leave the trail in a better condition for the next adventurer when we have the tools to perform the task safely.

 

 

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Converting a Utility Trailer into a Budget Teardrop Camper : Part One

What do you do when you have a utility trailer and an ARB Awning just sitting around?  Well you build a teardrop trailer around them or at least that’s what Alabama Overland’s Andy Jones decided to do.

After selling his M101a2, Andy decided that he wanted a Teardrop style camper. Using a 5×8 Big Tex utility trailer as his base, Andy began his ultimate budget camper build. Not wanting anything extreme, just something to tackle forest service roads, back-country dirt roads and perhaps the occasional Auburn tailgate.

Follow along as we watch an ordinary utility trailer transform into one heck of a weekend warrior.

The first step was to perform a spring over axle lift kit to make room for larger tires.

The first step was to perform a spring over axle lift kit to make room for larger tires.

Using 3/4" cabinet grade plywood, Andy began to frame and establish the basic shape of his camper.

Using 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood, Andy began to frame and establish the basic shape of his camper.

Knowing that he wanted something large enough to be able to load in larger gear, a quick trip to eBay and with a few clicks this bad boy was on it's way.

Knowing that he wanted something large enough to be able to load in larger gear, a quick trip to eBay and with a few clicks this bad boy was on it’s way.

After getting the door framed in he was able to finish skinning the sides, roof and rear with plywood.

After getting the door framed in he was able to finish skinning the sides, roof and rear with plywood.

Next came installing the side windows...

Next came installing the side windows…

Followed by the roof vent.

Followed by the roof vent.

Make sure that you stay tuned for Part II when we cover how Andy decided to protect his new camper from the elements.

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Lifestyle Overland : ARB 50 Quart Fridge / Freezer Review

This “Gear Review” post kicks off a new series of articles for Lifestyle Overland. Expect to see more reviews like this in the future as we share our experiences with various products on the overlanding market.
We understand that product reviews can be very subjective to the application and user so we ask that you bear that in mind when reading our reviews. We will give our honest opinion on how well a product meets our needs, the quality characteristics it possess, the price point when purchased, and the level of customer service experienced. We will not review a brand new product, all our articles will be about items we have tested and tried multiple times and in various environments. Unless otherwise noted, all products were purchased by us; we have not received any compensation for our product reviews.

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ARB 50 QUART FRIDGE / FREEZER REVIEW

This review is on one of the first major purchases we made for our overlanding kit; incidentally it is one of favorites thus far. The ARB Fridge / Freezer is one of those game changing products that you might not know you need… until you try. I know, coolers are a dime a dozen and ice can be had at any convenience store, so why would a person want to spend hard earned money on a glorified “cooler”? Well, if your overland trips consist of a weekend run to the edge of civilization and back, then the justification isn’t as strong for you as it would be for someone looking for the ability to go 3 to 10+ days without having to replenish ice reserves. However, if you’re like me and hate listening to cooler ice sloshing around in the back of your rig by noon Saturday, you’re not a fan of soggy hamburger fixin’s for dinner, and you hate throwing away most of your leftover food Sunday night because it got too warm… then maybe you should consider an ARB fridge / freezer.
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We love to cook, and if it’s in the middle of the wilderness, so much the better. The trouble with our cooler setup was keeping food and drinks at a consistent temperature for the duration of our trip. On occasion we have returned home with packs of bacon or sandwich meat that had to be tossed because they were too warm. We have had several occasions where our ziplock bags filled with raw burger meat contaminated the cooler because the rough trails sloshing them against other contents put holes in the bag. Our cooler was large and took up a ton of space in the rig, not to mention being unwieldy to move about. As the duration of our adventures began to increase, so did the attrition rate for our food. The ARB solution had quickly risen to the top of our wish list.

On February 24th of 2015 we purchased a 50 quart unit from 4WheelParts.com due to their competitive prices and free shipping. The retail price was $877.00 shipped to our door. You will occasionally find this unit on sale or available in group buys on popular forums which will save you up to 10% if you’re willing to do the research and wait. Along with the fridge, we also ordered the tie down system and wiring harness for direct connection to our battery. You can run this unit from a factory 12V socket at the rear of your vehicle, however we wanted to minimize voltage drop to the rear location and keep our factory plug free for other accessories. We later ordered the cover to help protect the exterior of the fridge from scuffs while adding a touch more insulation (not that it needed it).

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After 14 months of use the unit is still going strong and we have surprised ourselves at just how much we use the unit. With the low current draw (.87 amp-hour average) we can leave the unit on for days without worrying about battery drain. Even if we were to leave the unit powered on without recharging the rig battery, the built-in battery protection will shut the unit off if voltage levels drop to one of three customizable thresholds, preventing you from being left stranded.

Functionality

We have used our ARB for vacations, grocery store trips, cross country travel, overland adventures, and even for keeping chilled water on hand for community events. We rarely remove it from our vehicle as it has proven so handy to have ready at a moment’s notice. However, when we are ready to remove it, the empty weight of 49.6 lbs seems much lighter with the sturdy handles built into the unit.
Typically we stage the ARB fridge in the camper (we are full-timers) the day before a long trip and plug it into the 120V outlet with the included power cord and load everything we need while maintaining the temp we desire. This makes it convenient for trip prep since we aren’t making multiple trips to the vehicle.

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When it’s loaded and ready to go back to the rig we (again) really appreciate the sturdy handles as it’s possible to reach the 60-75 lb mark when we’re packing for a long trip. The handles are also designed to be used as securing points with the optional tie-down kit which makes cinching it down a breeze.

Initially we thought the disadvantage of choosing the ARB fridge/freezer over a cooler would be the overall weight. This thought was quickly dispelled by the fact that the 74 quart cooler we previously used weighed in at 27 lbs, when we added a 20 lb bag of ice to that we were right up there with the ARB’s weight. Another surprise was the storage capacity; when you don’t need ice, you can pack things much tighter, so in the end there was no storage disadvantage either. Note: A handy trick for helping with the capacity is to limit your non-perishable items (water, other beverages, etc.) in the fridge, and simply cycle the room temperature items in as you use the chilled ones up.

Another really ingenious feature is the LED fridge light. No digging around in the dark since the unit lights up just like your fridge in the kitchen. We also like the removable lid, though with our current configuration we haven’t had to remove it very often. Those folks with tighter spaces, like with a custom storage area, will appreciate this feature.When it’s time to clean the fridge (or if you have a spill), ARB kindly installed a drain plug in the bottom so there’s no need to tip it over.

Critiques

A couple issues we have found are that the lid removal doesn’t always work as designed. You’re supposed to be able to pull it forward to remove with a slight tweak side to side, springing the hinge detent and allowing it to be removed. However, the springs are quite strong and it feels as if the lid will snap the frame before freeing itself. This is likely due to the fact we haven’t had to exercise it very often, but still something to be mindful of.
The next issue is one we experienced when packing for our Death Valley trip. We had packed the unit to its capacity, (there was hardly a cubic inch left) and we found after a couple days that the food was losing temperature in the center of the stack. We later determined that we had literally insulated the food from the cooling coils in the outer walls. The food near the walls was maintaining temperature just fine, but it was also keeping the cool air from transferring to the center. We created space by removing some of the non-perishables and the issue corrected itself.
These are very minor complaints, but still issues we felt should be mentioned here.

Specifications:

Two separate power cords are included, one for AC operation (120 volt) at home, and one for DC operation (12/24 volt) in your vehicle. All sized models are able to maintain sub-freezing temperatures in 90° F heat, while only drawing 0.87 amps per hour (50QT model) from a 12 volt power source.

  • 100% CFC free
  • Ice free operation
  • Three year warranty
  • Powder coated zinc steel cabinet shell. Zinc steel provides excellent corrosion resistance
  • Recessed powdered coated steel fixed carry handles
  • Two piece injection molded lid, UV stable
  • Convenient on/off power indicator
  • Integrated battery protection system (12/24V DC)
  • Solar panel & generator compatible
  • Deep storage capacity for large upright bottles
  • User friendly, forward facing thermostat control
  • Built-in 12, 24 and 120 volt facility, making it ideal for use as a second fridge
  • Rounded corners & edges to protect vehicle upholstery
  • Fully removable lid & basket for easy access & cleaning
  • Ventilation grills allow operation even in the most confined cargo areas
  • User friendly, right angled plug-in point from cord to fridge
  • Operates at extreme angles (up to 30°) without affecting operation or reliability
  • Recessed front mounted digital control panel
  • Internal LED cabinet light
  • Separate dairy/fruit compartment
  • Interior drain plug
  • Unique stainless steel detent hinge with quick release mechanism
  • Integrated battery protection system (12/24V DC)
  • Integrated power system – No external power transformers required to operate the fridge on 12V DC, 24V DC or 110V AC

Available Accessories:

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Direct Connection Wiring Harness (Highly Recommended)

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Remote Temperature Monitor (We don’t really have a use for this since we set the temp and forget it.)

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Temp Sending Unit

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Fridge Slide with Tie-Down Kit

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Fridge Slide-Out

Final Word

While admittedly the initial investment is quite higher than a basic cooler, and nearly double the cost of a high-end cooler, we believe it was well worth the investment for our family due to the low maintenance use and overall convenience it provides. It has become a mainstay for our overlanding adventures, and surprisingly, our every day life as well. The construction quality and user-friendly controls are the finishing touches to a great product, by a reputable company. The included 3 year warranty provides piece of mind that they are willing to stand behind their product, which is very impressive considering the use and abuse the offroad/overland community can dish out.
Overall, the ARB 50 Quart Fridge/Freezer has been an excellent addition to our overlanding kit and we would highly recommend it to anyone looking to expand their food storage abilities.

View original source here.

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Mikey’s Minions Mountain Ride, hosted by Peach State Overland

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Almost all of the members of the Peach State Overland team have been impacted by ALS through friends and/or family. Our Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Cousins, and beloved co-workers of our team have all had to fight this awful disease so we are passionate in supporting the ongoing search for a cure. 100% of the proceeds from this event will be donated in honor of PSO team member Steven’s cousin Mikey Post who is currently fighting ALS.

EVENT INFO: #MMMR2016

Where?
Alabama’s Talladega National Forest 600-1 and 600-2. See the Event Schedule for more details

WE ARE RIDING TO HONOR THOSE IMPACTED BY LOU GEHRIG’S DISEASE (ALS) AND SPREAD AWARENESS OF THE URGENCY TO FIND TREATMENTS AND A CURE.

TO ATTEND THE RIDE, WE ARE ASKING THAT ALL ATTENDEES DONATE AT LEAST $10 CASH PER VEHICLE TO JOIN THE RIDE

DONATIONS OF $20 OR MORE PER VEHICLE WILL RECEIVE 2 PEACH STATE OVERLAND STICKERS AS A THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY

#MMMR2016 ITINERARY

(9:30am – 10:00am EST)
Meeting Point in Georgia is the Cedarcrest Point parking lot behind Anytime Fitness and Kode3 Web Solutions
GPS Coordinates: 34°02’17.1″N 84°46’32.5″W
Activities: Meeting and caravanning from here to the Alabama meeting spot

(10:00am – 12:00pm EST)
Driving to Alabama’s meeting spot

(12pm – 12:30pm EST)
Meeting Point in AL is the Cheaha State Park Visitor Center Parking Lot
GPS Coordinates: 33°28’38.4″N 85°48’33.0″W
Activities: Snacks available for purchase at the visitor center here and there are public bathroom facilities

(12:30pm – 1:30pm EST)
Driving to the trail head of 600-1 at its south-most point
Coordinates: 33.196514, -86.063385

(1:30pm – 4:30pm EST)
Ride 600-1 up to the trail head of 600-2
Trail Description:
600-1 is a fairly tight trail when it comes to trees, so some pin striping may occur. The trail is stock vehicle friendly with the possible need for a spotter in a few rutted out points. There are two beautiful overlooks on this trail that get better as we go. The first is a “power line overlook” (33.26345395996115 , -86.08452537297815) where from the trail there is some beautiful scenery and we will stop here briefly to walk up the 30ft hiking trail to get the full panoramic view of both sides of the mountain. The second overlook is a rock face that gives a full 180 degree view of the west valley (33.31159763414783 , -86.06942082017595) where the view from here is as far as the sky will allow to the horizon.

After 600-1 is completed we will split up into 2 groups:

(Group 1) — Those who want to tackle 600-2 (4:30pm – 7:30pm EST)
We recommend you only going on this trail if you have at least all-terrain tires, and ideally some armor. A lift with 32-33″ tires is preferred to make the trail more comfortable and less stressful. 600-2 has a lot of deep ruts and sections with fairly large rocks in combination with the ruts. There are also, depending on how recently it rained, two roughly 1 ft deep mud holes cannot be avoided towards the north end of the trail.
Estimated trail time: 2-3 hours

(Group 2) — Those who do not want to tackle 600-2 (4:30pm – 6:00pm EST)
This group will take the gravel roads left at 600-2’s south-most trail head and go up 310 to 637 to finish off the day
Estimated Trail time: 2.5 hours

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Overland Bound How To: Off-Road Trail Tire Repair

WARNING: This video contains gratuitous images of a tire being drilled to demonstrate Off-Road Trail Tire Repair!

Tire damage sustained while overlanding isn’t a question of ‘if’, it’s a question of ‘when’. No matter where you are or when the puncture happens, being prepared to make an off-road trail tire repair is key to ensuring your overland trek is successful and safe.

We spent an afternoon in the Overland Bound HQ garage reviewing the tools and techniques for creating a field repair that will ensure you make it back to civilization safely! We chose the ARB Speedy Repair Kit for OB #0000 to demo this off-road fix. The ARB kit contains all the tools needed and comes in a compact, easy to store case. You can learn more about the kit HERE.

Click here to view original source.

 

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Overlanding USA : LabRak review

 

By: Ruston Smith

When it comes to the world of overland there are not that many necessities. A reliable rig, good tires, adventurous spirit and the ability to bring what is necessary. A roof rack ads so much capability to your adventure rig! But with so many options which one do you choose? There is Baja, Gobi, FrontRunner, K9 and many more. When we decided that a rack was next on our list we simply had one question, what is the best? Highest quality, most versatile, easiest to use. We preceded to Scower the internet for exactly what we needed. Weeks and weeks of searching led us to a company out of Oregon, LabRak Roof Racks.

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LabRak makes a state of the art modular roof rack designed for the every day man and the most remote adventures. Immediately we decided to contact the company. At first we were concerned because they did not make a full length roof rack for our 2015 4runer only half racks. After speaking with the owner Shane he insured us that this would not be a problem. After a few months, of what can only be described as obsessive attention to design and construction, a 60lb package arrived on our front door. 2 hours of assembly later and bang, Roof Rack!

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Our new rack was massive, measuring 87” from front to back and 48” from side to side would allow us to bring all of the essential equipment we needed to handle even the most remote territory.

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This rack, being a prototype, has been good and bad, but more good for sure.  Design and quality could not be better.  Every bolt hole and every groove lined up perfectly.  For something that only weighs 60lbs it is amazingly strong.  The only down side to the rack was the slight difficulty mounting our Geo Adventure Gear roof top tent.  Unless you purchase the mounts from LabRak it is impossible to mount the tent.  Now that being said, I would recommend anyone to purchase these mounts.  It allows for an extremely sturdy and secure mounting system for your tent!  Beyond that a wind deflector was added after our recommendation and is now standard on the unit.

 

What makes the LabRak system amazing is its ability to accept almost any mountable accessory by adding the appropriate sized bolt.  The ease that we mounted accessories lights, high lift, awnings and other accessories was truly remarkable.  It allows the possibilities to almost unlimited.

 

We have now had the rack for around 3 months.  It has been 3 months full of trial and error but much success along the way.  Shane now has the rack fully in production and has installed it on a few lot rigs at his local Toyota dealership.  Each rig has sold that same day.

 

I highly recommend this rack as it has been developed by overlanders for overlanders.  It will allow you to bring all of the necessities with ease to your overland destination!  This product is Overanding USA Approved!!!

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