Originally Posted by bump
what is the rake for?
Pine needles and prairie grass, mostly. Most of the time it gets used to clear debris for a tent's footprint, and to smooth out the duff. One of our most frequent riding trip destinations (read: the closest one to home) is logging land for paper production. The trees are mostly jack pines growing out of a sandy forest floor. Between the sand and the duff, the ground can get pretty lumpy to pitch a tent on, even if it is relatively level.
Also, at times we've made new camp sites in certain places, and the rake works well to clear grasses and whatnot from around the fire ring. Of course, it works just as well to rake the material back over the fire ring area as well.
Finally, if you have someone along who can be prone to doing stupid things with fire, the rake makes a handy implement to stop the spread of a grass fire, kind of like a poor man's McLeod.
I don't suppose you have many of those problems camping in the desert, however.
Originally Posted by bump
Another good observation concerning beer vs liquor. I know a guy who only brings Codeine #4s for that exact purpose. He travels light...
While we have found that upping the quality of the liquor we buy reduces the amount of soda needed for mixing (and not to mention the Excedrin for the next morning), packing just Codeine really takes it to a whole 'nother level! I'm not sure I'm that hardcore.
Originally Posted by bump
One of my favorite sites for seeing the possibilities is the Expedition Portal site. Here's their section on trailers. The more I look into my trailer project the more I think I might end up building an independent suspension for it with airbags and shocks. The reason is that as I plan out what I want the trailer to do I see the weight can really change from a day trip solo to a four day hell run deep into the Dez with a buddy or two. Leaf springs really fail at that range of weight. Plus the axle is the one thing holding back the travel offroad behind the 4Runner. Ideally, the new trailer will have the same ground clearance as the 4Runner. And as one very wise poster pointed out, ideally the trailer can hold stuff securely without beating it to death via no damping on the suspension.
So I might do the trailer in two stages. I've found alot of interesting information about doing a independent setup and will post soon as I make sense of all of it.
Great suggestion there. I've been lurking over on ExPo for quite a while now. I've found that the way that group tends to camp is the closest as I've found on the interwebs to the way that I like to camp, except that they get further yet off the beaten path than I do (alas, my tow vehicle is a very large sedan with RWD only). I love how slick some of the dedicated ExPo trailer builds are, the best ones having everything so integrated an accessible. My riding buddies and I have sure refined our system over the years through trial and error, but we dream of the type of setup that some of the ExPo guys have. The biggest problem with most of those rigs is that bike hauling isn't part of the equation for most of them.
I had batted around lots of ideas based around roof-top tents, and even one scheme that involved a service body, Flip-Pac camper shell, and an 18' open deck snowmobile trailer. However, it was lurking on ExPo that helped lead me to discover Jumping Jack trailers, and as I had mentioned previously, I bought a used one a couple months ago. Unfortunately, I've been too busy to use it much lately, but I can show what it does with a few photos grabbed off the internet:
Again, these aren't my photos, but this one really shows off how a Jumping Jack can be loaded. GVWR is about 3000 lbs.
This is how it looks popped up into a tent (very similar to a Springbar) once you're at base camp and unloaded:
Dry weight is about 1200 pounds with the tent stowed, but this thing tows way, way better than that snowmobile trailer does with any kind of load on it (both are Dexter torsion axles), and I used to think the snowmobile trailer didn't tow too badly for what it is.
So far, I've just done a few little overnighters with the kids in backyards and such, and one 2-bike haul for a day-ride. Everything's been going great though, and I've really been satisfied with it. I just wish my schedule would open up enough to do a "real" trip with it before Fall slips away.
The biggest drawback so far to the Jumping Jack is loading and unloading the bikes. The deck they ride on up there is a bit over 3' off the ground. I haven't learned any tricks yet, so it's been similar if slightly more difficult than loading bikes into the box of a full-size pickup, except that you don't have the box sides to work off of.
It's looking like we'll still be using the snowmobile trailer for day trips, and the Jumping Jack for multi-/overnight camping trips. Of course it's the camping trips that require all the extra gear, and I'm hugely excited that I've just made a big step forward in the quality of my base camp setup.
I see barnyard was in this thread. It turns out the last two photos in each of my posts on the first page were from Akeley. The second to last one was off a small approach from the Spur II forest road, just South of where the trail crosses that road to make a tiny loop up to cross the little road that cuts between Spur II and 64. I wouldn't recommend that site, though. The second time we used it, two of us got up (at different times) during the night to stumble out of the tent in our skivvies to take a leak in the dark. The day after we got home, both of us broke out with poison ivy rash on our legs and arms, but thankfully nowhere else!