Sunday, January 10, 2021

Our Electrical Setup

Choosing electrical options for your Hiker trailer can be confusing and anxiety-inducing. You're making a significant investment and you want to "get it right." You want to make sure you're choosing the most economical option while meeting your current and future electrical needs at the same time. You have a lot of questions and the Hiker website isn't really clear on which options are best. I hope this post can offer a bit of help.

We ordered our Hiker in the Spring of 2019 after a lot of research. We chose Hiker because of the quality, options, and proximity of the Indiana factory to our home in West Virginia. We read a lot of websites,  asked questions on the Used Hiker Facebook Group, and watched a lot of videos. Even then, we weren't quite sure we made the right choice when it came to our electrical system.

We prefer boondocking so we knew we needed an electrical setup that would meet our short-term needs as well our long-term needs. Currently, we both work full time so we're only able to camp a couple times a year. In the future, we plan to travel more frequently for extended periods. Until then our needs are simple. We need to charge phones, camera batteries, and other small devices while powering the fan, lights, and a CPAP machine. Because our needs are minimal and we wanted to start our adventures as soon as possible, we opted to purchase the Jackery 500 portable power generator with the 100w solar panel and add some additional components that we can expand upon at a later date.

To meet our current needs and expand at a later date, we ordered the 12v prep and electrical package #4. In addition to the preinstalled fan and light, we installed two power ports and two reading lights in the cabin and some LED strip lights, and a fuse panel in the galley. Modifying the system was simple. I wired a 12v port at the front of the cabin into the preinstalled wiring that was part of the 12 v prep. I ran my own wiring for a port in the rear of the cabin, as well as the reading lights and LED lighting. All of these components are wired to a Fuse panel in the galley. To complete the build, I cut the factory-installed pigtail with the 12v male plug and rewired it to the fuse panel. Now, all we have to do is plug the pigtail into the Jackery to power our trailer.  Below are some photos of the various components.

Jackery 500 and 12 slot fuse panel

LED Strip Lights

12 Slot Fuse Panel

Rear cubbies with 12v port and reading lights

12v port with female plug, USB ports, and switch

If you're looking for a good review of the Jackery 500 as well as the Jackery 1000, check out Matt Dewitt's YouTube videos. He also has an excellent video recommending the LED strip lights we installed as well. Matt is a great resource for tips, tricks, and modifications.

One of these days, we may expand the system to include a more powerful battery, a solar controller, and other components. It all depends on our needs and how badly we want to sacrifice the space in our tongue box.

Happy Camping.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Gifts for Camping

Santa was good to us this year and brought us a few items on our camping wish list.

During our travels, we like to explore the area where we're staying, and this Delorme Atlas and Gazetteer map will come in handy for navigating the mountains of our home state of West Virginia and the surrounding area.

The Wisley LED lanterns, which we found out about in Matt Dewitt's YouTube Video on 9 Ways to Keep the Bugs Away, will come in handy.

These lanterns are rechargeable, have three levels of brightness, and feature built-in bug zappers to keep the critters at bay. The light and bug zapper can be operated independently of one another to conserve battery power.

We're looking forward to warmer weather so we can get out and try out our new gear.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Our Fall Visit to Coopers Rock State Forest

What’s a couple to do when one person can’t get time off of work and you’ve got a new camper that has only been used once since you purchased it? You find a local campground with cellular service and wifi so you can get your work done while enjoying your new camper.

Recently, my wife and I took our 5 x 8 Mid-Range Hiker for a quick trip to the McCullom Campground at Coopers Rock State Forest near Morgantown, West Virginia so we could work remotely while enjoying the beautiful fall weather.

Coopers Rock State Forest is a beautiful park best known for the large rock outcropping overlooking the Cheat River in the canyon below. The park is also a popular location for picnicking, hiking, and rock climbing.

McCullom Campground at Coopers Rock State Forest is one of our favorite places to camp because it is close to home, which is convenient for quick getaways. We typically prefer to dry camp or boondock but we enjoy the amenities like the aforementioned wifi, electric, and the bathhouse. The campground is open April through October and has 25 sites, all with electrical hookups. There is a central bathhouse with showers and water available from an outside faucet. The bathhouse also has a washer and dryer in the back as well as a large sink for washing dishes.

The camp store has souvenirs, camping gear, snacks, ice, and firewood available. Currently, Firewood is $6 a bundle but you don’t get a whole lot for the money and some of the pieces aren’t much larger than kindling. Unfortunately, this is the only place to get firewood. Due to state forest regulations to reduce the spread of the invasive spotted lanternfly, you can’t bring your own and there aren’t any locals residents selling firewood near the park. The wood in the photo below is two bundles, which cost $12.

During our stay, we spent our days working remotely; taking breaks with a walk around the campground to stretch our legs. When we weren’t working, we spent our time reading, relaxing by the fire, and cooking in the Dutch Oven. One afternoon we ventured to the overlook to take a few photos and shoot videos for our YouTube channel. Other than a rainy first night the rest of our trip featured cool nights with sunny days. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

That Time of Year Again

Today is the annual Ramp Dinner at the Mason Dixon Historical Park in Core, WV. The dinner features menu items showcasing Ramps, a natural delicacy only available during the spring at higher elevations in Eastern North America from Georgia to Canada.

The menu features scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, ham, biscuits, gravy, noodles, potatoes, kielbasa, ramp wontons, and other items. They even have Ramp cake.

If you've never been to a ramp dinner or ramp "feed" as some call them, it's not too late. Check out this list of 2019 Ramp Dinners and Festivals.

A Sad Day for the Love Sh@ck

Last spring, during our only outing in 2018, we noticed that the floor in our 2004 Dutchman T@b was a bit squishy in front of the counter. Fearing the worst, we peeled back the linoleum and immediately saw the water damage. After removing the rest of the linoleum, we could see that at least half the floor was damaged. Realizing that we couldn't simply patch things up, we began our research into the possibility of replacing the floor.

After reviewing YouTube videos, chatting with other T@b owners on Facebook, and emailing Elsie at NuCamp we decided to purchase the parts needed to do a total floor replacement. Unfortunately, once we removed the carriage from the trailer, we discovered that the damage was too severe and the floor replacement would not happen as planned. Sadly, we returned the replacement floor and parts to NuCamp and demolished the Love Shack. We're now in the market for a new tiny trailer.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Best Laid Plans

As the poet Robert Burns once wrote, "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." So it went with this summer's travel plans. To a degree.

This past spring, the Mrs. began a new job. Her busy season runs from mid-May until early August which meant we had to cancel a cruise that we'd been saving and planning for all winter. Luckily we got the bulk of our deposit back and were able to squeeze in a camping vacation, in late August, along the Williams River where we spent our honeymoon three years ago.

The Willams River runs through the Monongahela National Forrest and offers rustic campsites situated along the river. Each campsite features a fire ring, picnic table, and lantern post. There is no running water other than the river and there are vault toilets located various locations along Williams River Road. Last June, devastating floods ravaged the area causing major damage to the roadway and campsites.  The forest service has been working diligently this past year to restore the campsites and roads, which were fully open when we visited.

It was a beautiful week. We only had one day of rain so we were able to spend the week relaxing, reading, fishing, visiting the scenic highway, and perfecting our dutch-oven cooking skills. We had a wonderful time.