Gear Notes

This one is for the gear nerds. I read a lot of blogs by other overlanders, especially the folks over at Life Remotely, taking note of what they packed. We ended up packing a little differently since we aren’t staying as long in any one place or going to as many remote areas as the folks we read about. I won’t go over an exhaustive packing list (yet), but here are a couple highlights.

Viair 88P Air Compressor 

Viair 88P portable compressor

The best little compressor I’ve ever owned.

I had an old compressor that hooked to the 12 V / lighter outlet, but it barely worked. This compressor is a huge upgrade, especially since I was filling up the front driver’s side tire every day on the trip (just got it fixed today for ~$5!). It hooks directly to the car battery and has its own fuse, so you avoid the possibility of blowing a fuse in the car. The clamps are a little small, but are able to grab on to the nuts on the battery terminals. Once you hook it up, an LED comes on indicating that the compressor has power and also providing useful light if inflating at night. The power cord and hose are both long, so it’s easy to reach all of the tires. The hose end fitting threads securely on to the tire valve. It also comes with extra attachments: one for filling up an air mattress and a needle for your soccer/yoga/whatever ball. The heat sink fins get hot while it’s pumping, but cools off very quickly after you turn off the compressor.

Primus ETA Lite Camp Stove

A tiny, awesome stove.

A tiny, awesome stove.

Tiny and powerful, the Primus camp stove is designed for backpacking, but works great for car camping when you want to conserve space. The cookpot attaches securely to the burner, so it efficiently transfers heat and minimizes the impact of wind. It’s super easy to set up and use. I might get a larger pot at some point to be able to boil more water at one time, but so far it’s been great. Note that Primus offers smaller fuel canisters so you can fit the burner, a can of gas, the stand and the lanyard inside the pot. Very cool.

Here are a couple things we wish we’d brought:

A waterproof, all-season tent — We’ll be buying this as soon as possible since we’re planning to do some camping in Costa Rica. Our current tent is not up to the task.

GPS — After getting lost as many times as we have on this trip (lots), we’re probably going to invest in a GPS. We found that we could get by with paper/digital maps and the kindness of strangers, but it was often frustrating and caused significant delays. There are free maps available for Garmin units for Central America and much of the world.

That’s all on gear for now. More soon!

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