Gas-Powered “Solar Generators,” Battery Banks, and More

I just saw via Gear Junkie that Goal Zero, the company that makes “solar generators” (i.e., portable battery banks) and solar panels is making a gas generator. The thing is, it’s not a traditional gas generator. You don’t plug things into it directly but plug your Goal Zero battery bank into it. The generator then charges the battery bank, and you run all of your electronics from the battery bank. According to the Gear Junkie article (go there for pics and more info), this setup is 20 (!) times more fuel efficient than a traditional generator.

The knock against Goal Zero stuff is always that it’s expensive compared to what you could make yourself, but for those of us who don’t have much interest in cobbling together our own battery banks and charging setups, I think they remain a good solution.

While we’re on the subject, I’ve been eyeing this enormous battery bank by Anker. I’ve used Anker battery pack products in the past and had good experiences with them. This particular battery bank can charge a laptop 15 times, and that’s exactly what I’d use it for. It’s also much smaller and lighter than the Goal Zero equivalents.

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In other news, my trip down to the desert has been delayed by a couple of days because of the weather. It’s snowing outside right now as I type this (we’re getting an uncommonly high amount of snow this year in northern Utah), and I want to wait for the snow to stop and the roads to clear a bit before I make a run for it. And if you’re not already doing so, consider following my new @SUVRVing account in Instagram.

I’m Leaving Soon on a Trip (and More)

I’m leaving in a few days for a month-long road trip, and I’d really like your opinion on what kinds of videos you’d like to see from me. And while I’ve already been to the areas that I’ll be visiting, I’m always open to hearing about lesser-known things to see or do. In the video below, I also talk about a few new pieces of gear I bought for the trip. (Click here if you can’t see the video.)

In addition just started a new Instagram account for SUV RVing, and you can find it here: http://instagram.com/suvrving. I’ll definitely be posting lots of pics from the upcoming road trip.

This Map Shows Where It Is and Isn’t Snowy Right Now

I live in northern Utah, where it’s currently very cold and very snowy. I’m leaving next week for a monthlong road trip through southern Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California, and I wanted to know how far south I’ll have to drive until I’m out of the snow. I did some searching and found this great website that features an interactive map of snow cover around the United States and southern Canada. Looks like I’ll be snow-free once I hit St. George in the southwestern corner of Utah.

To get a more complete picture of the snow situation, here are two more websites that have snow cover maps:

These are great websites for SUV RVers, vandwellers, and anyone else looking to escape the snow this winter.

I Made a Portable Camp Toilet. Here’s a Video of It.

When I couldn’t find a portable camp toilet for my SUV RVing adventures that was compact enough for my liking, I made my own. The video below shows how it works. (Click here if you can’t see the video.)

(And if you’re wondering if all I’ll ever do from here on out is post videos and never blog, rest assured that I’ll be back to blogging here soon enough.)

A Video Review of the Lantern I Use in My SUV

This is a basically a video version of this review about the lantern I use in my SUV when I’m sleeping in it. I use it instead of the vehicle’s built-in lights to make sure I never run down the car’s battery. I’ve had the lantern for a year and a half now and think it’s a really great thing to travel with. I never leave home without mine. (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

This isn’t a sponsored review. No one is paying me to review this, and I bought the lantern with my own money.

Let me know what you think. Thanks!

DIY Curtains for Your SUV, Van, Car, etc.

I did a lot of research on making curtains for my SUV before actually doing it, and nothing really appealed to me. A lot of the solutions involved drilling buttons or screws into the interior of the vehicle, and that was not something I was interested in. Other solutions had to do with using adhesive Velcro, but I didn’t want any gooey residue left behind. What I ended up doing and then refining over the subsequent months of traveling was a hybrid approach that involves a few different curtains, poster board cutouts, and more, as shown in the video below.

(Click here if you can’t see the video above.)

DIY Steering Wheel Desk for Holding Up a Laptop

I work online, and while that means that I can work from anywhere, it also means that I work when I’m on the road. After realizing that there were times when I preferred to stay in my SUV rather than make the trek to a coffee shop or library, I set about making it easier and more comfortable to work from my laptop when in my SUV. The result? The steering wheel desk that I show in the video below:

(Click here if you can’t see the video above.)