I bike, fish, snowboard, hike, kayak, and recently got into bushcraft! I will post up my various adventures that the TANTO takes me on. Check back soon for new stories!
This section is UNDER CONSTRUCTION as I cannot add any more "adventure" stories here due to the site limitations, I need to figure out a better way of keeping track of my adventures, possibly a blog.
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Date: 3/9/2019 - 3/10/2019
Location: Starved Rock - Oglesby, IL
After some long anticipated upgrades to the TANTO, I jumped on the opportunity to camp in crap weather when Shane said hey Paul wanna do something stupid this weekend? YUP! I recently installed a roof rack for various accessories, then the day of this trip my dad helped me install the awning so I was all about testing everything in wind, rain, and whatever else March wanted to throw at us. The fact that it was only 1 night and relatively close made for the perfect testing opportunity.
I opted to take back roads because I was not sure how the awning would hold up in the wind let alone highway speeds since more than half of the awning is unsupported by the roof rack. This turned out to be a great way to get to Starved Rock with lots of country views, no highway buttholes, and even a random plane in the dirt! The crosswind was slamming the TANTO at a constant 20mph with gusts here and there from every direction and I was very surprised how little the awning moved in any direction at 60mph. It seemed like a hot knife through butter in that wind, rain, and turbulence caused by the bed of my truck.
I arrived just before dark so setup was a bit of an adventure but the awning came together flawlessly. I have it mounted in such a way that there is barely any gap between the roof of my trailer and the bottom of the awning, creating a nice seal from wind and rain on the side of the awning. The built in legs allowed for a quick setup and the awning came together in about a minute maybe? I proceeded to stake down the awning and found frozen ground a few inches below the soggy mud surface...that was fine, the stakes are beefy and only one out of 6 or 7 got slightly bent.
We eventually got a fire going, ate some bomb chili, and hung out around the fire while the winds picked up steadily. Both Shane and I had our awnings out for testing purposes and decided to add some more guy lines before heading to bed. Everything was roped down like a spiderweb using anything we could find to anchor to; picnic tables, trees, and even the firepit came in handy. Got in the campers and "tried" to fall asleep but with every gust the trailers were being rocked like Tom Hank's raft in Castaway! Shane made the call to take down the awnings so we could sleep easy...they were never intended to be out in that strong of wind anyway. It turned out to be a good idea because the winds were no better in the morning.
#1 In an effort to make the closing of my side doors easier, I removed 2 plastic bumpers that raised the door 1/8" when closing. This apparently made a small gap in the seal of my door and as I drove through the rain to camp I got a bit of water inside the camper which was easy to clean with some paper towels. I'm really glad that issue was exposed on a 75 mile drive rather than a 7 hour drive!! I put them back so the issue is fixed. Added some strap handles to make closing the doors easy peasy.
#2 I completely forgot to open any windows or my vent...this camper is air tight when everything is closed up and I slept for a solid 8 hours in that finite amount of air! Seems to be plenty of oxygen in there for 1 person for at least 8 hours =)
#3 No rubber boots....enough said.
Date: 1/11/2019 - 1/13/2019
Location: Camp Reinberg - Palatine, IL
Didn't travel far, but camping in snow for the first time with a new camper had me nervous enough as it was. I was unreasonably paranoid about water seeping into to the nooks and crannies of my camper and then expanding as it froze, resulting in broken seals and all that nasty stuff...so I decided to use my survival tarp as a canopy. The first night was dry and quiet. I upgraded to a heated blanket and that kept me much warmer all night to the point where I began to sweat a bit. I ran my exhaust fan but NOT FAST ENOUGH, because I ended up with some condensation inside again.
The snow began falling mid morning the next day and we were pleasantly surprised to find a volunteer crew cleaning up brush in the woods who were generous enough to load us up with way more than enough firewood for the weekend. We happily helped them move it over to our camp. As the day progressed the snow did too, and it just never stopped. It snowed into the evening and into dinner prep which was a pain in the ass. NOTE TO SELF: don't cook side dishes in the cold...they cool too fast!
Overnight my canopy collapsed from snow accumulation as it did not stop snowing. Again I had some condensation from not running the fan fast enough. I think I need to run my fan faster than I want and just adjust to be comfortable at that temperature in the camper.
Date: 12/22/2018 - 12/23/2018
Location: Camp Shane - Monticello, IN
Decided to test the TANTO in cold weather to see if this can be a 4 season adventure camper. Outside temps were in the 20s overnight, inside the camper was 37F at the floor, but with a foam pad under my sleeping bag and pad I felt mostly comfortable. I struggled with condensation but that's because I didn't run my exhaust fan in an effort to preserve heat in the camper. I had a small dashboard heater which was completely useless and a waste of battery power. Upgrading to a heated blanket for next time.
Date: 10/26/2018 - 10/28/2018
Location: Jubilee College State Park - Peoria, IL
In the fall of 2017 I took my parents camping for their first time, and that was our first family camping adventure. They fell in love with everything about it, from the sounds to the smells, to the laid back nature of camping in general. Needless to say, they were very excited to check out the TANTO in action!
The trip was on a weekend that was colder than we wanted but we had the campground to ourselves due to the weather. It turned out to be a very nice weekend with awesome fall colors, perfect for camping in my opinion! My parents were a bit cold overnight but I think I have ways of getting them more comfortable if we decide to camp in cold weather again.
Date: 10/19/2018 - 10/21/2018
Location: Camp Shane - Monticell, IN
Lesson Learned: Hobbs Hollow is awesome!! Never a bad time down at brown.
Date: 9/20/2018 - 9/23/2018
Location: Rippling River Campground - Marquette, MI
What I thought was a stupid idea turned out to be a really really really stupid idea. The designers of the Marji Gesick are striving to put on the "toughest" single day mountain bike race in the US...and I think they have done it...literally ALL UP HILL. Every turn you take, you are climbing another hill. It took 9+ hours to finish "50" (56 actual) stupid miles! I was completely cramped up after mile 25 and had to get off my bike more than I could ride it for the remainder of the suffer fest. We vowed that this was the last dumb race we would ever do...a few days later we signed up for the 100 mile version...
Date: 9/14/2018 - 9/16/2018
Location: Camp Shane - Monticello, IN
Date: 9/7/2018 - 9/10/2018
Location: Van Buren State Park - Kalamazoo, MI
Lesson learned: DO NOT PARK UNDER TREES WITH ACORNS OR OTHER NUTS THAT SQUIRRELS CAN CHUCK AT YOU!
Date: 9/1/2018 - 9/5/2018
Location: Flambeau River State Park - Winter, WI
The very first trip with the new TANTO camper trailer a week after I "completed" the build. This was a well planned adventure to target Musky and Smallmouth Bass on various northern Wisconsin rivers and lakes. What we did not plan, was the relentless rain for the entire trip...except for the day we pack up to leave of course! This was a learning experience in many ways, most importantly that I should NEVER rush my work. I failed to seal up everything adequately with caulking and the rain let me know it. No leaking inside but there were some spots where the wood began getting wet and a bit stained. A lasting reminder that I am not perfect and neither is my TANTO! Many Musky were caught that weekend and we had a blast, this will be a repeating trip I think!