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Sleeping In A Honda Fit

This is my friend’s Honda Fit with a DAC Explorer 2 tailgate tent attached. The back seat of the Fit folds flat— which makes it a candidate for a camping domicile!

With the front seats pushed all the way forward and tilted as far toward the front as they will go, many people could sleep comfortably in this vehicle.

You could fill in the floor space behind the front seats with whatever you choose so that an inflatable mattress could utilize the maximum possible footprint.

I’m 5’11” and if you’re a vertical overachiever, like me, it might not be a perfect solution. For side-sleepers who sleep with their knees slightly bent, however, even some taller people might still find it satisfactory.

Since the DAC Explorer 2 is designed for minivans and SUVs it’s fairly generously proportioned for a vehicle as small as the Fit. In fact, it kind of looks like the Fit is wearing its boyfriend’s shirt.

That said— it’s still a reasonably good match, size-wise, and I would not hesitate to put the two together.

It’s a good Fit!

-sorryaboutthebadpun!chelle

Sleeping In A Honda Fit

This is my friend’s Honda Fit with a DAC Explorer 2 tailgate tent attached. The back seat of the Fit folds flat— which makes it a candidate for a camping domicile!

With the front seats pushed all the way forward and tilted as far toward the front as they will go, many people could sleep comfortably in this vehicle.

You could fill in the floor space behind the front seats with whatever you choose so that an inflatable mattress could utilize the maximum possible footprint.

I’m 5’11” and if you’re a vertical overachiever, like me, it might not be a perfect solution. For side-sleepers who sleep with their knees slightly bent, however, even some taller people might still find it satisfactory.

Since the DAC Explorer 2 is designed for minivans and SUVs it’s fairly generously proportioned for a vehicle as small as the Fit. In fact, it kind of looks like the Fit is wearing its boyfriend’s shirt.

That said— it’s still a reasonably good match, size-wise, and I would not hesitate to put the two together.

It’s a good Fit!

-sorryaboutthebadpun!chelle

Our Dish Washing Station

"That looks like your pop-up camper in the background. Are you cheating on us, Chelle?"

Well, ummm, kinda! We minivan-camp about 75% of the time but there are occasions when we find it advantageous to take the pop-up with us. I hope you won’t hold it against me!

There are a few things I’d like you to take note of in the above pic:

1) The small, white Palmolive container at the right-front of the pic contains pre-soaped disposable dishwashing cloths. We love them and so will you! We actually cut each one in half and get two for every one.

2) The big red aluminum pot gets used for 99.9% of our cooking— everything from frying bacon to boiling spaghetti. We also heat water in it and use it for the washing up, as well.

3) When we camp someplace that has electricity we cook over an electric stove eye rather than burning expensive camping fuel. The big red pot also frequently finds itself over a campfire. 

4) That $9 Coleman folding sink is one of our favorite camping accessories. After washing dishes in the big red pot they get a two-stage rinse in the sink.

Washing dishes is quick and easy the Chelle way!

-domesticgoddesschelle

Our Dish Washing Station

"That looks like your pop-up camper in the background. Are you cheating on us, Chelle?"

Well, ummm, kinda! We minivan-camp about 75% of the time but there are occasions when we find it advantageous to take the pop-up with us. I hope you won’t hold it against me!

There are a few things I’d like you to take note of in the above pic:

1) The small, white Palmolive container at the right-front of the pic contains pre-soaped disposable dishwashing cloths. We love them and so will you! We actually cut each one in half and get two for every one.

2) The big red aluminum pot gets used for 99.9% of our cooking— everything from frying bacon to boiling spaghetti. We also heat water in it and use it for the washing up, as well.

3) When we camp someplace that has electricity we cook over an electric stove eye rather than burning expensive camping fuel. The big red pot also frequently finds itself over a campfire.

4) That $9 Coleman folding sink is one of our favorite camping accessories. After washing dishes in the big red pot they get a two-stage rinse in the sink.

Washing dishes is quick and easy the Chelle way!

-domesticgoddesschelle

Chevy Aveo Driver Door Lock Repair

This post has nothing to do with camping and nothing to do with minivans.

If you’re the unfortunate owner of a Chevy Aveo, however, you’ll find this information to be very useful when your driver’s side door lock eventually falls inside the door and you no longer have any way to unlock it using a key.

As an Aveo owner I’ve come to learn that virtually all Aveos suffer the same problems— and this is one of them.

I watched YouTube videos and read procedures and none of them contained ALL of the information that you’d need to remove the panel and reinstall the lock cylinder— and videos were generally too dark to be useful. 

Also, some people refer to a “clip” that holds the lock cylinder in place while others refer to a screw.

This post will clear all of that up.

Begin by using the procedure outlined in this post:

http://www.aveoforum.com/forum/f94/diy-removing-door-panel-2006-model-16234/

When it’s time to remove the window crank you’ll probably find yourself scratching your head, however.

I created an “exploded view,” of sorts, in the bottom picture, shown above.

The clip (center) attaches to the back of the handle and grabs the crank mechanism so that the handle won’t fall off.

You can buy a special tool to remove that clip— or you can bend a paper clip into the shape of a tiny crochet hook (right) and use it to reach behind the handle and snatch out the clip.

Do it with your door closed so that you can find it after it pops out.

I wasn’t strong enough to hold the paper clip so I had to grab it with a pair of needle nose pliers.

Once the door panel has been removed peel the plastic sheeting away from the left side of the door.

You’ll see a hole shaped like the upper picture, shown above.

When you look through the hole, however, you WON’T see the lock cylinder (indicated by the yellow arrow) or the bolt that holds it in place (indicated by the green arrow).

Instead, you’ll see daylight.

Find the lock cylinder. It’ll be nearby, hanging from a metal rod.

Next, search around the bottom of the door until you find the bolt.

It’ll be there, so keep looking until you find it.

Place the lock cylinder back in position and reinstall the bolt.  If you use Lock-Tite on the threads of the bolt you won’t have to worry about it happening again.

Reinstall the door panel and you’ll be good to go.

If you’re an Aveo owner you have my condolences. 

Thankfully we also have two Chrysler minivans and a Solara. We’d get rid of the Aveo but I’d feel guilty selling it to someone.

Even a stranger.

-stuckwithitchelle

While you’re here why not have a look around? You can start with the  Table of Contents.

Chevy Aveo Driver Door Lock Repair

This post has nothing to do with camping and nothing to do with minivans.

If you’re the unfortunate owner of a Chevy Aveo, however, you’ll find this information to be very useful when your driver’s side door lock eventually falls inside the door and you no longer have any way to unlock it using a key.

As an Aveo owner I’ve come to learn that virtually all Aveos suffer the same problems— and this is one of them.

I watched YouTube videos and read procedures and none of them contained ALL of the information that you’d need to remove the panel and reinstall the lock cylinder— and videos were generally too dark to be useful.

Also, some people refer to a “clip” that holds the lock cylinder in place while others refer to a screw.

This post will clear all of that up.

Begin by using the procedure outlined in this post:

http://www.aveoforum.com/forum/f94/diy-removing-door-panel-2006-model-16234/

When it’s time to remove the window crank you’ll probably find yourself scratching your head, however.

I created an “exploded view,” of sorts, in the bottom picture, shown above.

The clip (center) attaches to the back of the handle and grabs the crank mechanism so that the handle won’t fall off.

You can buy a special tool to remove that clip— or you can bend a paper clip into the shape of a tiny crochet hook (right) and use it to reach behind the handle and snatch out the clip.

Do it with your door closed so that you can find it after it pops out.

I wasn’t strong enough to hold the paper clip so I had to grab it with a pair of needle nose pliers.

Once the door panel has been removed peel the plastic sheeting away from the left side of the door.

You’ll see a hole shaped like the upper picture, shown above.

When you look through the hole, however, you WON’T see the lock cylinder (indicated by the yellow arrow) or the bolt that holds it in place (indicated by the green arrow).

Instead, you’ll see daylight.

Find the lock cylinder. It’ll be nearby, hanging from a metal rod.

Next, search around the bottom of the door until you find the bolt.

It’ll be there, so keep looking until you find it.

Place the lock cylinder back in position and reinstall the bolt. If you use Lock-Tite on the threads of the bolt you won’t have to worry about it happening again.

Reinstall the door panel and you’ll be good to go.

If you’re an Aveo owner you have my condolences.

Thankfully we also have two Chrysler minivans and a Solara. We’d get rid of the Aveo but I’d feel guilty selling it to someone.

Even a stranger.

-stuckwithitchelle

While you’re here why not have a look around? You can start with the Table of Contents.

(Free) Camping at Streeter Park (with hookups!) in Aurora, Nebraska

We arrived after dark and left before dawn, so I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures— but this place is one of the best deals you’ll ever find. How nice of the community to provide a facility like this!

It’s located just a few miles off of I-80, is easy to find, seems to be lightly used, and had water and electric hookups at each site.

And it’s free! There’s even a dump station.

The maximum stay is 4 days and only half the sites were in use when we visited (early August).

I have no idea what the bathroom situation was since we just used our porta-potty.

We arrived at 10:30 pm, selected a site, set up the potty and went to bed. Since it was a quick turnaround we didn’t even bother with a tailgate tent— we just closed up the van, tested the carbon monoxide detector, turned on the air conditioning, and slept with the vehicle running.

When we left, at 5:30 am, we noticed that several more people had arrived after us— including some tenters and a class A RV.

We’ll be back again, at some future date, and will snap a few pics while we’re there.

In the meantime— be sure to put it on your list as a stopover point.

And spend a few dollars, while you’re in town, since I’m sure that that’s the justification for offering these free sites.

-wellrestedchelle

The Camping Spa Foot Bath and Massage

If we’re camping and there isn’t snow on the ground you can be sure that I’ll be wearing sandals or flip-flops.

While wet-wipes usually do a pretty good job of cleaning up my feet, before bed, sometimes they’re just too far gone and need more serious attention— which means it’s time for a “Chelle’s Camping Spa Foot Bath and Massage.”

I simply squirt some dish detergent into a kitchen trash bag, add one gallon of warm water, roll up my slacks and place my feet inside. 

It feels heavenly.

After they soak, for a bit, I rub them back and forth on the ground, through the bottom of the bag, and enjoy a luxurious foot massage like those found in only the finest primitive campgrounds.

Then I throw my sandals in, too, and get them nice and clean, as well.

Once the trash bag has been emptied it can be used in your potty bucket or for your campsite refuse.

Few things feel better than nice, clean, soft feet!

-noappointmentnecessarychelle

To see our Table of Contents please click here.

The Camping Spa Foot Bath and Massage

If we’re camping and there isn’t snow on the ground you can be sure that I’ll be wearing sandals or flip-flops.

While wet-wipes usually do a pretty good job of cleaning up my feet, before bed, sometimes they’re just too far gone and need more serious attention— which means it’s time for a “Chelle’s Camping Spa Foot Bath and Massage.”

I simply squirt some dish detergent into a kitchen trash bag, add one gallon of warm water, roll up my slacks and place my feet inside.

It feels heavenly.

After they soak, for a bit, I rub them back and forth on the ground, through the bottom of the bag, and enjoy a luxurious foot massage like those found in only the finest primitive campgrounds.

Then I throw my sandals in, too, and get them nice and clean, as well.

Once the trash bag has been emptied it can be used in your potty bucket or for your campsite refuse.

Few things feel better than nice, clean, soft feet!

-noappointmentnecessarychelle

To see our Table of Contents please click here.

Extra Storage

We consider the space on the bed in our van to be almost sacred. Our goal is to keep it completely clear, while we travel, so that our naps are relaxing, refreshing, and uncluttered.

The under-bed storage bins hold our clothing, kitchen and general utility items, and a DAC Explorer 2 tailgate tent. 

The cooler sits on the floor at the foot of the bed.

The bag on our Hitch-Haul shelf holds kitty litter, bag chairs, an axe, maul, camp stove, potty bucket and tarps.

That still leaves a few items like a bow saw, the potty tent, Tail Veil, pump-up garden sprayer (for showering) and miscellaneous just-in-case items that need stowage.

Our solution is to repurpose our bike rack by using it to support an old rooftop storage bag we had laying around.

I had considered purchasing a small 4’ x 4’ utility trailer but didn’t want the headache of maintaining another axle and two more tires for our trips.

I did NOT consider rooftop storage because it cost us 5 mpg when we tried it on a previous trip, years ago.

Utilizing additional space behind our vehicle does not seem to impact our gas mileage at all, however.

We place only light, bulky items on the bike rack so that we can still open the hatch when needed.

We also use a stick of PVC pipe for additional support when the hatch is raised.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective easy way to store more gear, while you travel, this might work for you, too.

-packratchelle

Extra Storage

We consider the space on the bed in our van to be almost sacred. Our goal is to keep it completely clear, while we travel, so that our naps are relaxing, refreshing, and uncluttered.

The under-bed storage bins hold our clothing, kitchen and general utility items, and a DAC Explorer 2 tailgate tent.

The cooler sits on the floor at the foot of the bed.

The bag on our Hitch-Haul shelf holds kitty litter, bag chairs, an axe, maul, camp stove, potty bucket and tarps.

That still leaves a few items like a bow saw, the potty tent, Tail Veil, pump-up garden sprayer (for showering) and miscellaneous just-in-case items that need stowage.

Our solution is to repurpose our bike rack by using it to support an old rooftop storage bag we had laying around.

I had considered purchasing a small 4’ x 4’ utility trailer but didn’t want the headache of maintaining another axle and two more tires for our trips.

I did NOT consider rooftop storage because it cost us 5 mpg when we tried it on a previous trip, years ago.

Utilizing additional space behind our vehicle does not seem to impact our gas mileage at all, however.

We place only light, bulky items on the bike rack so that we can still open the hatch when needed.

We also use a stick of PVC pipe for additional support when the hatch is raised.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective easy way to store more gear, while you travel, this might work for you, too.

-packratchelle

The All-Important 12 Volt Clip-On Fan

We purchased this fan at a truck stop, a few years ago, and it has become an indispensable part of our camping kit.

It’s great for those times of year when it’s not warm enough to bother with an air conditioner but when a little breeze would make sleeping much more comfortable.

Since it only draws 10 watts it’ll use just 6.7 amp-hours in an eight hour time period— which won’t even come close to discharging most car batteries. We have an AGM battery in our van and it starts the engine effortlessly even after using our fan for several nights.

I also find that it’s the best way for me to dry my hair after a camp shower.

Sweating while you try to put on your face?  This little fan will fix you right up.

If you use it with a cigarette lighter extension cord you can even clip it to your folding chair on a hot day.

The clip allows us to attach it to head rests, ceiling-mounted grab handles or cup holders.

If you’re itching to buy a gizmo to add to your camping kit then I would suggest this $15 item, available at truck stops and Walmarts everywhere.

-coolandcomfychelle

The All-Important 12 Volt Clip-On Fan

We purchased this fan at a truck stop, a few years ago, and it has become an indispensable part of our camping kit.

It’s great for those times of year when it’s not warm enough to bother with an air conditioner but when a little breeze would make sleeping much more comfortable.

Since it only draws 10 watts it’ll use just 6.7 amp-hours in an eight hour time period— which won’t even come close to discharging most car batteries. We have an AGM battery in our van and it starts the engine effortlessly even after using our fan for several nights.

I also find that it’s the best way for me to dry my hair after a camp shower.

Sweating while you try to put on your face? This little fan will fix you right up.

If you use it with a cigarette lighter extension cord you can even clip it to your folding chair on a hot day.

The clip allows us to attach it to head rests, ceiling-mounted grab handles or cup holders.

If you’re itching to buy a gizmo to add to your camping kit then I would suggest this $15 item, available at truck stops and Walmarts everywhere.

-coolandcomfychelle

The Perfect Camping Shower

In the past I’ve recommended using a solar shower bag and a bathroom tent to create a camping shower. This idea has several disadvantages, however:

• It requires hoisting a heavy bag of water to a place higher than your head.

• Even though the shower tent has drains in the floor you still end up with soap buildup on the walls and floor which must be cleaned.

• You have to remove the potty bucket, kitty litter pail and paper products each time you shower.

I solved this by switching to a one gallon pump-up garden sprayer and a few tarps that are held up with bungee cords.

This method accomplishes the following:

• There’s no floor to clean.

• You can make the shower “room” large enough to keep the walls clean.

• The pump-up sprayer is easy to carry and sprays pressurized water— which makes for easier rinsing.

We always carry about three or four tarps with us as well as bungee cords and large utility clips, anyway. You’d be amazed at how handy those items can be, especially in bad weather. Since we have them with us it’s another opportunity to put them to use.

Once I use a few tarps to create the shower room I heat some water over the fire or on the camp stove. (Use the fire and save your fuel!)

With ONE GALLON of water I can take a leisurely shower, wash and condition my hair and shave my legs— with time left over to just stand in the warm spray at the end— and that’s with leaving the sprayer trigger in the “locked open” position for the entire time.

I pump up the sprayer before I start and usually have to pump it two more times (about 15 seconds, each time) while I shower.

While it will never be confused with a luxurious hotel shower I can honestly say that I’ve been a guest in people’s homes whose shower wasn’t any better than this one.

I’ve seen camping showers that used pumps and batteries and all kinds of gizmos but, in my opinion, this is the most shower for the minimum cost and effort.

Simply buy a pump-up sprayer, extend the hose on it, and pick up a few tarps and bungee cords to complete your kit.

For a perfect shower experience have your husband stand a few feet away with a glass of Champagne for you to sip from while you relax under the nice warm spray.

Ahhhh…

-cleancamperchelle

To see our  Table of Contents please click here.

The Perfect Camping Shower

In the past I’ve recommended using a solar shower bag and a bathroom tent to create a camping shower. This idea has several disadvantages, however:

• It requires hoisting a heavy bag of water to a place higher than your head.

• Even though the shower tent has drains in the floor you still end up with soap buildup on the walls and floor which must be cleaned.

• You have to remove the potty bucket, kitty litter pail and paper products each time you shower.

I solved this by switching to a one gallon pump-up garden sprayer and a few tarps that are held up with bungee cords.

This method accomplishes the following:

• There’s no floor to clean.

• You can make the shower “room” large enough to keep the walls clean.

• The pump-up sprayer is easy to carry and sprays pressurized water— which makes for easier rinsing.

We always carry about three or four tarps with us as well as bungee cords and large utility clips, anyway. You’d be amazed at how handy those items can be, especially in bad weather. Since we have them with us it’s another opportunity to put them to use.

Once I use a few tarps to create the shower room I heat some water over the fire or on the camp stove. (Use the fire and save your fuel!)

With ONE GALLON of water I can take a leisurely shower, wash and condition my hair and shave my legs— with time left over to just stand in the warm spray at the end— and that’s with leaving the sprayer trigger in the “locked open” position for the entire time.

I pump up the sprayer before I start and usually have to pump it two more times (about 15 seconds, each time) while I shower.

While it will never be confused with a luxurious hotel shower I can honestly say that I’ve been a guest in people’s homes whose shower wasn’t any better than this one.

I’ve seen camping showers that used pumps and batteries and all kinds of gizmos but, in my opinion, this is the most shower for the minimum cost and effort.

Simply buy a pump-up sprayer, extend the hose on it, and pick up a few tarps and bungee cords to complete your kit.

For a perfect shower experience have your husband stand a few feet away with a glass of Champagne for you to sip from while you relax under the nice warm spray.

Ahhhh…

-cleancamperchelle

To see our Table of Contents please click here.

New Life For Old Camp Stoves

Convert your liquid fuel stove to propane for $15.99!

This stove was given to me because the generator was broken.  Even though we have a perfectly functioning liquid fuel Coleman stove I took it, anyway, because I loved the jumbo size for when I need to have large pots on both burners.

Unfortunately, after installing a new generator, I discovered that the stove had other problems as well (leaky tank, etc.).  Since this stove was made in 1997 it’s considered obsolete and the parts are very expensive.

I stumbled across this StanSport propane converter at Bass Pro Shops, however, and couldn’t believe that it could be so simple and cheap to get our extra stove up and running.

But it was!

The valve/generator assembly works perfectly in both of our stoves and lets us run propane in either one.  It lights instantly with a blue flame and cooks just as quickly as our liquid fuel stove.  The little spring that’s shown in the photo holds the assembly firmly in place.

My favorite part is that I can carry the propane bottle inside the stove where the fuel tank used to get stored.  Most propane stoves are flat and don’t give you that option.  

Gotta love that!

Coleman makes a similar device but it has defined clicks for each flame level.  Conversely, the StanSport can be adjusted to any level you wish.

If you see an old camp stove at Goodwill or at a garage sale it could be the perfect candidate for a propane upgrade, so don’t pass it by!

-cookingwithgaschelle

To see our Table of Contents please click here!

New Life For Old Camp Stoves

Convert your liquid fuel stove to propane for $15.99!

This stove was given to me because the generator was broken. Even though we have a perfectly functioning liquid fuel Coleman stove I took it, anyway, because I loved the jumbo size for when I need to have large pots on both burners.

Unfortunately, after installing a new generator, I discovered that the stove had other problems as well (leaky tank, etc.). Since this stove was made in 1997 it’s considered obsolete and the parts are very expensive.

I stumbled across this StanSport propane converter at Bass Pro Shops, however, and couldn’t believe that it could be so simple and cheap to get our extra stove up and running.

But it was!

The valve/generator assembly works perfectly in both of our stoves and lets us run propane in either one. It lights instantly with a blue flame and cooks just as quickly as our liquid fuel stove. The little spring that’s shown in the photo holds the assembly firmly in place.

My favorite part is that I can carry the propane bottle inside the stove where the fuel tank used to get stored. Most propane stoves are flat and don’t give you that option.

Gotta love that!

Coleman makes a similar device but it has defined clicks for each flame level. Conversely, the StanSport can be adjusted to any level you wish.

If you see an old camp stove at Goodwill or at a garage sale it could be the perfect candidate for a propane upgrade, so don’t pass it by!

-cookingwithgaschelle

To see our Table of Contents please click here!

The Business Camping Trip

We own a hardware store in a small southern town and go to conventions, twice per year, to see the latest and greatest products and to purchase seasonal and sale items for the coming months.

This typically involves staying in overpriced hotels, sleeping in beds that have been used by thousands of strangers before us, standing in long lines at restaurants, dragging luggage in and out of elevators, and paying for high priced entertainment to occupy our offtime.

I find none of that particularly appealing.

We LOVE to go camping, however, and that means sleeping on a memory foam mattress that only we have ever slept on, staying in a reasonably priced campground, cooking delicious meals that we eat in the great outdoors, and riding bicycles, swimming, fishing, canoeing, and sitting around a campfire, for entertainment.

So why not combine the two?

Our next convention is in Chicago, in August, and we’ll be camping in a nearby state park instead of staying in a hotel.

It’ll be an hour drive from the campground but, if we use our time wisely, we can get our business done in two days and have free days on the front and back ends to enjoy all that the park has to offer.

That, my friends, is how to do a convention!

-queenofnutsandboltschelle