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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

Putting A Tail Veil On A Prius

My friend, Laura, and I couldn’t be farther apart on politics, but when it comes to camping we’re definitely of one mind.

She loved the idea of the Tail Veil and wondered if she could use one to “add a room” to her Prius when she attends festivals.

So we tried it— and it worked great!

The only extra thing we had to do was place magnets on the roof to keep the Tail Veil from sliding toward the rear of the car. A few pot magnets from the hardware store worked perfectly.

In the event of rainy weather she could place the optional rain fly over the Tail Veil and drape a small tarp over the roof of her car to prevent water from entering between the surface of the roof and the tent. (Only a small amount would get by, without the tarp.)

Most minivans channel that water to an area behind the bumper, but the Prius’ bumper is molded to the car— which forces the water to travel over the bumper and onto the floor of the Tail Veil. 

Laura already owns a Habitent, which is a tailgate tent specifically designed for the Prius. It functions very much like the DAC Explorer 2 does on a minivan or SUV.

As it turns out, the Prius Hybrid is a great vehicle to camp in— especially in hot weather. With a Habitent attached you can turn on the car’s air conditioner and the Prius will automatically turn itself on and off, as needed, to keep the batteries charged.

Since the Prius engine is so quiet most people wouldn’t even notice it starting and stopping through the night.

You would NOT want to run a car with the Tail Veil attached, however, since it would trap exhaust gases in and around the vehicle.

If you wanted to keep your Tail Veil (with rain fly attached) cool you’d have to set a window unit air conditioner on the ground— in the doorway— and find a place to plug it in.

For flow-through ventilation you might consider putting a  screen over the side windows of the car.

If I didn’t camp in a minivan I would probably opt for a Prius Hybrid, as my next choice. It’s not nearly as roomy, of course, but you can’t beat its ability to keep things cool without running the engine all night.

That’s tough to beat.

-priusenvychelle

To see our Table of Contents please click here!

Putting A Tail Veil On A Prius

My friend, Laura, and I couldn’t be farther apart on politics, but when it comes to camping we’re definitely of one mind.

She loved the idea of the Tail Veil and wondered if she could use one to “add a room” to her Prius when she attends festivals.

So we tried it— and it worked great!

The only extra thing we had to do was place magnets on the roof to keep the Tail Veil from sliding toward the rear of the car. A few pot magnets from the hardware store worked perfectly.

In the event of rainy weather she could place the optional rain fly over the Tail Veil and drape a small tarp over the roof of her car to prevent water from entering between the surface of the roof and the tent. (Only a small amount would get by, without the tarp.)

Most minivans channel that water to an area behind the bumper, but the Prius’ bumper is molded to the car— which forces the water to travel over the bumper and onto the floor of the Tail Veil.

Laura already owns a Habitent, which is a tailgate tent specifically designed for the Prius. It functions very much like the DAC Explorer 2 does on a minivan or SUV.

As it turns out, the Prius Hybrid is a great vehicle to camp in— especially in hot weather. With a Habitent attached you can turn on the car’s air conditioner and the Prius will automatically turn itself on and off, as needed, to keep the batteries charged.

Since the Prius engine is so quiet most people wouldn’t even notice it starting and stopping through the night.

You would NOT want to run a car with the Tail Veil attached, however, since it would trap exhaust gases in and around the vehicle.

If you wanted to keep your Tail Veil (with rain fly attached) cool you’d have to set a window unit air conditioner on the ground— in the doorway— and find a place to plug it in.

For flow-through ventilation you might consider putting a screen over the side windows of the car.

If I didn’t camp in a minivan I would probably opt for a Prius Hybrid, as my next choice. It’s not nearly as roomy, of course, but you can’t beat its ability to keep things cool without running the engine all night.

That’s tough to beat.

-priusenvychelle

To see our Table of Contents please click here!

Plan A Fishing Trip!

If you’re a Georgia resident you should plan a fishing trip for this Saturday or next Saturday.

Why?

Because it’s free— no license required! Not even for trout, which normally requires a separate stamp!

Plan a family trip— or a date with your sweetie. Just don’t miss out on these great opportunities.

-anglingchelle

Plan A Fishing Trip!

If you’re a Georgia resident you should plan a fishing trip for this Saturday or next Saturday.

Why?

Because it’s free— no license required! Not even for trout, which normally requires a separate stamp!

Plan a family trip— or a date with your sweetie. Just don’t miss out on these great opportunities.

-anglingchelle

Simple, Cheap, Nondestructive A/C Installation In A Pop-up Camper

When my daughter and her teenage friends camp with us, in the summer, we need more air conditioned space than our minivan can provide.

Unfortunately our 1991 Coleman Destiny Roanoke didn’t come with a/c— and we don’t use the camper often enough to justify spending $1,300 to have it installed.

So we use a window unit, instead.

I didn’t want to make any cuts or other permanent modifications to our camper which severely limited our options.

This installation method is not my original idea.  I found several others, on the internet, doing the same thing and it looked like the best option for us.

I considered using this install on the BACKside of the camper so that it wouldn’t be such an eyesore but it would have blocked the big picture window over the table.  Also, if we had installed the unit, there, we would have had to hang a piece of canvas around the a/c unit to keep cool air from escaping through the surrounding screen.

If you can get past the unsightly look of having the a/c unit in the front of the camper it has several advantages:
1) The window is almost exactly the same size as the unit.  Once we zipped the plastic interior window up to the bottom of the air conditioner there were virtually no leakage points for the cooled, interior air.

2) It puts the a/c unit under the awning and that extra bit of shade should greatly improve its ability to provide cool air.

3) The stove provides an extra measure of security by preventing one of the 2x4s from accidentally sliding out.  (I used a Velcro strap to provide extra safety for the other.)

The unit we used is the same 5,000 BTU air conditioner we use with our DAC Explorer 2 tailgate tent.  While it doesn’t have the cooling power that a 13,000 BTU factory rooftop model would, it’s still more than sufficient to keep things cool, at night.  

Others who’ve done similar installations have said that the camper still gets warm, in the heat of the day, but even then it’s appreciably cooler than the ambient temperatures, outside.

If our 5,000 BTU unit ever fails it would be simple to modify this setup to accommodate a more powerful air conditioner.
Since I already owned the a/c unit this installation only cost me $15 (for pressure treated lumber, bolts, washers and wing nuts).  The lumber yard cut the wood to size, for me, so all I had to do was drill two holes, to attach the air conditioner to the top support, and four holes to hold the frame together.  Total project time:  30 minutes.

When we break camp the a/c unit pops out after the removal of two wing nuts and bolts.  Once the air conditioner is removed the rest of the frame collapses with the four remaining bolts still in place.

Note:  I had to notch out the bottom of one 2x4 so that it would fit into the space behind the stove.

Perhaps the greatest benefit to air conditioning the pop-up is that the teenagers are more likely to sleep in— which means more quiet coffee time for my honey and me!

-triestothinkofeverythingchelle

To see our Table of Contents please click here!

Simple, Cheap, Nondestructive A/C Installation In A Pop-up Camper

When my daughter and her teenage friends camp with us, in the summer, we need more air conditioned space than our minivan can provide.

Unfortunately our 1991 Coleman Destiny Roanoke didn’t come with a/c— and we don’t use the camper often enough to justify spending $1,300 to have it installed.

So we use a window unit, instead.

I didn’t want to make any cuts or other permanent modifications to our camper which severely limited our options.

This installation method is not my original idea. I found several others, on the internet, doing the same thing and it looked like the best option for us.

I considered using this install on the BACKside of the camper so that it wouldn’t be such an eyesore but it would have blocked the big picture window over the table. Also, if we had installed the unit, there, we would have had to hang a piece of canvas around the a/c unit to keep cool air from escaping through the surrounding screen.

If you can get past the unsightly look of having the a/c unit in the front of the camper it has several advantages:

1) The window is almost exactly the same size as the unit. Once we zipped the plastic interior window up to the bottom of the air conditioner there were virtually no leakage points for the cooled, interior air.

2) It puts the a/c unit under the awning and that extra bit of shade should greatly improve its ability to provide cool air.

3) The stove provides an extra measure of security by preventing one of the 2x4s from accidentally sliding out. (I used a Velcro strap to provide extra safety for the other.)

The unit we used is the same 5,000 BTU air conditioner we use with our DAC Explorer 2 tailgate tent. While it doesn’t have the cooling power that a 13,000 BTU factory rooftop model would, it’s still more than sufficient to keep things cool, at night.

Others who’ve done similar installations have said that the camper still gets warm, in the heat of the day, but even then it’s appreciably cooler than the ambient temperatures, outside.

If our 5,000 BTU unit ever fails it would be simple to modify this setup to accommodate a more powerful air conditioner.

Since I already owned the a/c unit this installation only cost me $15 (for pressure treated lumber, bolts, washers and wing nuts). The lumber yard cut the wood to size, for me, so all I had to do was drill two holes, to attach the air conditioner to the top support, and four holes to hold the frame together. Total project time: 30 minutes.

When we break camp the a/c unit pops out after the removal of two wing nuts and bolts. Once the air conditioner is removed the rest of the frame collapses with the four remaining bolts still in place.

Note: I had to notch out the bottom of one 2x4 so that it would fit into the space behind the stove.

Perhaps the greatest benefit to air conditioning the pop-up is that the teenagers are more likely to sleep in— which means more quiet coffee time for my honey and me!

-triestothinkofeverythingchelle

To see our Table of Contents please click here!

An Inexpensive Minivan Awning

When inclement weather rolls in we prefer not to have to close up all the windows and doors. Not only would we miss out on the smells and sounds of the storm but we’d lose flow-through ventilation from whichever tailgate tent we happened to be using.

A 9x12 tarp provides the perfect solution.

By bungee cording two corners to stakes driven into the ground and bungee cording the other two corners to the roof rack we can protect the interior of our van while leaving the sliding door open.

We actually prefer to use two of these tarps and connect them together with carabiners at the grommets. Our symmetrical two tarp arrangement provides an awning for each side and doesn’t even need to be fastened to the van. We simply drape it across the roof and stake the four corners.

If you prefer not to have the tarp angled so steeply toward the ground you could purchase adjustable tent poles to raise up the ends or you could tie the corners off to nearby trees.

Our tarps are silver on one side and green on the other which gives us the option of reflecting away heat or making our minivan camper blend into the wilderness a little better.

There are a number of awning options for camper vans but, in my opinion, this setup provides the most bang for the buck.

-undercoverchelle

An Inexpensive Minivan Awning

When inclement weather rolls in we prefer not to have to close up all the windows and doors. Not only would we miss out on the smells and sounds of the storm but we’d lose flow-through ventilation from whichever tailgate tent we happened to be using.

A 9x12 tarp provides the perfect solution.

By bungee cording two corners to stakes driven into the ground and bungee cording the other two corners to the roof rack we can protect the interior of our van while leaving the sliding door open.

We actually prefer to use two of these tarps and connect them together with carabiners at the grommets. Our symmetrical two tarp arrangement provides an awning for each side and doesn’t even need to be fastened to the van. We simply drape it across the roof and stake the four corners.

If you prefer not to have the tarp angled so steeply toward the ground you could purchase adjustable tent poles to raise up the ends or you could tie the corners off to nearby trees.

Our tarps are silver on one side and green on the other which gives us the option of reflecting away heat or making our minivan camper blend into the wilderness a little better.

There are a number of awning options for camper vans but, in my opinion, this setup provides the most bang for the buck.

-undercoverchelle

Riff-Raff, Druggies and Crazies

I’m a frugal camper.

Some might even call me cheap.

I hate paying campground fees, I don’t like paying for firewood, and I even loathe buying ice.

We typically minimize our camping expenditures by staying on federal lands; a bow saw and an axe keep us flush with firewood; and a highly insulated cooler keeps our ice around for nearly a week.

That said, sometimes circumstances dictate that we stay in a high-priced campground.

(For the record, anything that costs more than $10/night is a high priced campground, in my book.)

Over time I’ve come to realize that when we stay at high priced campgrounds there tends to be far less drama from our fellow campers. If we stay someplace cheap or free there seems to be a much higher probability of running into riff-raff, open drug use and crazy people.

(For the record, my definition of a crazy person is anyone of normal intelligence who shares their entire life story with you within the first five minutes of meeting and who then becomes your new best friend in the five minutes that follow.)

This isn’t always the case, of course, and I don’t have any empirical data to support my claim— but there does seem to be a strong correlation between price-per-night paid and the apparent wholesomeness and saneness of one’s camping neighbors.

If your experiences indicate otherwise I’d love to hear about it. Until then— that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

-onlyslightlycrazychelle

Setting My Hair On Fire

When you have 50 years of camping experience you’re not supposed to make rookie mistakes.

But I did.

I had just replaced the generator in our Coleman dual fuel stove and tested it out. It worked perfectly. I turned it off, waited for the flames to extinguish, and leaned over to close it up.

Unfortunately the burner was still hot enough to ignite the hairspray in my hair— and it instantly caught fire. I was amazed at how quickly it went up.

I grabbed my hair with both hands and put the flames out. Incredibly, you can barely tell. My hair still looks reasonably even— although I’ll probably trim it, this evening. I do have one small burn on my neck, however.

But it sure does stink, here. Burnt hair is one of those smells that lingers on and on. Yuck!

So today’s camping advice is:

If you have long hair you should always clip it up or tie it back when you’re working around hot surfaces. Especially if you’re a hairspray addict, like I am.

-flaminghotchelle

Happy Birthday To Us!

MinivanCamper.info turned two, today! Thank you, all, for being such loyal readers and fans.

There’s much more to come!

-Chelle

Happy Birthday To Us!

MinivanCamper.info turned two, today! Thank you, all, for being such loyal readers and fans.

There’s much more to come!

-Chelle

Dehydrated Peanut Butter To The Rescue!

It was supposed to be an overnight trip to Lake Sinclair Campground, a USDA National Forest location, so that I could write a review.

I packed enough food and a little extra— mostly cold cuts, a loaf of bread, breakfast foods, fruit, coffee and some cold brew iced tea bags.

We found the campground to be so enjoyable, however, that we decided to spend an extra night. 

Thankfully we had enough provisions.

When we rearranged our work schedules so that we could stay a THIRD night, however, there was no escaping the reality that our cupboard— well, our cooler, actually— was practically bare.

We didn’t feel like going into town to grocery shop so we dug a little deeper into our supplies.

I remembered throwing a container of PB2 into our camping kit.  It’s an amazing product that I buy to help trim some calories out of my lifestyle.

Let me tell you about it:

They remove most of the oil from regular peanut butter and then dehydrate what’s left. You can use it, as is, to add peanut flavor to protein shakes, ice cream, etc., or you can combine it with an equal amount of water and turn it back into peanut butter.

The amazing part is that 2 tablespoons of PB2 has 45 calories while regular peanut butter has 190.

That’s a big difference— and it tastes wonderful!

I also came across some powdered milk in our kit. With the bran flakes and bread that we still had left we were able to plan a menu of cereal and milk, for breakfast, and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch/dinner.

If you look closely at the above photo you’ll notice that it also comes in a peanut butter and chocolate flavor, as well. While it’s good, I’m not quite as impressed with it. If you’re going to put chocolate into something there should be enough to make a bold statement. The PB2 version, however, only has a mild chocolate flavor. I doubt I’ll buy it again.

The regular PB2 is now a permanent part of my life, however. I keep plenty in the pantry, at home, and a container or two in the camping kit.

Prices vary significantly so be sure to shop around before you buy.

And you will more likely find it in the health food section of your grocery store than  in the peanut butter aisle.

Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!

-peanutlovingchelle

Dehydrated Peanut Butter To The Rescue!

It was supposed to be an overnight trip to Lake Sinclair Campground, a USDA National Forest location, so that I could write a review.

I packed enough food and a little extra— mostly cold cuts, a loaf of bread, breakfast foods, fruit, coffee and some cold brew iced tea bags.

We found the campground to be so enjoyable, however, that we decided to spend an extra night.

Thankfully we had enough provisions.

When we rearranged our work schedules so that we could stay a THIRD night, however, there was no escaping the reality that our cupboard— well, our cooler, actually— was practically bare.

We didn’t feel like going into town to grocery shop so we dug a little deeper into our supplies.

I remembered throwing a container of PB2 into our camping kit. It’s an amazing product that I buy to help trim some calories out of my lifestyle.

Let me tell you about it:

They remove most of the oil from regular peanut butter and then dehydrate what’s left. You can use it, as is, to add peanut flavor to protein shakes, ice cream, etc., or you can combine it with an equal amount of water and turn it back into peanut butter.

The amazing part is that 2 tablespoons of PB2 has 45 calories while regular peanut butter has 190.

That’s a big difference— and it tastes wonderful!

I also came across some powdered milk in our kit. With the bran flakes and bread that we still had left we were able to plan a menu of cereal and milk, for breakfast, and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch/dinner.

If you look closely at the above photo you’ll notice that it also comes in a peanut butter and chocolate flavor, as well. While it’s good, I’m not quite as impressed with it. If you’re going to put chocolate into something there should be enough to make a bold statement. The PB2 version, however, only has a mild chocolate flavor. I doubt I’ll buy it again.

The regular PB2 is now a permanent part of my life, however. I keep plenty in the pantry, at home, and a container or two in the camping kit.

Prices vary significantly so be sure to shop around before you buy.

And you will more likely find it in the health food section of your grocery store than in the peanut butter aisle.

Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!

-peanutlovingchelle