As much as we'd like to leave the tech behind, both our jobs and research require us to be online more than we'd like to. The H3 is set up to charge all our gear, but I wanted to have an independent system that would keep the iLights on.
This Anker 14 Watt Solar Charger is described by reviewers as the gateway drug to solar power, and I can certainly understand why. My flat iPhone 5S was fully charged in about 90 minutes. From the sun. Free.
Anker has created their PowerIQ technology that detects the device's power needs and ramps up to two amps of charging under direct sunlight. The charger has two ports to charge devices simultaneously. I carry a two-panel version of the same in my bug-out bag.
Mounted atop the Thules on the Montero was an Oasis II roof-top tent (RTT). Yes, we slept up there. A little bigger than a queen size mattress, this RTT has the room and accoutrements of a luxurious two-man tent without the fuss of worrying about scorpions, snakes, and fire ants, though it does make it easier for bears to access since they don't have to bend over to tell if you're sleeping. The Oasis II was made in France by Trekking and had a limited distribution in the States, primarily through Rogue River Trading Company which appears to be no longer in business. We chose the Oasis II over conventional RTT's for its weight, just under 40 pounds where other RTTs weigh more than one hundred pounds. That would limit the amount of kit we could pack on top. It was also considerably less money, under $1k. Other RTT's can run into $3k to $4k but are certainly more substantial and rugged. This suited us fine. The image below shows the RTT mounted with the door to th
The sale of our previous adventure vehicle, the Montero, included much of the kit we've acquired along the way, including the Kodiak canvas tent reviewed below. Hated to see it go, but for our needs it was a bit of overkill. As we build up our kit to fit in our current vehicle with substantially smaller storage, size and weight are old considerations from our moto-camping days that we're back to observing. This time we've gone with something lighter, but still with room to enjoy inside in wet weather with two dogs, as well as tall enough to stand in. This kit has a spacious 8 by 12 foot floor pan with a huge screen window at the back with a full-coverage fly that creates a protected vestibule in the front. Can't beat the value at under $250 at Dick's Sporting Goods. Best to waterproof the fly and all opaque surfaces on the tent.
The last shelter we bring along is the shower/lu. Made by Black Canyon, it's a 4.5X4.5 foot privacy tent with a vented shower floor, shelving and towel rack. It ships with a sun shower but we replaced it with a heavy-duty garden sprayer I converted to a shower by replacing the hose and sprayer with a food-grade tube and shower head from an old solar shower. Pumped up it provided great water pressure for washing dishes and showering.