• falken wildpeak at3w long term review
    Gear Review,  Tires

    Long Term Review – Falken Wildpeak A/T3W (Update: March 2019)

    Long Term Review – Falken Wildpeak AT3W (Update: March 2019) 30 second review: First impressions are the Falken Wildpeak tires look really aggressive (awesome) on the Tacoma. Compared to my previous tires – which weighed 6 lbs less – the acceleration on flats is about the same if not slightly quicker. Acceleration uphill seems to require a bit more power but I’ll update on that in my next post. The most noticeable feature however is that the Wildpeaks have virtually no road noise. I actually heard the sound of wind instead of the drone of my tires on the drive home from the tire shop. Check back as I will…

  • ava-overlander-icon-cooler-review
    Cooler,  Gear Review

    Gear Review – ICON Cooler & DIBY Review

    Gear Review – Icon Cooler & DIBY Tray 30 second review: The Icon cooler is a premium cooler with some great and unique features that’s made in America. It has one of a kind looks compared to all the other Yeti clones, however the performance is just middle of the road. The DIBY is a great add on that can be used with many coolers – not just the Icon. Disclosure: Icon provided a small discount on the cooler, and provided the DIBY for free in order to review. There are 3 models of the Icon cooler 32, 50, and 75, reflecting the quarts they hold. We tested the 50…

  • Big Bear,  Southern California,  Trip Report

    Coon Creek Jump Off and 1N30 Trip Review

    Trip Report and Guide – San Bernardino National Forest Coon Creek and 1N30 June 2018 30 second review: We were scoping out potential yellow post camp sites and found plenty of awesome spots. The main road ends at Coon Creek Jump Off and a Cabin for PCT hikers. At this point 1N30 begins which is a fun trail with some great views that’s not too difficult or too long. Fees: It’s free! Access to Coon Creek Jump Off is through Heart Bar Campground in San Bernardino National Forest which can be reserved here. That being said there are plenty of free yellow post sites in this area and all are clearly…

  • Central California,  Sequoia and Kings National Park,  Trip Report

    Trip Report and Guide – Sequoia and Kings National Park

    Trip Report and Guide – Sequoia and Kings National Park May 2018 30 second review: The weather did not cooperate with us so we had to leave early. But from the little we saw this is a definite alternative to the overcrowded Yosemite Valley. There are also the opportunities to do a bit of off-roading to get even further away from crowds with the same Sierra Nevada setting. Fees: Park entrance fee is $25; or you can get an Annual Pass for $80. Campgrounds within the park vary by location but are generally $18-$22 per night. Alternatively, you can camp off the many nearby National Forest Roads. Amenities: There are 5…

  • Joshua Tree,  Southern California,  Trip Report

    Mom Report – Joshua Tree National Park April 2018

      Mom Report – Joshua Tree National Park April 2018 We already have a write up that goes into the more technical details about visiting Joshua Tree National Park but I wanted to provide a “mom’s perspective” of the same trip for how to do Joshua Tree with your toddler. I have much different concerns than Michael does when we are planning a trip since I am trying to account for all of Ava’s needs, so this post is targeted at addressing all of the little extras that need to be considered when traveling with kids.   Joshua Tree Guide for Kids   The Drive It was only about a 2…

  • Tacoma panoramic view at Geology Tour Stop 14 overlooking Pleasant Valley and Malapai Hill
    Joshua Tree,  Southern California,  Trip Report

    Trip Report and Guide – Geology Tour Road and Berdoo Canyon

    Trip Report and Guide – Geology Tour Road and Berdoo Canyon April 2018   30 second review: Geology Tour Road is an easy offroad trail that guides you through a cross section of Joshua Tree’s many types of geological formations. It’s a nice trail if you want a change from the hiking around Joshua Tree. However, since there isn’t much for kids to do on the ride, I think the best way to experience this trail is to enter through Berdoo Canyon and use the trail as a fun way to enter the park.   Fees: If you start at Geology Tour Road you will have gone through Joshua Tree National…

  • Awnings and Tents,  Gear Review

    Gear Review – ARB Awning 2000

    Gear Review – ARB Awning 2000 30 second review: The ARB Awning has got to be my favorite piece of overland equipment on the Tacoma so far. Using it for the first time in the desert might have swayed me, but having instant shade this easy is just fantastic. There is a bit of a learning curve with how the pole’s twist lock works but that is the only negative. There are 3 models of the ARB awning which vary in length and width. We purchased the 2000 (6.5′) model essentially because it looks proportional for the truck. As far as I’m concerned it’s the ‘bigger the better’ when you’re…

  • viair 88p side view
    Gear Review,  Recovery Gear

    Gear Review – Viair 88P

    Gear Review – Viair 88P 30 second review: This is about as small of a compressor as you can get that still has enough power to pump tires that your overlanding rig probably has. I think it fits the bill perfectly as long as you know its limitations which are namely just how long it takes to reach the psi you’re looking for. Operation Instructions: Running the compressor is dead simple Make sure the compressor itself is off first. Pop your hood and attached the battery leads to the positive (red) then negative (black). Screw the air hose chuck onto your tire’s valve stem. Turn the compressor on. Monitor the pressure…

  • ava_overlander_jumbo_rocks_campground
    Joshua Tree,  Southern California,  Trip Report

    Trip Report and Guide – Joshua Tree National Park April 2018

    Trip Report and Guide – Joshua Tree National Park April 2018 30 second review: Joshua Tree has plenty to do for families. While this isn’t necessarily overland camping there are plenty of off road trails in the area (including Geology Tour Road and Berdoo Canyon) that you can tack on to your trip. Some of the highlights were hiking trails Hidden Valley and Barker Dam, but one of the best activities was just exploring our campground at Jumbo Rocks.  Fees: Park entrance fee is $25; or you can get an Annual Pass for $80. Campgrounds within the park vary by location but are $15-$20 per night. Alternatively, you can camp on…

  • ava-overlander-mojave-new-york-mountains
    Mojave,  Southern California,  Trip Report

    Trip Report – Mojave Road May 2015

      Trip Review – Mojave Road May 2015   30 second review: Mojave Road is an epic must do trip. It’s a very long trail with plenty of desert scenery and it’s so remote we only ran across 1 small group of people over 3 days. There’s plenty to explore and we plan to go back and spend at least 4 days.   Fees: None, unless you stay at Afton Campground then it’s less than $10/night. Otherwise just pull off to the side of the road and set up camp. Amenities: None. You’re going to need your own water, fuel, and dig or bring your own toilet. Offroad Difficulty: 2/5 – Most…