I lived in a van for five years, which is quite a long time. In fact, I lived in that thing for longer than I’ve lived in any other place since leaving my childhood home. Strangely, I found moving out of a van to be more stressful than moving into one. I was afraid I was going to miss the freedom that comes with having everything travel-ready in my own little turtle shell. The moment I got a normal-person car, I got to work figuring out how to be able to use it as a mini camper-van.
Now, we’re not talking about doing a full, permanent conversion here. I was moving to LA, and my car’s primary duty would be getting me around the city. But I wanted to develop a system that would make it killer for road trips and backcountry camping—a vehicle that, like my van, I could just park, pull up my shades, and go to sleep. In fact, I was hoping that it would be able to take me places my van couldn’t get to. It turns out there are many products out there for that exact purpose. There’s a ton to choose from, so I went deep down the research rabbit hole and have been testing gear.
If you want to hit the road this summer, I have some rock-solid recommendations for you, and a few tips and tricks along the way, too.
The Gear You Need for Your Car
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You do not need to run out and get a new car for this. It’s entirely possible that the car you already own will work pretty well for this purpose. The one big thing you’re going to want is back seats that fold down as flat as possible, because that’s going to be your bed. Aside from that, more space generally means more comfort, but really the most important question is: What kind of camping to you want to do? Breaking that down a little, you need to think about the places you want to be able to go, and the type of climate and roads you’re likely to encounter.
For me, I knew that I wanted to be able to do some winter camping, ideally near ski resorts, so I had to have something with all-wheel drive. I wanted to be able to get out on dirt trails, but because it’s my day-in-day out car I didn’t want something that’s difficult to park in cities, or that was super lifted or with gigantic tires that would kill my MPG. I went with a Honda CR-V. It checked all of my boxes. I wouldn’t be able to go rock-crawling on the Rubicon Trail or anything, but it has all-wheel drive so it should pretty well cover me for most of the dirt roads I want to take on. Critically, the back seat folds down extremely flat. For most people looking for
For outdoorsy enthusiasts, some accessories are an absolute necessity – portable outdoor light being one of them. A headlamp solves a wide range of purposes when out on an adventure trip but there is still room for improvement, don’t you think? Sure, a small design evolution can bring a totally unseen functionality to something as simple as a compact light that you can carry in a backpack or even the front pocket of the pants. More so in modern times when life is an adventure unknown, whether going on a hiking trip, camping escapades or simply biking on the outskirts of the city for fitness.
Cha Hongkun, a designer from China has pondered over tweaking the design of a portable light to an extent where it addresses an even wider array of activities. Cha calls it the “Ray” – an outdoor accompanying portable light with a never before seen form factor. It’s essentially a wide strap that can be hooked onto your bike, backpack, or anything one can think of. It goes without saying – Ray is an outdoor essential accessory that’ll never let you down. The ease of use and portable credentials make it one accessory I would want in my absolute essentials for a trip anywhere.
The portable LED light can be charged with a USB-C compatible power bank or via a wall outlet. What’s got me hooked on here is the cool choice of colors the designer has penned for Ray. The royal blue, cool blue, and bright orange are all so tempting. Plus that hook-on functionality is truly unique for an ultra-portable personal light. Take my money and tell me it’s going to hit the shelves pretty soon!
Gear Break: Primal: Can’t beat the Classics, 100copies new bicycle art print #48 – Journey to Zen, Princeton CarbonWorks PEAK 4550 wheels, PRO introduces the next-generation Stealth saddle range including the innovative new Stealth curved shape, Festka roaring ahead with a stunning car-to-bike design scheme, Lezyne: Perfect Pressure – Anywhere, Anytime and ABUS: Lock It Up!
Primal: Can’t Beat The Classics FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING ON ORDERS $75+!
100copies New Bicycle Art Print #48 – Journey To Zen
Sometimes, taking our bike out for a ride brings us on an inward journey. Almost like a form of Zen meditation, the noise fades, our mind clears, and all we are focused on is the path before us. The longer and further we go, the more we learn about ourselves and the nature of our mind.
In these uncertain times, cycling has helped many reduce stress and anxiety, and even regain a sense of clarity. There’s much to be gained, so keep calm, and keep riding.
This artwork is inspired by Japanese Zen gardens. Its fluid strokes are created with a bold rake brush to simulate the continuous lines or samon (砂紋) in the gravel, and represent the journey each rider takes.
Sheet size: 500mm X 700mm
Print Quality: Offset Lithographic Printing using spot Pantone Black. Printed on 250gsm Tangerine White Paper. Suitable for archival use.
Princeton CarbonWorks PEAK 4550 A New Milestone in Performance Cycling Wheels Exceptional Handling. Ultra Lightweight. King of the Mountain.
Princeton CarbonWorks announces their all new PEAK 4550, developed in conjunction with the top cyclists in the world; a lighter, stiffer, stronger, and more aerodynamic solution directly targeted at world tour and grand tour racing.
Available in every configuration, (tubular, tubeless ready clincher, rim and disk brake) the PEAK 4550 set weighs as little as 1071g in tubular rim brake guise, with standard tubeless ready clincher versions weighing 1297g for rim brake and 1348g for disc brake.
Development priorities were to create an all-around race ready wheel with exceptional aerodynamic characteristics and the strength and stiffness to transfer high wattages to the ground. The performance characteristics of grand tour riding are perhaps the most difficult to synthesize in a single wheelset. Riders need a wheelset that is light and responsive for the climbs. On the descents, they need predictable and sharp handing. In the valleys, the wheelset needs to be aerodynamic and impervious to crosswinds. And above all of that, the wheels need to hold up to thousands of kilometers of full gas racing.
PCW’s standard non-drilled tire bed facilitates a stiffer outer rim and transfers some material away from the tire bed to other critical areas in the wheel, helping to keep wheel weight low while maintaining high stiffness values.
A limited Launch Edition will be available starting June 26th; standard black graphics and custom options and hub choices will become available later in 2021.
Major automotive and auto component manufacturers have seen their stock prices decline by an average of over -30% year-to-date, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. While General Motors stock is down by about -41% year-to-date, Ford is down by -47%. However, Tesla has bucked the trend, rising 68%. The health crisis has meant people really don’t need to drive much right now, and not many are buying new cars either. Irrespective of what local and country governments prescribe or guide, we don’t believe this is likely to change in a hurry. Discretionary spending is likely to drop as the economy slips into a recession, impacting auto sales.
Though steep declines have happened, more pain and declines are possible in the coming weeks as earnings and accompanying guidance confirm the bad on-the-ground situation. That said, given the U.S Federal Reserve’s backing, most of the companies should survive. All said, it might be wise to wait to invest in the theme, however brave investors could choose to invest a fraction into the theme now, still keeping funds ready if things unfold for the worse in the coming weeks and months. As part of our theme: Autos Fight COVID-19, we discuss further our analysis of the recent performance of key automotive stocks, the survival risks the key auto names face, and the potential downside.
Our Automobile portfolio of 10 stocks including Ford, General Motors, Tesla, Navistar, Harley Davidson HOG , Advance Wabco, and Lear, shows an average decline of about -2% in the last five trading days (through April 23) compared with a -1.5% decline in the S&P 500 over the same period. Year-to-date, the portfolio is down by about -21% (or over -30% excluding Tesla), compared to about -14% for the S&P 500. Harley Davidson and Ford were the worst performers, posting declines of about -50% and -47% respectively year-to-date. On the other hand, Tesla has soared 68% year-to-date while Wabco Holdings, an auto components manufacturer, has seen its stock remain relatively flat. Overall, there is a significant variance and summarized on the dashboard Autos Fight COVID-19
We dive a little deeper to look at the vulnerability of key automotive players through the current downturn. Our analysis Can GM survive the crash indicates that with over $19 billion in cash in hand, General Motors will have a relatively low probability of bankruptcy. On the other hand, Advance Auto Parts, which has higher relative fixed costs and a lower cash balance faces more uncertainty. The company recently issued $500 million in notes to better manage its liquidity. View our analysis Advance Auto Parts: A COVID Recession can consume $513 Mil in cash during 2020 for more details on how a demand shock will impact the company’s financials and cash flows.