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Old 07-27-2020, 11:33 AM   #1
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Default First camping trip - report

We finally got to take out 139FK out. A 5-6 hour trip to the Flaming Gorge area of Utah near Vernal.

We went with my parents (who are coming to realize they might not be able to camp like they used to.) and spent Wednesday to Sunday in camp.

Here's a few things I've learned.

My Jeep doesn't like towing, I've got to figure out something better. Of course it was 100 degrees and uphill both ways.

We need to add cup holders when the dinette is configured to bed mode. We had no place to put our water bottles.

I need a new type of stove, my old camping Coleman stove isn't all that great anymore. I'm thinking about getting a Blackstone, seems all the camper/RVers are raving about it.

I do not fit in the bathroom/shower. I need to get off my duff and build the outside shower stall.

Bring extra fuses. Somehow I blew the 30 amp fuse coming out of the battery box and for some reason that caused the running lights to quit working along with everything else inside. I had to MacGyver one out of wire and a smaller 30 amp fuse, then taped it in. It worked though!!!

I need to figure out how I'm going to put my solar panels on the roof. I had them sitting on the side, wired into my battery and they were awesome! So glad I bought them. I just want them up and out of the way. I know how to install them on the roof, I'm just reluctant to drill holes in the roof.




However, it was still a fun trip. I only took a few pics because I was busy keeping two camps up and running.
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:12 PM   #2
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My Jeep doesn't like towing, I've got to figure out something better. Of course it was 100 degrees and uphill both ways.
It's those illegal tires ......

Glad y'all had fun. Looks like an amazing place!!
I barely fit in the shower (6'+ and 255#) but we have a shower cabana that's pretty handy.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:31 PM   #3
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Great photos, great report -- well done!

Just FYI, I'm 6'3" -- and in my old 2003 T139, I sat on the toilet while taking a shower. It worked fine for six years. My 2012 X-139 has just enough headroom that I can stand up.

Every time your 139 feels cramped, remind yourself that you can fit into campsites that no other fully equipped hard sided trailer can use!!
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:28 AM   #4
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It's those illegal tires ......
Tires are fine... it's my front bumper that's technically illegal,
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:38 AM   #5
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Actually the darn Jeep runs hot... I'm not a fan, it causes a lot of problems, but Jeeps aren't really made to tow... look what it did to my spark plug wire...
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:06 AM   #6
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I did have a few mishaps...

After loading the trailer I was preparing to hook it up to the Jeep. I started lowering the stabilizer jacks and the whole trailer shifted. It bent the rear passenger jack forward and the front driver jack back. My driveway is sloped and the tongue jack slid off the blocks. It's weird because I had both tires chocked. Not sure how it moved...

I wasn't able to lower them because they were bent. So I had to remove them. I used my Jeep's scissor spare tire jack when I got to camp to stabilize the back end. I'm going to replace them all with scissor type jacks. I've never liked those types of jacks anyway.

And then as mentioned before, the 30 amp fuse coming out of the battery blew. It doesn't have a cover on it and I failed to notice. Driving in the rain certainly caused it to short. I'll need to re-wire everything with a new inline fuse as well as new battery terminals, they were pretty corroded. Easy to do, just more work added to the laundry list...
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:21 AM   #7
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After experiencing the same problem that you did, now we always retract our jacks before hitching up. (First, of course, the chocks go in!) The four jacks at the corners come up. The trailer now settles into a stable position, where the chocks are taking all of the weight. We then back the truck up so that the coupler is directly over the hitch ball. Then we lower the front jack so that the coupler settles onto the ball.

Hang in there! What kind of a tow vehicle are you considering? We've had great luck with our Tacoma v6 four liter.
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:42 AM   #8
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After experiencing the same problem that you did, now we always retract our jacks before hitching up. (First, of course, the chocks go in!) The four jacks at the corners come up. The trailer now settles into a stable position, where the chocks are taking all of the weight. We then back the truck up so that the coupler is directly over the hitch ball. Then we lower the front jack so that the coupler settles onto the ball.
Exactly what I did. I think next time I'll hook it all up before I load it.

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What kind of a tow vehicle are you considering? We've had great luck with our Tacoma v6 four liter.
We're looking at the Mohave Jeep Gladiator. It can tow 7600 lbs and is designed to run in hot conditions. However it's as much as my house! So for now, it's only a dream.

If only I had a rich family member put me in their will!
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:07 AM   #9
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We moved the factory stabilizers to the front and installed scissor lacks in their place at the rear. Makes it very stable when camping.


How close does the tongue jack come to your spare on the jeep? You may have more clearance than we do. Our's was too close when turning to the rear mounted spare on our van so we use a Jack-E-up.
https://jack-e-up.com/
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:49 PM   #10
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It's close. Like close enough that I'm thinking about getting a hitch extender. I have 33 inch tires that are 12.5 inches wide! I don't think it rubbed, however, so we might be good.

Unfortunately this trip I was solo... my wife still had to work until Thursday and drove up on her own, so I couldn't have her tell me if I was rubbing or not. But I don't think I did.

On a side note, I installed a power jack and my days of manually cranking that darn jack is over! (Unless it breaks and I have to do it manually again! LOL)
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:25 PM   #11
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On a side note, I installed a power jack and my days of manually cranking that darn jack is over! (Unless it breaks and I have to do it manually again! LOL)
I cleaned and repainted the tongue on ours and while the propane tank and battery were out I found I could lift it by hand without too, too much trouble. But the conditions were perfect (level driveway, TV out of the way, etc) still it was pretty darn heavy for an old guy.

Oh BTW! If the wife OK's a new Jeep are you gonna put those two plug wires back on before you trade the old one in?
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:47 PM   #12
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Default solar

Jeff Just a thought on the solar . Mounting the panels on the roof means , as you noted , not only holes in the roof but you are now required to park in the sun , not that really sweet shady spot you would like . As you know parking in the sun in our part of the world is often not the best idea. Just a thought . Lee and Norma
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:26 PM   #13
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Jeff Just a thought on the solar . Mounting the panels on the roof means , as you noted , not only holes in the roof but you are now required to park in the sun , not that really sweet shady spot you would like . As you know parking in the sun in our part of the world is often not the best idea. Just a thought . Lee and Norma
Same reason I did not mount the satellite antenna on the roof and used a movable stand because if trees or camper blocks view to southern sky, the signal would not be picked up.
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Old 08-04-2020, 07:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Jeff Just a thought on the solar . Mounting the panels on the roof means , as you noted , not only holes in the roof but you are now required to park in the sun , not that really sweet shady spot you would like . As you know parking in the sun in our part of the world is often not the best idea. Just a thought . Lee and Norma
My panels are anamorphic, meaning they'll charge in the shade, clouds, even indoors! Part of the reason I'm sticking with the four panels instead of a single monocrystaline panel.
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:19 PM   #15
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I meant amorphous... darn autocorrect.
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:26 PM   #16
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Jeff Wow! Ya learn something new every day , didn't know there was such a thing . Is the efficiency the same across the spectrum or is charging in the shade marginally or significantly less ? Lee
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Old 08-04-2020, 01:53 PM   #17
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Default Amorphous Solar Panels

I really enjoy the benefits of solar so I had to look up amorphous panels. Here's what I found: Amorphous cells offer higher efficiency than the other two. They are your most efficient cell in the market today, although they do require twice as much surface area for the same power output as a monocrystalline blanket or panel. However, they are more flexible and can handle higher temperatures better.
So, twice as much surface area on a small FF roof. Pros & Cons I guess. I went with 4 flexible adhesive backed panels in 2012. In 2018 I added the "glass" panel to use up the last remaining real estate on the roof.
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Old 08-05-2020, 08:27 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Jeff Wow! Ya learn something new every day , didn't know there was such a thing . Is the efficiency the same across the spectrum or is charging in the shade marginally or significantly less ? Lee
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I really enjoy the benefits of solar so I had to look up amorphous panels. Here's what I found: Amorphous cells offer higher efficiency than the other two. They are your most efficient cell in the market today, although they do require twice as much surface area for the same power output as a monocrystalline blanket or panel. However, they are more flexible and can handle higher temperatures better.
So, twice as much surface area on a small FF roof. Pros & Cons I guess. I went with 4 flexible adhesive backed panels in 2012. In 2018 I added the "glass" panel to use up the last remaining real estate on the roof.
Yes, they take up a lot of real estate, but I only really need 100 watts to power my little trailer. I only run a few lights, the small amount of parasitic power consumption (12v control board on the fridge, the CO2 detector) and to charge our phones. Basically to top off the battery.

My last trip I was able to keep my battery at about 12.3 to 12.5 volts with the solar panels sitting next to the trailer, and at times, in the shade. All while using the fan, lights, fridge and charging phones with no worries about running down the battery at night.

It really is a pro/con situation. My pros are the fact that I already have them, so I work with what I have. They charge in the shade and don't need to be constantly pointed toward the sun to maximize charging.

Cons, they're big and not all that light. The four panels will take up pretty much all my roof space. Each panel is 25 watts, where as a similar sized monocrystalline panel would be 100-120 watts... so it's about a quarter of the power for the same amount of roof real estate.

My father's trailer is wired up for solar, and if I were to help him get solar, I'd probably go monocrystaline and just do a single 100-120 watt panel for ease of installation and space. But I love my panels. They were easy to hook up and were only $150 bucks on sale at Harbor Frieght.

That being said, if I had the roof space, I'd love to have a 1000-1200 watt monocrystalline system so I could run a small AC unit... but you're looking at more $$$ than what I bought my trailer for, haha. And to do a 1000-1200 watt system, it would be even more expensive to go amorphous versus monocrystalline, forget trying to fit them.
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Old 08-05-2020, 09:55 AM   #19
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Jeff, life is sure a pro/con deal, isn't it? We decided to go with a 120 watt portable panel, so we could park the trailer in the shade and still get solar power. It works great. But the con, of course, is that when we get to a campsite, we have to wrestle the panel out of the trailer and set it up in the sun.

Then when we get ready to leave, we have to take it down and stow it in the trailer. Not hassle free. Roof panels don't need any fiddling around.
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