5 Essential springtime checks and maintenance items for your travel trailer:

Spring is here, and it’s time to get that travel trailer out on the road. If your travel trailer has been sitting all winter there are a few things you should check before you head out. Even if you’ve been camping over the winter, the arrival of spring is a good reminder to check out some of these essentials.

 

  1. Inspect your tires.: Your tires can lose up to 3 PSI per month. So they should be checked regularly during camping season, but especially after your trailer has been sitting. Low pressure can cause excessive wear, poor handling, and heat buildup that could lead to a dangerous blow out. Your trailer should have a sticker near the front of the trailer that shows that correct tire pressure. Use the pressure on this sticker rather than the “ Max tire pressure” shown on the tire. The manufacturers of your trailer have determined the correct amount of inflation, and filling it to the max allowed by the tire will lead to overinflation, and some of the same issues as underinflation such as uneven wear and poor handling.   This is also a good time to inspect your tires for wear. Tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch deep. There are wear bars on your tires, and if you’ve reached them, it’s time to get some new tires ASAP. But you can also use the penny test. Simply place a penny in the tire’s most worn groove. Make sure you have Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tire should be replaced.

    penny-600763_1920
    If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, replace those tires ASAP.
  2. Clean the roof and inspect it for leaks: Ideally you do this at least every 6 months, and the beginning of spring is a good time. Your trailer roof takes a lot of abuse from UV rays, bird droppings, and more. Missing a leak, or postponing s repair can be very costly in the long run, so better to inspect early and often. Be careful when inspecting your roof, as not all RV roofs are designed to support a person standing on them. Use a ladder to take a good look at the roof, paying special attention to all seams and roof penetrations by items such as air conditioners and TV antennas. If you see any potential leaks, either take the trailer to the dealer for repair, or if you are handy you can patch it yourself. Be sure you use the correct product for making any repairs. There are plenty of RV roof repair products on the market, just be sure to stay away from ordinary silicone sealants like the ones you would use to seal up your bathtubs or windows at home. If you aren’t sure what you are doing, it’s better to leave it to the professionals. Of course you can keep your trailer clean, and protect it from UV rays and pollutants with one of our trailer covers, and that will help keep your roof in tip top shape. But you should still do regular roof inspections, and repair when needed

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    Don’t let this happen to your trailer: Cover, Clean, Repair
  3. Check your battery: If you have a flooded lead acid battery with little caps on top, you should remove the caps and make sure the plates are covered with water. If the cells aren’t covered, add distilled water until the cells are completely covered.  If there are no caps, you have a maintenance free battery and don’t have to worry about adding water. Did you have your battery on a maintainer/ charger? Hopefully, so, as that will help keep your battery in tip top shape. Either way, you should buy yourself an inexpensive multimeter, that can monitor DC voltage. A fully charged 12 volts battery should show 12.7 volts at 100% charge. A battery that is below 50% will only show 12.1 volts. If you have fully charged your battery, and are getting less than 12.5 volts ( 80%) then it’s time to either replace the battery or take it to the shop for further testing.

    device-1298711_1280
    Multimeters are cheap, and help you check your battery
  4. Check your appliances: It would really stink to get to your campsite, only to find out that one of your appliances isn’t working properly. So if you haven’t used them in a few months, be sure to run quick test. Items like refrigerators and hot water heaters that run on LP gas as well as  AC electricity should be checked in both modes. You’ll want also want to run the water pump, heater, and air conditioner to make sure that are all working properly. Don’t forget the LP leak and carbon monoxide detectors, these are the most important of the bunch!smoke-315874_1280
  5. Sanitize your plumbing system. This is actually pretty easy to do, it just takes a little time and some household bleach. We wrote a whole post about it last month.bleach-147520_1280

Do you have any questions or comments about camping or travel trailers? We would love to hear from you. Email us: bison@pahaque.com or contact us on Facebook or Instagram.

 

How to sanitize your fresh water tank on your travel trailer.

This week marks the first day of spring, and with spring comes camping and a new year of adventures.  And if your travel trailer has been sitting through the winter,  you’ll have some extra prep work to do before you head out on your first trip of the year.   We make tents and shademakers for all manner of trailers,  and some, such as the small teardops may only require a cleaning and a tire pressure check.   But some of the larger trailers, such as the R-Pods and A-liners have a fresh water system that will need to be sanitized.

Luckily,  sanitizing the fresh water tank on your travel trailer is a fairly simple job, and requires only a few household items. You’ll start off my draining your entire  fresh water tank.  Then all you need is a a source of fresh water,some household bleach, and  clean bottle such as a clean empty 1 gallon water, bleach or milk bottle.  You’ll also want to know the size of your freshwater tank, as  that determines the total amount of bleach you’ll add to the system.

bleach-147520_1280

First  you’ll put 1/4 cup of  bleach for every 15 gallons  that your tanks holds, into your 1 gallon jug.   Then fill the  jug the rest of the way with water, and pour the entire contents into your freshwater tank.   Next you’ll fill the entire tank to the top, or almost to the top with freshwater.

Now that your tank is full of the bleach solution, you’ll go inside and turn on all the taps (including the hot water)  until you smell bleach at each tap.  At this point, you know the solution has filled all the hoses and can do it’s job on the whole system.   Once you’ve turned the taps off, your fresh tank should still be almost full, and you’ll want to allow that full tank to sit for at least 3 hours.    Overnight is nice, but you can get away with a shorter time if you’d like.   It’s also helpful to hitch up and take a drive around the block.  This agitates the water in the fresh tank just enough to make sure it covers every nook and cranny of  the tank.  But again, if you are unable to to  the short drive, you should still be fine

Once the bleach solution has done it’s job, you’ll need to empty the fresh water tank, by using the drain plug or by running it through the faucets.    ( Don’t forget the hot water).  Once the tank is empty, you’ll refill it with hot water, and then run all the faucets until you no longer smell bleach.   If you’ve flushed properly, but a mild bleach smell remains, you can flush again if you wish.   The tiny amount of bleach left in the system usually isn’t harmful, and the extra flush is just personal preference.

 

Have any questions  or comments about camping or travel trailers?  email us: bison@pahaque.com or contact us on Facebook or Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chef Jason’s World Famous Grilled Winter Squash

It’s time, my friends. With only 3 weeks of Winter left I thought we’d do a nice Winter recipe to send off the season nicely. I know many are braving Winter conditions for far longer than that so March 20th means very little. But find the time for this one, it’ll warm what ails ya…

sliced winter squash

We’re going to be grilling. If it’s too cold and wintery outside for you this can also be done in the oven. They key here is using fresh herbs to brighten up the sometimes-bland flavor profile of whatever local squashes happen to be available in your area. Dried herbs… we don’t need ‘em…

 

Major players:

  • Squash – 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or… fill in the blank. What’s available is what’s best. Butternut, Acorn, even Pumpkin. (No spaghetti squash for this one, however…)
  • Fresh herbs thinly chopped. Sage, oregano, parsley, tarragon, mint, thyme, etc… A combination of 2 or three of any of those is what we want here.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Amounts to follow
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmesan Reggiano (cheese) – 1 cup. (Or Pecorino Romano)

Game Time

Heat your grill to medium high heat. (Or your oven to 375℉) Slice down your squash of choice, after removing the rind. This is pretty easy but feel free to look up videos on how to do that. (Email me and I’ll direct you my personal favorites.) Then slice your squash into half inch slices. (See accompanying picture.)

Toss slices with Olive Oil to coat and healthy pinches of both salt and pepper. Lay over direct heat and grill 3 to 4 minutes per side with the lid closed. Check to make sure the slices are fork-tender, but not mushy. We’re not making mashed potatoes here so we still want the slices to retain their rigidity and some firmness.

Remove from heat and drizzle with Olive Oil and top with shredded cheese immediately. (Same thing if you’re doing this in the oven. Roast for about 18-20 minutes.)

Drizzle with Olive Oil and sprinkle with cheese immediately upon exiting the heat. Sprinkle your fresh herbs over the squash at this time, also. The herbs do not need to be cooked but the heat from the squash will bring them to fruition just nicely…

Game Changer

Slice squash into 1 inch bite sized pieces and toss with sweet Italian sausages that have been cooked and also sliced into 1 inch segments. Toss with Olive Oil, cheese, and fresh herbs just as above. We’re now a mere 7 months until the Holiday Season. Just a friendly reminder. We’ll be switching to Spring delights next time…

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

 

Four of our favorite camping books.

Spring is still 5 weeks away, and much of the country is still covered in snow. So you may not be camping right now. But if you are like us, the next best think to camping and enjoying the outdoors is reading about camping  and the outdoors.   So here are a few of our favorite books about being outside.   Some of them are easy, fun reads, and some are more serious.  But any of these books can be enjoyed by the fireplace inside, or by the campfire on your next adventure.   Do you have a favorite book you would like to share?   Email us: Bison@pahaque.com or contact us on Facebook or Instagram.

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson  has been described as ” Choke on your coffee funny”   It is really a hiking book more than a camping one, but Bryson does plenty of tent camping  as he and his incredibly unfit friend set out to hike the Appalachian Trail.

awalk in the woods

 

Into the Wild

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer was a best seller, and the film base on the book made it even more famous.   This one is definitely on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Bryson book, as it tells the story of the troubled but intelligent Chris McCandless.  The young man from El Segunda CA walks into the Alaskan wilderness, and never walks out.  Mccandless’ cause of death is still debated 25 years later, and we will likely never know what lead to his demise.   Even if you’ve already seen the movie, you should grab a copy of this book in paperback.  It’s a real page turner, as is anything by Krakauer.

into the wild

Hey Ranger

Hey Ranger is a light hearted book written by a veteran park Ranger.   Jim Burnett collected many stories  the misadventures of campers and other park goers in his 30+ years at the NPS.   Park users get themselves into all sorts of ridiculous situations, but  Hey Ranger is an easy read, and great book  for relaxing in a hammock.

ranger hey

Coyote America

Coyote America  by Dan Flores is a look into the lives of  the ubiquitous Canis latrans.  The book can roughly be summarized as: When we are long gone, the coyotes will still be here.  If you don’t have a great respect for the coyote before you read the book, you will after you are done. Flores will convince you that the  often maligned  coyote is an incredibly intelligent, adaptable animal deserving of our respect.  Attempts by previous generations to eradicate the animal proved impossible, as the coyote always outsmarts and outlives any attempts to beat it, and the species will outlive us all.

coyote america

 

What do you think of our list?  tell us your favorites and tag us on us on Facebook or Instagram.

Cookie Jason’s Grilled Sausage and Green Beans

Happy New Year, campers! Welcome to our first recipe of the year. You all hereby resolve to enjoy fantastic food throughout the year…

This is a great one for chilly nights around an open fire, or at home the around dinner table, or curled up on the couch in a toasty living room in front of a good movie. Because, as always, this is just as easily done around the campsite as it as at home. Play along…

This is a two-step process. First, we grill, then we pouch.

Major players:

  • 1lb bratwurst, Italian sausage, or your favorite
  • 1lb Green Beans, trimmed and cut into 1 to 1 and a half inch sections
  • 1 Medium onion, sliced
  • 6 to 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter

 

First, grill the sausage until completely cooked through and set aside to cool. Also, grill the green beans.
Yes, we’re going to grill the green beans. You read that correctly. But we’re not worried about cooking them all the way here. Let’s just get some nice grill marks on those and develop that flavor a bit. They will continue cooking in the next step. Once the sausage has cooled enough to handle, slice it into 1-inch segments.

Now it’s time to pouch; which is my favorite method of campsite cooking. It’s easier to use a disposable aluminum baking pan here. But if you’re using foil just make sure you’re using heavy duty foil and make it double-layered on the bottom. Now simply add the sausage, green beans, and all remaining ingredients except the butter into your pouch and toss to coat everything with the EVOO. Add the butter on top of the mix and close it up. Leave a vent hole or two. If you’re using an aluminum baking pan just cover it with foil and poke a couple holes into it. Let that go on medium-high heat for about 20 to 25 minutes.

(If you’re doing this at home and it’s too cold for the grill outside, sauté the sausage and green beans and then do the rest as above in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, covered with foil in your favorite baking /roasting pan.)

cookie (1 of 3)

A little something extra? Sprinkle the shredded cheese of your choice right on top just before serving.

 

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

 

A little tip from Cookie Jason:

Get yourself a coffee/spice grinder for about $15-20 on Amazon and grind your own pepper. You can get whole peppercorns in the spice aisle. I like the multi-colored ones (which are just the peppercorns picked from the plant at varying maturity). I get mine by the ounce at Sprouts. I also add a bit of whole cumin seeds to mine, as you can see here. (I highly recommend this. You won’t be able to taste cumin in there, but it does slightly alter the flavor profile of the pepper. Give it a try.) Freshly ground pepper makes a world of difference. Pour it into a spice jar and use it on everything you like pepper on. An empty spice jar works great here, like one that garlic powder came in, for example.
~You’re welcome

 

 

It was a massacre

Last fall, a few of us were at a mountain bike festival  called Grinduro in the small  logging town of Quincy California.  The town of less than 2,000 welcomes the event which benefits the Sierra Butte Trail Stewardship.  The SBTS is a 501c3 non-profit that builds trails in  in the Sierra Butte portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These guys build trails for  just about every form of trail fun including, motorized OHV trails, hike, bike, horse, and  multi-use trails.   But we aren’t here to talk about Grinduro, Qunicy, or the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  We are here to show you how important it is to properly set up your tent.

At PahaQue Wilderness, our tents are made to hold strong in adverse conditions.   I’m sure you’ve noticed the guys lines coming out from each corner, and that the tent will actually stand on it’s own without them.  It can be tempting to get lazy, and simply not bother with the guy lines, but the fact is that those lines are what really keep your tent up through the rough stuff.  We saw a great illustration of this that weekend in Quincy.

The whole Grinduro festival revolves around one long, 65 mile mountain bike ride.   Needles to say, this ride takes a long time and riders are gone for over half the day.   Now when everyone left camp for the ride 8 AM, it was chilly but sunny, and the winds were calm.   As the riders rode away, the temperature rose by over 10 degrees in the next hour.   What also picked up was the wind, and by 10am there were winds gusts well over 30 MPH.   We knew that our Pamo Valley 6 person tent and our PahaQue Rendevouz 4 man tent would hold up just fine.  The tents are made for this sort of thing, and we had properly set up and staked our tents. But we weren’t prepared  for the mess that waited for us when we arrived back at camp.

There were tents every where.  Some of them had blown completely down, some had tipped over but  were held in place by heavy items inside.  Several had blown 100+ feet away to be stopped at a fence, and many tents had bent or broken poles.   ut of course our tents were in perfect condition, standing tall.  Any unlike many others, we were able sit and relax after a hard ride, rather than pack up a broken tent and wonder where  could sleep that night.

 

There are a couple of important lessons here.  The first one is to chose a good, high quality tent to start with.   The second lesson is to make sure you properly set up  your tent, including stakes and guy lines.  A PahaQue tent is made to withstand the strong wind and other elements, and each part of the tent is engineered to do a job, to help keep you and your stuff protected from the elements.

Do you you have a camping story  or photos you would like to share with us?  Email: happytrails@pahaque.com

Chef Jason’s World Famous Apple Pork Stew

It’s time, my friends. The holidays are upon us and we can’t hold back any longer. Baking season, pumpkin season, and… stew season (with lots of seasoning…).

 

Got 3 hours to kill? Find ‘em. This is worth it. At home or at the campsite, you’ll be a hero. Stews come in all shapes and sizes. But pork loves apples and we love both. It’s a match made in camping euphoria. Follow along…

 

Major players:

 

  • 1 4-5lb pork roast, cut into 1in cubes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 red onions, peeled and chopped
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large green apples, peeled/cored cut into large slices
  • 3 large carrots, chopped into 1/2in pieces
  • 12-16oz large mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced thick
  • 4 sprigs each of rosemary, sage and thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (homemade is always best)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter (no margarine)
  • Dash of chopped chives per serving

 

 

Heat your favorite Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Brown pork roast cubes on all sides, about a minute or two per side. Toss in the onions and apples about half way through. We want them to brown, too. But the time it takes to brown all sides of the pork is too long for the onions and apples, so that’s why the delay in adding them. Then add the stock, salt and pepper, butter, and herbs. Lower heat. (If cooking over a fire, move it to the side so it’s not over direct heat but still hot enough to simmer.) Cover and simmer for 2 and a half hours.

(*Take it up a notch: add 1 and a half cups red wine and 1 Tbsp of ground cumin)

 

Remove lid and add mushrooms, garlic, carrots, and celery. (Add a couple of diced potatoes at this point if you’d like the resultant product to be a little thicker.) Recover with lid and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve hot. The herb sprigs are easy enough to fish out with tongs. Sprinkle each serving with chopped chives.

That’s how we do it, folks. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

How to care for your PahaQue Tent

PahaQue gear is made to last. We take pride in the fact that many of our customers are still using their tents over a decade after they bought them. Of course proper care of your tent  is an important factor in getting a long life out of your tent, so here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of yours.

Protect the floor of your tent from rips and tears:  Even the strongest material can be damaged  by debris.  So find a nice spot that is free of sticks, rocks, and other debris that could damage the floor of your tent. Most campsites have a tent pad that is specifically designed for tent setup. The pad will likely be free of rocks, but pointed sticks, discarded bottle tops, and other sharp items can damage the floor of the tent, as well as keep you up at night. So take a minute to clear the pad of this type of debris. Once you’ve checked for anything that could poke a hole in the floor of your tent, you should put down a footprint to protect the floor of your tent.

footprint
PahaQue  makes footprints designed to perfectly fit our tents. 

 

 Ensure Proper Setup: The next step is equally important.  Our tents are made to withstand everything mother nature throws at them. But proper tent setup is essential. If you want to make sure your tent lasts through potential wind and rain, be sure follow all directions, and properly set up all guy lines. Do that and you’ll be a happy camper.

DSC_2745
Proper setup is key!

Protect your PahaQue tent from the sun: UV rays are bad for your tent. PahaQue tents are UV resistant, but those rays of sunshine will degrade any fabric over time. That’s why we recommend you treat your tent with Gear Aid Revivex UV Protectant at the start of each season. A bottle of the stuff is under 10 bucks, and provides that extra protection to keep your tent from becoming brittle, tearing, and fading. It’s easy to apply, just spray it on and let it dry.  

Get more life out of your tent with additional rain proofing: Even with UV protectant, those rays shining straight down and going to work on your rainfly. So if your tent is over 5 years old, it’s a good idea to add a little extra waterproofing with Gear Aid Revivex Durable Water Repellent. After 5 years, you should give your tent another treatment every 2 seasons.

Keep your tent from getting funky: Never put your tent away dirty, or wet. Always try to clean out your tent before you pack it up, and always make sure the tent is dry. We say always, but we know this isn’t always feasible. Sometimes it’s a rain storm, or it could be simply the morning dew, but you’ll occasionally have to break camp before your gear can dry. When this happens, be sure to unpack and set up your tent as soon as possible. Give it 24 hours or more to dry out. This is also a great opportunity to get in there with a vacuum and get any extra dust and dirt out of your tent. It may also be a good time to give your tent a good washing.

All you really need to wash your tent is a laundry detergent made for delicate clothing or mild hand soap, along with a sponge and a bucket. Never use harsh chemical cleaners or machine wash your tent, that’s a recipe for disaster. Just dilute the soap or mild detergent in some water, and then hand wipe the tent clean with the sponge. Then of course make sure the tent is completely dry before packing it away.

tide free
Tide Free and Gentle is a possible choice for a mild laundry detergent.  It doesn’t take much!

 

Some additional quick tips:

Use a TentRug, to keep the inside if your tent clean.

Take off your shoes before you enter the tent to keep it even cleaner.

Be gentle with your zippers, and consider using Gear Aid Zipper Clear and Lubricant.

Use your rain fly on the tent even when it’s not raining. It protects the rest of your tent from UV rays, and costs less than an entire tent if you have to replace it. Setting up in the shade also protects your tent from the UV rays.

Wipe off the poles and wash the entire tent after any camping trip near sand or salt water.

These tips will help you get the most life out of your PahaQue tent. Where are you camping? Let us know, and send us some photos via email: happytrails@pahaque.com, on Facebook, or tag us @PahaQue on Instagram.

 

New Website Launch and Fall Sale

Websites age quickly, and not long ago, we decided that PahaQue.com needed a reboot. We’ve streamlined the ordering system, and made the site easier to navigate.  We put quite a bit of time and effort into the site, and we hope you like it. If you haven’t seen the new PahaQue site, you should check it out.

We are really proud of the new site, and want to give you a little extra motivation to visit it. So along with the new site, we are having a massive storewide sale on everything on the entire PahaQue site. You can buy one item, or you can fill your garage with all  the latest PahaQue gear. Just use the coupon code FALL18 to get 25% off all in stock items at PahaQue.com.  We realize you may be busy working, camping, and spending quality time with your family and friends, so this sale will run well into October.

Not only will you get some cool gear, you’ll save some hard earned cash.   In fact the onlt thing better than getting new gear, saving money when you do. Think of all the things you could do with the money you save.

Of Course you can do whatever you want with the money you save by using the coupon code FALL2018 at PahaQue.com  You can buy a tank of gas to get to your favorite camp site, you can buy a pack of adult beverages to share with your friends, you can buy an inflatable raft and float in the lake, or you can buy some premium steaks to make yourself a delicious campsite meal. The possibilities are literally endless.    What will you do with the 25% that you save at PahaQue.com?     You can tell us by emailing us at happytrails@pahaque.com,   letting us know on our Facebook Page, or messaging us on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

3 Fun Campsite Games you probably haven’t tried.

We enjoy lounging around the campsite, sometimes doing nothing, relaxing in our camping hammock, and often enjoying an adult beverage. But we like to be active and have fun with the family as well. Here are a few of our favorite games to play at the campsite.

Glow in the dark bocce ball: This is definitely a modern twist on an old classic. This game is traditionally played during the day,and on dirt or asphalt courts. The game starts by tossing a small ball or “jack” out onto the court. Then each opponent “bowls” their ball in attempt to be the closest one to the jack. Bocce traditionalists would probably cringe at our campsite style of play, but the mixed surface and terrain of a campsite, the orbs glowing at night, and potential obstacles such as tree trunks and fire pits add a to the excitement.    LED Bocce sets are available online for around 50 bucks, and can provide hours of entertainment for both kids and adults.

 

Giant Jenga: Jenga is usually an indoor game played on a small table out countertop.   The game is often exciting and filled with tension as the tower grows, and become increasingly unstable.   But you know what really adds to the tension and the fun? Making it giant! Giant Jenga is a hit at almost any campsite.   You an buy Giant Jenga online for around $30 or if you are the handy type, you can get some extra satisfaction from building your own.

 

 

Potato Sack Races: Remember these from when you were a kid? You basically hop to the finish line with your entire body in sack. The obvious question is? Where do i find a potato sack? Well it might not be a bag that actually carried potatoes, but the internet can deliver a set of “racing” bags to your door for under $20, and it will be money well spent. You’ll get some good laughs, and you’ll get your blood pumping. Be careful, or the kids will definitely out hop you on this one.

 

What are your favorite camping games?   Cornhole?  Horeshoes?  Let us know what you like to play at the campsite.