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A stove with character

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The SVEA 123 (Courtesy Spiritburner.com) My first proper backpacking stove (not counting cans of Sterno here) was called a SVEA 123 (pronounced like a word: “Sveyah”). It was a lovely thing of solid brass that ran on white gas and…

Continental Divide vehicle report

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What sort of mischief can 1,600 uninterrupted miles of mixed corrugations, rocks, potholes, mud, and even some pavement wreak on a diverse group of four-wheel-drive vehicles? We found out on the recent Continental Divide trip organized by Rawhyde Adventures and…

Old and new OME

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  My FJ40 Land Cruiser has been riding on an Old Man Emu suspension for about eight years now. It’s OME’s standard kit for the FJ40, comprising a useful but easy-on-driveshaft-angle two-inch lift (which gave me enough room to install…

Ceramic knife . . . fail

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The one certain thing about any knife on earth is that it will eventually become dull with use. Since steel was first created by the accidental introduction of carbon into iron, knife makers have strived to balance several conflicting requirements,…

Land Rover’s invisible hood

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Very rarely am I left open-mouthed by a new automotive invention, but this one left me gobsmacked. Land Rover is experimenting with a system that employs a camera, mounted in the front bumper, which projects its image on a heads-up…

The Micro-Start XP-1

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It’s not often an experienced mechanic sounds giddy over the phone, but Dave Anderson sounded giddy when he called me from his Flagstaff, Arizona, shop, the Good Carma Garage (which really should be a radio program). “I just bought this…

A tale of two owner’s manuals

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My friend, master mechanic Bill Lee, sent me these photos. Ponder for a moment the difference between the owner’s manual for a 1985 Toyota Land Cruiser, 144 pages long, and the suite of manuals for a 2013 Lexus RX 450h,…

Shock absorbers: gas-charged, or . . . ?

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Look at reviews of shock absorbers for four-wheel-drive vehicles in U.S. magazines, and you’ll probably find just two types listed and described:Mono-tube, high-pressure gas-charged Twin-tube, low-pressure gas-chargedAll modern automotive shock absorbers—dampers if you prefer the more technically accurate…

Installing an ARB diff lock, part 2

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We’re back from Silver City, New Mexico, where Bill Lee of Bill’s Toy Shop installed an ARB locking differential in the rear of the JATAC (see below for part 1). We’ve created a 13-minute video detailing the installation and a…

Installing an ARB diff lock, part 1

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  Once you’ve installed better tires, the number one modification you can do to a four-wheel-drive vehicle to improve traction is to add a differential locker. Lacking traction control or lockers, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is actually only a two-wheel-drive vehicle:…

A brief tutorial on hill-descent control

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Truck and SUV manufacturers are incorporating more and more technological gadgets into their vehicles with the goal of enhancing off-highway performance and safety. One that is becoming nearly universal is hill-descent control. I was dubious of the system at first,…

Farewell to an overlanding dog

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If you’ve done much exploring around the backroads and four-wheel-drive trails of Arizona in the last few years, odds are you’ll remember at some point noticing a silver Jeep Wrangler being led by a black lab mix with a white…

The Land Rover conundrum – solved.

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They’re not unreliable. They’re simply co-dependent. I arrived at this conclusion in a single flash of realization after driving Land Rovers many thousands of miles in East Africa, and putting in equal time in Land Cruisers on many of the…

Vintage pocket compass

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I admit to a bit of an obsession with always being aware of cardinal directions—even in the briefest and most inconsequential of circumstances, such as while transiting between gates in a strange airport. I have a good sense of direction…

Embracing the wheel

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  Filming Samburu blacksmiths in northern Kenya.For years and years I refused to use rolling luggage for airline travel. My personal creed went something like, If I can’t carry it, I’m carrying too much. I made month-long-plus trips for magazine…

New from Bogert Manufacturing

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I suspect Richard Bogert is one of those people who keeps a notepad and pen on the nightstand, so he can jot down inspirations that pop into his head at 3:00 a.m. I can’t see any other way he could…

Pronghorn makes the leap

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To say I “consulted” on the Pronghorn Overland Gear Modular Front End System (MFES) for the Jeep Wrangler JK would be a bit of an overstatement. What actually transpired was, they brought a prototype bumper to our place and mounted…

Tire pressure

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The 109 figure on the right is the tire’s load index, used with the load range to calculate proper pressure. A reader, Christian, sent in this comment to my recent post The physics of tires and lifts: I have a…

The physics of tires and lifts

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The JATAC with Four Wheel Camper mounted; LT235/85 R16 BFG All-Terrain tires, Boss air bags on stock rear springs, Icon shocks at all four corners. At the Overland Expo this May, Roseann gave a walkaround of the JATAC to a…

Firepower: how to make stovetop pizza and créme brûlée in camp

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by Roseann Hanson (co-director, Overland Expo; camp cook; and pyro) In camp, one achieves happiness through superior firepower. And the best source of firepower, hands-down, is the Snow Peak GigaPower 2Way Torch. I first saw this little 5.5-inch wonder put…

Friction . . .

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Have you ever tried to slide a cardboard box full of books or other weighty contents across a floor? Did you notice that the box was difficult to get moving, but that once sliding it became easier to push? If…