7 months into a 1 year trip with the Tag

rich67rich67 Member Posts: 164

We left in October of 2021 from Florida, and have been trekking all over. Went through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, California, the Oregon coast, now we’re in Washington.

We’ve done a lot of boondocking (currently in an improved campground with no hookups), and so far the solar panels work great in the desert, not so much in the PNW! Too many cloudy days and tall trees! The Tag has had some issues. Windows have separated and now won’t open, the sink faucet developed a leak and flooded our camper, pieces have broken off from the trailer, and some of the interior wood pieces are going to need some TLC and new nails. But, we anticipate issues like this. Our Yakima Slim Shady awning broke off in high winds, but we managed to fix it with some items from Lowe’s. 17,000 miles on the Jeep so far, and only a couple minor mishaps there. But, we have seen and done so much, it’s at times overwhelming. Headed into Idaho next, then Montana and Wyoming, then headed back home slowly via South Dakota.

Comments

  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Administrator Posts: 622

    Wow! Beautiful photos! What a trip!

    Sharon - Westlake, Ohio | 2017 TaB CSS - Forum Administrator

  • OutdoorEdOutdoorEd Member Posts: 109

    Sounds incredible. Great pics.

    Ed & Karen
    2017 T@G Max XL
    2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R

  • FroggerFrogger Member Posts: 156

    Freakin' nuts dude, thanks for the pics/updates...

  • TaniakolesTaniakoles Member Posts: 2

    What a great adventure!!

  • rich67rich67 Member Posts: 164

    Quick update! Headed through the Coeur D’Alene area of a Idaho, some spots in between there and Jackson Wyoming. Nice boondocking spot with a view of the Tetons for 5 days (battery finally died on the last day), through Yellowstone, and now we are near Devil’s Tower.


    Weather has been getting hot, but the fantastic fan works amazingly well at night when the temps drop down. But because we are traveling with dogs, we may looking at staying hooked up for the remainder of the trip as we head back east and south again.

    Decided to head toward The Thousand Lakes area of Minnesota before our southbound journey to the Ozarks.

  • rich67rich67 Member Posts: 164

    Trailer is still holding up well. The brakes on the Jeep? Not so much. Fried them coming down a steep pass in Jackson Hole. Going to be doing some maintenance while staying in a campground and slap some new pads on her.

    Still on the original Rainier tires that came with the Boondock edition. They are holding up amazingly well for 12k plus miles.

    The lithium battery and factory solar can get me a full 5 days off grid. And that is with running the fan pretty much all night from 8pm until 8 am, and with about 2 hours of TV time a night. If it’s cloudy, I can top it off with the generator. Wasn’t necessary in the Tetons; we had sunny weather every day except one afternoon. Woke up on day five to no power at about 5 am. We were leaving that day, so not a big deal.

  • JohnnyLocoJohnnyLoco Member Posts: 198
    edited July 2022

    Awesome !

    Assuming you are spending every night or most nights in the trailer, you really should post your opinions on what works and what don’t work technique and equipment wise.

  • splatmattsplatmatt Member Posts: 4

    @rich67 said:
    Trailer is still holding up well. The brakes on the Jeep? Not so much. Fried them coming down a steep pass in Jackson Hole.

    Do you have a brake controller installed on the jeep?

  • ZombiecatZombiecat Member Posts: 9

    @splatmatt said:

    @rich67 said:
    Trailer is still holding up well. The brakes on the Jeep? Not so much. Fried them coming down a steep pass in Jackson Hole.

    Do you have a brake controller installed on the jeep?

    ^^This! My Tekonsha unit helped me avoid a collision when a car locked up his brakes in front of me. Stopped on a dime without any push from the trailer.
    FYI, for anyone else planning a trip through high mountain passes, I recommend doing research ahead of time to determine the best route for safety and saving your brakes. Avoid Teton Pass, which is the primary driving route recommended by Google Maps between Idaho and Jackson, WY, by diverting through Alpine, WY. Same for crossing the Bighorn Mountains: US-16 will be easier than US-14 on both your brakes and transmission. Slow your speed in anticipation of steep downhills and use engine braking. Watch weather reports for storms (hail/ice even in summer) and high winds. Better to change your route than suffer a road disaster.

    "Improvement makes strait roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement, are roads of Genius."

    • William Blake

    2021 T@g XL Boondock

  • rich67rich67 Member Posts: 164

    Yes, I do have a brake controller. Regardless, all the extra weight for this trip I was hauling played a major factor. I just returned from the trip, and I have a LOT of info for you guys. Give me a little time to get settled, and I’ll post it up.

    Meanwhile, here’s a shot of Cass Lake Mn and our boondocking spot in the Tetons.

  • rich67rich67 Member Posts: 164

    @JohnnyLoco said:
    Awesome !

    Assuming you are spending every night or most nights in the trailer, you really should post your opinions on what works and what don’t work technique and equipment wise.

    Well, We are back! Had quite an amazing trip, and I will follow up this post with my opinions on the Tag and some of our equipment.
    1. The camper held up pretty well. We chewed up a fender marker light somehow (the harness was shredded...looks like it came loose and got caught up in the wheel). Both windows broke (the glue disintegrated on the plastic channels, and both windows were not able to be opened-they'd just fall right out.) The camper was comfortable for us. You absolutely need to have a mattress pad (we got a memory foam topper), and a heater. We used a small electric heater that worked great when we were on shore power.
    2. If you are going to be camping in cold weather, you MUST have a heater or some really good sleeping bags. We used some 0 degree mummy bags while boondocking. We got chilled a few times in Northern California when the temps dipped down to the upper 20's, but it was tolerable and we slept. The rest of the time, while hooked up, the electric heater worked great. Don;'t waste you time with the Lasko MyHeat. It's too small and won't keep the inside warm enough in sub 30 degree weather. We used a 1500 watt heater I bought off Amazon and it made it toasty inside regardless of how cold it got.
    3. We had a small Jackery and the 60 watt panels that went along with it. I used it specifically to run our 12v secondary fridge when we were off grid. As long as it's sunny, the Jackery ran the fridge flawlessly at 34 degrees F for 5 days without an issue. This was in full Texas sun. Once we got into the PNW, forget it. The Jackery barely had enough juice to run the fridge for two days. I'd suggest running a larger Jackery (we used the 240). But if we were camping in the desert or in a sunny climate, I'd vote for the 240 all day.
    4. We got a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery to replace the marine deep cycle before we left. I also had the 100watt solar option that came with the Tag. The battery was a 300 dollar one off Amazon and it worked amazingly well. We also ran this in conjunction with a generator (2200 watt). Without running the genny and using the fan on occasion, some lights and about an hour of TV a night, we got 5 solid days of being off grid before needing to charge the battery. Not bad at all! In cloudy weather, that dropped down to 3 days. And we didn't go easy on the power. We charged phones on the USB, and ran the fan to cool down in the evening.The battery NEEDS to be discharged on occasion though. In Washington, we were barely getting 2 days out of it despite there being sun. Once I discharged the battery all the way 2-3 times, the capacity jumped back up at our next destination.
    5. The Yakima awning was disappointing. It's small. We barely fit under it with the dogs, and it necessitated us buying a larger shade shelter to make things more comfortable when the sun started to beat down. But, like all stand alone awnings, they don't last for crap. We went through two of them. The one that has lasted the longest was our REI Screen House, but the airflow sucks. It's great to escape the bugs, but useless to keep yourself in the shade.The Yakima failed twice. Once, the wind took it despite us having it tied down and literally broke off the mounting strip. I was able to fix it by re-drilling holes into it and securing it with some nuts and bolts. The final catastrophic failure happened the last week we were out, when we fell asleep and the the rain filled it up and literally snapped the aluminum poles in half. I threw the whole thing in the trash after that. I would have got the Batwing or a larger awning to make more shade for us and eliminate the need for a stand alone solution.
    6. The 12v Norcold fridge performed flawlessly. This fridge was consistently cold and we didn't lose any food. The cheaper 12v fridge I bought off Amazon (Massimo Motorsports) did GREAT for drinks, but don't use it for food. The temps fluctuated too much due to poor insulation and probably a lousy thermostat. But if you use it to store water and drinks to keep cool, it will work great. That's what we ended up using it for primarily at the end of the trip, after losing some food in it early on.

    We put over 27k on the trailer and tow vehicle after all was said and done. The Tag's tires held up fantastic. I greased the bearings again before we left and we had not one failure. The faucet in the kitchen sink was another story. The coupling under the sink failed, and caused a massive leak while we were in Texas. Ruined stuff under our bed we had stored. While we were on the road, we could not find one place that carried the Shur-flo that came with the Tag. A place we found was able to rig a small hose sprayer, but it leaked horribly and rendered our sink essentially unusable for the rest of the trip. We ended up washing dishes in a collapsible bucket, and only used the sink to hold dry goods. That was a pain. I'd suggest retrofitting the plumbing under the sink with decent parts and not the cheap plastic fittings that Nucamp uses. These are prone to fail eventually, and repairing them on the road becomes difficult. If you have your own common parts in there, they would be easy to find at any Home Depot or Lowe's.
    All in all, we emerged from this trip with minimal issues and nothing so severe that it ruined our trip. The Jeep held up well, and only had an issue with a cracked oil cooler in Tennessee.

  • JamesDowJamesDow Member Posts: 629

    @rich67: Welcome back. Good to hear things did not get too out of hand.

    Thanks for keeping us posted during your journey. Glad to learn that your 12v Norcold fridge performed flawlessly. I have not run into any issues with mine during four years of ownership.

    Are we going to see any of your trip on YouTube?

    ____________________________________

  • rich67rich67 Member Posts: 164

    @JamesDow said:
    @rich67: Welcome back. Good to hear things did not get too out of hand.
    Thanks for keeping us posted during your journey. Glad to learn that your 12v Norcold fridge performed flawlessly. I have not run into any issues with mine during four years of ownership.
    Are we going to see any of your trip on YouTube?


    James, head over to 1yearinatear on Youtube and check some of them out. I still have a few to catch up on, but the majority of it is up and running.

  • arubinoarubino Member Posts: 4

    hi - I am new to this thread and reading, @rich67 can you comment on the windows separating? what does that mean? trip looks great!

Sign In or Register to comment.