Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades + HEAT!

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Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades + HEAT!

Postby polishfly » Nov Tue 19, 2019 10:15 pm

Hey guys! I just wanted to fill you in on some of the adventures and upgrades I have been up to with the camper I built! This thing has become quite the addiction and has led into some sketchy adventuring with my 2WD truck. I have been getting more and more into overlanding which is getting from point A to point B without using paved roads as much as possible. Most of the time that means traveling on forest roads, gravel roads, and otherwise none exciting (to some...I find them all awesome) roads. However, sometimes I come across some more technical crossings and sections and the trailer has followed me through it all! As of today I have 23 trips under my belt with 13 states visited and 12,308 miles traversed in between! Things only keep getting better and more practical, usable, and with this rig but it is nearly complete and I am already thinking about 2.0.....

Anyway I will start my catch up on a road trip this past summer where my buddy and I did a giant loop through the west, camping off the grid for free each night and doing some mountain biking. We camped in the Badlands SD, Steamboat CO, and Crested Butte CO, then drove through the tail end of a tornado in Kansas!

Image

ImagePCP_3400 by Paul Cybulski

ImagePCP_3682 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_3685 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImageIMG_20190822_112559_702 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImageIMG_20190822_112559_703 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_3574 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

Shortly after that I went on the annual northwoods trip with Zenfish and Rigmewhacky for our musky hunt. Things turned out to be a great success. We all wrestled some monsters and the sights were great. Weather was also awesome not drenching us like the previous year.

ImagePCP_3904 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_3984 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_4029 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_4062 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

After those two trips I decided that a fridge would serve me better since getting ice was a PITA, especially boondocking 1.5 hrs from the nearest gas station in Colorado during the tail end of summer. I found a great fridge that fit in my galley where my coolers previously sat and that allowed me to replace both coolers with just a single fridge freeing up some much needed space in my rear galley. Now things are nice and organized for food prep and easily accessible without having to shuffle things around much.

ImagePCP_4343 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

However, the fridge upgrade also meant that I needed a way to charge my battery while off the grid and not close to shore power. I decided to first start with building out my solar charging, ended up with 2 120W portable panels that fold up into my tongue box.

Image20190925_134916 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

Image20190924_190253-1 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

Image2019-11-19_08-56-24 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

I was ready to hit the road with my new gear however the next trip was basically all road trip and a whole lot of driving with no chance to set my solar up during the day since I was on the road. This meant my fridge was sucking down my battery and I had no way to charge back up overnight. Regardless the trip was fun and I explored some amazing places in southern IL that I didn't even know were in this state. I recommend Shawnee national forest to everyone! I did get myself into a bit of a sketchy section of "road" which required the use of nearly all of my recovery equipment and scared me a good bit but my truck and trailer made it out with just 1 small dent and a few soft scrapes.

Actually drove through this with just the truck, water came up on the hood...
ImagePCP_4450 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_4397 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_4536 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_4650 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImageIMG_20191014_142623_370 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImageIMG_20191014_142623_368 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImageIMG_20191014_142623_365 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

Even pulled the trailer using a strap and my heavy duty tongue jack w/ wheel multiple times to navigate the trees.
ImageIMG_20191014_142623_364 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

My next step was to build out DC/DC alternator charging so that my trailer battery could get some juice while I cruise down the highway. This took a bit of help from an overlanding forum and I crafted a custom solution using the existing 7pin wiring that is in my truck. It's not huge but I get 7Amps at 14.4v when the battery needs it. All this charging meant that I needed to see what the heck the battery was doing at all times. I turned to Victron and my bank began hurting. I got a bluetooth battery monitor and started doing some testing. Turns out my battery was toast from constant undercharging and overdischarge before I even got the fridge. I had no idea what I was doing back then. Ultimately I added a battery protect (also Victron...and bluetooth) so that if my power draining things draw too much power from the battery it will automatically shut off and not let it drain any further. After a battery upgrade a new shore power charger I have come up with the most compact, hard to modify, yet clean setup that I could. It meets my OCD needs.

Image20191019_164455-1 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

Image20191019_164444-1 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

Image20191031_164049(1) by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_4739 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

Need to add the DC/DC converter and battery protect to this diagram but this is what I am working with now!
ImageTanto by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

I recently got out with Zenfish for our first winter outing the weekend of the first snow. That was a good time! I stayed warm with my setup but condensation was a pain in my ass. It is something that I will be working on next. So far the only way I have figured out how not to have condensation in my cabin is to keep a window open and run the exhaust fan which brings the cabin temp to just about the outside temp. In the sleeping bag I dont mind that but if I get out for any reason its ass cold! To be continued...working on a small solar powered 12v water heater for hot off grid showers (oh yea...I got a shower tent that is attached to the driver side of the camper roof rack!)

ImageIMG_20191101_162211_636 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_4709 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

ImagePCP_4310 by Paul Cybulski, on Flickr

Sorry for the photo dump but I finally figured out how to use Flickr! I post a lot more on Instagram (at least once a week if I can) and Facebook too if anyone is interested in following along.

https://www.instagram.com/tantotrailers/

Hopefully this winter allows an outing on a lake with the camper!! Fish on!
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby HEDDONFROG » Nov Wed 20, 2019 12:09 am

Awesome post/pics/content P-Fly. Love seeing the evolution of your Tanto and killer travels
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby cletedius » Nov Wed 20, 2019 12:28 am

Wow.
Quite the rig you built & it seems you have really put it thru its paces, too :thumbup:

How is it heated?
Is it insulated?
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby Aux Pleins » Nov Wed 20, 2019 5:09 am

Whoa Solar Power! We are all still living in the stone age compared to what you have going on with that trailer.
Nature and shit.
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby polishfly » Nov Wed 20, 2019 9:36 am

Thanks guys!

cletedius wrote:Wow.
Quite the rig you built & it seems you have really put it thru its paces, too :thumbup:

How is it heated?
Is it insulated?


I have insulation under my floor and in my ceiling but none in the walls. Heat is one thing I am trying to work out right now. I have a heated blanket that keeps me nice and toasty but it doesnt do much for the cabin temp once I get into the 30s or below so getting out of the sleeping bag is a bit chilly. In the next trailer I will have a diesel forced air heater more than likely.

Aux, this thing has more tech than my truck from a user perspective haha! So much Bluetooth! But it is smart enough now to prevent me from destroying my new battery like I did the first one.
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby Phil6 » Nov Wed 20, 2019 9:55 am

Zenfishes hot tent I presume? Really want to get my self a portable woodstove for the same reason
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby Bassin' Ted » Nov Wed 20, 2019 1:28 pm

Awesome stuff!! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby cletedius » Nov Wed 20, 2019 2:02 pm

polishfly wrote:Thanks guys!

cletedius wrote: have insulation under my floor and in my ceiling but none in the walls. Heat is one thing I am trying to work out right now. I have a heated blanket that keeps me nice and toasty but it doesnt do much for the cabin temp once I get into the 30s or below so getting out of the sleeping bag is a bit chilly. In the next trailer I will have a diesel forced air heater more than likely.


Wondering if closed-cell spray foam would solve your condensation issues by providing a vapor barrier? Probably a pricey application & a pain to retrofit but I wonder how much hassle/cost it would add to an initial build?
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby mike son » Nov Wed 20, 2019 10:30 pm

This is so bad ass! Looks like you've been enjoying the hell out of it! Any big projects planned this winter?
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby polishfly » Nov Wed 20, 2019 11:12 pm

Adding insulation is probably more hassle than it’s worth because I have single pane windows and aluminum doors with huge single pane windows as well so those will get condensation regardless. I did just buy a diesel heater that should be here in time for the next outing in a few weeks. I put together the immersion water heater tonight but that needs testing before I go bragging hahaha hopefully it results in hot water for a shower at the end of the day should my boondocking site not include a skinny dipping pond.

Other than local trips throughout the winter I am trying to plan a snowboarding trip to UT for a week with the camper parked somewhere in the mtns. I am also curious about getting my truck and the camper out onto a lake up north somewhere for a bit of ice fishing! No integrated hole in the cabin but it sits 3 comfortably and if the heater works it will be a great ice shack! As light as it is I have no fear bringing it on ice but the truck is not so light and I’m an ice noob to the max.
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby SmalliesNEyes » Nov Thu 21, 2019 8:10 am

This is fucking awesome. Haha. Talk about a project. Amazing work you've done with that thing, and man, some beautiful trips you've taken! Living the life, man. Living the life.
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby JB » Nov Fri 22, 2019 6:44 pm

Epic read very cool setup! It helps to be mechanically inclined!!
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby polishfly » Nov Sat 23, 2019 7:01 pm

Chinese diesel heater arrived and this thing is pretty legit! It cranks out heat and seems to sip the fuel. Once this thing is installed permanently I will post an update but my excitement is sky high so I had to share!

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Ice fish camp here we come!!!
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby Michalski » Nov Sat 23, 2019 8:28 pm

My type of adventure! Awesome stuff!
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby badger75 » Nov Sun 24, 2019 1:00 pm

Beautiful rig & upgrades. Great scenery too.
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby polishfly » Nov Sun 24, 2019 11:43 pm

If anyone is interested these little Chinese heaters seem to work really well and are definitely fuel efficient! I ran mine in my driveway for 10 hours today on its lowest setting and it only consumed a tiny bit of the fuel in its tank. It also barely used the battery. It would have probably kept my camper way too warm if I don’t run my vent and have windows open. If anyone has a camper or van or boat with a cabin this would be a great option for heat if you find the need!

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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades

Postby RonG » Nov Mon 25, 2019 12:36 am

Awesome workmanship. Keep it coming. If you can photoshop out that can of lite beer, you've got a perfect post. :moresarcasm:
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades + HEAT!

Postby polishfly » Dec Wed 11, 2019 11:56 am

It’s official, the rig now has heat and I can easily camp in below freezing temps!! Now.....Where can I camp on the ice?!

Diesel heater went in like the spot for install was designed for it! It kept me nice and warm up to 63 degrees on the lowest setting this past weekend in the cold. Friday night got down into the low 20s. Absolutely 0 condensation and it was so comfortable! Now I can happily say that the 1.0 build is complete and I need to start designing my larger 2.0 model!

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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades + HEAT!

Postby Rambler » Dec Thu 12, 2019 1:55 pm

Really great stuff PF, except for all the Chinese-made stuff. Any chance there's US-made equivalents available? Not that I'd ever tackle this kind of project - my camping days might well be behind me.
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Re: Tanto Trailers Travels & Upgrades + HEAT!

Postby polishfly » Dec Thu 12, 2019 10:36 pm

Rambler wrote:Really great stuff PF, except for all the Chinese-made stuff. Any chance there's US-made equivalents available? Not that I'd ever tackle this kind of project - my camping days might well be behind me.


Yes and no. Had I built this rig with the full intention of having everything I have in it now then 95% of the stuff can be sourced in the US. Unfortunately originally I only intended to use it as a hard shell tent with a few extras. At that time it was 90% American made. It sat on Chinese aluminum that I replaced all of except for the part that sits under the cabin itself. Everything else was American made and mostly bought locally. I then had the need for a fridge which blew everything up. Sadly all of the US fridge manufacturers made fridges larger than what would fit in the finite space I stuck myself with and the Chinese option fit the bill. It was also 1/5th the price and for my budget it would have been the choice either way. My solar panels are Chinese and yes I can find American made for this and will get a sweet 600w blanket for 2.0. My electrical is mostly Victron and Renogy and I didn’t do my research on where they are made but those are the cream of the crop for the field and I don’t care where they are made. I have 1 cheap Chinese component in there which is my DC/DC converter which is doing my alternator charging. I could have gone with Victron for this but it was an experiment and I didn’t know if it would actually work so spending $$$ on top of the line gear for a science project didn’t make sense...it worked too well to replace. Lastly the heater...I just googled and I can’t find one that is made in the US that is of the same type. Again I’m not looking too deep but there are basically 3 or 4 main players then a bunch of Chinese options. Here my choice was 1/9th the price of what I would pay for the same unit from one of the top 2 manufacturers which are made in Germany...China can have my money from time to time. I can’t understand why a US manufacturer can’t produce one for somewhere between the Chinese price point and the German price point...or maybe even at the German price point...they are quite simple, it’s a burn chamber with a fuel pump and glow plug.
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