Camping Overlanding

Essential off road gear

Essential Off Road Recovery Gear

This article, and this video illustrates what would be essential off road recovery gear for the beginners to the experts. The stages of acquisition of such gear is ordered into 4 stages. For the purpose of this article, we will accept the term of off road gear to be synonymous with recovery gear. Although we are all beginners at one point in time, when it comes to off roading, I’d be careful to claim the status of expert, as there is always something more to learn in this area.,  

Stages of Off Road Recovery Gear Acquisition

Stage 1

We’ve all gotten stuck before, be it in snow or mud. It was in these times, our use of a shovel and jack graduated us into Stage 1 of off road gear. It would be wise to acquire these items of essential off road recovery gear, as these simple items can get you out of some sticky situations when off road. These are inexpensive items, especially in contrast to the cost of a tow vehicle to come to your rescue

Stage 2

On My First Newbie Run with my local Jeep club, I quickly learned to appreciate the value of deflating your tires, and disconnecting your sway bar links to improve the off road experience. Thus, essential off road recovery gear such as a robust air compressor, and sway bar quick disconnects would go a long way to help make the experience better.  A good tire inflator would be helpful to inflate your tires at the end of the trail, and sway bar quick disconnects make it easy to reconnect the sway bar links at the end of the trip.  These items are fairly affordable, and can often be acquired on sale through most online retailers as well as possibly through Jeep club discounts.

Stage 3

When on the trail, far away from civilization, not having the ability to tow or be towed when stuck on an obstacle or in the mud, can make for a disastrous trip. Every off roader should make it their responsibility to have the following essential off road gear: tow straps, tree saver straps, snatch straps, and shackles to aid in potential recovery operations. Fortunately, these items can be found in cost saving prepackaged recovery kits. These items are more costly than the items in the first two stages, but once purchased on sale, you would end up having them for a long time. No to mention the savings you incur by not having to pay recovery vehicles to come fetch your vehicle back in the woods somewhere.

Stage 4

At this final stage of essential off road gear acquisition, a winch is required. This also necessitates the need for a mounting plate or steel bumper. A winch can be described as your get out of jail free card, when off roading.  A winch will allow you to extricate yourself or others from difficult situations, and offers diverse and flexible recovery options. A winch and steel bumper are expensive options, and realistically are best to obtain after the items in the first three stages.

Conclusion of Essential Off Road Recovery Gear

This list of essential off road gear for the beginners to the experts is not an extensive all encompassing list, but it does highlight stages of acquisition of some essential off road gear to get you on your way. Off road or recovery gear is the sort of thing where… you need it, before you need it!

How to Use 4 Low Off Road

How to Use 4 Low Off Road

This article will discuss strategies on how to use 4 low off road to get the most performance from your 4wd vehicle. Further illustrations of how to use 4 Low are also covered in this video. If you’re interested in how to use 4wd in a Jeep, including with Selec Trac, then the article at this link, and this video link will be of benefit.

Benefits of Using 4 Low Off Road

When off road there are times when you will benefit by having the transfer case set into 4 Low. An example of this is when you require a low gear setting to offer a lot of torque and power to move the vehicle up a steep incline, or to tow a heavy boat up a launch ramp for example. Essentially, when in 4 low, you will see the 4L on your display illuminated towards the left of your display, as in the image below indicates. The drive gear is also highlighted as D2.

How to Manually Change Gears in 4 Low Off Road

However, maintaining manual control of the gear you are in when in 4L, will allow you to shift the gear in which you are engaged to best meet your needs. For example, you may want to switch into 1st gear in 4L to go up a steep incline or help control your descent on a steep decline. Similarly, if your rate of speed can increase for your incline or descent, you can simply manually increase the gear and speed accordingly.

To manually obtain control of the gear you are in when in 4 Low, simply push the gear lever knob to the left, and you will observe the D indicator switch from being illuminated to the M, (for manual gear mode), indicator being illuminated. Note the + and – signs below and above the M.

This change will also be indicated in the display.

Once in manual control of the gears in 4 low mode, you simply need to push forward on the gear knob to go down a gear(-) or pull back on the gear knob to move up a gear(+).

Conclusion of How to Use 4 Low Off Road

Thus, knowing how to manually control the gear you are in when in 4 low, will allow you to move up or down in gears to exercise more control through off road obstacles and improve your off road experience. 

Ardbeg Trail

The Ardbeg Trail – An Introduction

The Ardbeg Trail is a popular off road trail located on Crown Land, about 42 km NE of Parry Sound Ontario. How to get there and features along the way are discussed in this article, and in this video. Learn about possible Crown land camp sites for those interested in camping when visiting the Ardbeg Trail.

Directions to the Ardbeg Trail

One simply needs to take Hwy 400 north to Parry Sound, then take Hwy 124 east and head north on Lorimer Lake Rd(Bunny Trail Rd) to Hwy 520. Once you reach Hwy 520, turn westward to reach Ardbeg. Once in Ardbeg, Hwy 520 turns right, and ends at Clear Lake Road. Simply Follow Clear Lake Rd to the Ardbeg Trail Head. You’ll know you are there when you reach Black Lake, and you will note the Hydro lines under which the Ardbeg Trail runs north, and south.

Crown Land Camping Locations When Getting to the Ardbeg Trail

Many Ardbeg Trail users set up camp at Black Lake for the duration of their visit. With some exploring, one can find many other campsite opportunities in the area. For example, it doesn’t take too much effort to observe potential campsites just along the way from Ardbeg to the Trail head. 

Camp Site Example 1 – Tent Worthy

For example, the camp site located at 45º38’17”N   80º8’12”W has a level area on which to park your vehicle, and then a spot to pitch a tent further inland. The site has a fire pit and a nice view of a small water body.

Camp Site Example 2 – Trailer Worthy

Alternatively, the camp site located at 45º38’27”N   80º8’31”W is a large long site by the side of the road that has a lovely forest behind it.  This site would be suitable for someone with a trailer.

Camp Site Example 3 – Sleep in Jeep Worthy

With a little more observation along the route, other sites can be located such as Example 3 at 45º38’33”N   80º8’52”W.  At this site, you would be able to drive your Jeep further back from the road to pitch a tent, or sleep in your Jeep. The site has a large enough flat area, a fire pit, and view of a lovely water body.

Camp Site Example 4 – Group Camping Worthy

Finally, at 45º38’33”N   80º8’52”W, is a clearing at the side of the road, with lovely wide open views, a fire pit, and enough open land for anyone with a group of Jeeps, looking for a spot on which to camp together.

Camp Site Example 5 – Black Lake, The North and South Ardbeg TrailHead

Ultimately, one of the best places to set up a campsite would be at Black Lake, which is where you can either embark on the South Ardbeg Trail, or North. Many sites are available around the shore, and some in the trees as well.

Conclusion of The Ardbeg Trail – An Introduction

Ultimately, one can rest assured that if you were thinking of going off roading to the Ardbeg Trail, you will likely find a suitable spot on Crown land on which to camp. If looking for more information on Finding Crown Land on Which to camp, consider looking at this article, and this video.

Special Note

At Black Lake there is a sign posted which states that the site is not maintained, and users are directed to respect the environment, and practice low impact use. The sign even lists some examples of what that would look like.

If you go off roading to the Ardbeg Trail, or any trail for that matter, please DO Respect the Environment and Practice Low Impact Use. Don’t be the person who left their garbage behind, as in the image below. Please… “Don’t be that person!”

Wrangler JL Rear Seat Weight

Wrangler JL Rear Seat Weight

The Wrangler JL rear seat weight is not a statistic easily located in any Jeep Wrangler manual, or on any Jeep Wrangler Forums. Believe me, I tried.  This interesting tidbit of information became relevant to me when I constructed the Cheaper Jeeper TV Camping/Sleeping Platform. Knowing that any actions I took to equip and prepare my Jeep for camping would have an impact on overall weight and performance of my Jeep, I just wanted to be on top of my camping build efforts, because I know that at some point someone will ask me, “Well how much does everything way now?”  So after much searching online for the answer, I decided to just Remove the Wrangler JL Rear Seat, and weigh it myself. This article will review the process and discuss its relevance with respect to the installation of the Camping/Sleeping platform, and is also covered in this video.

Steps in Determining the Wrangler JL Rear Seat Weight

Upon removal of the rear seat, I proceeded to carry it, and stand on a scale to register the total weight of the seat, plus my own body weight. Together, the total weight came to 257.6 lbs.  Subtracting my weight of 162.0 lbs, leaves the remaining seat weight at 95.6 lbs. 

When this information is taken into account in relation to the install of the Camping/Sleeping platform, the numbers are actually quite encouraging.  When the 95.6 lb rear seat is removed, and the Camping/Sleeping platform is installed, the Jeep is still at least 35.6 lbs lighter as a result. Not to mention that the removal of the rear seat also provides more storage space. This means there is still a net balance of almost 40 more pounds of extra camping gear I can include without making the Jeep any heavier.


Although this is peanuts in relation to the total weight after all my camping gear is packed, it is helpful to be cognizant of the weight concern at every step of the planning and packing process. Once awnings, canoes, and other gear enter the picture, you’ll at least know you tried not to let things get out of hand in that regard.

Campfire Ribs

Campfire Ribs

Campfire Ribs is an easy meal to prepare when out camping with friends. The recipe to follow is simple, and cleanup is minimal. This article and this video will review the Cheaper Jeeper TV Campfire Ribs recipe.

Ingredients for Campfire Ribs

Essentially, there are few ingredients required for this carnivor delight:

  1. 1 rack of pork side ribs, or as much as you need based on numbers
  2. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste


It is helpful of course to have a healthy campfire going, and a campfire grill when planning to cook your campfire ribs.

  1. Cut your ribs into manageable portions, and season both side generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder
  2. Wrap each portion in foil
  3. Sit each portion near the fire to slowly bake while you and your mates have a drink and review the stories of the day
  4. When you’re hungry and ready to eat, place a cooking grate over the coals, and then remove the baked ribs from the foil and place them onto the grill
  5. Depending on your coals, carefully watch the grilling process to make sure you grill the tasty campfire ribs to perfection. The seasoned meat grilling over the coals will smell amazing at this point.
  6. When grilled to your liking, serve with any side, in this case brown beans, and enjoy.


This Cheaper Jeeper TV campfire ribs recipe will prove to be a delicious way to celebrate at the end of a great day wheeling, camping or fishing. You can save money by purchasing the ribs when they come on sale, and then freeze them.  The frozen ribs can take the place of cooler packs to keep your other items cold, until you’re ready to have your ribs.  You can watch how to make these ribs at this video.

How to find Crown Land on Which to Camp for Free

How to Find Crown Land on Which to Camp for Free

How to find Crown land on which to camp for free can be done fairly easily. In fact your search can begin in the comfort of your own home, on your computer. This article, and this video will focus on Crown land in Ontario. We will not only demonstrate for you how to locate such land through the aid of a government website, but also how to use Google Earth to further investigate the suitability of any area of interest before embarking on your trip.

The Ontario Crown Land Use Policy Atlas

The Ontario Crown Land Use Policy Atlas website will enable you to locate Crown land on which you can camp for free. 

Simply go to this link,, and click on Use Policy Atlas

Navigate the Map

To navigate around and to zoom in and out of areas on the map, a few tools are available on the website map, as noted below.

Also, by clicking on the 1) Map Layers tab, then on the 2) Legend tab, the map legend will appear on the left.

The coloured items in the legend represent the various categories of Crown land us.  

The various permitted activities in these areas, such as camping, can be determined as follows:

After zooming into an area of interest, clicking on the 1) Find Information Tab will reveal the 2) Get Land Use Information tab. After clicking on that, the 3) Get Information tool will be revealed on the left,

and you simply need to click the tool, and then the map to reveal a report on permitted activities for the area on which you clicked. Click on the word English to reveal the report in English.

Interpreting the Land Use Information

When the report is revealed, you can scroll down the document to read interesting information about the region. In the “Recreation Activities and Facilities” section, look at the row that says Crown Land Recreation, if it says Yes, then that means you are allowed to camp in that region for free, as seen below.

Finding and Labelling Roads on a Map

When zoomed into a possible camping area of interest, you will note any roads or trails that may permit you to get there. Creating a map with latitude and longitude coordinates of intersections along the route can be created and printed from the website.

Simply right click on each intersection along the route, and select “Plot a Coordinate”.

Doing so will place labelled latitude and longitude labels at each intersection along the route to your potential free camping spot.

Printing Your Map

By clicking on the 1) Marking and Printing tab, then click 2) Print,  to take you to the print parameters.

Simply make sure to add a title to your map and select “Current Extent” for the scale to ensure everything you marked on the screen will be printed on your map.

Final Map

When you click “Print”, then “Open File”, you will be presented with a nice custom map with your coordinates of intersections to help you get to your free campsite on Crown land.

Further Investigation of Free Campsite Area Using Google Earth

Before one makes the trip to a potential new spot, it would be considered prudent to do a little extra investigation of the area of interest. By simply right clicking on any spot on the website map, you simply need to copy the longitude and latitude coordinates and paste them into google earth, and investigate your area of interest further.  Do the trails seem acceptable based on the satellite imagery? Does the nearby lake seem ok based on the imagery? This is no guarantee of current conditions, but does give you more to go on, as you complete your planning for your camping trip.

Conclusion of How to Find Crown Land on Which to Camp for Free

Learning how to find Crown land on which to camp for free, in Ontario, is easier than ever now when using the Government Crown Land Use Policy Atlas website. Having further information using Google Earth satellite imagery helps as well. The Cheaper Jeeper TV Algoma video at this link, was made in the same area as in the example above if you’re interested in seeing more of what it’s like there.

Algoma Crown Land Trip

Algoma Crown Land Trip

When you own a Jeep Wrangler, there are many things for which you can use it. This article and this video will show how you can use your Jeep for an Algoma Crown land trip. Such a trip to the beautiful Algoma region will provide opportunities to drive on logging roads, camp, canoe and fly fish. Of course this isn’t an exclusive list of things you can do with your Jeep Wrangler, but it is a good example of some fun you can have enjoying your jeep without spending too much money.

The Algoma Region

The Algoma region in Northern Ontario has many sites and attractions for interested visitors, as can be seen on this Algoma Tourism website. For the scope of this trip, some available Crown land with logging roads leading to excellent camping,canoeing and fly fishing opportunities will be featured for this Algoma Crown land trip.

Logging Roads

An Algoma Crown land trip would inevitably involve the use of the many logging roads in the region. Although the roads may not be as tricky as some dedicated off road trails, you may still encounter hazards such as washouts, steep hills, and fallen trees on your journey. 

That is why it would be wise to use a vehicle with high clearance and a limited slip differential, if not a 4×4, such as the Jeep Wrangler. 

Also, some tools such as saws, or clippers would also come in handy when encountering fallen trees or branches.


An Algoma Crown land trip would provide ample possible locations for suitable camp sites. Whether you locate yourself on a secluded lake, river or a nearby fresh water spring, you will not be lacking options.  A review of the Cheaper Jeeper TV  Camping Playlist will give you some set-up ideas.

When camping, it is always enjoyable to celebrate the end of the day with your favourite cuisine. Some examples as shown below are, baked and grilled ribs by the fire, grilled steak over maple coals, Smokey’s on a Stick, and if you were to have luck fly fishing, freshly fried Brook Trout, a.k.a. Speckled Trout.


An Algoma Crown land trip would also provide you access to the many rivers and streams in the area on which to engage in some nice relaxed canoeing or kayaking. Be careful when picking your destination as the rivers and streams range from rapidly moving water to mellow slow moving water behind the many beaver dams in the region.

Fly Fishing

Enjoying the great outdoors is an obvious way to use your Jeep Wrangler. Many of you have possibly considered using your Jeep to get to some out of the way fishing spots.  The interview in the Tip Segment on this Cheaper Jeeper TV Algoma Crown Land Trip video, shares how you can investigate an inexpensive way to get introduced to the amazing sport of Fly Fishing. This would enable you to enjoy fishing for the amazing Brook, a.k.a. Speckled Trout.


An Algoma Crown land trip is an excellent way to provide you with many different ways to use your Jeep.  You can use your Jeep to drive off road on logging roads, set-up camp by any secluded lake or river, enjoy some canoeing when you get there, as well as do some fishing. You’ll be able to get to spots that you wouldn’t be able to with just a regular vehicle. Being on crown land also means that the only cost incurred by you was the price to get there, as you are able to camp on crown land for free. 

no refrigeration required camping meal

No Refrigeration Required Camping Meal

When camping, refrigeration of food is an important consideration. However, after a few days, the limitations of space and duration available for food refrigeration become apparent.  Your fresh food options will run their course. Whatever solutions you apply, they will inevitably involve more hassle, space and money to resolve. This article, and this video will offer an example of how you can enjoy a no refrigeration required camping meal.

DISCLAIMER: Any and all content provided on this site and YouTube channel is Cheaper JeeperTV’s opinion and for educational and discussion purposes only. Seek a professional’s advice where appropriate for your vehicle.

The No Refrigeration Required Camping Meal

Essentially, the no refrigeration camping meal is one whose ingredients do not require refrigeration.  You can find preprocessed expensive freeze dried meal options at your outdoor outlets, but the meal example below is better tasting, less expensive and made of whole ingredients without names of chemicals you can’t pronounce.

Linguini With Clam Sauce Recipe, A No Refrigeration Required Camping Meal


~ ¼ – ⅓ cup of live oil,

~ 3-4 cloves of garlic, or ~ 3-4 tsp of chopped garlic

~ ½ cup of black or green olives(optional)

~ dried chili pepper flakes, to taste

~dried or fresh parsley, to taste

~ salt & pepper, to taste

~grated parmesan cheese, to taste

~ 1 can of baby clams

~ Linguini noodles, ½ 500g package for two people



  1. For two people, boil your ½ package, ~ 250 grams of linguini or noodle of your joice.


  1. Simmer the chopped garlic and oil in a frying pan, on low to medium heat, to infuse the garlic flavour in the oil. Be sure to just warm, NOT burn the garlic
  2. Add chilli flakes to taste. Doing so in the simmering stage brings out the flavour
  3. Stir in the black or green olives (optional)
  4. Empty the entire contents of the Baby Clams
  5. Simmer briefly to allow the flavours to blend
  6. Add about a cup of the pasta water to the sauce to liquify it to desired consistency. Add some, as the noodles will absorb some of the liquid of the sauce and it will get dry otherwise.
  7. Drain the water from the pasta pot, or add the pasta to the sauce pan, and stir together.
  8. Add seasoning and grated parmesan to taste, and serve.


Ultimately, Linguini with Clam Sauce is the perfect no refrigeration required camping meal. For little money and hassle, you can enjoy this delicious meal as a back up when your refrigeration or fresh food options run their course.

Jeep Camping Single Pot Meal

Jeep Camping Single Pot Meal

Camping in a Jeep has its storage limitations.  DIY storage solutions are definitely a must, but when it comes to cooking up some meals, a Jeep Camping Single Pot Meal approach can prove to be very helpful. It can help save space by not packing unnecessary pots and pans, and with the right ideas, can still provide a delicious meal after a fun day of driving on the trails and/or camping. This article will discuss what type of pot I have found helpful, and will also provide an example of a one pot meal example, that is healthy, filling, and delicious.

The following article and the video at this link will illustrate a Jeep Camping Single Pot Meal.

DISCLAIMER: Any and all content provided on this site and YouTube channel is Cheaper JeeperTV’s opinion and for educational and discussion purposes only. Seek a professional’s advice where appropriate for your vehicle.

The Single Pot Design

The best Jeep Camping Single Pot for this purpose is essentially a very large frying pan with tall sides, as illustrated below. You usually can find this type of pot with a lid as well. With this pot you can make your typical camping bacon and eggs breakfast, but it also lends itself to function as more than just a frying pan. It can serve as a pot and wash  basin as will be demonstrated below.

A Sample Jeep Camping Single Pot Meal Recipe

An example of how this single pot can be used to make a meal is with the following Stir Fried Beef/Pork Cabbage recipe:


~ ½ Cup of Butter

~3 tsp of chopped garlic, 3-4 cloves

~ ½ Onion, Chopped

~ 1 lb of ground beef/pork, or meat of your choice

~ ½ red cabbage

~½ green cabbage

~ 1 tsp dried chili flakes (or as per taste)

~ Salt & Pepper as per taste

~ ⅓ to ½ cup of Hoisin Sauce (or as per taste)


  1. In the pot, simmer ~ ¼ cup of butter with 3-4 cloves of chopped garlic. Do not burn the garlic.
  2. While simmering add ~ ½ tsp of dried chilli flakes
  3. Add the meat and brown it.
  4. Add the other ~¼ cup of butter before step 5.
  5. Just before the meat is fully cooked, add to the single pot, the chopped onion, the half red cabbage, sliced into ½ inch strips, the half green cabbage, also sliced into ½ inch strips, and simmer together to break down the cabbage to desired crunchiness. About 15-20 minutes at medium heat.
  6. While simmering add the Hoisin sauce and spice to taste.


The result of this recipe is that you will serve a healthy, hearty meal that is delicious and requires the use of only one pot.  The pot can also be used as a bassinet in which to clean everything up, and in which you can also store everything away. This meal prep did not require much extra space, and most ingredients did not require refrigeration.  In next week’s article we will review a Jeep Camping seafood meal recipe that will not require any refrigeration at all! Is that possible?

DIY Camping Equipment Test

DIY Camping Equipment Test

Before embarking on a cross country adventure, I thought it would be wise to go on a brief camping trip to perform a DIY camping equipment test run. It’s fine to design a DIY camping/sleeping platform, roof wing awning system, cargo shelf and chuck box, but will they perform as intended when in use?

DISCLAIMER: Any and all content provided on this site and YouTube channel is Cheaper JeeperTV’s opinion and for educational and discussion purposes only. Seek a professional’s advice where appropriate for your vehicle.

This article and this video will review a test run of said equipment and suggest what worked well, or requires revision before embarking on a more serious cross country adventure.

The CheaperJeeperTV DIY Jeep Camping/Sleeping Platform

The first item of our DIY camping equipment test is the sleeping platform. These videos on the design, construction and finishing touches of the Platform illustrate the details of this project. Also, review of the details in these design, construction and finishing touches articles will also help to describe the modular, functional, and diverse implementation options of this platform. But do the intended features of the design hold true in practice? 

I am happy to report that during the brief camping trip, all features inherent in the design of the platform met our expectations.

As an FYI, as seen in this DIY Camping Equipment Test video, The foam purchased is a 3″ High Density foam. (2.5 lbs cu ft, ILD 45 compression). It was about $160. I purchased it at

The DIY Roof Wing Awning 

The second item of our DIY camping equipment test is the Roof Wing Awning. These videos on the design, construction and deployment of the roof wing awning concept, are also supported in these design, construction and deployment articles. At the park, there were many trees that afforded plenty of protection from the elements, so during this test run, the first stage of deployment was only tested. The ease of deployment of this first stage, void of guy lines and poles worked as expected and provided easy shelter. More testing of the other stages will be required in subsequent test runs.

The Cargo Area DIY Brackets and Shelf

The next item of our DIY camping equipment test is the cargo area DIY brackets and shelf. This video on how to create the DIY metal bracket and cargo shelf is also discussed in this article. As the image below illustrates, the shelf proved to be a helpful and convenient feature for storing items when camping.  In fact, it served as our coffee making area one morning when it was raining. This feature is definitely a keeper.

The Chuck Box

Finally, the next item of our DIY camping equipment test is the Chuck Box. This video on how to create the DIY Chuck Box is also discussed in this article. This chuck box design is almost like a swiss army knife of chuck box design. The relatively small box unfolds and provides storage for much kitchen gear and plenty of surface areas. Although we did pack minimally when it came to kitchen utensils, we still had plenty of room in this chuck box design. My wife found that the chuck box was very helpful in organizing and making readily available all kitchen items including spices.  The surface area was also plentiful. If anything, I may design a new chuck box around my new propa=ne camping stove, and make it slightly smaller, and lighter in weight.

Conclusion of the DIY Camping Equipment Test

Before going on a major camping adventure, it was good to do a short camping trip to do a DIY camping equipment test. Essentially, we found that the sleeping platform met our expectations and was very comfortable. Although the first stage of deployment of the awning system functioned as designed, more testing of the other features is required to determine if it is a useful feature to include on any major trip. The cargo area brackets and shelf afforded us a storage space which proved to be very helpful, and a feature worth keeping. And finally, the features of the chuck box design were taken advantage of and found to be quite helpful, although improvement of the design to make it smaller and lighter is likely.