Overland Camping in Uzbekistan

Once a vital part of the Silk Road, Uzbekistan is not a country you’d want to miss on your overland travels to Central Asia. Vast and empty, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for getting off the beaten track and overland camping in Uzbekistan. By far the richest in tangible remains of the Silk Road history in the region, this is a country for culture buffs. Add to this the kindness and hospitality of the Uzbeks, it’s impossible nót to like Uzbekistan. Rusted remains of a ship in the dry desert of the once Aral Sea Specifics for Overlanding in Uzbekistan Having said that, some things in Uzbekistan are not as evident as in other countries: finding diesel, ATMs and the mandatory registration system. All three issues have been improving since the change of president in 2016 so don’t rely on old travel guides and forums on these topics. These are our experiences during our travels in Uzbekistan in 2020 / 2021: Diesel isn’t still the most evident to find (don’t wait until your tank is empty) , but has improved greatly compared to a number of years ago. iOverlander (see below) will help you find some of the gas stations.ATMs that work for foreigners aren’t on every corner (so don’t wait with withdrawing money until your out of cash either) but you no longer have to haggle on the black market to change your dollars for stacks of local money. The Asaka Bank in particular worked well for us. Also check out the ‘UZ card’ machines that are popping up these days.Registration in paid accommodations is mandatory but not as strictly enforced as it used to be. Having said that, do ask for slips when staying in a hotel, because at the border they may still ask for them. I was asked for them once. Read More: Back on the Road after Covid (Uzbekistan) Overland Camping in Uzbekistan In this blog post we share our favorite campsites. These photos will give you a sense of magic that you will feel when overlanding in Uzbekistan and are meant as an inspiration. By no means let our blog post limit you as to where to (wild) camp. Uzbekistan offers plenty of spaces, everywhere, and it’s part of a great overland trip to go and find your own favorite camping spot. So, be inspired here, see iOverlander (more on this below) as a useful back-up system, but do go and have your own adventure! Additionally I’ve added a couple of useful spots to park for the night and shared some extra information on climate (when to go or not to go), drinking water, toilets, and additional overland travel resources. Let’s take a closer look! More about Overland Camping in Central Asia: Index for Overland Camping in Uzbekistan In this blog post we will share the following topics: Check it out: The Landcruising Adventure iPhone Case Collection 1 – Map with GPS Waypoints of our Campsites in Uzbekistan Let there be no misunderstanding: no, you don’t have to go to these places. No, these are not by definition the best spots. In Uzbekistan you will have no problem finding your own places to camp. As mentioned earlier, we decided to share our GPS Waypoints for overlanders who would like some tips about camping spots which we enjoyed or found practical. Please note that this is always our personal experience. 2 – Favorite Spots for Wild Camping in Uzbekistan 01 – Fayaz tepe, Termez Where: Just before the entrance of the ruins of the Buddhist monastery (Fayaz Tepe). Why: Visiting the site late afternoon was splendid as the sunlight turned the clay in red tinges. The desert was silent and felt peaceful, the spot gave a feeling of being blissfully far away from everywhere (even though that was not the case). Public toilet is next to the museum, just down the path. GPS Waypoint: 37.286131, 67.189393 (303 meter, November ’19) 02 – Sultan Saodat Mausoleum Complex Where: In the parking lot of the complex. Why: The late afternoon colored the brick walls beautifully red whereas early morning the sun provided the best light on the façade. It was a quiet place to spent the night. Public toilets on site. GPS Waypoint: 37.263273, 67.310101 (289 meter, November ’19) 03 – Janbas Qala Where: Next to one of the remains of fortresses (Janbas Qala) in the Khorezm Desert. Why: A beautiful, remote place. Total silence, emptiness, a place to watch the stars. Note: You can have a same experience camping next to any of the other fortresses in the region. GPS Waypoint: 41.857571, 61.304593 (alt: 120 meters, January ’20) 04 – Badak River Camp (Ugam Chatkal National Park) Where: Grassy field along a river. Why: Beautifully remote and on a hiking trail to Badak Lake (recommended, 4 kms from this campsite). BUT: The Badak region is home to a certain yellow flowering plant, which is family of the Hogweed. I believe the latin name is Ferula. When you rub your skin against these plants (not necessarily the flower) your skin is no longer protected against the sun and so the sun burns, causing scars that may take months to years to go away. Touching these plants doesn’t hurt, doesn’t itch so no warning system until it’s too late. Either wear skin-covering clothes or stay out of the sun. GPS Waypoint: 41.885924 70.376337 (alt: 1200 meters, May ’21) 05 – Gulkam River Camp (Ugam Chatkal National Park) Where: Flat spot among the rocky field with (in spring) lots of flowers, along a river. Why: Beautifully remote, although during weekend local people passing by to go for a hike. Do go for a hike to the lake. GPS Waypoint: 41.547074 70.067837 (alt: 1265 meters, May ’21) 06 – Arashan Glacial Camp Where: Along one of the lakes. Why: Gorgeous place, far away from everywhere. Need of high-clearance vehicle to get across the 50 kms of badly eroded road to get there. We drove a max of 10 kms/hour. Across the hills is a hot spring. GPS Waypoint: 41.363760 70.523901 (alt: 2778 meters, June ’21) 3 – Useful Spots for Overland Camping in Uzbekistan 07 – Denau Where: At the edge of Denau we saw this open space, which during the day is used as a kind of foodcourt. There were a couple of man chatting, we asked permission and they pointed us to the corner, which was the flattest spot. Why: The border crossing from Tajikistan took longer than anticipated and we crossed when it was dark, which makes it hard finding a nice camp spot, even more so in a new country. This one was a quiet spot and across the road is a nan-bread bakery open till late at night as well as a restaurant. GPS Waypoint: 38.314051 67.903780 (alt: 537 meters / October ’19) 08 – Shakhrisabz Where: Dead end of a street in the old town, adjacent to the park with all monuments. If this spot doesn’t work, I’m sure you’ll find another somewhere in these narrow streets. Why: Public toilet right around the corner. Quiet place to spend the night and right next to all the sites you want to see.  GPS Waypoint: 39.058219, 66.827675 (607 meter, November ’19) 09 – Border Crossing Uzbekistan – Kazakhstan Where: On the Uzbek side you have a couple of parking lots, places to eat and a mosque before reaching the border. We parked next to the mosque. Why: Just a convenient, quiet place to spend the night before or after crossing the border. GPS Waypoint: 44.889844, 56.009617 (January ’20) 10 – Khiva parking lot Where: In the parking lot in front of the main entrance. Later we figured it would have been more quiet to pick the parking lot on the eastern gate.  Why: Convenient place from where to visit the old city. Disadvantage: the public toilets are not in the parking lot but inside the old town (to get in without paying, walk to the right of the main entrance and you see where you can walk in; this is not illegal, in fact the woman at the ticket entrance pointed it out to us). GPS Waypoint: 41.379439, 60.356175 (66 meter, January ’20) 11 – Bukhara parking lot Where: In the parking lot at the backside of the Ark. Why: Convenient to visit the old city. The tourist police is fine with people staying there for the night. Disadvantage: no public toilet. Either find one near the entrance to the Ark, or walk inside the old town. GPS Waypoint: 39.77722, 64.412151 (January ’20) Bukhara has some truly astonishing architecture 4 – Paid Campsites & Other Paid Accommodation 12 – Nukus, Nika Family Guesthouse Where: In Nukus. Why: Very kind, hospitable people, homely feel. Shared kitchen and bathroom. Clean. Wifi. Provided registration slips. Regular vehicles can park inside the gate, others on driveway. Per night: 90,000 som pp, about €8,50. (January ’20).  GPS Waypoint: 42.452840, 59.632830 (80 meter, January ’20) Do visit the beautiful art museum in Nukus Recommended Books on Overlanding (click on the images to look inside) Products from Amazon 5 – Staying with Locals Couchsurfing Couchsurfing is a great way of meeting local people. In Uzbekistan we used Couchsurfing very little, but a special thanks to Zoha – a new friend who has been a great help in many ways! In Tashkent we got invited to a local event by one of the main Couchsurfing hosts, Aybeck. He invited us to share stories and a meal of plov (pilav) at his place in Tashkent, which was a great way of meeting people. During this event we were fortunate to meet Michael and stay with him and his family at a dacha in the mountains. Thanks again, Michael and Mariyam! By the way, Couchsurfing is not necessarily a platform to stay with locals as the name implies. Locals may also offer to show you around in the city, to go for a drink, or whatever. There are two fundamental aspects of Couchsurfing: no exchange of money between host and traveler and it’s not a dating site. Edited to Add: Note that since May 2020 you do have to pay a monthly/yearly contribution to make use of the platform. You can find Couchsurfing here, and us under ‘Coen Wubbels’. Apart from Couchsurfing we met many Uzbek people. They are curious and in for a chat and often came to the land Cruiser to meet us. This led to a number of invitations and we stayed with some of them. Thank you all for your kindness and hospitality! Read more: The Quest for Batteries in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) 6 – A Word on Climate The best time of the year for overland travel in Uzbekistan is April / May and September – Early November. One of our trips was in January and it was cold (see header photo), which in itself was fine and there were no crowds in places like Khiva and Bukhara. The only unfortunate part of that journey were the very cloudy skies, grey surroundings and short days. So, great time for sight seeing but for beautiful wild camps – not so much. Read More: Books about Mongolia, Central Asia & the Silk Road 7 – A Word on Water & Toilets Whether tap water in cities, towns and/or villages is potable depends on whom you ask, it seems. Maybe it does depend per destination, maybe some people don’t really know. We get the impression more people drink tea rather than cold water, so the water is boiled and it doesn’t matter anyway. In our Land Cruiser we have a watertank with filter system so normally it’s not an issue either. Due to frost we can’t use the system in winter, and buy a few five-liter bottles that we fill up wherever we can. Whether you hike, bicycle, motorcycle, drive a car or backpack around the country, don’t buy bottled water. Bring a stainless-steel water bottle and a water filter system. There is an amazing selection of small, handy, water filter systems out there, such as MSR water filters or, even smaller, a SteriPen or Lifestraw. Or carry water purification tablets if weight and space really are a big issue (we do so on our long-distance hikes). The environment will thank you! As to toilets, expect long drops in little-sheltered huts in the countryside and even in towns. Bring toilet paper wherever you go. In cities there may be sit toilets but don’t flush the toilet paper; it goes in the bin. Read more: Uzbekistan Overland Travel Guide & Uzbekistan Budget Travel Report 8 – A Word on iOverlander Whether wild camping or staying in hotels, iOverlander is the best overlanding resource on finding places to stay as well as other practical points for overlanders, e.g. on workshops. (You may find a number of the above-mentioned campsites on iOverlander). iOverlander a non-profit project, started and maintained by fellow overlanders. To keep this great resource for overlanders going, you can contribute in (at least) two important ways: Donate (you will find the donate button on the website).Share your own experiences of camping that add value to other overlanders (camping spots or otherwise useful points). Find iOverlander here. Thanks! Recommended Books for Uzbekistan & The Silk Road (click on the images to look inside) Products from Amazon 9 – Additional Overland Travel Resources Suggestions to find good travel information on Uzbekistan: Tips, Suggestions, Contributions? We hope you find this overview of Overland Camping in Uzbekistan useful. Do you have questions or your own experiences to add? Feel free to do so in the comment section below. Thanks! Check it out: The Landcruising Adventure Hoodie Collection Get the News Would you like to stay in the loop on all things Landcruising Adventure? Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest news No spam, rare enough so as not to annoy, and easy to unsubscribe from. More on Accommodation & Camping:

How to Make a Wind Protector for the Coleman Two-burner Stove

Sometimes you are parked in a perfect spot with just enough shade to sit outside and the sun turning to the right side of the car so you can cook on the Coleman stove at the rear of the Land Cruiser. Then, all of a sudden, the wind turns direction right in the middle of you cooking a three-course meal using both burners. Or you might be slowly simmering your pressure-cooker dish. Or simply brewing a mocha on a small flame. Check it out: Our Pressure Cooker Recipes No matter what culinary exploits on the Coleman two-burner stove you were into, the wind has turned its direction and is now coming in straight at the stove. You wish you had parked the vehicle in the opposite direction. But, off course, as it is, you had already arranged the inside of the car in camping mode and popped your rooftop tent. In other words, you are not going anywhere and you just wish the wind would go away.  If it’s just for a few minutes, you could manage by opening your jacket or shirt and make it as wide as possible to hold off the gusts until you coffee is ready. But what if, indeed, you are in the middle of cooking an elaborate meal? Wouldn’t it be nice if the side wings of the Coleman extended a little higher? And, for that matter, why stop at the side wings? More on the Coleman Stove & Oven: This is exactly the reason why I picked up a piece of sheet metal the other day (well, by now it was a couple of years ago). It was lying waste on the side of the road and I thought it would perfectly suit my needs to build a windprotector for the stove. The first rudimentary windscreen I cut with our home scissors. Not the most suitable tool so I kept the cutting to a minimal and made the general shape. It worked. It would have been handy to have cut the perfect size from cardboard but in the middle of nowhere in Mongolia, without carton nor any metal cutters, I had to make do with what I had. The Coleman Stove Windscreen 2.0 After I tested the first prototype, it was time for the next step. By then it was two years later and I was in Tashkent (Uzbekistan)  at the big car workshop of Deniz where I had a whole array of tools at my disposal. There I could cut the sheets to perfection and I ended up with a more refined windscreen. It still is a prototype as I think it somehow needs to be hinged and not taped together.  Read More: Overland Travel Stories about Mongolia I had posted some of the images on the social media and people started asking me for dimensions. So I will post the dimensions I have right now here with a sketch of what goes where. This will be an ongoing post and I will update it once I improve on it, or if someone chimes in with other great ideas. Or it might happen that somebody is already producing, what I just rudimentary created out of waste material. Let’s hear it in the comments if you like what I did, or if you have come up with a solution of yourselves. Or if you have ideas to improve my setup. Check it out: The Landcruising Adventure Apron Collection Get the News Would you like to stay in the loop on all things Landcruising Adventure? Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest news No spam, rare enough so as not to annoy, and easy to unsubscribe from. More on Overland Cooking Equipment

Dealing with the Heat When Overlanding

When we left the Netherlands in 2003, a heatwave was about to hit Europe. During the summer months in Greece we were grateful for the foot vents in the BJ45. I bought a plant spray bottle, filled it with cold water from the fridge to spray our steaming skin, we soaked pieces of cloth and put them around our neck, and used the camouflage net as an extension of the awning. Why it took 1,5 years to ‘discover’ the existence of cheap 12V fans, easy to place above our seats, I have no idea. Thank you fellow overlanders Eric and Carolien for one of the best tips we ever got. Read More: Our Overland Journey since 2003 The Gates of Hell, a gas crater that has been burning since 1971. Turkmenistan (©Overlandsite) Dealing with Heat – Tips from the Overland Expertise Pool How do other overlanders deal with heat, we wondered, as we were recently suffering in 48°C (118,4F) in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). It was too hot to sleep in the tent or car, even with fans blowing and we ended up staying in a guesthouse. Which got us wondering about fellow overlanders. We threw the question in the Overland Expertise Pool, and here are their top tips and anecdotes, which includes tips on how to deal with heat when traveling with a cat, a great contribution by Killan and Marcia. From the Overland Expertise Pool Deon – Kukamas Travels Being South-African, we are used to heat, in fact, we mostly prefer warmer temperatures. We prefer not having to wear ten layers of clothing, gloves and generally looking like the Michelin man. But there are limits and when temperatures reach the forties (Celsius), even the tough South-Africans can do with a bit of cooling down.  We were in the Kgalagadi, in February, when midday heat can reach lower to mid forty degrees Celsius (104-113F). Early morning and late afternoon drives are the preferred times to be out on game drives, and in the middle of the day one would be draped in your chair under any bit of shade one can find, hoping for the slightest bit of breeze to provide some respite from the stifling heat.  Even the swimming pool feels like a hot tub.  At the time we were looking to upgrade to our retirement home, an Iveco daily 4×4. To our surprise, one came in through the gate after a morning out in the park. A gentleman briefly emerged from the motorhome, hooked up the motorhome up to an electricity outlet and disappeared back inside. We heard the faint drone of the airconditioner… and were envious.  At the time I wasn’t sold on the idea of having such power-guzzling appliance draining the batteries, but, after having paid them a visit to find out more about motorhomes, an airconditioner became a must-have.  Deon’s top tip on dealing with heat: get air conditioning Dealing with Heat Strategy: Obviously the first mode of relief is to open all the windows, of which the motorhome has plenty. If one remains inside and there is a bit of a breeze, excessive heat is mostly bearable. Out in the bush, all kinds of flying things may also want to escape the heat; no problem, up come the flyscreens, which block the wind in turn. We have installed a reversible fan, either to extract old air from the motorhome or to blow fresh air into the motorhome again. Mostly it only stirs the hot air around and does not do much to relieve excessive heat.As a last resort we switch on the Dometic airconditioner. It does a super job to cool the interior in no time at all. Connected to an external power supply, it can run all day and create arctic conditions. However, when we are dependent upon solar power to recharge the batteries again, one has to be conservative with the length of time one runs the aircon otherwise you might find yourself in a spot of bother. The fun of course starts on those hot summer nights when you can’t leave the windows open, especially out in the bush. One can never be sure of what kind of flying, biting or crawling creatures may be looking to relocate. On comes the aircon, draining the battery even further. I’m wondering now: do I really prefer summer? Follow Deon & Mathilde’s trips on Kukamas Travels (Facebook & Instagram) (©Kukamas Travels) Paula Dear – Seventeen by Six Paula’s top tip on dealing with heat: sleep naked like a starfish Little fans and as much air circulation as possible. For our next truck we’ve invested a bit more in a powerful 24v fan used in boats. Then it’s just a case of sleeping naked like a starfish and waiting for that blessed 4am moment when the air often cools for a couple of hours. Until it all starts again! Paula & Jeremy share their overland adventures on Seventeen by Six (©Paula Dear) Ferenc from Overlandsite The extreme but dry heat of Iran or Turkmenistan didn’t really bother us. Once we covered ourselves from the burning sun-rays, we were fine. In humid Laos, however, we realized that sleeping in a rooftop tent all the way from Laos to Singapore was going to be an adventure on its own. With our 2006 Prado, traveling is a breeze (pun intended), which has an effective air conditioning that rarely lets us down. However, we can’t escape the heat once we stop. In short, we do not actually have a good solution against heat. I’ve even researched portable air conditioning units, but instead we ended up frantically looking for USB-powered fans through multiple markets in Laos with not much success. Ferenc’s top tip on dealing with heat: take a quick dip in the cold water We’ve recently purchased another vehicle for our future trips, but as it’s an old Iveco 4×4 van, it doesn’t have any air conditioning. This means we’re now even being cooked inside when we’re on the move. With this new van, however, we will be a bit more organized. I am ordering the right-sized 12-volt fans (several of them) and will install them both in the driving and living areas of the interior. Naturally, the best solution is when we manage to find a camp spot right next to a lake or river. There isn’t anything more refreshing than a quick dip in the cold water. Although the hot weather combined with extreme humidity tortured us for weeks, we somehow tend to be cold more often during our trips. So when we finally get to warmer areas, we don’t complain much, just sweat through it like a couple of warriors. Follow Ferenc & Evelin’s overland travels on Overlandsite (website). Read more: Why we Travel with a Rooftop Tent (©Overlandsite) Julie Tuck – Tucks Truck We’ve recently been in a massive heat-wave here in western Canada with temps over 44°C (111°F). We don’t have a/c, only fans. Julie’s top tip on dealing with heat: use blackout windows that are facing the sun We try where possible to do things like: Driving to the highest point we can find.Finding a spot near water (even a small stream can be amazingly cooling).Position the vehicle in the shade and so as to catch any small breezes.Blackout any windows that are facing the sun (a side awning helps a lot to keep one side of the truck in shade). It gets a bit uncomfortable occasionally, but even during several months in the Amazon, we have never felt it worth investing in aircon for our rig. Follow Julie & Markus continuous overland journey on Trucks Truck (website & Instagram) (©Tucks Truck) Aldo & Vera from Alveto Expedition Our Toto, the name of our Expedition Land Cruiser KDJ120 Prado, came with air conditioning. We rarely use it as we can get sick from the rapid switch of temperature between cold inside and hot outside. Getting in the habit of not using the A/C also makes your body get used to a hotter climate, hence suffering the heat less. Aldo’s top tip on dealing with heat: eat fewer salty instead of fatty meals (mainly salads, veggies and legumes) Being in a very humid area, however, can be a problem. We can cope better at +50°C (+122°F) in Australian deserts with dry heat other than +35°C (+95°F) in Miami or the Amazon forest with high levels of humidity. Other tips: We preferably stay in the shade, under some trees. When in need of charging our batteries with the solar panels, or at the beach or in open areas, we set up our awning. We drink plenty of water (up to 2-3L per person) for hydration. We noticed that in the environments where there is low humidity, hot drinks activate a sweat response which naturally will cool the body, while cold drinks have the opposite effect, cancelling out the cooling benefits of the drink. We also try to eat fewer salty and not fatty meals (mainly salads, veggies and legumes). This way the body will not perspire due having to process heavy foods.When parking for the evening, we position our car according to the direction of the wind to maximize the natural ventilation. We have custom-made mosquito nets that fit our windows so the biting insects cannot enter inside.  When there is not enough wind, here comes the help of our 12V Fan, a cheap, simple and amp friendly device that can be left on all night without draining our leisure battery. We take a quick cold shower just before going to bed. It is also important to sleep in natural material bed lining as linen or cotton and wear light and breathable pajamas or just underwear. Obviously, if you are in the middle of nowhere there is no need for clothes at all. Follow Aldo & Vera’s overland adventures at Alveto Expedition (YouTube & Instagram) Read More: Mosquito Battle Plan – Tips for Mosquito Netting on your Overland Vehicle (©Alveto Expedition) Dot Bekker – Going Home to Africa Dot’s top tip on dealing with heat: wrap a soaked bandana around your neck As I only have Africa air-conditioning (open the windows) in my van, beating the heat of West Africa was a challenge.  My best buy was a dual dash fan that I used both on the dash and over my bed. Whilst there were days that it was only blowing hot air it still felt better than not having it.  I had a small USB fan over my bed and when it was exceptional I would also move the dash fan to the rear, this made sleep very bearable.  Another thing that very much helped was using a soaked bandana, twirling it around a bit and then placing it in my neck, especially while driving. Dot Bekker shared her overland journey on Going Home to Africa (website & Facebook)   Dot Bekker wrote a book about her overland journey to Zimbabwe. If we’re talking hot and sweaty, this one is after chimpanzee trekking in dense Guinea jungle for 2 hours! (©Dot Bekker) Kilian & Marcia – Gato Goes Global We travel in a converted camper van, a Mitsubishi L300 4WD, without air-conditioning. I’m still trying to convince Kilian to get one installed, no luck so far. We have an additional worry when travelling in hot weather because we travel with our cat, Binkie. Like dogs, cats can’t sweat. Contrary to dogs, most cats don’t like to go for a swim or have a shower to cool down. Binkie is no exception so it’s all about preventing heat exhaustion. The van has a standard ventilation system for circulating (outside) air while driving, but this is not enough. We can’t completely roll down the windows because of Binkie. Marcia’s top tip on dealing with heat: bring a cooling mat & get cooling vest for your cat Tips in dealing with heat when overlanding with a cat: Kilian put metal screens in the back window frames. They work well when driving, especially in the back, where Binkie usually lies on the bed. We have a cooling mat for Binkie to lie on.We have a gel cooling vest for Binkie to wear.  If we stop for lunch or shopping, we make sure it is in the shade. We have learned to avoid cities when it is warm because of the traffic jams. Roads usually don’t offer any shade. Our wild camps have be in the shade. Of course our van provides shade, but if the ground has been in the sun all day it is still too hot for Binkie to lie on (keep in mind that grass is coolest and sand cools down quicker than solid rocks). Sometimes finding shades takes a lot of extra time, but so be it.  When camping we take it really easy and stay up late until the temperature in the van has gone down. We sleep in the van and the pop-top helps a bit with the temperature as well. We prefer a place that has some water and if there isn’t any, we can always have an extra shower. I will never forget the bliss we felt when we were in Marrakesh, Moroco (without Binkie back then). We were ‘camping’ in a concrete parking behind Koutoubia Mosque. It was 45°C (113°F) and no shade, only stone and asphalt around us. We’d put up the shower tent and sat in it, enjoying the cool water and the now cool ground as well. It was one of the best moments when visiting Marrakesh. Follow Marcia & Kilian’s overland travels on Gato Goes Global (website) (©Gato Goes Global) Ashley Giordano – Desk to Glory Ashley’s top tip on dealing with heat: buy a peppermint essential oil roller to use on the back of the neck We try to incorporate cooling and hydrating foods into our diet: mint, watermelon, cucumber, lettuces, leafy veggies, melon, cilantro. We also stock up on ice in our insulated mugs from gas stations (in the area where they dispense water and soda). A peppermint essential oil roller works nicely on the back of the neck. Ashley & Richard share their overland adventures on Desk to Glory (website & Instagram) (@Ashley Giordano) Marzena Bartkowiak – Mango 4×4 Marzena’s top tip on dealing with heat: splurge on an aircon hotel room Aircon hotel rooms. In 2019 we had a new room with aircon and with breakfast for 2 for 15 euros. 🙂 Marzena shares her overland travels on Mango 4×4 (website) Summers in Uzbekistan can be brutal, this is Samarkand (©Mango4x4) Coen Wubbels – Landcruising Adventure When driving in warm weather we open the windows and foot vents. The latter is a great asset of our Land Cruiser. However, when stuck in traffic in cities there is no escaping the heat. Over the years we tried several things:  wet towels on our head or in our neck,handheld fans,plant spray bottles,Prickly Heat Powder (commonly used by locals in Pakistan and India, we found)until we finally bought some cheap fans in Pakistan and placed them above our seats, hanging from the ceiling. When driving, my right foot is being slowly cooked as the accelerator is placed on the edge of the footwell, where the gearbox tunnel meets the firewall. If outside temperatures are high, this place gets extremely hot. Karin-Marijke may franticly spay water on my feet with the plant spray bottle every so often. I suspect her adding some herbal mixture to it to get rid the bland taste of my tender foot once it is fully cooked. Coen’s top tip on dealing with heat: use a beaded seat cushion Other tips: I bought a beaded seat cushion, which not only massages the back but also provides plenty of space for ventilation between the seat and my back. We drink hot tea during lunch, like locals do a lot in Central Asia, and instead of giving in to the craving for a cold sugary drink. In the beginning of our trip we still carried camouflage netting, thinking it would come in handy while ninja camping. We found another use for it instead: extending the awning in such a way that the netting protected us from the afternoon sun yet, still let air flow undisturbed. Especially during the Greek heatwave of 2003 this worked very well. Cheap greenhouse netting should work as well. Read more: Overland Stories in Central Asia Follow Coen & Karin-Marijke’s continuous overland journey on this website or on Instagram & Facebook. Top Tip in Dealing with Heat when Overlanding: Wear a Tank Top 🙂 Men & Women Stay up to Date Would you like to stay in the loop on all things Landcruising Adventure? Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest news. No spam, rare enough so as not to annoy, and easy to unsubscribe from. More on Overland Car Gear

There are tent stakes, and tent stakes . . .

This . . . is the latter.If you’ve read my work for more than a few weeks, you probably know how much I hate cheap tents (see here if not). It should be banally axiomatic that your tent is your home away from home, your last refuge from wind, rain, snow, and insects. It makes no sense to economize on a piece of equipment that, at the very least, can mean the difference between a peaceful or sleepless night, and at the worst, could be your key to survival.The same goes for the stakes with which you secure that tent (or awning). The finest, most aerodynamic four-season tent on earth is worthless if it’s secured with flimsy, undersized stakes, and the same goes for the expensive batwing awning on your overland truck, which can pluck inadequate stakes out of the hardest substrate when a bit of a blow lifts its sail-like surface area. During every Overland Expo Roseann and I ran we struggled with and cajoled and threatened vendors to tie down their blue EZ-Up awnings with something more than the flimsy aluminum toothpicks they came with, which I could—and did, as a demonstration—bend between my teeth. These stakes will not bend between my teeth. We already own a set of very decent stakes for the Eezi-Awn Bat 270 awning on our Troopy—one set of thick round steel pegs for hard ground, and another of wide, curved aluminum for sand. Recently, however, I was browsing the Major Surplus site and came across a pack of six French military steel stakes for $29.95. They looked awesome, so I ordered a set. And they are indeed awesome: cruciform steel, seventeen inches long and 1.45 pounds each, with a welded hook. I immediately ordered another set. They should suffice for any kind of substrate.These stakes will secure any tent not capable of enclosing a trapeze act. No, I won’t carry them on my bicycle for use with my Hilleberg Anjan GT, but for bigger shelters? Take my advice and get a set; you’ll sleep better.

Coleman Camp Stove – How to Install the Leather Pump Cup

Do you remember the last time you tried to pressurize your Coleman camp stove and no matter how many times you pumped, no air was getting inside the tank? Sometimes twisting the plunger a little to the side helped getting friction, or dabbing a little bit of oil on the rubber cup helped for a few days. But it’s never a long-term solution. A couple of days ago I got so frustrated by the same ineffective pump movements that I decided to solve the problem once and for all. Here’s how! Installing a genuine leather Coleman pump cup Some ten years ago I tried to order a tiny replacement part for the Coleman camp stove in the online store in the US. However, I faced a bureaucratic wall. I couldn’t pay with my European credit card and, more importantly, they wouldn’t ship any items internationally. So even if I had asked a US friend to buy it online and ship it directly from Coleman USA to Europe, it wouldn’t have been possible.  Why not order it from Coleman Europe? Good question!  More on the Coleman Stove & Oven: At that time (even today), the only spare parts available for the unleaded 2 burner stove are a generator or a complete crane and generator. Not the graphite packing I needed. So I called and emailed customer service in the US a few times and a very helpful woman was so in love with our story of the Land Cruiser and adventuring all over the world, that she offered to send us a small parcel from her home address. No need for a payment or anything, she sent it as a gift. How kind was that?!  When the small parcel arrived it contained a few other interesting items as well, one of them being an original Coleman leather pump cup. Leather? Yes, I had to take a double look to make sure. I didn’t even know they came in leather. Some searching quickly taught me that all the modern Coleman stoves and lanterns come with the black flimsy neoprene (or rubber, if you like) cup. It should hold for some time, but if you are a heavy duty Colman stove user, your stove is better off with a leather cup. The leather pump cup has been lying in my wooden toolbox for the last 10 years until, a couple of days ago, I finally made the decision to install it. I made a video of the whole process for you guys, which you can see below, or if you want to get the textual version, scroll down to find the explanation in words and pictures. [embedded content] How I Installed the Leather Pump Cup on the Coleman Camp Stove 1 – Soak the leather pump cup Because the leather was as stiff as a broomstick, I let the pump cup soak overnight in engine oil. It became softer and easier to handle. The softer, the less troublesome it is to manoeuvre it inside the housing. 2 – Unlock the plunger The first time I unlocked the plunger from the tank, I had a hard time twisting the black plastic ring from the lock to the unlock position. Maybe because it hadn’t been opened before? Since our Coleman camp stove is a second-hand burner, I have no way of knowing if the plunger ever been removed from the tank.  To prevent damaging the hard plastic ring, I carefully used my telecommunication pliers to wiggle it in the open position. Next, taking the plunger out was easy – just a pull. The older system (the 425F Coleman stove, with the red tank) used a different way, where you had to unclip a metal wire from two opposite holes on the plunger shaft. I have always used the same handy pliers. 3 – Unclip the old cup Now that the plunger was out of the tank, it was time to get the old neoprene or rubber pump cup off. It was held in place by a round clip with 3 notches. It was my understanding that there was no other way than to bend en force the clip off by deforming it, so you probably won’t be able to use it again. Luckily the repair kit, or the Leather Pump Cup kit, came with a replacement. 4 – Assemble the plunger I mounted the nice soft and new leather pump cup. This was as easy as 1 – 2 – 3. Just make sure to have paper napkins or tissues at hand because your cup will be dripping with oil so it is likely to get a bit messy. Slide the new cup in place and lock it by sliding the locking clip as last. With some pressure it will snap into place. 5 – Install the plunger This part was the trickiest part of the whole process. The new leather pump cup was still be too stiff and wide for the narrow shaft on the tank. I tried to force it in any way possible. The best way I could come up with was by using a very thin sheet of a can. I wrapped it around the leather cup, slightly conical with the wide side on the stem side of the plunger. It formed a funnel so to speak.  The tricky part was nót to loose the can inside the shaft. Note that the thin metal can is extremely sharp, so maybe use gloves and a pair of pliers and let a friend help you. Once passed the bottleneck, you will need to leave the plunger in place while you pull the metal out from between the plunger and the tank shaft. 6 – Pump up the pressure The hard part was over. I was shocked how stiff and difficult the pumping was. Don’t be alarmed. I learned that the pumping became easier over time.  To get over the first few days of hard pumping, I suggest adding additional oil inside the shaft. Be warned not to pull the plunger all the way out, like I did on my first attempt. I had to get the tin metal can out again.  As I’m writing this blog post, we have been using the new leather pump cup for over 2 months and it has worked flawlessly. I didn’t add any extra oil and every stroke is a hit. How is your leather pump cup experience? Did you use another method of installing the plunger? Please let me know in the comments. Or with any other question you have. I’ll be happy to help you. Coleman Stove Maintenance and Additions Replacement Generator Sometimes there is no time to clean your current generator. That is why we always have a spare. It is best practice to keep at least one extra generator at hand. If your current one is clogged or is otherwise giving you a hard time to get a good blue flame, just exchange it for the new one and leave the used one to be cleaned for later. Gun Cleaning Kit Set Before I got my rifle cleaning kit, I struggled to clean the inside of the generator. I tried pipe cleaners and soaking in brake cleaner for a night. Now with the a gun cleaning set everything changed. Most kits have 3 different end tips and allow you to change the tips easily. Fuel Injector Cleaner Whenever we fill the Coleman tank with new fuel, we make sure to add a dash of injector cleaner. This way the generator will stay cleaner much longer. It does not prevent the buildup of carbon deposits, but it will greatly slow down the process, thus the generator will last longer. Pump Cup Replacement Over time the little rubber cup of the pump will run dry. Remove the plunger and add a little engine oil on the sides of the cup. Being in a gasoline environment it is normal that the rubber will degrade over time. This leather replacement cup will end your pumping troubles for ever. Filter Funnel Replacement Did you loose your funnel, or accidentally used it for something else. Or did the soft filter stiffen over time. Don’t just use any funnel, but only the original, as it stops filling the tank just at the right moment. Coleman Camp Oven Sick and tired of the dull local bread? Or are you looking for a great way to bake a cake in your camp. Let your imagination go and bake the best home made pizza’s in this little foldable oven. Burner Control Knob Accidentally dropped your stove or otherwise damaged the burner control knob? Don’t worry, Coleman has them on the shelve. Plunger Pump Repair Kit Do you need to replace the whole plunger at any time? This long version of the universal plunger will fit the Coleman Camp Stove. Not the lanterns, as they mostly use the shorter version. Check it out: The Landcruising Adventure T-shirt Collection Get the News Join the crowd and receive an occasional email with news, updates, and the best bits from the blog. No spam, rare enough so as not to annoy, and easy to unsubscribe from. More on Overland Cooking Equipment:


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