Tread Lightly! (wink wink)

If you read magazines devoted to weekend four-wheeling, or to overland travel, you can’t have missed the references to “treading lightly” and the Tread Lightly organization, whose mission is to “lead a national initiative to protect and enhance recreation access and opportunities by promoting outdoor ethics to heighten individuals’ sense of good stewardship.”Likewise, if you’re paying attention, you can’t have missed the hypocrisy entrenched in the advertising and editorial content of many of those same magazines.The Australians have a verb for irresponsible, destructive driving behavior in the bush (or elsewhere): hooning. Tearing up trails at speed, jumping, throwing roostertails on ascents, drifting through curves—not to mention driving off-tracks—that’s hooning.And, let’s face it, hooning sells.When was the last time you saw an ad for a truck or SUV on television that showed the vehicle crawling along sedately (and responsibly) on a trail? Nope, they’re all about horsepower and its application in as spectacular a fashion as possible. A desultory cruise through various manufacturers’ pitches on YouTube reveals numerous clips of their vehicles with all four wheels in the air, curtains of muddy water splashed over the camera, fountains of dirt thrown high. The still above is a still from a Ford Raptor ad.Here is the standard microscopic disclaimer at the beginning of the clip. Can you see it? Fatuous CYA bit aside, the ad is clearly portraying a non-professional driver on a not-closed course, racing (and jumping) down trails in some lovely remote terrain to make a cute little pile of rocks as a tribute to a missing friend just at sunset. So poignant. He then takes off at high speed again on the (wink wink) closed course. The whole clip is here. Note that the “Ford Performance Racing School” is an official partner of Tread Lightly. Is your irony detector screeching like mine did?It’s not just vehicle ads. Manufacturers of all sorts of accessories, from tires to knives, like to picture their products in association with treading that is distinctly sub-lightly.Even tour companies are getting into the act. I’ve found several overtly advertising speed-based “tours” in Nevada. One tempts the reader with a Raptor experience on “fast forest roads” . . . in Mexico. Presumably not a closed course.And it’s not just ads. Editorial content—especially in photography—too often betrays or even flaunts situations antithetical to responsible travel, from “performance shots” of vehicles in action to images of idyllic campsites in which any vestige of a trail accessing the spot is nowhere to be seen. (In several such images I’ve been intimately familiar enough with the place to be absolutely certain there was no trail accessing the spot.)Obviously, a percentage of those “performance shots” were taken during factory media events on actual closed courses. I remember attending the launch of the new Ford Super Duty trucks a couple years ago. The organizers had a winding, lumpy dirt course set up in an old quarry—and an actual speed course down a wash and back along a dirt track—through which they actively encouraged us to “get on it” in the 430-horsepower Tremor. I had to explain that “getting on it” was not the focus of my review. And one of the reps who rode with me kept asking if I wanted to stop at certain “action” spots and get photos of other journalists (most of whom were enthusiastically “getting on it”). Again I declined.I assume that most of you reading this take these ads and images for the hyperbole they usually are, and drive your own vehicles with respect. But there are millions of others who consider those same ads and images to be owner’s manuals. In the last 20 years I’ve noticed a tragic decline in the condition of the trails on public land around our desert property. Every spot where there’s a tight curve is now eroded into parallel ruts by trucks and ATVs sliding through sideways. In two washes leading toward the hills, where the course narrows enough so that in the past everyone parked or turned back, there are now new tracks bashed through the desert so the driver could access another couple hundred yards of wash without having to walk. On my favorite 4x4 trails in the Tanque Verde Mountains east of Tucson, where I usually test the four-wheel-drive performance of review vehicles, even moderate sections are now surrounded by 50-yard-wide swaths of destruction where those who lacked the skill or the vehicle to tackle the obstacle simply forged an easier path through the desert, rather than turn around. In a few spots entire new tracks circumvent the obstacle. This moderate trail section is three times wider than it used to be, from vehicles seeking an easier line rather than turning around. Just this morning I rode my bicycle to Sabino Canyon via Bear Canyon road, at the end of which is a parking area and a “no motorized vehicles beyond this point” sign. A recent set of ATV tracks led right past that sign and up the trail through Bear Creek. Sadly I did not catch the rider; if I had I’m quite sure his response to my query would have been that it was his “right” to ride wherever he wanted. Does anyone reading this really believe such people respond to a gentle lecture about treading lightly and following land-use guidelines? C’mon. The standard excuse for this behavior (and for doing nothing about it) has always been that it’s “a few bad apples.” Sorry, but, to put it bluntly, horseshit. I know better, because I am in the country a lot and I see it ALL THE TIME. Is it the fault of manufacturers who produce the abusive ads? Or is it the result of what seems to be a metastasizing wave of belligerently self-centered behavior in our society? Have you noted a marked increase in the number of lane hogs on interstate highways recently, and an increase in blatant red-light running in towns? We have. Connection?I wish this screed offered a solution to the abuse of our shared public lands, but I have none that wouldn’t result in felony charges. A ten-fold increase in public-lands law enforcement personnel might do it, but that’s not likely in the near future. Massive on-site peer pressure can and does work, but rarely do circumstances coincide to allow that, and who wants to take on someone who is already acting in an aggressive fashion, without extensive backup?Every year I check the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s hunting regulations to see if they’ve opened a season on mouth-breathers.Sadly, no luck yet.

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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