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The Outdoor Life

Photo & Video Gallery

There the different galleries associated with posts throughout the site. I have gathered them all here in one location to make it easier for you to peruse through. Each new gallery will display first in the list - this way you can take a quick glance to see what's new. The titles are associated with the actual posts, but as I get more time to edit these I will add a link in the top go the gallery to the corresponding post to make is super simple to find and read.

Stolen RV Trailer Footage

2.7K views August 29th

34 9

Photo Albums

Outdoorsman Lab's new Premium Sleeping Pad is even cozier than before and offers you complete comfort without the heavy bulkiness. It's also the ultimate in regulating temperature, whether you're hiking snowy trails or enjoying the annual family summer camping trip.

Sleeping Pad: https://amzn.to/3GrhKO4
OMEALS Hashbrowns: https://amzn.to/2ZoDwSh 

It's generous in size - tall sleepers and those who like to stretch out alike are sure to love our 76" long, 26" wide sleeping pad. And with ultra-easy pump-bag-inflating technology, it's easy to enjoy by anyone at any time. You might even find yourself using it at home - in your yard, on your patio, or for kids' sleepovers.

When out camping, there is a choice one must make between taking a foam or an air pad for comfortable sleep outdoors. A sleeping pad's primary function is to provide both cushioning and insulation. Cushioning for your back support and insulating your body from cold surfaces allows you to sleep more comfortably and at ease. The question remains as to which one is better; a foam pad or an air pad.

Laying on the cold, hard ground can be pretty uncomfortable for many campers, especially those that already suffer from back conditions. Thankfully, camping sleeping pads were invented to allow those enjoying the great outdoors to be able to get a good night's sleep!

OMEALS  Hashbrowns Potatoes with Bacon, Onions, and Peppers. Smoked bacon, skillet-tossed potatoes, and sauteed bell peppers and onions make for a delicious, easy meal. Premium flavor that is sure to be a hit for the family every time, anywhere!

Outdoorsman Lab's new Premium Sleeping Pad is even cozier than before and offers you complete comfort without the heavy bulkiness. It's also the ultimate in regulating temperature, whether you're hiking snowy trails or enjoying the annual family summer camping trip.

Sleeping Pad: https://amzn.to/3GrhKO4
OMEALS Hashbrowns: https://amzn.to/2ZoDwSh

It's generous in size - tall sleepers and those who like to stretch out alike are sure to love our 76" long, 26" wide sleeping pad. And with ultra-easy pump-bag-inflating technology, it's easy to enjoy by anyone at any time. You might even find yourself using it at home - in your yard, on your patio, or for kids' sleepovers.

When out camping, there is a choice one must make between taking a foam or an air pad for comfortable sleep outdoors. A sleeping pad's primary function is to provide both cushioning and insulation. Cushioning for your back support and insulating your body from cold surfaces allows you to sleep more comfortably and at ease. The question remains as to which one is better; a foam pad or an air pad.

Laying on the cold, hard ground can be pretty uncomfortable for many campers, especially those that already suffer from back conditions. Thankfully, camping sleeping pads were invented to allow those enjoying the great outdoors to be able to get a good night's sleep!

OMEALS Hashbrowns Potatoes with Bacon, Onions, and Peppers. Smoked bacon, skillet-tossed potatoes, and sauteed bell peppers and onions make for a delicious, easy meal. Premium flavor that is sure to be a hit for the family every time, anywhere!

128 4

YouTube Video VVVDdWJXaEYzdXFZNFF1Sk5jbWlPc0ZRLmcwejJpZDVCOW80

Camping Sleeping Pad - Great for Side Sleepers!

4.1K views October 26th

128 4

I was going to tell you how awesome this Portable Grill is, but that's evident in the video. So, instead, I am going to give you some awesome tips are grilling with Charcoal n the LifeDoo Floy!

The first Version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vpOeTQgMxw 
Version II on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3v1jbxu

Every Pitmaster knows the secret to a great grilled dish is the charcoal. Cooking with charcoal produces a very different result from cooking with propane. One of the most significant differences in the taste, as meats cooked on charcoal absorb many extra flavors that you don't get with propane. 

Most ordinary grillers never take the time to experiment with charcoal, which is a real shame since that is the one thing that can turn a good dish into a great one when grilling. To learn how to cook the best recipes with charcoal, consider these tips:

- Use hardwood over briquettes. Hardwood is easier to control, offers a higher heat, and gives your meat more flavor.

- Use woods chips for both aroma and flavor. Simply adding a handful of soaked hickory, cherry, or oak wood chips to your charcoal can make a big difference in how flavorful your meat will become

- Distribute burning coals evenly across the bottom of your grill. Direct heat is essential to the cooking process, so avoid uneven coals.

- Cook over ashen coals only. Trying to grill meat over live coals that feature a flame will end in disaster. This will cook the outside of the meat too quickly, leaving the inside undone. You know you're ready when you can't see any flame and all of the coals are glowing red. If you start cooking too soon, your food will have a robust smoky taste which is usually undesirable.

- Before you put the meat on your portable charcoal grill, cut a bit of fat off and run it along the grill lines. This is the equivalent of adding some oil and will allow your meat to sear very quickly, locking in the flavor and juices.

- To get the best-tasting steak, quickly sear the first side, flip once, and then allow it to cook, and then flip only once more. A steak should be turned no more than twice to keep in the best flavor.

By starting with these basics, you are well on your way to cooking the best recipes with charcoal. Of course, a little experimenting with marinades, meats, wood chips, and cooking times will only enhance your results, making you a true Grillmaster. Wonderful recipes have been discovered by experimenting. You can fine-tune even a simple recipe just by experimenting with it.

Great recipes, like great inventions, happen only with a lot of experiments. It would help if you never were afraid to experiment in cooking. Trying new methods, using fresh ingredients, increasing or reducing cooking time are some approaches to experimentation in cooking food.

I was going to tell you how awesome this Portable Grill is, but that's evident in the video. So, instead, I am going to give you some awesome tips are grilling with Charcoal n the LifeDoo Floy!

The first Version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vpOeTQgMxw
Version II on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3v1jbxu

Every Pitmaster knows the secret to a great grilled dish is the charcoal. Cooking with charcoal produces a very different result from cooking with propane. One of the most significant differences in the taste, as meats cooked on charcoal absorb many extra flavors that you don't get with propane.

Most ordinary grillers never take the time to experiment with charcoal, which is a real shame since that is the one thing that can turn a good dish into a great one when grilling. To learn how to cook the best recipes with charcoal, consider these tips:

- Use hardwood over briquettes. Hardwood is easier to control, offers a higher heat, and gives your meat more flavor.

- Use woods chips for both aroma and flavor. Simply adding a handful of soaked hickory, cherry, or oak wood chips to your charcoal can make a big difference in how flavorful your meat will become

- Distribute burning coals evenly across the bottom of your grill. Direct heat is essential to the cooking process, so avoid uneven coals.

- Cook over ashen coals only. Trying to grill meat over live coals that feature a flame will end in disaster. This will cook the outside of the meat too quickly, leaving the inside undone. You know you're ready when you can't see any flame and all of the coals are glowing red. If you start cooking too soon, your food will have a robust smoky taste which is usually undesirable.

- Before you put the meat on your portable charcoal grill, cut a bit of fat off and run it along the grill lines. This is the equivalent of adding some oil and will allow your meat to sear very quickly, locking in the flavor and juices.

- To get the best-tasting steak, quickly sear the first side, flip once, and then allow it to cook, and then flip only once more. A steak should be turned no more than twice to keep in the best flavor.

By starting with these basics, you are well on your way to cooking the best recipes with charcoal. Of course, a little experimenting with marinades, meats, wood chips, and cooking times will only enhance your results, making you a true Grillmaster. Wonderful recipes have been discovered by experimenting. You can fine-tune even a simple recipe just by experimenting with it.

Great recipes, like great inventions, happen only with a lot of experiments. It would help if you never were afraid to experiment in cooking. Trying new methods, using fresh ingredients, increasing or reducing cooking time are some approaches to experimentation in cooking food.

129 1

YouTube Video VVVDdWJXaEYzdXFZNFF1Sk5jbWlPc0ZRLmU3T2FqSU1hRkhr

Grilling with charcoal on the LifeDoo Floy Fire Version II

4.9K views October 11th

129 1

In this video, I cover how to upgrade the existing Charger/Converter in my trailer so that I can properly use and take full advantage of Lithium Batteries.

Timestamps:
Warning: 00:30
Intro: 00:50
Prep: 02:25
Remove Old: 05:40
Install New: 10:35
Fix Broken Braker: 21:15
Install Fuses: 22:05
Testing: 23:15

I bought my Forest River IBEX 23RLDS under the impression that it a was Lithium Ready travel trailer. While the solar was ready, the onboard charger was not. 

The Power Distribution Center in my IBEX was a WF-8955PEC and is NOT Lithium Battery Compatible. The WF-8955PEC's charging system is designed explicitly for lead-acid (Flooded/AGM) batteries. The WF-8955LiS is the model that was supposed to be installed for the IBEX to be "Lithium Ready."

The WF-8955LiS has a switch option, allowing one to change charging modes between lead-acid and lithium batteries by simply sliding a switch in one direction or the other. 

WF-8955LiS on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3gceevA

The short version (confirmed by Forest River's Engineer as I understand them):
1. The PEC will not fully charge Lithium batteries; he stated "95% or so." We all know that a Lead-Acid algorithm will only get the LiPo to 70-80% in most cases. 
2. The PEC is not going to properly Float the battery (as stated, "it's close").
3. The PEC will not output the required 14.6v for "Fast Bulk" charging of Lithium. The Lead-Acid algorithm does not have a Fast Charge state.
4. Improperly charging a lithium battery will severely shorten its lifespan.
5. Lithium Battery warranties don't cover improper charging. Many specifically state that a "Lithium Charger must be used."

The PEC is designed and sold as a Lead-Acid Charger, and by that definition alone, disqualifies the PEC as a Lithium Ready Charger and disqualifies the IBEX 23RLDS as a Lithium Ready Travel Trailer. While the PEC may safely "charge" Lithium batteries (somewhat), as stated on WFCO's website, the PEC is not designed for Lithium Charging and by Forest River's own engineer's statements, does present quite a few shortcomings for Lithium use.

The Nuts & Bolts:

A 12v lithium LiFePO4 battery fully charged to 100% will hold voltage around 13.3-13.4v. A lead-acid battery will be around 12.6-12.7v. A lithium battery at 20% capacity will hold voltage around 13V; lead-acid will be around 11.8v at the same capacity. 

A Lithium LiFePO4 charger is a voltage-limiting device that has similarities to the lead-acid system. The differences with Li-ion relate to the higher voltage per cell, tighter voltage tolerances, and the absence of trickle or float charge at full charge. While lead-acid offers some flexibility in terms of voltage cut-off, manufacturers of LiFePO4 cells are stringent on the correct setting because Li-ion cannot accept overcharge. 

Lithium chargers are based on a CV/CC (constant voltage/constant current) charge algorithm. The charger limits the amount of current to a pre-set level until the battery reaches a pre-set voltage level. The current then reduces as the battery becomes fully charged. This system allows fast charging without the risk of over-charging and is required for all Li-ion batteries.

Most, if not all, lead-acid chargers have an equalization mode. On most chargers, this mode is automatic and can't be turned off. Lithium batteries do not require any form of equalization. Applying an equalization charge of 15v+ to a lithium battery will damage the cells beyond repair.

The other function that lead-acid chargers have is a "return to bulk" voltage. A 100% full lead-acid battery's voltage is approx 12.7v. Once the charger is in Float mode, it will maintain the battery at a pre-set voltage (normally between 13.3-13.8v subject to the battery type) and supports any loads running at the time. If the loads increase past the charger's maximum output in Float, then the battery voltage will start to reduce. Once the voltage reaches the "return to bulk" voltage, the charger will begin a new charge cycle and re-charge the battery at Bulk Voltage rates.

The "return to bulk" voltage setting in lead-acid chargers is normally 12.5-12.7v. This voltage for a lithium battery is way too low. At this voltage, the lithium battery will have been depleted to approx 10-15% state of charge. Lithium charge algorithms will normally set a return to Bulk voltage of 13.1-13.2V. Just another reason that a standard lead-acid charger doesn't work for lithium batteries.

Most lead-acid chargers "ping" the battery on startup to determine the voltage/resistance of the battery. Based on return information, the charger then determines what charge phase to start in. Because Lithium will hold voltage above 13+v, these lead-acid chargers will see this as a nearly full battery and enter into a Float stage and bypass the charge stage altogether.

Disclaimer: Everything in this video and description is my own interpretations and opinions based on the information I have gathered online, through email, and by phone.

In this video, I cover how to upgrade the existing Charger/Converter in my trailer so that I can properly use and take full advantage of Lithium Batteries.

Timestamps:
Warning: 00:30
Intro: 00:50
Prep: 02:25
Remove Old: 05:40
Install New: 10:35
Fix Broken Braker: 21:15
Install Fuses: 22:05
Testing: 23:15

I bought my Forest River IBEX 23RLDS under the impression that it a was Lithium Ready travel trailer. While the solar was ready, the onboard charger was not.

The Power Distribution Center in my IBEX was a WF-8955PEC and is NOT Lithium Battery Compatible. The WF-8955PEC's charging system is designed explicitly for lead-acid (Flooded/AGM) batteries. The WF-8955LiS is the model that was supposed to be installed for the IBEX to be "Lithium Ready."

The WF-8955LiS has a switch option, allowing one to change charging modes between lead-acid and lithium batteries by simply sliding a switch in one direction or the other.

WF-8955LiS on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3gceevA

The short version (confirmed by Forest River's Engineer as I understand them):
1. The PEC will not fully charge Lithium batteries; he stated "95% or so." We all know that a Lead-Acid algorithm will only get the LiPo to 70-80% in most cases.
2. The PEC is not going to properly Float the battery (as stated, "it's close").
3. The PEC will not output the required 14.6v for "Fast Bulk" charging of Lithium. The Lead-Acid algorithm does not have a Fast Charge state.
4. Improperly charging a lithium battery will severely shorten its lifespan.
5. Lithium Battery warranties don't cover improper charging. Many specifically state that a "Lithium Charger must be used."

The PEC is designed and sold as a Lead-Acid Charger, and by that definition alone, disqualifies the PEC as a Lithium Ready Charger and disqualifies the IBEX 23RLDS as a Lithium Ready Travel Trailer. While the PEC may safely "charge" Lithium batteries (somewhat), as stated on WFCO's website, the PEC is not designed for Lithium Charging and by Forest River's own engineer's statements, does present quite a few shortcomings for Lithium use.

The Nuts & Bolts:

A 12v lithium LiFePO4 battery fully charged to 100% will hold voltage around 13.3-13.4v. A lead-acid battery will be around 12.6-12.7v. A lithium battery at 20% capacity will hold voltage around 13V; lead-acid will be around 11.8v at the same capacity.

A Lithium LiFePO4 charger is a voltage-limiting device that has similarities to the lead-acid system. The differences with Li-ion relate to the higher voltage per cell, tighter voltage tolerances, and the absence of trickle or float charge at full charge. While lead-acid offers some flexibility in terms of voltage cut-off, manufacturers of LiFePO4 cells are stringent on the correct setting because Li-ion cannot accept overcharge.

Lithium chargers are based on a CV/CC (constant voltage/constant current) charge algorithm. The charger limits the amount of current to a pre-set level until the battery reaches a pre-set voltage level. The current then reduces as the battery becomes fully charged. This system allows fast charging without the risk of over-charging and is required for all Li-ion batteries.

Most, if not all, lead-acid chargers have an equalization mode. On most chargers, this mode is automatic and can't be turned off. Lithium batteries do not require any form of equalization. Applying an equalization charge of 15v+ to a lithium battery will damage the cells beyond repair.

The other function that lead-acid chargers have is a "return to bulk" voltage. A 100% full lead-acid battery's voltage is approx 12.7v. Once the charger is in Float mode, it will maintain the battery at a pre-set voltage (normally between 13.3-13.8v subject to the battery type) and supports any loads running at the time. If the loads increase past the charger's maximum output in Float, then the battery voltage will start to reduce. Once the voltage reaches the "return to bulk" voltage, the charger will begin a new charge cycle and re-charge the battery at Bulk Voltage rates.

The "return to bulk" voltage setting in lead-acid chargers is normally 12.5-12.7v. This voltage for a lithium battery is way too low. At this voltage, the lithium battery will have been depleted to approx 10-15% state of charge. Lithium charge algorithms will normally set a return to Bulk voltage of 13.1-13.2V. Just another reason that a standard lead-acid charger doesn't work for lithium batteries.

Most lead-acid chargers "ping" the battery on startup to determine the voltage/resistance of the battery. Based on return information, the charger then determines what charge phase to start in. Because Lithium will hold voltage above 13+v, these lead-acid chargers will see this as a nearly full battery and enter into a Float stage and bypass the charge stage altogether.

Disclaimer: Everything in this video and description is my own interpretations and opinions based on the information I have gathered online, through email, and by phone.

106 20

YouTube Video VVVDdWJXaEYzdXFZNFF1Sk5jbWlPc0ZRLldtZElmdkdhaFdJ

Upgrading my Travel Trailer's Charger/Converter for Lithium Batteries

18.4K views August 18th

106 20

A camping trip is not a camping trip without a campfire. There are several things families, and friends can do in the glow of the flames - roasting marshmallows is just the start. 

I do not like using fire rings at the campsite, and not all campsite rings are suitable for cooking. Who really knows what has been burned in that pit! I also like boondocking deep in the woods, and usually, there are not designated fire rings! 

I have been looking for a small portable grill to take with me, and the LifeDoo exceeded my expectations. First of all, this grill is very well made and sturdy. This portable grill is light and packs very small, and it's easy to stash in the bed of the truck or storage area of the RV. And, and this is a BIG and, it is also a Fire Pit!

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UxBvQQ
Or save 15% with code 15CHRISS buying direct:
https://lifedoostove.com/products/lifedoo-urod-fire 

This portable grill has adjustable side panels for cooking and fire pit configurations, making it easy to hold coals or larger logs for longer burning times.

The grate is fantastic, with a total cooking area large enough for 6 fat burger patties. The ample surface area can serve steaks and veggies or a pile of hot dogs. I love grilling with the LifeDoo; dinner only took 15-20 minutes once the coals were hot.

Cleanup isn't a problem either. Once cooled down, simply wipe off the ashes and put the parts back int to the bag. My friends with the cheap grills never want to grill, their BBQ grills are hard to pack and dirty, and a pain to clean. My grill is always ready to go.

There are a LOT of activities to do around a campfire using the LifeDoo Firepit. Here are a handful of fun activities to do around a campfire that people of all ages will enjoy.

There's a reason roasting marshmallows around a campfire is such a popular activity. This is simply because eating in the great outdoors is much more fun than eating from the safety of your kitchen table. Marshmallows are always a fun treat, but try going to the next step by making smores. Hotdogs are another camping favorite, as well as campfire popcorn and toasted bread.

Another fun thing to do around the campfire is singing. Nobody needs to be a great singer to have fun singing silly songs around the campfire. For those who do not wish to show off their singing talents to those around them, then telling stories is also a fun thing to do around the campfire. Though ghost stories are the traditional tales to tell, any fun story will do. If with your children, tell them a funny story of when you were young and got into trouble. If with friends, then entertain them with tales of the strange man you ran into on the subway the week before or the funny things you did with your younger siblings in the past.

A camping trip is not a camping trip without a campfire. There are several things families, and friends can do in the glow of the flames - roasting marshmallows is just the start.

I do not like using fire rings at the campsite, and not all campsite rings are suitable for cooking. Who really knows what has been burned in that pit! I also like boondocking deep in the woods, and usually, there are not designated fire rings!

I have been looking for a small portable grill to take with me, and the LifeDoo exceeded my expectations. First of all, this grill is very well made and sturdy. This portable grill is light and packs very small, and it's easy to stash in the bed of the truck or storage area of the RV. And, and this is a BIG and, it is also a Fire Pit!

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UxBvQQ
Or save 15% with code 15CHRISS buying direct:
https://lifedoostove.com/products/lifedoo-urod-fire

This portable grill has adjustable side panels for cooking and fire pit configurations, making it easy to hold coals or larger logs for longer burning times.

The grate is fantastic, with a total cooking area large enough for 6 fat burger patties. The ample surface area can serve steaks and veggies or a pile of hot dogs. I love grilling with the LifeDoo; dinner only took 15-20 minutes once the coals were hot.

Cleanup isn't a problem either. Once cooled down, simply wipe off the ashes and put the parts back int to the bag. My friends with the cheap grills never want to grill, their BBQ grills are hard to pack and dirty, and a pain to clean. My grill is always ready to go.

There are a LOT of activities to do around a campfire using the LifeDoo Firepit. Here are a handful of fun activities to do around a campfire that people of all ages will enjoy.

There's a reason roasting marshmallows around a campfire is such a popular activity. This is simply because eating in the great outdoors is much more fun than eating from the safety of your kitchen table. Marshmallows are always a fun treat, but try going to the next step by making smores. Hotdogs are another camping favorite, as well as campfire popcorn and toasted bread.

Another fun thing to do around the campfire is singing. Nobody needs to be a great singer to have fun singing silly songs around the campfire. For those who do not wish to show off their singing talents to those around them, then telling stories is also a fun thing to do around the campfire. Though ghost stories are the traditional tales to tell, any fun story will do. If with your children, tell them a funny story of when you were young and got into trouble. If with friends, then entertain them with tales of the strange man you ran into on the subway the week before or the funny things you did with your younger siblings in the past.

3 1

YouTube Video VVVDdWJXaEYzdXFZNFF1Sk5jbWlPc0ZRLi12cE9lVFFnTXh3

The Lifedoo Urod Firepit and Camp Stove

4.6K views July 7th

3 1

Cover for The Outdoor Life
1,130
The Outdoor Life

The Outdoor Life

Mountain, road & cross cyclist, kayaker, outdoor adventurer, photographer, filmmaker, and husband. This is #TheOutdoorLife!

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
3 weeks ago
The Outdoor Life

A 1/2 gallon of hard lemonade and iced tea; stir in a sunset, and you have an awesome Saturday night!

@skywell.official
#hardlemonade
#icetea
#lake
#chillin
#theoutdoorlife
#camping
#campinglife
... See MoreSee Less

A 1/2 gallon of hard lemonade and iced tea; stir in a sunset, and you have an awesome Saturday night!

@skywell.official
#hardlemonade 
#icetea 
#lake 
#chillin 
#theoutdoorlife 
#camping 
#campinglife