Camping Gear

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Earlier this year we decided to replace boat exploration with SUV exploration and wilderness camping. But, as with moving back Seattle in the first place, we were pretty much starting from scratch with camping gear. Besides the Engel HD30 cooler that we’d purchased for our road trip across the country, everything else had to be researched, sourced and tested. One thing we didn’t need was a tent, as would sleep in our truck rather than on the ground.

Our first purchase was a Starlink satellite dish, since many of the places we want to go are outside of cellular connectivity and James really needs to be connected for work. Next we needed a way to power it, so bought an Ecoflow Delta Max 2000. And lots more gear followed.

During this period, nearly a dozen cruise ships arrived and departed as the 2022 Alaska cruise season got underway, and we also attended the retirement party for Service Manager Dwight Allen after 51 years at Cascade Engine Center. Cascade supplied Dirona‘s ultra-reliable John Deere 6068AFM75 and Dwight has been amazingly responsive in dealing with any questions or minor issues that we’ve had.

Below are highlights from May 1st through 7th, 2022. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a map with our most recent log entries always is available at

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Seven Seas Mariner
The Regent Seven Seas Mariner moored at Pier 66 in Elliott Bay. The ship was the first all-suite, all-balcony ship in the world when launched in 2002, and was named “Ship of the Year” by Ocean and Cruise News. The luxury liner has a staff-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.6 and features gourmet cuisine by the renowned Le Cordon Bleu of Paris.

At anchor in the background is our “pet cruise ship“, Ovation of the Seas. The Alaska cruise season started a week ago, with seven sailing so far. Seven Seas Mariner will depart tonight, bringing the count to eight.

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Pier 91
Quantum of the Seas, sistership to our pet cruise ship our “pet cruise ship,” Ovation of the Seas, on the dock at Pier 91 in Elliott Bay. When delivered in 2014, Quantam Seas was the third-largest cruise ship in the world by gross tonnage. Partially visible behind is Carnival Splendor that will depart tomorrow on the ninth Alaska sailing from Seattle this season.
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The excavators at the Fourth and Bell construction site are digging down and producing carefully engineered piles of dirt. Convoys of dump trucks will eventually arrive to remove it.
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Our Starlink satellite dish will keep us connected while wilderness camping, but we need a way to power it and all the rest of our electronics. Ecoflow is one of several lithium-based portable power solutions that have recently come to market. We selected an EcoFlow Delta Max 2000 because it has a super-fast charging mode, the ability to support high-load appliances, and an excellent app that supports remote control and monitoring.
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Our Ecoflow plugged in and charging.
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Camp Furniture
A camp table and two chairs from REI was one of several orders of camping gear that arrived today.
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Camp Furniture Test
Testing out our new camp furniture. We got a Camp Table and two Camp Xtra Chair. The table has several appealing features, including a large surface area and individually adjustable leg heights that help with uneven ground while camping. And both the table and chairs fold up into a compact and portable package.
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For our wilderness camping we plan to sleep in our truck rather than in a tent. The next piece of camping gear to arrive was a Luno air mattress sized for the bed of our Honda Passport. Luno gets great reviews for durability, ease of setup and comfort.
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Inflating Luno with Ecoflow
Our first test of our new Ecoflow Delta Max 2000: supplying 12-volt power to inflate our Luno air mattress. The Ecoflow can supply power via a 12-volt via cigarette lighter outlet, USB type-B connections, and 6 120-volt AC connections.
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Luno Half-Inflated
One of the features of the Luno air mattress is you can inflate just one side for a single person, leaving space on the other side for gear. Another nice feature is that each side inflates through a single valve, compared to some air mattresses that require inflating at four or more points.
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Testing Luno
James testing the fully-inflated Luno air mattress for our truck. The mattress is more than big enough for a 6-ft frame, and is super-comfortable. We also purchased a custom fitted bottom sheet.
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High Draw on Ecoflow
Out Ecoflow Delta Max 2000 can handle peak loads of up to 3400W. It handled the 1800W draw from a hair dryer no problem.
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Coleman Classic
For cooking at our campsite, we bought a Coleman Classic camp stove. It’s a simple, basic unit with few moving parts that receives excellent reviews for longevity. We’re quite happy with it so far.
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Luno in Honda
Testing the fit of our Luno air mattress inside our truck parked in our building’s garage. It fits perfectly and we’re really looking forward to trying it out in the wilds.
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Hasika Awning
Another important piece of gear we bought for wilderness camping is a Hasika awning to shelter us from the rain. The canopy stows compactly in this small bag. In use, it’s a beautiful design, but not sufficiently durably built.
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Erecting Awning
Here we testing out the Hasika awning in our garage. Using three collapsible tent poles, the awning erects pretty quickly.
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Awning on Honda
Our Hasika awning in place over the tailgate of our truck with the hatch open. The far end attaches to the car and the closest end is supported on two adjustable-height tent poles. One of the reasons we selected this awning was for the drop-down sides that will provide a large area of shelter from rain and wind.
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Ovation of the Seas
Our “pet cruise ship“, Ovation of the Seas, testing out it’s North Star viewing pod while at anchor in Elliott Bay. The glass-enclosed pod is mounted at the end of an extendable arm that lifts occupants 300 feet above sea level over the side of the ship.
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Norwegian Sun
The cruise ship Norwegian Sun arriving into Pier 66 at Elliott Bay. We’re loving having the cruise ships back in town again.
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Nat Geo Quest
The pocket cruise ship National Geographic Quest, arriving into Seattle. Quest is the first expedition ship built entirely in the US and is designed to navigate waterways too narrow and shallow for the larger cruise ships.
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Steel piles have been installed around the full perimeter of the Fourth & Bell construction site. The steel piles will form the sides of the excavation as they dig down several floors to form the foundation of the building.
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Fish Tacos
Delicious fish tacos for dinner.
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A busy morning for the Seattle Vessel Traffic Center. Three tugs are assisting an APL container ship into the Port of Seattle while a car ferry and a passenger-only fast ferry arrive into Coleman dock.
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More Camping Gear
More camping gear arrived today, including a Rumpl down blanket, a Sea to Summit collapsible kettle, a Black Diamond Apollo Lantern, a GSI Outdoors Pinnacle camping cooking set, a TentLab Deuce backpacking potty trowel, lighters for our camp stove, and a collapsible 5-gallon water storage cube.
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We want to make our truck camp bed as comfortable as possible, so are using standard Casper pillows. They are a bit bulky though, so we’ll stow them using a compression sack.
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Compression Sack
The two pillows from the previous photo stowed inside a 32L Osprey compression sack. We were a bit dubious that they would even fit inside, and the compression sack does an amazing job of reducing their stored size.
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Window Covers
For privacy while sleeping in the truck, we ordered a set of WeatherTech sunshades that will cover all the windows.
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The HVAC closet on our floor of the apartment building opened for service.
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Carson Diltz
Blog reader and boat owner Carson Diltz, who also happens to work for AWS in Wisconsin, was in Seattle and met us for drinks at Wild Ginger. We had a great time discussing a wide variety of topics ranging from AWS technology to living aboard.
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Quantum of the Seas
Quantum of the Seas, sister ship to our “pet cruise ship,” Ovation of the Seas, departing Seattle on it’s inaugural Alaska trip of the 2022/2023 season. This is the 11th cruise ship departure from Seattle this season.
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One Fathom Apart
The Fisheries Supply nautically-themed social distancing signs instruct customers to stay one fathom apart.
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Rows and rows of engines in the warehouse at Cascade Engine Center where we are attending Service Manager Dwight Allen’s retirement party.
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Tim Sandeman
Tim Sandeman, Vice President of Sales at Cascade Engine Center in Seattle, standing with a new John Deere 6135AFM85 Tier 2 marine engine in their warehouse. Cascade supplied Dirona‘s ultra-reliable John Deere 6068AFM75. Tim’s predecessor, Gregg Light, sold our original engine. Tim and the rest of the Cascade team have continued to take excellent care of us since.
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An fabulous cake for Service Manager Dwight Allen’s retirement from Cascade Engine Center. Everything is made from cake and icing, including the purchase order, rag, gaskets and wrench.
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Dwight Allen
With Dwight and Sheila Allen at Dwight’s retirement party after 51 years at Cascade Engine Center. Cascade supplied Dirona‘s ultra-reliable John Deere 6068AFM75 and Service Manager Dwight has been amazingly responsive in dealing with any questions or minor issues that we’ve had.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map. And a map of our most recent log entries always is available at


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2 comments on “Camping Gear
  1. It was great to see you visit Cascade Engine Center. I know it was appreciated by Dwight and the folks at Cascade. It is certainly rare to find a relationship between customer and business that can be lasting like this. It is one of the many positive aspects I find in this engine business that make it so rewarding. You are both not only great sailors but great people as well. Good luck with all the camping. If you cam through San Antonio, let us know. Tacos or Brisket you know.

    • Thanks Alberto. You and the Scania team did well to choose the Cascade Engine Center your representative on the North American West Coast. They are unusually good and approach issues with the same engineering excellence for which Scania has become well known.

      We will definitely let you know when we next pass through San Antonio.

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