Baja Camp Tour…

17 01 2011

Bird's eye view of my camp...

Here is a shot of my camp in La Ventana Baja Mexico.  The square silver shed to the right isn’t mine it belongs to a windsurfer who keeps his sails and boards out of the sun inside.  I’m just using it for privacy and a bit of a windbreak.  Of note is the fact I can walk to the Sea of Cortez to kite in 30 seconds!  Very key…=-)

More exciting detail...

My camp consists of:

  • Big Agnes Big House 4 person tent + vestibule
  • living room [chairs and coleman table]
  • sun-shelter
  • kitchen [under sun-shelter]
  • Mazda truck

Living room...

This is my living room.  The ideal place to enjoy a cup of tea in the AM as the sun peeks over the edge of the rise behind me.  Note my competing reading material – project management study guides and Bicycle Quarterly back issues!

These chairs from REI are great and have lasted several years of 100+ days of camping not to mention all the bumping around in my truck.  The mesh breathes well, is durable and when it rains the water just falls through so it dries fast.

I love these Coleman tables…my oldest is over 10yrs old and is going strong. I’ve tried other camp tables, but nothing has made me as happy.

My kitchen...

This kitchen looks modest, but I can crank out a 4 course meal no problem.  I have a large BBQ sized propane tank fueling the stove for 2 months at a time.  I use a teflon grill for almost all my non-liquid cooking needs and love it.  I use a MSR teflon cook set for the boiling water, cooking rice/pasta, etc…  It’s big enough for 2 people everyday and 4-5 people for a meal or two.  I keep everything in a small rubbermaid box so it’s always ready to roll. I’m pretty carefully to make a note when I lose, break, run out, etc… of something so I can replace it.

My 10 yr+ old Coleman table gets kitchen duty because it’s a bit beat up and gnarly looking. The large Coleman cooler does a good job of keeping my beer and supplies cold. It’s big enough for 2 people for a week.  I want to move to an electric fridge in my next iteration of my truck camping setup.

The large box under the table is full of dry and canned food from home…including spices and curry packages.

Shade!

This sun-shelter has been to Burning Man and is a good design for withstanding high winds.  It’s heavy and bulky, but for truck camping that’s not a huge deal.  It’s nice to have some shade even in the winter.  It does occasionally rain in the desert and by strategic placement of a tarp, truck and that guy’s shed I can get a lot of privacy.  I use the shelter as a place to hang wet gear.

Big Agnes tent and huge vestibule...

Camping for a month or two at a time requires a comfy tent that can withstand a lot of wind. This Big Agnes Big House 4 is a great choice – especially with the optional vestibule.  It’s light and compact for it’s size so it can fit into a limited sized vehicle.  I’ve camped in low cost department store family tents and they don’t compare at all in terms of quality, strength and durability.

The vestibule is sized nicely for my kites and boards...

I love the vestibule for my gear.  It’s too low to use as an entrance, but for gear it’s ideal and if I had to cook in the rain it would also be ideal.  Note that I leave $5000+ of gear unlocked all day and night in Mexico and none of it goes missing.  I love this place!

Kite gear for two...

This is my Baja quiver for Sharon and I:

  • Naish Code 9m & 12M
  • Naish Cult 6m
  • Ocean Rodeo Rise 8m & 10M
  • Ocean Rodeo Mako 140cm
  • RRD 144cm x 47cm twin tip
  • Slingshot Tyrant 6’2″ surfboard
  • Liquid Force Kitefish

The sleep zone...

I don’t spend much time inside my tent since the weather is so nice all day and into the evening.  I have a queen sized double high air mattress for when Sharon shows up, but for myself I use a more spartan setup.  I started with an ultralight thermarest and then added a Exped Downmat 9 air mattress on top of it.  That’s been fine for me.  The exact air pressure in the Downmat is critical….too much feels like a rock and too soft is like sleeping on a waterbed that wants to spit you off.  I need a bit more air in it and it should be perfect.

I like the fact that I can stand up inside this tent and that the colours are bright and cheerful.

Truck and bike...

My trusty Mazda hasn’t moved since I got down here.  It acts as a windbreak and privacy screen.  It also gives me something to lock my bike to and provides storage.

My closet...

Since I don’t drive it I use the cab of my truck as a closet for stuff I want to keep out of the sun and sand/dust, but need frequently.

Charging station...

One upgrade I’m stoked about for this year is adding a deep cycle marine battery to my truck camping setup.  This lets me charge my laptop and small AA/AAA batteries.  I will get a boom box and some external lighting when I get home.  This way I can use as much power as I like without killing my truck battery.  That small red Honda generator is quiet and efficient for a weekly recharge of the battery.  I’ll get a solar pannel or two this year so I can ditch the generator.

I store my surfboard and extra gear in the back of the truck...

The back of my truck is used for extra storage of stuff I don’t use a lot or stuff that needs to stay cool/out of the sun. I can never keep it organized!  Maybe I’ll work on that today.

Hoop and fuel!

These are the supplies for my flaming hoop act for Burning Man in 2012….=-)~


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20 responses

17 01 2011
trip

Hey Vik,

nice camp – but why does your Mazda have a Volvo sticker on it?

Best,
T.

17 01 2011
Chandra

Vik,
Looks like you got a great setup! Enjoy the outdoors!!
Peace :)

17 01 2011
DerrickP

Very cool… I’m a bit jealous. Enjoy your time there!

17 01 2011
Tarik

Nice setup Vik, didn’t you just buy a bigger Ford truck? Or did that get contracted in moving? Enjoy the beach.

17 01 2011
Chris

I guess that area of Mexico is pretty safe?

18 01 2011
Micheal Blue

Vik, thanks for sharing. Teflon grill and cookware? Haven’t you heard/read how toxic that stuff is? You can search mercola.com for “teflon”. Nice truck. Even standard tranny. It seems you could almost park the truck inside the tent :-).

18 01 2011
thelazyrando

@Trip – same reason I have a picture of John Tomac up in my office – you gotta dream!

18 01 2011
thelazyrando

@Tarik – my F150 is safely at home…I wanted to put 300,000kms on the Mazda before I get rid of it and it’s a better Baja vehicle due to it’s size and vintage. One damaged quater pannel on the F150 costs more than the entire Mazda is worth. This will be my Mazda’s final trip down here.

18 01 2011
thelazyrando

@Chris – In 10 yrs of Baja travels I’ve never had a single problem. I’ve been to the mainland and not had any issues there either, but my time there was limited.

18 01 2011
thelazyrando

@ Michael – I should clarify my cookware is non-stick….I don’t actually know what it’s made from.

18 01 2011
Paul

Sweet setup Vik. Do you always stay at the same place? Are you still tweaking your truck camping system? What’s the next change?

18 01 2011
thelazyrando

@Paul – this is my second winter in this arroyo in Baja…my previous trips have been at other spots along the peninsula depending what I was doing [bike touring, sea kayaking, etc...]

I’m going to get a solar pannel or two, an electric fridge and customize things a bit so I have a camperized truck with bed, stove, water, stereo, lights…etc…

I’d love to get one of these, but the price is really high!

http://www.sportsmobile.com/z-PO_calif.html

I like that 4WD white van 2nd from the top!

18 01 2011
Paul

Wow! That ones loaded. Seats 9? Careful! With the following you’ve got on your blog, you’ll find yourself leading fully supported tours soon. :-)

Keep posting, it keeps me dreaming.

18 01 2011
Zyzzyx

OK, so the camp setup looks great. But… where ya getting da intarwebs from?

18 01 2011
kevin

Do you still have the F150???

19 01 2011
vik

@Ian – there is a coffee shop a 5 min bike ride away I go to in the AM to use their bathrooms, get some espresso and surf the web.

@Kevin – yup still have the F150…the Mazda is entering year 15 so it makes more sense to use it down here than a brand spanking new pick up, but this will likely be its last trip south of the border…it will have 300,000kms on it this spring and that’s what I was shooting for.

24 01 2011
Chuck

This might interest you – a solar powered recharger for $100. Sold out for now, but becoming available again according to Boing Boing.

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/01/24/joos-portable-solar.html

25 01 2011
vik

@Chuck – those little panels don’t do much for a 75amp hour battery. I need something like 200W of panels to get the power I need. As a bonus the bigger panels are much less expensive/W than the little ones.

17 01 2012
botski

This looks like a great little spot- do you mind telling me where in la ventana it is? are you boon docking or is there a camp fee? i’m headed down in November to spend next winter down there, but haven’t been to la ventana and want to check it out and do some kiting

17 01 2012
thelazyrando

It’s in the middle of town. An arroyo that people camp it. The town wants to start charging $4-$10/day. Hasn’t happened yet, but might be the case by next year. There are other free camping options north or south of town. Stuff changes so head there with a flexible plan and be ready to adapt to whatever goes down.

The wind and waves are pretty sweet!

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