- 35-inch Nitto Trail Grappler tires for improved off-road performance
- 17-inch Black Rhino Armory wheels, which remind me of the wheels on the H1 Hummers from my military days
- Hothead Headliner, which insulates the roof of the Jeep to keep the temperature inside the cabin much more comfortable
- SuperChip Pulsar + TrailCal for added horsepower and torque when towing
- TeraFlex Falcon 3.3 Shocks to improve stability at all speeds and driving conditions (I've already put in a TeraFlex steering stabilizer to tighten up the steering)
- Core 4X4 Tier 3 Control Arms to stiffen up the suspension
- A 42-gallon water tank
- A 6-gallon water heater
- External Shower
- Slide-out kitchen with a sink, a two-burner 10,000 BTU stove, two fold-down tables, cupboards, and more
- 62-liter Snowmaster refrigerator
- 160-watt solar panel, dual batteries, and inverter
- More than 55 cubic feet of storage space
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- Quick setup of just one to two minutes
- Completely waterproof rainfly (which is removable)
- King-sized mattress with a waterproof cover
- Heavy-duty telescoping ladder with quick-release hatches
- Rated for 35+ mph winds
- Landscape Photography Primer: Getting Sharp Images With Depth of Field and Hyperfocal Distance
- Take Better Landscape Photos With This One Simple Trick
I grew up in upstate New York, and one of my favorite things to do as a child was to go camping.
There's nothing quite like getting out in nature, and those camping trips with my family are some of my favorite memories.
All that time spent outdoors exploring is what sparked my interest in photography, too. And while photography has been a life-long pursuit, the camping and adventure part has taken a backseat in recent years.
Then came the pandemic and being stuck at home in my little bubble for months on end...
I'm sure you've experienced some stir-craziness these last months, just as I have. Don't get me wrong - I love my family, my house, my neighborhood, and so forth, but, man, I need to get out of here!!
That's where this idea of a photography trek and adventure series was born. I wanted to get back to my roots and start camping and exploring once again.
But I also wanted my outdoor adventures to be tied to photography. After all, getting off the beaten path and finding spectacular scenery is a great way to get out of my bubble and remind myself that though these are trying times, the world is a place of truly incredible beauty.
With all that said, I want to introduce you to our upcoming photography trek and adventure series.
We'll have periodic articles here on PhotographyTalk and videos over on our YouTube channel that document my travels here in Southern California and beyond.
The goal of this series isn't just for me to have fun (though that's a definite bonus for me, LOL). Instead, I want this to be an educational event for those of you that want to learn more about photography, off-roading, overlanding, camping, biking, and more.
To make the most of my adventures, I've invested in a wide range of gear that will help me get out there - way out there - and be socially distant in wild landscapes near and far. I'll introduce you to my gear in just a moment.
Additionally, my goals for this series are to get some exercise, learn more about survival skills, see beautiful places, and, of course, take some awesome photos. And along the way, I hope to provide you with actionable tips and detailed tutorials that will give you the knowledge and skills you need to take a photography adventure of your own. Hopefully you find this series of articles and videos inspiring as well.
Without further ado, let's get familiar with my photography adventuring gear!
2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
I recently got rid of my Volvo and upgraded to this bad boy, a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon.
I wanted something that could get me far away from everyone and into territory that I've never explored before. When it comes to off-roading, Jeep is the gold standard!
I'll get into a complete tour of the Jeep and all the modifications I've done to it in a later article and video, but for now, here's just a few of the things I've done to get the Jeep ready to rock for my first photography adventure:
I have other mods in mind, but for now, this should give you a pretty good idea of what this truck will be capable of doing off-road. After all, I want to get WAY off the beaten path. This truck will do it!
Turtleback Expedition Series Trailer
I'm no stranger to roughing it (I was in the military for eight years, after all), but I'm not as young as I once was, so I wanted to have some creature comforts as I'm out adventuring.
The problem is that many of the trailers available today are not built for off-roading. There's no point in having a trail-worthy Jeep if I can't pull a trail-worthy trailer behind it!
I vetted a number of off-road trailer companies and am stoked to have found Turtleback Trailers. I opted for their Expedition Series trailer.
Designed specifically for off-road and overland adventures, this trailer can go anywhere the Jeep can.
The build quality is the first thing that jumps out at you. They are handcrafted by outdoor enthusiasts in Phoenix, so they are built smartly and include amenities that will come in handy on the trail, like:
This rig also has an independent suspension, large wheels, and large tires for enhanced off-road capabilities.
There is no bathroom in this trailer, so I picked up an outdoor portable toilet with a privacy tent for when nature calls.
Torro Offroad SkyLux Hard Shell Rooftop Tent
I wanted to have a place to lay my head at night that's up off the ground, away from predators, and keeps me dry and comfortable.
Though there are many rooftop tent options, I chose the Torro Offroad SkyLux tent because they are made-to-order with the precise specifications I need.
To say that this thing is ready for an adventure is a total understatement. Check out these specs:
The tent is also free of any chemical-laden inks. This is to ensure the tent doesn't smell like chemicals, plus it makes the tent kid and pet friendly. As shown above, my son Caleb approves of the sleeping quarters!
Another bonus is that the tent comes in a rugged hardshell case with stainless steel locks, which allows you to protect the tent on your adventures and ensure long-lasting durability.
I can't wait to get out, get adventuring, and go to sleep in this thing!
Trek Remedy 9.9
Once I get to my basecamp in the Jeep, I need something to use to explore the area and scout locations for photos. What better way to do that than to #GoByBike?
I was a Specialized customer for many, many years, but when it came time to get a new bike, I opted for the Trek Remedy 9.9.
This bike is completely badass, to say the least.
I've been able to go on some quick adventures with it, and it is every bit as smooth, comfortable, and rugged as advertised.
I wanted a bike with a carbon frame to save weight, but the Remedy 9.9 takes it a step further with carbon wheels as well. So, not only is this thing light, but it's incredibly durable too.
I like the suspension on this bike as well - it helps soften the blows of riding rugged trails and makes for a much more comfortable riding experience.
But don't think that this bike isn't dialed in...its stiffness-to-weight ratio makes it super responsive, so you can be comfortable while having a bike that is highly capable at the same time.
Add in a Fox fork, Shimano XT 4-piston hydraulic disk brakes, 150mm of rear travel, and 12 speeds, and you can see why this was my bike of choice for attacking rugged trails. Like my Jeep, the Turtleback Trailer, and the Torro Offroad SkyLux tent, this bike is ready to rock in any terrain.
Who's Ready for an Adventure?!
I don't know about you, but I'm ready to get packed and get out there.
I want to see something other than the walls in my house. I want to explore areas I've never explored before. I want to find epic places to take epic pictures that remind me of all the time I spent outdoors as a young kid with my family. With all the gear I've now got, all that's left is for me to plan a trip and get going!
I sincerely hope that you'll come along with me on these adventures. I'm not yet sure where I'll go, but you can rest assured that I'll document my travels so that you can find that spark of inspiration to get out, explore, and go on a photography adventure of your own.
You will be able to find the articles for this series in our upcoming Overland section on the site. You'll be able to access it via the navigation at the top of the page.