TJ Fest 2021
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TJ Fest Moab 2021 Overlanding vs Hoteling


RustyAutoholicGuy

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Hey TJers

First off let me say I don't know the correct place to put this thread, so @Chris feel free to move to the appropriate sub-forum!

I'm trying to decided if I'm going to overland the entire trip of TJ Fest Moab 2021 or end up doing a hotel OR a mixture of both. I know several people are doing a hotel/rental for the week, but with the long drive, even with the fuel savings, it would be cheaper for me setup my TJ with a roof top rack/tent and overland the entire or part of the week versus staying at hotels/rentals.

That being said maybe I overland my way to Moab and stay somewhere that has a garage once I'm in Moab so I can unload everything. Again I'm still trying to plan everything out!

So a couple of disclaimers, first this would be my first long trip overlanding, but it's something I have dreamed about doing for years. Second I've already found a deal locally for a used Garvin Expedition Roof Rack for a great price used.

I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of this thought right now. So far here is my list:

Pros
  • I can use the roof rack and tent for other trips both before and after TJ Fest
  • It's looking like there are others that are wanting to caravan from VA and overland on the way to Moab. @FireJeep have started a conversation though I know I need to respond to your latest message! @Yellow_Machine as mentioned overlanding/caravanning to Utah as well.
  • (Kind of applicable) I've known for a long time I wanted to build my TJ into an overland rig vs a hard core offroader
  • I don't have to worry about someone trying to steal my rig from a hotel parking lot.
  • Gain new friends and learn a new skill set that I don't currently have
Cons
  • Unpredictable weather
  • Extra weight each day on the trail carrying all my gear
  • Have to plan bathrooms
  • Showers? (Again I'm a noob, I'll admit this all day long)
  • Probably extra gear for food, camping and stuff I haven't thought of yet
  • I have no idea where I will be staying in Moab right now (I need to read the book more but recommendations for camping sites would be awesome!)

I will also add I don't think my diesel is going to get the kind of fuel economy I had hoped for this trip. The reason being is I don't think I have time to setup an intercooler setup and a bigger turbo before the trip. I'm still going to get great fuel economy for a TJ, easily 25mpg, but I don't think I will get 30mpg this time around. I kind of want to wrap up my build on my RHD TJ and just start putting mileage on it both on the trail and road so I can get everything dialed in for next year. If there is anything I have learned from this build, it's that modifications like this take WAY longer than I would normally estimate.

I'm completely open to any and all feedback on this. Admittedly I feel like I've posted a thread like this already but I couldn't find it.

Regardless of how I get to and stay in Moab Utah, I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and crossing off a bucket list item I've been wanting to do for years!!!

Thanks
Grant aka Rusty Autoholic Guy aka Noob
 
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TJ Hunnicutt

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Have never done any overlanding (but I played one on TV :LOL:)
Just a couple things off the top of my pointed head:
1) The added weight of a roof rack and overlanding tent will be on the tip top of your rig. Since one of the "things" about Moab is the off-camber stuff, that might make it even more challenging than you already have with your RHD TJ.
2) If you overland, you don't (generally) have a "safe harbor" to put any extra stuff...so you have to bring everything along with you on every excursion. If you could find someone that would allow you access to that garage or something along those lines, that could def be a huge bonus. I wonder if you could get a one-week rental on a self-storage place?
3) Frankly, I don't think that the difference between 25 and 30 MPG is going to be a real factor. For a 2000 mi. trip, were talking an extra 13 or so gallons. If gas prices recover back to $2.50 a gallon, that's $32.50.
4) You may be surprised at how much time is involved in the setting up camp, preparing food, cleanup, packing up camp part of overlanding. Check with those that have done it before to get a judgement on how much more time you'll be spending doing that than crashing in a cheap hotel room. At, say, 500 miles per day, you're talking 4 days each way. Pushing it to 660-odd miles travel a day (like over 11 hours a day on the road @60 MPH), your talking 3 days travel each way...and even less time for "camp duty".
5) Showers while doing the actual trip would have to be an issue. You might be able to plan a route that allows you to stay a campsites with shower/toilet facilities but, if not...well, please stay down wind :giggle:.
6) All that other stuff you said ;). I'm sure those with more (read: any) overlanding experience will chime in later today.
 
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AMS417

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I think overlanding would be an awesome adventure. My wife would disagree. That and she knows I am sitting on about 600k Hilton points. She wont even let me buy boats that dont have a bathroom in them.

I know a lot of guys talk about Planet Fitness for showers. Seems to be one in most major towns. I would bet its better than the truck stop showers. Way less chance of "surprise" intimacy.
 

Yellow_Machine

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Over landing in a TJ.

Pros.
well you'll be lugggin all your junk around. at least until you set up camp / get to your place of temporary residence in moab. As a backpacker, i enjoy having everything i need right with me, all the time, so this for me is a pro

Cons.
there are none.
oh, except that fact that the TJ has about three toddlers worth of storage space.






on a serious note. i'll eiter be towing the TJ. or towing a small trailer with the TJ to moab. i'm undecided on which.
i AM going to camp at moab. my wife is on board with this. for now. and i know my kids will love it.

Also, after some consideration, i've decided not to camp on BLM land. and the main reason is paranoia.
i'm sure it would be fine. but i cant shake the idea of coming back to camp and it being ransacked. i realize the odds of this happening are probably slim to none.


as weather is concerned. whenever i camp i always prepare for cold, wet, hot, dry. during the summer, i'll at least bring one light jacket, and pants. I'm never without at least a 20degree sleeping bag, even in the middle of summer. never to many socks. i used to use a foam pad to sleep on, but i tend to use an airmattress now a days.
aauuuggggghhhhh uhm. i know theres more to this.

I'm going to do some research and try to find some free places to camp, 8-10hours drive from eachother inbetween Nashville, TN and Moab, UT. I'll want to stop at least twice for sleep. I'll be traveling with my 5 & 3 yr old. so i will probably make somewhat frequent stops along the way. If thats an issue with whoever wants to caravan from the east thats fine, leave me behind :p
 
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RustyAutoholicGuy

RustyAutoholicGuy

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Have never done any overlanding (but I played one on TV :LOL:)
Just a couple things off the top of my pointed head:
1) The added weight of a roof rack and overlanding tent will be on the tip top of your rig. Since one of the "things" about Moab is the off-camber stuff, that might make it even more challenging than you already have with your RHD TJ.
2) If you overland, you don't (generally) have a "safe harbor" to put any extra stuff...so you have to bring everything along with you on every excursion. If you could find someone that would allow you access to that garage or something along those lines, that could def be a huge bonus. I wonder if you could get a one-week rental on a self-storage place?
3) Frankly, I don't think that the difference between 25 and 30 MPG is going to be a real factor. For a 2000 mi. trip, were talking an extra 13 or so gallons. If diesel prices recover back to $2.50 a gallon, that's $32.50.
4) You may be surprised at how much time is involved in the setting up camp, preparing food, cleanup, packing up camp part of overlanding. Check with those that have done it before to get a judgement on how much more time you'll be spending doing that than crashing in a cheap hotel room. At, say, 500 miles per day, you're talking 4 days each way. Pushing it to 660-odd miles travel a day (like over 11 hours a day on the road @60 MPH), your talking 3 days travel each way...and even less time for "camp duty".
5) Showers while doing the actual trip would have to be an issue. You might be able to plan a route that allows you to stay a campsites with shower/toilet facilities but, if not...well, please stay down wind :giggle:.
6) All that other stuff you said ;). I'm sure those with more (read: any) overlanding experience will chime in later today.
You bring up a good point @TJ Hunnicutt with #1 & #2 which is why I'm debating overlanding my way to Moab and once I'm their have a place to stay that has a garage where I can unload everything, including the tent. I don't think the roof rack is going to affect my tip-over weight as much if I do that!

You also make a good point on the price of diesel 😉, in the grand scheme of things that is a much minor point when it comes to fuel cost on a trip that is going to be the better part of 4500 miles for me.

For #4 you bring up another good point but that will be something I experiment with locally first, I want to see both how my TJ handles all the extra weight with gear for overlanding but also how long it takes me to get setup.

I think overlanding would be an awesome adventure. My wife would disagree. That and she knows I am sitting on about 600k Hilton points. She wont even let me buy boats that dont have a bathroom in them.

I know a lot of guys talk about Planet Fitness for showers. Seems to be one in most major towns. I would bet its better than the truck stop showers. Way less chance of "surprise" intimacy.
The idea about Planet Fitness for showers is actually really kind of brilliant @AMS417 ! I'll have to look into that!

Over landing in a TJ.

Pros.
well you'll be lugggin all your junk around. at least until you set up camp / get to your place of temporary residence in moab. As a backpacker, i enjoy having everything i need right with me, all the time, so this for me is a pro

Cons.
there are none.
oh, except that fact that the TJ has about three toddlers worth of storage space.


on a serious note. i'll eiter be towing the TJ. or towing a small trailer with the TJ to moab. i'm undecided on which.
i AM going to camp at moab. my wife is on board with this. for now. and i know my kids will love it.

Also, after some consideration, i've decided not to camp on BLM land. and the main reason is paranoia.
i'm sure it would be fine. but i cant shake the idea of coming back to camp and it being ransacked. i realize the odds of this happening are probably slim to none.


as weather is concerned. whenever i camp i always prepare for cold, wet, hot, dry. during the summer, i'll at least bring one light jacket, and pants. I'm never without at least a 20degree sleeping bag, even in the middle of summer. never to many socks. i used to use a foam pad to sleep on, but i tend to use an airmattress now a days.
aauuuggggghhhhh uhm. i know theres more to this.

I'm going to do some research and try to find some free places to camp, 8-10hours drive from eachother inbetween Nashville, TN and Moab, UT. I'll want to stop at least twice for sleep. I'll be traveling with my 5 & 3 yr old. so i will probably make somewhat frequent stops along the way. If thats an issue with whoever wants to caravan from the east thats fine, leave me behind :p
@Yellow_Machine that actually makes perfect sense. I've also debating doing a trailer to bring out to Moab as well instead of a roof top tent. More storage, more fuel, spare tires, and I could probably find somewhere to store my trailer for the day while I'm out on the trail wheeling but I'm still inclined to go towards a roof top tent as well.

As of right now my thought process is to overland to Moab and stay somewhere in Moab while I'm wheeling, making it a combination of both. Still need to process all of this information and figure out exactly what I'm doing.

-Grant
 

Yellow_Machine

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@RustyAutoholicGuy
I have a premium PF membership, so i can bring a guest.
If you have basic fab skills, which considering your diesel tj i'm assuming you have better than basic fab skills, you can always put ribs ontop of your trailer and put your rooftop tent about a foot above your desired cargo height on the trailer.
you can always drop your trailer at where i'm going to camp (Pack Creek Campground/RV park) during the day while we are wheeling - - - -that is if where you decide on staying doesnt have parking youre comfy with when it comes to leaving your trailer unattended for the day
 
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Yellow_Machine

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Thankfully. ive got a good trailer base to start wth already. i forgot i had it, its been hidden in my bamboo infested backyard for idk, the better part of 10 years.
was made off of a truck bed, i havnt checked the lug patttern but i'm thinking it is a 5lug. so i'm going to search around for maybe, the back half of a jeep tub if i can find one cheap enough. i always liked those little jeep trailers
 
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Mr. Bills

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An alternative someplace on the continuum between hoteling, sharing a rental condo, and boondocking for free several miles out of town would be a campsite at the Canyonlands RV Resort and Campground at 555 S. Main St. They have campsites, sleeping cabins and RV sites. Laundromat and Texaco station on same premises.

Canyonlands RV Resort also has a large picnic/BBQ area on the lower level that could probably be rented for a reasonable fee for a group potluck one of the evenings.
 

steelhd

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Putting your rooftop tent on top of a small enclosed trailer is also an option. These are just a couple of sites that have lots of ideas for modifying small trailers on a budget.
 
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RustyAutoholicGuy

RustyAutoholicGuy

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Sorry but there is no argument about this unless you are a Millennial. I will vote for overland any day.
The experience is priceless!
Yeah . . . um born in 1985 so considered a Millennial, yes I can drive stick, I prefer automatic for wheeling, no I don't need an award for everything I do and I'm sure I'm missing several other Millennial stereotypes as well . . .
 

pagrey

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I think roof top tents are not worth it. Get a small tent, a nice compact cot, a sleeping bag and pick good campsites that have showers if you want luxury. A small cot, tent and bag fit easily in any TJ. Personally I just use the cot and a bivy for bad weather but I understand the tent thing.
 
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Yellow_Machine

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If rooftop tent is to pricey for ya.

I bet you could find a tent with the right dimensions and can up a base on top of your trailer for it.

Yeah, I was born in '94. I don't feel I fit the millennial stereotype. Aside from not wanting to have to work, but I know I have to. Money is "evil". But. I love it.
With any luck I'll be the youngest at the meet, and can be the young @$$hole knows nothing and everything at the same time 🤣😂🤣


Oh. Yeah and if I don't get an award, I'll definitely be writing a letter to your congressman.
Hmmm. Preferably a statue of a baby bull with oversized horns. Perfect.
 

Mr. Bills

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I think roof top tents are not worth it. Get a small tent, a nice compact cot, a sleeping bag and pick good campsites that have showers if you want luxury. A small cot, tent and bag fit easily in any TJ. . . .
My thinking is similar. No matter how you slice or dice it, a roof top tent is expensive, heavy, bulky, and screws with the center of gravity of whatever it is mounted upon. That's a high price for the convenience of quick setup.

The tents I use most are a Kodiak Canvas 8.5 x 6 Flex Bow tent for longer term camping and a Kodiak Canvas Australian-style "Swag" tent for solo trips with constantly changing campsites. [I used to favor nylon 3-season backpacking tents - ALPS Mountaineering makes some very good mid-range tents that are excellent values - but there is nothing quite like camping under canvas.]

The swag tent is my favorite. It has a 3" foam mattress, takes only a minute to unroll or roll up, and is quite weather proof. I have never had a bad night's sleep in it and used it on my recent month-long overlanding trip in Mexico.

Campsite near Bear Trap Basin, Stanislaus National Forest, Calaveras County CA - July 2019.jpg
Campsite in Fort Bragg 08 16 2019.jpg


But when the weather is good, there's nothing like a simple cot and open air. Taken south of Moab in 2017:

Campsite.jpg
 

Troutbum

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I have camped out in the Moab area many times. Both in a tent and in my 5th wheel. I just wanted to ease your concerns about security a little bit. Unless you are leaving your 12 volt 60" 4k tv next to the fire ring, you probably will have little problems with people messing with your stuff. Especially if you are camping as a group.

I have been out there and have left coolers, camp stoves, dirt bikes, 4 wheelers, etc, unattended for hours and hours. No one messes with them. Just use some common sense as to what you leave behind and you should be ok.
 
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RustyAutoholicGuy

RustyAutoholicGuy

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I have camped out in the Moab area many times. Both in a tent and in my 5th wheel. I just wanted to ease your concerns about security a little bit. Unless you are leaving your 12 volt 60" 4k tv next to the fire ring, you probably will have little problems with people messing with your stuff. Especially if you are camping as a group.

I have been out there and have left coolers, camp stoves, dirt bikes, 4 wheelers, etc, unattended for hours and hours. No one messes with them. Just use some common sense as to what you leave behind and you should be ok.
Thank you so much for the feedback! I'll definitely take that into consideration!
 
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Troutbum

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Oh, and as for showers, I have often used a camping solar shower similar to this one:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YKHC89G/?tag=wranglerorg-20

It has clear plastic on one side and black plastic on the other. If it is a sunny day, the water inside will be scorching hot by mid afternoon. There are not many places around MOAB that have trees tall/strong enough to hold 5 gallons of water. I have had better luck finding good places to camp (Bartlett Wash FTW!) next to cliff faces with rock outcroppings that I was able to hang the shower on. I even have a shower tent that I put up when I camp with my girlfriend to give her some privacy. I'm not as bashful however!

There will be plenty of places in Moab that are happy to let you fill up your water jugs, so getting fresh water will not be an issue.
 

Yellow_Machine

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My thinking is similar. No matter how you slice or dice it, a roof top tent is expensive, heavy, bulky, and screws with the center of gravity of whatever it is mounted upon. That's a high price for the convenience of quick setup.

The tents I use most are a Kodiak Canvas 8.5 x 6 Flex Bow tent for longer term camping and a Kodiak Canvas Australian-style "Swag" tent for solo trips with constantly changing campsites. [I used to favor nylon 3-season backpacking tents - ALPS Mountaineering makes some very good mid-range tents that are excellent values - but there is nothing quite like camping under canvas.]

The swag tent is my favorite. It has a 3" foam mattress, takes only a minute to unroll or roll up, and is quite weather proof. I have never had a bad night's sleep in it and used it on my recent month-long overlanding trip in Mexico.

View attachment 165187View attachment 165179

But when the weather is good, there's nothing like a simple cot and open air. Taken south of Moab in 2017:

View attachment 165188
The aussies call those Swags. and they are quite handy looking.
I see guys get large cots to put them on to get off the ground.
 
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Yellow_Machine

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I have camped out in the Moab area many times. Both in a tent and in my 5th wheel. I just wanted to ease your concerns about security a little bit. Unless you are leaving your 12 volt 60" 4k tv next to the fire ring, you probably will have little problems with people messing with your stuff. Especially if you are camping as a group.

I have been out there and have left coolers, camp stoves, dirt bikes, 4 wheelers, etc, unattended for hours and hours. No one messes with them. Just use some common sense as to what you leave behind and you should be ok.
maybe i will reconsider camping in the boonies. save about $200 on the campground res.

if we can get a decent group to camp together.
 
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FireJeep

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I have a trailer that I use to overland (I think that term is hilarious, when I was a young man (born in 1965) we just called it camping and wheeling....). It has a really big roof top tent on it, the mattress is king size, my little trailer has a pull out shelf in the rear that has a stove and storage bins, we carry 16 gallons of water, a 20lb. Propane tank to run the stove and the hot water heater. We also have a port-a-potty and a privy tent. Not saying any of this to brag, just to make my point that we have done this a time or two. As far as the comments about time to set up, yes it does take a few minutes to set things up, the tent is ready to occupy in about 5 minutes, everything else, cooking set up, shower, take about 20 minutes or so. The tent we have is heavy, somewhere in the neighborhood of 225 lbs. We took a trip two years ago out to Colorado with it and had no issues with it on the road or off (granted we did not take it on Black Bear Pass, Ophir Pass, or Pearl Pass) but we have dragged it around GW National Forest a few times without issue.

I bought my roof top tent used from a guy in Colorado, he shipped it to me via Fastenal for $200!!! You just have to be flexible in how long it will take to get to you. My trailer started out life as a M416, it now has Rancho 2 1/2” lift springs with Monroe shocks, I prefer the pintle/lunette set up that comes on the military trailers, they are more heavy duty than the over priced “off road” trailer hitches. On our way out to CO. I got a blistering 10 mpg.!!! My LJ has 285 75R16 with stock Rubicon 4.10 gears.