Easy Camp Huntsville 500 Tent

CAMP DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

I have not received compensation in any way for the video or this blog post.  I put this up because I could not find a non company post or video about this model of tent.  I want to provide useful information for those considering buying one.

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Another addition to Camp Down the Rabbit Hole is the Easy Camp Huntsville 500 5 Person Tunnel Tent.  It’s a 10′ x 15 1/2′ tunnel tent.  The tent comes in three pieces, the outer part of the tent, considered the rainfly, the floor and the interior enclosed room.  The rainfly is made from 190T 100% coated polyester with taped seams, the enclosed room from 100% uncoated polyester, the floor is 100% polyethylene.

There are five windows, two doors and vents.  The main door has two zippers with Velcro tabs to attach the bottom to the rainfly and a double zipper screen panel.  Both parts can be rolled up to the top of the entry and be held in place with toggles and loops.  There are two grommets on each corner of the door so that it can be held open with poles to act as a shade over the screened area.  On either side are small mesh screen vents that are held open with foam and fabric arms.  The side door also has a two zipper closing system where the bathtub floor can fold out flat.  There is no mesh screen.  The back or rear of the tent has a screened window that zips closed from the outside.

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Main entry, ventilation sleeves, vinyl window

Four of the windows are vinyl with no screen or way to open them.  Fabric covers for privacy can be opened or closed by separating them from the Velcro tabs.  The interior room insert is meant to create a separate room in the back section of the tent.  It is held in place with toggles attached to rings with elastic.  While it can offer privacy and an alternate to the open floor plan I don’t like it much.  It is not snug fitting to the sides of the rainfly.  When put in place there is about 6″ of space on the sides, top and back.  That is a lot of space lost.  Sometime in the future I may disassemble it so that only the door side attaches to the tent.  Then it would be useful.

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Main entry open, view to back of tent, ventilation vents

LS AID STATION

There are several reasons I choose this tent.  My main reason was to set it up as our heated or air conditioned in camp aid station.  There is enough space for two cots or stretchers on saw horses, medical supplies and equipment.  The side door floor folds out flat so that if hard plastic or plywood flooring was added a gurney could be wheeled in instead of carried.  And, it makes it easier to hand carry without having to step over the fabric threshold of the main door.  The vinyl windows don’t open making it easier to heat and cool without modifying them.

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View of interior room insert

I have changed a some things and added a few.   Two 8″ ventilation hose sleeves were added to facilitate use of a heater or air conditioner.  Velcro was sewn across the bottom of the rear window closure to reduce air exchange.  I sewed the floor onto the rainfly walls to keep the insects and unwanted wildlife out.  Velcro was also placed at the bottom of the side door.  The retaining straps that ran across the floor to hold the sides in place were removed so that the floor could expand and pull tight.  They had been placed there to prevent the sides from splaying before the floor was sewn in.  The tent seals up good.

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View of side door with floor folded down

Set up is easy enough that one person can do it in about 30 to 35 minutes.  There are 14 stakes for the tent and 14 for the guy lines.  I’ve had the most success setting it up by my self by laying the tent out so the footprint is mostly in place, staking the back corners down, then staking the front entrance center guy line.  Once those are in place the three fiberglass color coded poles are pushed though the sleeve then the ends are put over the metal pins connected to the tent body.  Moving from back to front the tent will begin to stand up and stay in place.

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Front entrance, taper is visible

Next the tent body stakes are placed.  To keep the tent in line stake and connect one side then move to the other.  Note the front entrance corners are tapered from the place where the poles connect making it a little difficult to line up without them shifted to one side or another.  I leave the front for last.  It seems easier to line the front up with the sides.  Although this tent is not heavy duty it will work well for the occasional use.  I’m satisfied how the modifications turned out and the tent itself.  Questions and comment are always welcome.  Check out the video below.  -13

Bass Pro Eclipse 6 Person Cabin Tent

I have not received compensation in any way for the video or this blog post.  I put this up because I could not find any post or video about this model of cabin tent.  Plus I want to provide useful information for those considering buying one.

CAMP DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

I purchased two of the Bass Pro Eclipse 6 person cabin tents for a couple of reasons.  One, Camp Down the Rabbit Hole could offer quarters for housing one or two individuals for our alliance of like minds for camping.  Two, to be prepared with temporary quarters in the event our home was damaged in a natural disaster or we had evacuated for any reason.

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The tent is constructed with 190T polyester with a 600mm PU coating.  It has a bathtub style floor made with 120gm polyethylene.  There are two triangle mosquito net ventilation panels in the roof.  Four mosquito net windows with zip up privacy shades including the door.  The door has a double zipper and is roomy enough to walk through wearing your load bearing equipment.  There is also a port on the door side for electric power.

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Window with privacy panel down for demonstration. Panel is usually neatly rolled up.

The footprint is 9′ x 10′.  The propaganda states that the floor plan is big enough to house to queen size beds and 6 persons.  When I’m in the tent it seems to me that it is more suitable for one or two adults, one maybe two camp chairs, a roll top camp table, some personal gear and a portable heater or air conditioner.  Not much else.  This would depend on how everything was organized.

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Fabric plenums.

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Vinyl window panel in place.

I made a few modifications to make it more usable.  Two fabric plenums were added for interior or exterior air conditioning or heating.  Vinyl panels were added using Velcro to quickly and easily attach or remove them.  The window coverings allow the privacy panels to be lowered providing a way to see outside and keep the heated or air conditioned air inside.  The triangle roof panels were also covered with the clear vinyl so they would seal up the tent yet allow light to pass though.

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Pole elbows

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Roof crossmember tie off point

The tent is set up using four metal and two fiberglass shock corded poles.  The fiberglass poles are used on the roof to give it strong arch support. While the metal poles support the fiberglass roof poles and sides of the tent at each corner with a plastic elbow.  Each corner elbow is marked with a 140° mark.  This is where the metal poles go.  The other end is too small for them and where the fiberglass poles attach.  The fiberglass poles cross at the top and are tied in at the center.  When putting the poles in place there is a metal pin attached at the corners that goes into the end of the pole.

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Corner pole pin

The rainfly has a quick release buckle at each corner that adjust the tension of the fly.  There is also a pole that attaches to the rainfly over the door to maintain it’s shape and to offer an awning like structure.  The floor outline requires 6 stakes, the rainfly needs 7.  The rainfly must be used for stability.  It has all the attachment points and guy lines.  It takes about 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted time for one person to set the tent up.  Also of note is that the only place there is seam tape is the rainfly.  None of the seams on the tent body are seam taped.  I’ve only experienced mild rain and cannot tell how it performs in a heavy storm.

This video has mostly the same information and footage of the set up.  If you have experience with this tent or have questions post them here.  -13

Esstac 556 Kydex Magazine Insert

I receive no compensation for the video or blog post.  I’m posting this because I want others to know more about the product.  Preparedness is very important.

 

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If you’re like most American patriots you have the desire to be ready to defend your naturally born rights, family and property.  To do so requires owing and being proficient with capable firearms.  Good firearms and training mean basic ammunition load-outs, a way to carry and retain them on your person.

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Nylon ALICE LBE post Vietnam

When I first started using load bearing equipment(LBE) it was in the mid 1970’s using ALICE LBE.  ALICE magazine pouches work great but they to create unwanted bulk when worn forward of the lateral midline of the body.  Very much like we see now with the magazines being placed front and center on chest rigs.

 

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ALICE magazine pouch converted to PALS attached to an Air Force Defensor Fortis Load Carrying System

I no longer use the ALICE LBE unless it’s been converted to the Pouch Attachment Ladder System(PALS).  The ALICE magazine pouches are still on my LBE located in a more convenient place.  Their primary place has been taken by military surplus triple side-by-side pouches.

 

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Surplus triple side-by-side magazine pouch.

These pouches are fantastic for keeping a low profile but suck for shifting magazines or resupply.  They don’t hold their shape to maintain an opening that would make is easy to place a magazine in them without looking and two hands.  I had considered making some kydex inserts myself but don’t have a shop set up to make them to my quality standards.  That fact left me searching for something commercially made.

 

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Esstac 556 KYWI magazine insert.

There are several brands and makers out there, the prices vary considerably.  For the price I decided to try the Esstac 556 KYWI.  After several months of use I decided to purchase more.  They have a shape that once placed into the magazine pouch will snugly hold onto popular 30 round magazines such as the Troy and Pmag brands and of course USGI mags.  The insert has the hook part of hook & loop attached  to be used with their brand of magazine pouches and a drain hole in the bottom.

 

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The insert keeps the pouch open so that I can load the pouch without looking or having to use two hands.  The edges of the kydex are not what I’d call finished.  Meaning raw 90° edges.  At first I thought this might catch the edges of the magazines but it has not.  If it ever gives me a problem I’ll hand smooth them to a desirable angle.  So far the unfinished edges seem to help hold the insert in place.

 

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I’m satisfied enough with them to have all my triple pouches outfitted with them and a few spares.  Keep in mind that there are different height sizes depending on what you need.  Pay attention if you order some.  They also have them for 7.62 and pistol magazines.  I purchased mine from SKD Tactical however they can be purchased directly from Esstac.

 

 

Their use is demonstrated in the video.  I included an upside down shake test like you see in other review videos.  I however don’t plan on pulling off acrobatics in the field by doing somersaults or hanging upside down like a bat.  It has been my experience that the magazines will not dislodge from the pouch when jogging from one position to another or fly out when rapidly going prone.  Let me know if you’ve had a different experience with them or use something different.  -13

Intrinsically Safe Helmet Headlamp – Nightstick XPP-5462RX

Over the last few years I’ve been looking for a more suitable headlamp for my helmets.  The headlamps sold for hiking or other activities aren’t durable enough nor do they have the safety features I wanted.  I finally found a light that would meet all my needs.

The headlamp I chose is the Dicata Nightstick XPP-5462RX.  The light is designed to be worn on a firefighting helmet or hardhat.  It has a low profile so that it can be used with shield equipped helmets so that it won’t interfere with the shield.  I may want to change the light from my Phenix First Due helmet over to a firefighting helmet with a shield if the situation calls for it and not worry whether I’ll have an issue.

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From product instructions

It is intrinsically safe in various hazardous environments reducing the risk of a spark causing an explosion.  The intrinsically safe rating calls for the use of three Energizer AA batteries E91 or EN91 only.  According to the manual those are the only batteries it has been tested with.  The light also meets NFPA-1971-8.6(2013).  The light is waterproof down to 1 meter.  It also has a drop rating of 2 meters.

The headlamp is held onto the helmet by a heavy duty rubber strap.  The strap has two clips that hold the power cord in place.  It feels like it will last for several years if not damaged during use.  The battery pack and lamp housing are made from glass filled nylon polymer and appear the be very durable.  The company says it comes in two colors green which looks lime-yellow to me and red which looks very much orange on my helmet.

TILT

Lamp in tilted position

The lamp is connected to a stainless steel frame with an adjustable hinge.  The angle of the light can be changed if desired.  I found that setting the light to the most advantageous viewing angle then tightening the bolt/nut down so it won’t move works best for me.  Before I did this whenever I turned on the light it would move back to the original position so that I always had to readjust after changing the settings.

LIGHT ON

Light with spot turned on high power

The light uses Cree L.E.D.’s that are rated to a 50,000+ hour lifespan.  The spot light is on the users right with the flood on the left.  There is a separate control button for each light.  The control button sequence for both lights is first press high power, second push low power and third push light off.  Both lights can be on at the same time in the high or low power setting.

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The spot light in high power is 275 lumens with a run time of 6 hours 45 minutes reaching 120 meters.  Low power is 100 lumens with a run time of 25 hours reaching 75 meters.  The flood light in high power is 250 lumens with a run time of 7 hours.  In low power 100 lumens with a run time of 25 hours.  When the spot and flood lights operate simultaneously they put out 310 lumens with a run time of 6 hours reaching 86 meters.

REAR LIGHT

Rear facing green “follow me” light

The battery pack also has rear facing “follow me” light.  The green L.E.D. light is very bright and easy to see.  The control button on the housing allows the user to turn the light to steady on with the first push.  The second push will make the light flash at regular intervals and the third push will turn the light off.

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Replacement strap

In the future more of these headlamps will be added to the other helmets used for rescue activities.  I also plan on having spare straps on hand if we need them.  After using this light I’m very happy with the performance.  Check out the video if you want to see how the light works.  -13

Booster Bath Tub and Petsafe Ramp Product Experience & Modifications

Bathing dogs is a necessity.  That doggy pond water smell isn’t welcome here, it’s too much.  It’s always been a strain on my lower back bending over to give our dog a good scrubbing.  I looked at various tubs but didn’t like them for several reasons.  Some were at ground level requiring me to bend over, while elevated tubs were fully enclosed requiring me to lift the dog over the rim.  I did find a tub that had an opening that a dog could walk into.

The Booster Bath large elevated tub is configured so that steps could be attached at the opening.  It looks good but the steps didn’t look as if it would work very well.  There were 3 steps that would be difficult for a larger dog to navigate.  My dog would jump off them.  I decided to go with a ramp that I would modify to attach to the tub.

I like the tub itself but do not like the leg design.  The way the legs are designed they want to push out and away from the tub.  The tendon part of the leg wants to come out of the slots.  The first time I used the tub my dog jumped out just as one of the legs pulled out.  I replaced the leg then continued with bathing.  My dog wants to sit down in the middle of the tub.  This pushes down making the legs move outward as I’m scrubbing the dog.

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While the dog was sitting in the tub I looked at the underside and noticed a gap at the connection point.  I thought if I don’t support the tub the legs would pull out and the tub would collapse with the dog in it.  It first I wasn’t sure what might work then remembered I had a shower chair/bench in storage.  I took off the back and arm rest adjusted the height to fit.  It worked the chair fit perfectly without interference.

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Now when the dog is washed the tub is very stable.   Our dog is relaxed, calm and seems to enjoy the bath.  I’m not the only one who has had issue with the legs.  There are many customer reviews on Amazon reporting the same problems.

To get the dog into the tub I went with the Petsafe folding ramp.  I liked that it is lightweight, folding and fits into the tub when finished.  It had a semi flat area that would allow me to attach it to the tub with clevis pins.  Drill a few holes, push the pins in and done.

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When I used the ramp the first time as the dog reached the hinge the tub began to tilt backward from the dogs weight.  I attached the front of the tub to the ground with a strap the had the dog walk up.  The ramp was very shaky as well as flexed as the dog passed over the hinge.  It looked like there was a lot of pressure being placed over the hinge portion.  To counteract the forces I put a concrete block and some wood under the hinge.  That eliminated the flexing and made the ramp much more stable.

I knew the block and wood was temporary.  It was a hassle that looked like an eyesore.  I looked at many options and didn’t like any of them.  One day while checking out a Harbor Freight mailing it dawned on me that 3 ton jack stands might work.  I purchased a pair and they fit perfectly without any adjustments.  All I did was all some nonslip matting.  Now that ramp is very sable.

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The other issue I was having getting the dog up the ramp was that she would jump off.  I couldn’t understand why.  I thought it might be how the darker colored ramp is perceived.  Maybe it looks like the slots in a cattle guard to her.  A shadow that she can’t see well or at all.  After adding some light color towels I was able to walk her up with no problems.

Seems like the ramp does have an issue near the hinge.  After my experience I went though every one of the one star reviews at Amazon.  I noticed a pattern where the ramp broke at the hinge.  After viewing several photographs from customers it was plain to see a consistent in the breaks.  The all looked nearly identical.  I think there is a flaw in the design or plastic.

My opinion of the tub and ramp is that if I wasn’t able to add the chair and jack stands I would not use them again for fear of them collapsing.  Anyone who has either of them currently may want to look into the solutions I’ve had success with.  Anyone considering purchasing them should also factor in the additional cost of the supports.  Since I’ve had success with the solutions I’ll keep using the ramp/tub combination with confidence.  The video has all the details.  -13

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ground anchor tent stake driver socket

Note: this post contains affiliate links, proceeds support this website.

Living in Florida we’re prepared for living in tents for various reasons.  There’s camping for pleasure.  We may have to evacuate to another location for protection from a hurricane.  Most of the time we stay on the homestead when a hurricane is predicted to strike our area.  Our home could become so damaged that we may have to camp in the back yard until it is repaired.  We have soft soil, high winds and hard rain storms to content with.

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Failed tent stake experiment.

Setting up camp in sandy terrain requires the right stake.  If hard ground stakes are used they’ll pull out as soon as force is put on a tent or what ever structure needs to be anchored.  I had considered the MSR ToughStake but the cost was prohibitive since we need 35-40.  They wanted over $30.00 for two of the larger size stakes.  I tried to make something similar with what was sold as stakes that worked in the sand but it didn’t work.  If I used them they would have to be buried.  That’s more than I want to do when pitching or rolling up camp.

GROUND ANCHOR

Preferred sand stake, 3/8″ x 15″ ground anchor

I ended up getting 3/8″ x 15″ auger type ground anchors that screw into the sand.  This size is perfect for setting up the average camping tent.  I’ve used larger ones in the past to hold down sheds and temporary tarp structures.  They worked very good.  The only issue is getting them into the ground or removing them.  After watching a video on YouTube I decided to try to modify a couple of impact sockets.

BOTH SOCKETS

32mm & 27mm 1/2″ drive deep impact sockets

I wasn’t sure how the experiment was going to go so I used 20% off coupons to buy the sockets from Harbor Freight.  I decided on impact sockets that way they could be used with any manual, pneumatic, cordless or electric driver available.  First was the 32mm to see if I could do it then the 27mm.  I thought the 27 mm might work as well or better plus I’d have a back up in case one or the other was lost or damaged.

 

I used a cutting and grinding wheel on an angle grinder to remove the material creating enough space for the ground anchor eyelet to fit though.  The grinding work isn’t pretty but it works.  Now we have two sockets that will drive those ground anchors into the sand.  I ordered the ground anchors from a couple of suppliers and they each had different size eyelets.  The drivers accommodate both sizes.  Really glad that video was on YouTube.  Pitching and rolling up camp will be much easier now.

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Video link is below if you want to see the how it turned out.  -13