1. Welcome to Tacoma World!

    You are currently viewing as a guest! To get full-access, you need to register for a FREE account.

    As a registered member, you’ll be able to:
    • Participate in all Tacoma discussion topics
    • Communicate privately with other Tacoma owners from around the world
    • Post your own photos in our Members Gallery
    • Access all special features of the site

Diet Taco... trying to keep things light

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Builds (2005-2015)' started by DVexile, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. Jan 11, 2019 at 12:31 PM
    #1041
    DVexile

    DVexile [OP] Exiled to the East

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Member:
    #144469
    Messages:
    2,024
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ken
    Vehicle:
    2015 DCSB V6 TRD OR 4X4
    Death Valley - Part 2
    December 2018

    Thursday night there were some sprinkles as expected but they didn't amount to much and the fly-less Flip-Pac did fine with everything dry by morning. I wasn't sure how long the hike for the day would take so I woke early and ate a quick cold Pop-Tart breakfast. A short drive up the road got me to the starting point for the hike. As I got my pack ready the sun found a chink in the clouds.

    [​IMG]
    Smoke Tree Sunrise
    This was an auspicious sign as the sunlight was streaking right across the destination for the day. Hidden in those foothills in the distance were some recently discovered slot canyons. Named "Smoke Tree Slots" by the discoverer Steve Hall they were found after he scoured satellite photos for likely locations for slots and then made a trip to explore the area. They were only discovered in 2016. Kind of amazing that there are still things to be discovered in a National Park.

    The hike began with about a three mile walk across the valley floor and up the alluvial fan on the other side. The dry at present Amargosa is crossed along the way but depending on the time of year and precipitation one might get wet feet. It was a cool, cloudy morning and the hike across the empty valley floor was a delight. This was another hike I was glad to have GPS and satellite imagery for because one might easily end up in the wrong wash and waste a bit of time otherwise. I took a quick snack and water break halfway up the alluvial fan.

    The first stop would be Smoke Tree Slot 1 and its extremely narrow side canyon. As I got nearer I kept checking the GPS, map and satellite imagery and soon enough I came to a spot that matched Steve's photos and description. I had seen no human footprints at all but there were plenty of burro tracks around. A little giddy with excitement I entered the side canyon.

    [​IMG]
    Smoke Tree Slot 1 Side Canyon
    This slot was amazing and was nearly pitch black in spots. In a few locations I had to take my day pack off and hold it over my head. It ends at a steep dry fall that is also the very head of the side canyon. It forms a beautiful towering room with a bright skylight at the top. A light rain was beginning to fall outside and just a few drops were reaching the bottom through the opening at the top. Along the way I also found a dead raven that must have fallen into the slot and become too injured to get out. Just this one side canyon was worth the whole trip but even if it was the highlight it was just the beginning of fun discoveries throughout the day.

    As a side note most of my canyon photos from this trip feature me standing in them. This isn't because I like selfies but I've discovered it is impossible to interpret photos of these places without something to set the scale. A person is just the right thing to set the scale and since I'm solo there is only one person to feature. These photos can be a bit challenging to setup when solo especially if you don't want a lot of tripod weight with you. I hike with a very compact m43 camera (the GM1) and I pack an extremely compact but also short tripod that uses folding tent poles for legs. With a little patience and ingenuity I can often find a way to perch the camera for a good composition. Here is the setup for the photo above:

    [​IMG]
    Rube Goldberg takes a selfie
    Also worth noting the lighting level in the above photo is much closer to what the eye perceived when in the slot - it was quite dark. The first photo is a long exposure that is brighter to show more detail of the canyon walls. I'm actually not going to post too many photos from this hike because it really is a place to explore and discover on your own.

    Exiting the side canyon I proceeded up the main canyon with has a nice narrows of its own but not a tight slot at all. It is shortly blocked by a dry fall which can be easily bypassed by hiking back down to the mouth of the canyon. The top of the dry fall can be easily visited from the bypass. The upper region of the canyon is a fun little walk and eventually enters the decomposing granite of the Owlshead Mountains. At about this point it was time to jump the ridge to the south to enter Smoke Tree Slot 2.

    The ridge itself is a treat (almost everything on this hike is a treat) as there are granite outcroppings with delightful alcoves much like the Alabama Hills. One little cave near the top looked like a particularly inviting spot for a rest and a snack out of the off-again on-again sprinkles. It was really hard not to imagine a shaman living here. The view was awesome and the opening faces to the north meaning this must be a cool respite in warmer months.

    [​IMG]
    Shaman's Cave
    With only one slot canyon down and two more to go it was time to move on. I descended into the top of Smoke Tree Slot 2. This canyon has a entirely different character. The walls aren't particularly tall nor the canyon all that narrow but the walls are something else. Deeply incised strata with lots of holes where cobbles have fallen out make it feel like you are walking around a tidal area in Northern California. The narrows are also substantial in length being about 1/3 mile long.

    [​IMG]
    Namesake Resident
    Exiting the bottom of Smoke Tree Slot 2 it was time to cross the mouth of Great Dry Fall Canyon to reach the last slot of the day. Sprinkles were more frequent now but only enough to make the desert come alive with the scent of creosote bushes. An inversion layer due to the weather was making sound travel very far and so I was frequently serenaded by rapid cannon fire from the Ft. Irwin ranges well to the south as I walked.

    Soon enough I got to Smoke Tree Slot 3. Much like the first canyon this one also features a very tight side canyon which was a delight to explore. The main canyon itself is longer and narrower than STS1 and has its own unique character.

    [​IMG]
    Smoke Tree Slot 3
    The sprinkles were a bit more persistent by now so I found a nice overhang mid-canyon to have my lunch under. This was the end of the sights for the hike and I reflected on what an amazing discovery Steve Hall has made here. I've been exploring Death Valley for more than twenty years off and on but this was a pretty amazing day for me.

    Eventually it was time to head back to the truck. I always enjoy some of these longer walks across a valley. Seeing a tiny white dot in the distance and knowing it was warm, dry and full of yummy treats is a good motivator. A few light showers blew over along the way and I was glad to have my hiking umbrella with me. It was hard to stop grinning about this trip. I had spent 24 hours without seeing a soul, did a hike to an amazing place I've never been before and didn't see a single human foot print. This was way better than soaking in hot springs listening to other people share their musical tastes with the surrounding 100 square miles while being accosted with bizarre conspiracy theories from all and sundry.

    The sprinkles were slowly transitioning to more insistent rain as drove up Harry Wade Road. One nice thing about rain in the desert is that it really brings out the colors in rocks and soils. I often forget that Artist's Palette is actually just a particularly brilliant accent of a whole mountain range of color that is misleading named the Black Mountains. If the geographers got the name wrong at least the geologists got it right when they named the formation the Amargosa Chaos.

    [​IMG]
    Southern "Black" Mountains
    Eventually I hit the pavement and started the drive back to Vegas through the showers. This had definitely been one of the best trips for me in awhile. As usual all it really did was make me anxious to come back again soon!
     
    MonkeyProof, SIZZLE, jubei and 11 others like this.
  2. Jan 11, 2019 at 12:42 PM
    #1042
    turbodb

    turbodb Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2016
    Member:
    #177696
    Messages:
    3,242
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Dan
    PNW
    Vehicle:
    2000 Tacoma Xcab 4x4 SR5 V6 TRD
    AdventureTaco
    Love it, kudos! I have a new appreciation for slot canyons after a recent trip down to Grand Staircase-Escalante, where we got to explore (just barely) a few of the slots there. Excited to hear that there are some in DV as well - just adds to the long list of reasons to return!

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Jan 11, 2019 at 3:37 PM
    #1043
    dman100

    dman100 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2016
    Member:
    #180009
    Messages:
    1,290
    Central Coast, California
    Vehicle:
    2016 TRD OR DCSB
    I crawled around in some slot canyons at Painted Canyon, south and west of Palm Springs in November. Lots of fun but also a little disorienting. A few spots there where the backpack had to come off and some hands and knees too.
     
    INBONESTRYKER, Crom and DVexile [OP] like this.
  4. Jan 17, 2019 at 9:23 AM
    #1044
    2Toyotas

    2Toyotas Vintage Camp Stove Collector

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2016
    Member:
    #204565
    Messages:
    1,665
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ken
    Western NC
    Vehicle:
    '13 Taco AC SR5 4x4
    DVexile [OP] and ETAV8R like this.
  5. Jan 17, 2019 at 11:48 AM
    #1045
    Mtnflyer

    Mtnflyer I'm big in Japan

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Member:
    #158366
    Messages:
    5,143
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Matt
    Las Vegas
    Hey Ken, Sorry I missed you for beers back in Sept. Hit me up next time you're through and I'll buy. :cheers:
     
    DVexile [OP] likes this.
  6. Mar 27, 2019 at 4:26 PM
    #1046
    DVexile

    DVexile [OP] Exiled to the East

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Member:
    #144469
    Messages:
    2,024
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ken
    Vehicle:
    2015 DCSB V6 TRD OR 4X4
    Death Valley
    January 2019

    In late January I had a trip planned and it appeared that the weather in Maryland would be cold but reasonable for my trip so that my wife wasn't hit with lots of snow days. So off to the airport very early on Monday and into Death Valley by the afternoon. The focus of this trip was mostly to scout potential hiking and exploring spots for our spring break trip with the whole family in March. This will be a very abbreviated report as it turned out to be a rather abbreviated trip as well!

    I took the 95 route north out of Vegas which isn't my usual way in but made sense for my first stop which was to be Chloride City. On the way up I let a truck and group of Razors pass me by and then I had the entire area to myself. There were clouds and spotty showers still blowing through.

    [​IMG]
    Cinnabar Mine
    There is a lot to explore up in this area but I did have one special adit I was looking for that I hadn't ever actually been too though I'd heard of it more than once before. It actually didn't take very long to find. It is a place for which the details are best left unsaid though.

    [​IMG]
    View near a special place
    It was blustery and chilly up here but I decided to camp in the area nonetheless. These first days are really tiring with all the travel so I spent a couple of hours just resting and reading as I waited for sunset. Anyone who has been to the Chloride City area knows that the views are quite amazing.

    [​IMG]
    Road With A View
    Come morning I explored a bit around the area but really didn't feel up to a long hike down to any of the lower mine workings so I left those for another day. I had a scouting hike I wanted to do in the afternoon. From the spots I could get cell coverage I was discovering the weather back home wasn't behaving and that the schools were being particularly wimpy about closing or doing late-starts and early-dismissals.

    In the afternoon I scouted one canyon along Cottonwood-Marble Canyon Road. I managed to mistake a side canyon for the main canyon which wasted some time and energy. There were a few climbs that might entertain my daughter but also might have been a bit too tricky. It was an interesting jaunt for an adult with some unexpected treasures to be found.

    [​IMG]
    From Wetter Times
    It was actually now a bit warm for the season and this little hike with the unintentional detour into the side canyon took more out of me than I expected! News from home was still not particularly good with my poor wife losing out on work hours and worse weather forecast. I found a nice camp right in the main wash and had a relaxing afternoon and evening. Come morning the sky put on a bit of a show. Sunrises are always special in the desert.

    [​IMG]
    Sunrise in Camp
    The next spot to scout was a side canyon right off the road through Cottonwood Canyon. It sounded as if there were great narrows with lots of minor climbs but a potential crux right near the start at a large chock-stone. So early Wednesday morning I drove further along the road and checked it out. Well it turned out the chock-stone was troublesome enough that I couldn't find a move to get over it myself! So definitely not daughter friendly.

    Emerging from Cottonwood and back onto the alluvial fan overlooking the dunes I got cell signal again and discovered the wimpy schools were still screwed up back home. This was getting a bit ridiculous. A quick check of the SW website showed I could move my ticket to this evening and by my estimate I could get back to Vegas in time. My wife could certainly use the relief.

    So that was the end of the trip! Just two nights. After a mad dash I did make my flight and arrived in the middle of the night back in Maryland where it was 7F. Luckily I had left a heavy coat and hat in my car - I really needed them!

    So sorry for the lame report but it was sort of a lame trip in the end. You can't win them all and even just two nights in the desert is better than zero so I can't complain too much!
     
    turbodb, NYCO, BKinzey and 9 others like this.
  7. Mar 27, 2019 at 6:28 PM
    #1047
    ETAV8R

    ETAV8R Out DERP'n

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Member:
    #4832
    Messages:
    2,759
    Gender:
    Male
    Republik of Kalifornia
    Vehicle:
    MGM 09 AC 4WD V6 TRD-OR w/ Tradesman Shell
    Just the basics
    Amazing photos as usual. Spectacular actually.
     
    sawbladeduller, Crom and DVexile [OP] like this.
  8. Mar 28, 2019 at 1:33 PM
    #1048
    HB Taco

    HB Taco Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Member:
    #54683
    Messages:
    797
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Curt
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Vehicle:
    11 DC TRD OR 4x4 Pyrite Mica
    Awesome!
     
    DVexile [OP] likes this.
  9. Mar 31, 2019 at 3:39 AM
    #1049
    Moose256

    Moose256 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2018
    Member:
    #274041
    Messages:
    47
    Gender:
    Male
    Vehicle:
    2018 Tacoma TRD Off Road
    Spent hours over the past few days reading this thread. Time well invested. Love the camp pics and stories. And like often on TW, I’ve come away with many ideas and mods for my truck. Thx and keep rolling!!
     
    Crom and DVexile [OP] like this.
  10. Mar 31, 2019 at 2:21 PM
    #1050
    EdinCincinnati

    EdinCincinnati Old Enough To Know Better

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Member:
    #99457
    Messages:
    1,667
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ed
    Cincinnati
    Vehicle:
    2014 4x4 TRD OR
    2Lo Mod, OV Tuned ECU, Bed Cap, Prinsu and my kids college money
    Yep. Best thread in TW in my opinion.
     
    DVexile [OP] likes this.
  11. Mar 31, 2019 at 5:14 PM
    #1051
    dman100

    dman100 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2016
    Member:
    #180009
    Messages:
    1,290
    Central Coast, California
    Vehicle:
    2016 TRD OR DCSB
    Yeah. @DVexile ’s modest but functional build, his great photography, his respect for the desert West’s history and natural environment, and the constructive, intelligent comments really stand out on TW.
     
    DVexile [OP] and EdinCincinnati like this.
  12. Mar 31, 2019 at 7:07 PM
    #1052
    EdinCincinnati

    EdinCincinnati Old Enough To Know Better

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Member:
    #99457
    Messages:
    1,667
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ed
    Cincinnati
    Vehicle:
    2014 4x4 TRD OR
    2Lo Mod, OV Tuned ECU, Bed Cap, Prinsu and my kids college money
    @DVexile any thoughts of giving a guided tour of thread followers?

    I’m in Ohio but have vacation time to burn for a drive out, enjoy following, and back.
     
  13. Apr 2, 2019 at 4:02 PM
    #1053
    DVexile

    DVexile [OP] Exiled to the East

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Member:
    #144469
    Messages:
    2,024
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ken
    Vehicle:
    2015 DCSB V6 TRD OR 4X4
    That would be awesome but these days the logistics on my end make it unlikely :(. These days most of my trips are made with refundable tickets because trips often get canceled or moved with work and family obligations coming up last minute so its hard to coordinate with others. One of these days things will hopefully calm down!
     
    EdinCincinnati likes this.
  14. Apr 2, 2019 at 5:09 PM
    #1054
    DVexile

    DVexile [OP] Exiled to the East

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Member:
    #144469
    Messages:
    2,024
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ken
    Vehicle:
    2015 DCSB V6 TRD OR 4X4
    Death Valley Spring Break
    March 2019

    We are fortunate my daughter has an early spring break so we can get into the desert when the temps are still quite pleasant. This year we also got to have the whole family out for the trip as we didn't have to work around any work travel for my wife. We visited some family in SoCal and then I flew up to Las Vegas a day early to get the truck all set and met the rest of the family near Afton Canyon on a Wednesday evening.

    The first excitement was a storm system coming through. Predictions were for not much rain but a chance of locally heavier showers. Well we definitely got one of those showers near the mouth of Afton Canyon! Rained pretty good for about two hours with a few lightning flashes. I just managed to get the fly on the Flip-Pac as the storm was coming in. This was a comical endeavor with just a single person trying to do it in the wind but I finally managed it. Seam sealing held up and we had a dry if rather noisy evening inside.

    Come morning there were clear skies and the fly dried out quickly. Our first stop before we headed into Death Valley was to take my wife to Spooky Canyon which is an amazing short slot off of Afton Canyon. My daughter and I have been there twice so regular readers will probably recognize the photo but there are three head lamps instead of just two this time.

    [​IMG]
    Spooky Canyon
    After that we headed up to Baker for an early lunch and some ice cream. Later we learned that @dman100 actually saw us driving up the I-15 as he was headed south back from one of his trips. TW is a small world!

    Headed up the 127 we could see the preparations for the big annual Baker to Vegas run later in the week in the form of frequent stands of porta-potties along the side of the road. We stopped briefly in Shoshone to look at the nice little museum they have there and then headed in on 178/Badwater Rd. Coming in I saw a small sign about road closures ahead and then a ranger coming the other way. While I had checked road conditions on Tuesday it dawned on me that all that rain the previous night might have changed things and I didn't check again in Baker! At the pass I got cell signal and we stopped on the road side to call the visitor center. Turned out that ranger I saw had just called back to let them know he opened Badwater Rd. again. It had been closed the night before and the 190 was under CHP escorts east of the park.

    The weather was still blustery with some spots of sprinkles but this meant the temperatures in the afternoon were great for hiking and so we headed up to Room Canyon which I had scouted in a previous trip. The hike up the fan was of course not a favorite for my daughter and the main canyon was declared "boring" by her (she has no idea how spoiled she is with her outdoor activities) but the super tight slot side canyons that can be linked in a loop were a huge hit with her. She wanted to do them a second time but it was getting late and I was succumbing to a nasty head cold so we told her we could come back on another trip.

    [​IMG]
    Room Canyon Slots
    We camped a bit down Harry Wade Road with no one in sight. I have to apologize that this report will include no epic truck or campsite photos as I was feeling miserable most of the trip with a cold and could barely marshal the energy to do basic camp things like cook dinner and what not.

    Friday morning I rested a bit as I let my daughter dig various holes around camp and then had her fill them back in. Later in the morning we explored some of the slots in Sidewinder Canyon. There are six major ones and we only explored the first two before it was getting towards lunch and my daughter was annoyed they didn't involve enough climbing in her opinion.

    We had lunch out on the valley floor just a bit down West Side Road. The weather was delightful and the views beautiful after the rain had cleared out the usual spring haze. You could see forever and the Panamints were blanketed in snow.

    After lunch it was time to head to my daughters favorite canyon - the canyon at the second dip on Artist's Palette Road. She calls it the Climbing Canyon because it does involve lots of climbing that is all just about perfectly at her skill level. We actually found another family exploring in there which is pretty much a first for us - it is still relatively unknown.

    [​IMG]
    End of the Climbing Canyon
    We stopped by the visitor center so my daughter could get the workbook to earn yet another Junior Ranger badge. This year's version has different levels depending on how much you complete and she was determined to achieve the highest level (Bighorn Sheep) which kept her occupied as we drove to Stovepipe and then up Cottonwood Canyon Rd. to get to the Marble Canyon trailhead. We made camp there and I hoped that by morning my cold would be on the way out - I was really fatigued.

    Saturday morning dawned and indeed I felt a bit better. We started our hike reasonably early so it would be in shade most of the way uphill. Turns out it was in a bit too much shade as everyone was a bit chilly! This was another repeat for my daughter and I but a new place for my wife. The narrows were as impressive as ever of course. They absolutely tower over our little family!

    [​IMG]
    Marble Canyon Narrows
    The hike back down was now through some sunnier patches which warmed us nicely. My daughter is always much happier down slope. We encountered a few groups of backpackers headed up canyon as this is part of the very popular Cottonwood-Marble loop.

    On the drive out on Cottonwood we encountered a ranger who was asking about what vehicles we had seen and people encountered as they were looking for a pair of backpackers who hadn't checked back in. We were fairly certain we had seen their vehicle the previous afternoon at the road junction but also that it was gone this morning indicating hopefully that they had made it out already.

    We headed back down to the visitor center so my daughter could show off her completed workbook and get sworn in yet again as a Junior Ranger. Due to various logistical complications we actually had a rental car along for this trip which we were reunited with at Furnace Creek. My wife drove it out to Vegas early so she could get a bit of a break for the afternoon. My daughter and I had lunch again on West Side Road and then at her request returned once again to the "Climbing Canyon".

    We had the canyon entirely to ourselves as usual despite it being a Saturday afternoon during peak season. It was a lot warmer this afternoon and the shady parts were delightful. A stiff breeze would occasionally run up the canyon as well. I was feeling much better compared to the previous days as my cold was well on the way out. My daughter for whatever reason whines a lot less when mom is away so the two of us had a delightful hike in familiar territory to close out the trip.

    One trick to decent photos is to revisit them. This is an almost identical composition to a photo from last year. This time however I knew to plan for it and made up for a few deficiencies in the earlier version. It is just about as Indiana Jones as I can make it now...

    [​IMG]
    Not quite the Canyon of the Crescent Moon...
    It was a wonderful end to our trip. The drive back to Vegas was uneventful and we used a spare day to get the truck cleaned up and hang out at the hotel pool. Hoping next year's trip is just as nice - and that I can skip the head cold on that one...
     
  15. Apr 2, 2019 at 8:48 PM
    #1055
    Shwaa

    Shwaa Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Member:
    #120129
    Messages:
    2,780
    Gender:
    Male
    Bay Area, CA
    Vehicle:
    '13 DC Prerunner TRD Off-Road
    Great pics @DVexile, especially the last one. Looks like a fun trip!
     
    Gaunt596 and DVexile [OP] like this.
  16. Apr 2, 2019 at 10:03 PM
    #1056
    ETAV8R

    ETAV8R Out DERP'n

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Member:
    #4832
    Messages:
    2,759
    Gender:
    Male
    Republik of Kalifornia
    Vehicle:
    MGM 09 AC 4WD V6 TRD-OR w/ Tradesman Shell
    Just the basics
    Such wonderful memories you're making with your daughter. I really need to explore that area of DV more. I need to experience those amazing narrows in person.
     
    DVexile [OP] likes this.
  17. Apr 3, 2019 at 7:09 AM
    #1057
    INBONESTRYKER

    INBONESTRYKER Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Member:
    #152650
    Messages:
    469
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    John
    WY
    Vehicle:
    '96 access cab 3.4 5 spd manual 4X4
    [​IMG]
    End of the Climbing Canyon

    [​IMG]
    My daughter for whatever reason whines a lot less when mom is away so the two of us had a delightful hike in familiar territory to close out the trip.​



    [​IMG]
    Not quite the Canyon of the Crescent Moon...


    Wonderful photographs. Love to see kids entertaining themselves (esp w/o electronics)!

    My 2 cents worth. Your daughter doesn't have an appreciation for the competition for your attention that having Mom at hand provides.

    As a father of three daughters I've seen it first hand.
     
  18. Apr 4, 2019 at 2:52 AM
    #1058
    DVexile

    DVexile [OP] Exiled to the East

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Member:
    #144469
    Messages:
    2,024
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ken
    Vehicle:
    2015 DCSB V6 TRD OR 4X4
    Yeah I suspect you've hit the nail there. Thanks!
     
  19. Apr 6, 2019 at 11:24 PM
    #1059
    OnHartung'sRoad

    OnHartung'sRoad -So glad I didn't take the other...

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Member:
    #224878
    Messages:
    4,516
    somewhere in the Mojave Desert
    Vehicle:
    2017 Tacoma TRD 4x4 (formerly 2002 TRD 4x4, 1995 4x4 4Runner, 1985 4x4 Toy PU) ... and RIP’s (rust in pieces) to a Bronco II 4x4 & S10 Blazer 4x4
    Great writeup! We were just in Afton at Spooky Canyon- went out towards Baker and visited the lava tube just north of Kelso- last beams of sunlight shone through the room above my daughter from the ceiling window as the afternoon sun hung low in the sky- she’s a teenager now, the youngest of our three and the other two are married and live in other states.

    Enjoy these few short years with yours, because it’s so less of a time than one realizes before they turn into adults to lead their own lives. But you will still be close to them for the kinship and love you are sharing with them right now!

    EF7B82C8-4673-4535-B662-1B3FDE2EB3FB.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
  20. Apr 15, 2019 at 3:18 PM
    #1060
    DVexile

    DVexile [OP] Exiled to the East

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Member:
    #144469
    Messages:
    2,024
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Ken
    Vehicle:
    2015 DCSB V6 TRD OR 4X4
    Stock Battery
    A Declined Modification

    If you spend time on TW and want to keep your truck light you are going to need to resist the urge to do a lot of various mods! This post is about sticking with a boring old flooded lead acid battery of stock size.

    Bigger Battery Problems

    You can fit a 31M in the stock location. The problem with doing this that the area around the battery in the Tacoma already develops cracks with off road travel. The 27F typically found in most trucks is 50 lbs. If you have a 24F (no tow package) that drops to 44 lbs. Going to a 31M takes you up to 60 lbs. Decide you want an AGM and now it is up to 67 lbs! That is really not going to help the metal fatigue problem.

    The other issue with a bigger battery is that if you are using it for deep cycle in camp you are of course at risk of ending up with a dead battery in the morning. A more subtle issue is that the simple alternator charging on the truck won't do a good job charging a deep cycle battery (especially an AGM one) meaning you'll probably end up with shortened battery life.

    Dual Batteries w/relocation

    The "proper" way to do a "camp" battery is to put a second battery in another location. Piling two batteries in the stock location is really going to make metal fatigue a problem! By getting a second "camp" battery you can use it as a dedicated deep cycle battery and potentially even connect it with a smarter charger though that is going to be adding cost.

    If I had camp battery needs this is what I'd likely do. But I don't have those needs. I run a mostly dark camp with just two low power LED lights in the Flip-Pac on for most of the night. So in the interests of lower weight and less complexity I don't have a dedicated battery. I do always have a lithium based jumper pack with me though in case my battery goes south for one reason or another.

    AGM Batteries

    AGM batteries can provide better performance for a given size than traditional flooded batteries. One downside though is increased weight. One option would be to actually downsize to a 24F if going AGM.

    Now many AGM manufacturers claim a longer life, and many have a warranty and many users report improved lifetimes with AGM. However, there is problem with that for my truck.

    My truck lives in a desert and it sits most of the summer not being used. This is really, really bad for batteries. In higher temperature storage the self discharge rate of the cell increases and this means the battery will end up undercharged for a decent period with permanent sulfation problems.

    So for me a very expensive AGM battery is simply never going to last long enough compared to a flooded battery given its very high cost. In many other cases it probably makes good sense, but for where my truck lives and how it gets used it just doesn't make sense.

    Warranties

    One other logistical issue is that most battery warranties are going to be useless for me. I greatly prefer proactively replacing the battery since I know after three summers it is on its way out. Waiting for the battery to die so I can get a warranty replacement is a bit of logistical challenge. So for me it makes sense to buy the cheapest battery and replace it every three years.

    Summary

    There is not "right" answer to the battery question. It depends on what you need to power, where your truck lives and how you use it. In my case it turns out sticking with the stock battery type, buying the cheapest available and replacing every three years makes the most sense. For other rigs a fancy dual battery setup is probably a sound investment!
     

Products Discussed in

To Top