Trip Report #1 w/pics [2020 400 BDL]: 11 out of the first 14 days!

b407driverb407driver Posts: 78Member
edited June 12 in Camping & Travel

So, we accepted delivery of our 2020 [email protected] Boondock Lite on May 24, and I’ve since been out in it 11 nights of the first 14 we’ve owned it!

Less than 24 hours after getting it we were up at the Buffalo Creek group camp for two nights to do some mountain biking, then home for 2 nights, which allowed a trip to the Container Store. We then went on to the Royal Gorge area near Canon City for a two-nighter with friends that also have a TT, and got to enjoy not sitting in a tent in the rain. After two days of mountain biking I let our friends with the Lance 1995 (our other ‘favorite’ trailer) take my lovely wife back home, and I then went on to southern Utah to shoot for a week. This would be my first real test for the trailer—in particular, the solar—to see if it could keep up with charging camera batteries and using a laptop for several hours a day. 

We started with 30 gallons of fresh water and empty grey and black tanks prior to departing for Canon City, and I didn’t run out of water or power, nor fill a tank in the 9 days I was out (boondocking only). Southern Utah was about 90° each day, thus the Fantastic Fan ran throughout the daylight hours. Didn’t need heat of any sort for 7 days, even at 9000’ in the Uncompaghre NF above Ridgway, CO on the way home. After hearing the myriad black water horror stories, I approached my final task with some trepidation, but my first trip to the local dump station back home went smoothly (luckily!). $10, well spent.

~~~~~~~~~

A few notes about our first set of trips with the ‘recently-released’ 2020 [email protected] BDL:

  • It pulled quite well with the 4Runner, better than I was expecting, and was able to go up Monarch Pass between 45-50 mph (albeit screaming in 2nd gear!). I do believe the change in tongue-weight is very beneficial to 5000-lb tow vehicles, and despite losing the center under-bed storage, the dinette storage area was still half-empty.
  • Off pavement, I was impressed by how much clearance this trailer has, and was able to get it into a couple of places that required quite-a-several miles of dusty, bumpy, rocky, twisty BLM, NRA, and NFS roads. I did have some significant dust ingestion, most of which was my fault due to leaving the side window ‘cracked’ (e.g. the non-locked ‘middle’ lever position). I will never, *ever* do that again! That being said, there was a lot of dust beneath the closet and under the bed, none of which could have come from the window, so I’m looking into that.
  • The solar worked great and I never saw less than 77% SOC, however toward the last few days the solar controller never got to absorption or float modes, and was slowly trending downward (not able to quite keep up). Still could have gone for many more days assuming typical desert skies. 
  • The new (square) sink drains very well, though the new (single) water temp control handle for the shower is easily bumped on in the middle of the night. If you have that new straight wand, make sure you point the nozzles toward the wall when you stash it, unless you need a wakeup call. Related to this, an on-off plunger is no longer installed on the wand, which could mitigate most of the ‘midnight blast’ issue.
  • The new aluminum trays on the frame are great for sitting, cooking, beer, bags, legos, you name it. I just wish they’d included the shallow mesh tray in the last part of the “A”, as it would be a great place to put greasy, dusty stuff when messing with the hitch. Speaking of which, after two or three forays with not getting the hitch to release the ball without a lot of effort and frustration, white lithium grease is my new best friend, especially when the TV is severely off-camber with a relatively flat trailer placement (see at least one of the pics below).

~~~~~~~~~

In general, everything worked well, although a Fantastic Fan Model 7350 should be standard for factory solar installs, as to use the solar you need to park in the sun, parking in the sun often requires ample use of the vent fan, and solar implies you are trying to limit your energy usage. Also, the Alde control panel should have a battery backup as standard, since losing your settings every time you cycle the battery off (for the stupid Jensen bluetooth connection!) is inane. I unplugged the monitor the day we got the trailer to mitigate phantom drain, and will likely install an on-off switch (for the Jensen control unit, as well). Would love it if all the lights had dimmers, too, but that is mostly a consequence of my wanting to preserve my night vision for shooting. Did have the bottom-left corner of the side window shade pull out from the wall, but that should be an easy fix once I figure out how to release the corner trim piece to access the screw. Oh yeah, and the rear USB ports do not work, despite a USB tester indicating they are putting out 5v.

This thing is as rock-solid as I’d hoped for the backroads travel that I often do, and it was a very comfortable, efficient mobile office (for one person). For two people it is a bit more challenging, but I know many of you are in smaller trailers with two people and do just fine. You definitely gotta like that other person. ;)

Cheers,

Jeff


Milky Way over Castle Butte in Valley of the Gods, near Mexican Hat and Bluff, UT:


Moving trailer to near Battleship Rock, wildflower bloom was impressive!

That was a 'fun' parking job (Battleship rock on left, Castle Butte in distance):


Sunset thunderstorm provided some great light:

At Glen Canyon NRA; Goosenecks and Monument Valley in background:


Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (below Muley Point).

Milky Way over Cedar Point in GCNRA, lights of Kayenta, AZ on horizon, Jupiter just above core of MW:


2020 [email protected] Boondock Lite w/solar, TV is 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD
Jeff --Front Range of Colorado

Comments

  • DougHDougH Posts: 357Member
    Thanks for sharing such beautiful photography.

    2014 328d diesel wagon, 2016 [email protected] S Max

  • gspdxgspdx Posts: 88Member
    That looks amazing.  I am really excited myself about getting out like this.  Couple of questions:

    • Do you have the AC/DC fridge and did you run it?
    • It sounds like you were solo in your [email protected] in Utah?  If there were 2 people would you have run out of water or filled your tanks?
    Looks like you had a great trip!
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL
    2018 Ford F-150 2.7L Ecoboost with tow package
    PNW
  • ginsbujginsbuj Posts: 11Member
    National Geographic photo quality. Absolutely beautiful! 
  • rkj__rkj__ Posts: 593Member
    Thank you for sharing your experience so far.  It sounds like the trailer should suit you well. 

    I appreciate you sharing your high quality photography. 
    2016 [email protected] 320 CS-S - 2018 GMC Sierra - St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
  • b407driverb407driver Posts: 78Member
    gspdx said:
    That looks amazing.  I am really excited myself about getting out like this.  Couple of questions:

    • Do you have the AC/DC fridge and did you run it?
    • It sounds like you were solo in your [email protected] in Utah?  If there were 2 people would you have run out of water or filled your tanks?
    Looks like you had a great trip!
    Yes, I have the two-way fridge, and ran it the whole time on setting "3".

    I was solo in Utah, and my hygiene standards are well below my lovely wife's... especially when in the desert. She requires a daily shower, I can easily go 3+ days and take a 'navy shower' with one large and one small cycling water bottle. I did strain and dump gray water before moving the trailer each time except the last trip home (we use all biodegradable products in sinks/shower).

    Had she been there we would have filled both tanks and run out of fresh, probably after 4 days in Utah. So I'd guess the two of us could get 6 days with being a bit careful, and without her complaining much. 
    2020 [email protected] Boondock Lite w/solar, TV is 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD
    Jeff --Front Range of Colorado
  • b407driverb407driver Posts: 78Member
    ginsbuj said:
    National Geographic photo quality. Absolutely beautiful! 

    DougH said:
    Thanks for sharing such beautiful photography.


    rkj__ said:
    Thank you for sharing your experience so far.  It sounds like the trailer should suit you well. 

    I appreciate you sharing your high quality photography.  


    Thanks all, glad you enjoyed! It was a great, great trip, and look forward to next month's version...
    2020 [email protected] Boondock Lite w/solar, TV is 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD
    Jeff --Front Range of Colorado
  • LisaTucsonLisaTucson Posts: 51Member
    edited June 12
    You WIN!  =) Your "eye" is exceptional! Thanks for sharing.
    Lisa
    Tucson, AZ
    2016 [email protected] 320 S Outback ("Scout")
    TV: 2013 Lexus 450h
    "You never know when you're having good luck." ~ Unknown
  • gspdxgspdx Posts: 88Member
    LOL - love the comment about hygiene standards.  Until now we were tenting it so being able to get a shower is a HUGE luxury that wouldn't happen every day.  We will still be taking the Epic Wipes with us and then get a water shower every other or every 3rd day.  

    Really appreciate all of the info and love the photography!
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL
    2018 Ford F-150 2.7L Ecoboost with tow package
    PNW
  • lkc001lkc001 Posts: 391Member
    Can't wait to see more trip reports & amazing photography!

    2016 Nissan Frontier SV V6 4x4
    Finally!  New Owner of a 2017 Tab 320S! 
    Woohoo!
  • b407driverb407driver Posts: 78Member
    edited June 13
    You WIN!  =) Your "eye" is exceptional! Thanks for sharing.
    Awesome, what do I win?
    2020 [email protected] Boondock Lite w/solar, TV is 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD
    Jeff --Front Range of Colorado
  • b407driverb407driver Posts: 78Member
    gspdx said:
    LOL - love the comment about hygiene standards.  Until now we were tenting it so being able to get a shower is a HUGE luxury that wouldn't happen every day.  We will still be taking the Epic Wipes with us and then get a water shower every other or every 3rd day.  

    Really appreciate all of the info and love the photography!
    Never seen those, can you actually get a 'full' shower out of a single one of them? Actually, I know I could, so maybe I should ask if my lovely wife could... lol
    2020 [email protected] Boondock Lite w/solar, TV is 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD
    Jeff --Front Range of Colorado
  • gspdxgspdx Posts: 88Member
    gspdx said:
    LOL - love the comment about hygiene standards.  Until now we were tenting it so being able to get a shower is a HUGE luxury that wouldn't happen every day.  We will still be taking the Epic Wipes with us and then get a water shower every other or every 3rd day.  

    Really appreciate all of the info and love the photography!
    Never seen those, can you actually get a 'full' shower out of a single one of them? Actually, I know I could, so maybe I should ask if my lovely wife could... lol
    After a day of hiking - dirty and sweaty - one does a pretty good job.  Both my wife and I feel pretty clean. If you cut one in half you can get the major grime with the first half and then clean up a bit better with the second half.
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL
    2018 Ford F-150 2.7L Ecoboost with tow package
    PNW
  • JbreunigJbreunig Posts: 5Member
    Are you using a weight distribution hitch?  How about sway control?  I pick up my 400 next week and my tv is a 2017 Tacoma 4x4, pretty close to your 4Runner for towing ability
  • b407driverb407driver Posts: 78Member
    Jbreunig said:
    Are you using a weight distribution hitch?  How about sway control?  I pick up my 400 next week and my tv is a 2017 Tacoma 4x4, pretty close to your 4Runner for towing ability
    Neither. I'm new to towing and expected a worse experience than I'm having. When we were planning to buy the 400, tongue weights were high and after researching, I had sworn off adding an Andersen due to the untenable weight increase. After having towed our 2020 400 BDL for 14 days, even with the new lower tongue weight I'm not inclined to add sway or WDH. Lateral sway has not been much of an issue, if at all, and it tracks very nicely in the tracks of the 4R. The only thing I do notice is a sort of 'push-pull' (more in the vertical plane, rather than side-to-side) feeling that is not infrequent, and I ended up adding a hitch tightener (while on the road) which helped some. I'm guessing a WDH might help this issue, but I'm not prepared to go down that road yet.

    As long as you are (now?) used to driving your Taco at 4-5k RPM to get up steep mountain passes, hopefully your tow experience will be OK. This 4Runner really deserves a V8, but it is an 'adequate' tow vehicle, though I live at altitude and would never want to get anywhere near the 5000-lb limit.
    2020 [email protected] Boondock Lite w/solar, TV is 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD
    Jeff --Front Range of Colorado
  • k4mank4man Posts: 12Member
    edited August 12
    Jeff, your photographs are amazing!!! 
    2020 [email protected] 400 Boondock
    TV: 2013 Lexus GX 460
  • b407driverb407driver Posts: 78Member
    2020 [email protected] Boondock Lite w/solar, TV is 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD
    Jeff --Front Range of Colorado
Sign In or Register to comment.