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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
ADVENTURE 001 - ALABAMA HILLS, CA

2019-03-09 17.38.15.jpg


My wife and I decided to get our Passport with the intent of using it to motivate our desire to get out in the wilderness more and to take it's adventuring spirit to heart. Our first adventure started with less than 1000 miles on the odometer as we headed out to Alabama Hills to get a taste of taking our new SUV off-road. Thanks to @stevenD for the suggestion and for posting the video that inspired my confidence in the Passport's abilities.

The Passport is step one towards our plan for an adventure rig that can get us into camp sites that don't have numbered signs and marked parking spaces. We've been infrequent tent campers over the years and I'm finding that the ideas behind overland camping better suit our goals. Shortly after taking delivery of our Passport, I discovered Outdoorsy.com and realized that we could test out our overland ideas by renting a variety of rigs to see what we actually liked before we jump into owning our own trailer. We started out with a 2016 AT Overland Chaser rooftop tent style trailer built by GTFOverland in Glendale, CA.

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This is a complete turnkey trailer rental that included everything needed for a weekend adventure minus the marshmallows and hotdogs. Curt, the owner and builder really put a ton of thought and years of experience into designing this trailer and it was truly a pleasure to use. Over a long weekend we setup and struck camp a few times to get a feel for it and to try out the rig in a few different scenarios.

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The three hour drive from Burbank to Lone Pine was easy and comfortable. The Passport handled its towing duties flawlessly. There was more than enough power to make it easy to forget that the trailer was even there. I would estimate the trailer to weigh about a thousand pounds as loaded including water and extra fuel. The Passport was averaging 16.5 mpg on the 5000 ft. ascent and it gave us about 23 mpg on the descent as we headed home.

The Passport proved itself to be much more capable off-road than I was. Everything I dared to throw at it was handled with ease and with a sense of stability that gave me confidence to push slightly past my comfort zone. As we progress further and once I feel I have a better understanding of the vehicle's (and more importantly, my own) capabilities, I'm confident that the Passport can take anything I'll need to throw at it.

Here's a quick video I threw together of a bit of our adventure...


... and a 360 tour of one of our camps.
 

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ADVENTURE 001 - ALABAMA HILLS, CA

View attachment 1381

My wife and I decided to get our Passport with the intent of using it to motivate our desire to get out in the wilderness more and to take it's adventuring spirit to heart. Our first adventure started with less than 1000 miles on the odometer as we headed out to Alabama Hills to get a taste of taking our new SUV off-road. Thanks to @stevenD for the suggestion and for posting the video that inspired my confidence in the Passport's abilities.

The Passport is step one towards our plan for an adventure rig that can get us into camp sites that don't have numbered signs and marked parking spaces. We've been infrequent tent campers over the years and I'm finding that the ideas behind overland camping better suit our goals. Shortly after taking delivery of our Passport, I discovered Outdoorsy.com and realized that we could test out our overland ideas by renting a variety of rigs to see what we actually liked before we jump into owning our own trailer. We started out with a 2016 AT Overland Chaser rooftop tent style trailer built by GTFOverland in Glendale, CA.

View attachment 1383

This is a complete turnkey trailer rental that included everything needed for a weekend adventure minus the marshmallows and hotdogs. Curt, the owner and builder really put a ton of thought and years of experience into designing this trailer and it was truly a pleasure to use. Over a long weekend we setup and struck camp a few times to get a feel for it and to try out the rig in a few different scenarios.

View attachment 1385

The three hour drive from Burbank to Lone Pine was easy and comfortable. The Passport handled its towing duties flawlessly. There was more than enough power to make it easy to forget that the trailer was even there. I would estimate the trailer to weigh about a thousand pounds as loaded including water and extra fuel. The Passport was averaging 16.5 mpg on the 5000 ft. ascent and it gave us about 23 mpg on the descent as we headed home.

The Passport proved itself to be much more capable off-road than I was. Everything I dared to throw at it was handled with ease and with a sense of stability that gave me confidence to push slightly past my comfort zone. As we progress further and once I feel I have a better understanding of the vehicle's (and more importantly, my own) capabilities, I'm confident that the Passport can take anything I'll need to throw at it.

Here's a quick video I threw together of a bit of our adventure...


... and a 360 tour of one of our camps.

Wow! David, I am a lifelong outdoor enthusiast and photography is my hobby. Your adventure, your description of it and the video, oh, the video, were great. I think the video does a better job of capturing the spirit of the Passport than any of Honda's commercials. Great job and thanks for doing this!
 

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WOW, so cool..
 
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If you're considering buying a roof top tent, you might want to consider this guy's perspective on them: https://www.outsideonline.com/2071176/we-designed-best-rooftop-tent-ever-sort
That was a great article. I think it accurately describes the negatives you might encounter with a rooftop tent. I think their forte is in rocky spots where it's difficult or uncomfortable to set up a ground tent. They also make it easy to have a clean pack-up in wet and dirty conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Not sure if you already have a skid plate, but it's my understanding that this one fits on the Passport:
https://jsportusa.com/product/honda-ridgeline-pilot-skid-plate/
I'm planning to install this exact plate before our next outing. I was very aware of the lack of a skid plate while adventuring in Alabama Hills and was very careful not to take on any questionable obstacles.

If you're considering buying a roof top tent, you might want to consider this guy's perspective on them: https://www.outsideonline.com/2071176/we-designed-best-rooftop-tent-ever-sort
Thanks for this great article, it really hit home as we experienced most of the challenges that the article mentions (trouble in high winds and leveling were the big lessons learned) and because of these, we are likely to continue to rent the RTT and will likely purchase something that is more along a teardrop design. Right now, the Hiker Trailer has my attention.
 

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Hello David, left a message under the Video on YouTube and a "thumbs-up". You panorama shot looks like it could be from a Honda advertisement.. I've got a bunch of 395/Sierra trips planned, with the first one probably being over Memorial day weekend.. Cheers..
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
ADVENTURE 002 - ANZA BORREGO, CA

Continuing with our desire to try out as many camper trailers as possible, we went back to Outdoorsy.com and reserved a pop-up style camper since this trip involved more friends and we wanted to have sleeping space.

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This was also to be a bit of a working trip, so we needed to have enough room for 4 adults and a full complement of video production gear. The extra size of the Passport over our old CRV was really made evident on this trip. We have a Yakima roof box that took care of all of the camping gear so the back of the Passport could be reserved for the camera stuff.


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We decided to boon-dock at the entrance to the Sandstone Canyon in an attempt to shelter from the winds that we'd been warned about. As it turned out, there was very little wind over the 3 days but we enjoyed the coziness of camping under the cliff walls.

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The setup for the pop up trailer took about an hour and convinced me that although the extra room is nice, the setup time isn't going to be worth it for my short excursion schedule. I'm leaning toward an off road tear-drop style trailer where I have the least amount of setup time. I'm hoping to find a very low friction version of camping where it takes the least amount of effort to get out into wild places.

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The Sandstone Canyon is an easy offroad trail that allows you to drive right through the middle of a 100 foot high slot canyon. There are a few obstacles that are beyond the capability of the Passport but it's easy to find alternative pathways.

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We only went as deep as the trailhead for the Wind Caves Hike since we had a schedule to keep. I'm looking forward to going back and exploring the full length of the canyon.

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Our filming took us to the Obsidian Butte on the Salton Sea, about an hour's drive from Anza Borrego. This landscape is unlike anything I've ever seen. Words and photo do not do it justice. It is a foreboding and harsh environment that has a very strange and horrific beauty. It made for some amazing imagery that I'll share once the client allows it.

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This was an excellent weekend of work/camping and the Passport continues to impress me with its capability and comfort.
 

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Nice write up Dave thanks. Enjoyable read.
 
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