bright LED dome light

FJ Cruiser LED Dome Light Swap

fj cruiser dome light bulb and LED chip comparisonEvery try to read a map at night by your dome light?  How about trying to find something in your console at night?  The Toyota FJ Cruiser OEM dome light may give you a warm glow, but bright light you can read by is not its strength.

One of the easiest FJ Cruiser modifications  you can perform that pays big dividends is to replace the interior dome lights with new bright white LED chip-sets.

fj cruiser dome light cover removal drawingWe picked up a Putco LED Lighting “980018 premium interior dome light kit”.  The kit included a pair (one for the front and one for the rear) of LED white light chip-sets.  The chip-set fits the original dome light fixture and is designed as a direct bulb replacement.  With three LEDs on the chip-set, it puts out approximately 18 times more light than the original bulb, an increase that you can definitely cruiser dome light cover removal

  • Start by removing the cover.  Using a screwdriver with its tip wrapped in tape, disengage the 4 claws and remove the light’s lens cover.
  • Remove the old bulb from the socket.
  • Press the LED chip-set into the bulb socket
  • Replace the cover.

LED dome light installedIt really is that easy.  Your new dome light(s) will be significantly brighter, use less energy and provide a whiter light.

No this mod wont help you climb over rocks or pull you through gumbo thick mud but it will help you find that last handful of nuts you dropped on the floor of the cab before the three second rule kicks in.

camp fire cooking

Camp Cook Out

cooking over open fireEveryone we know loves cooking out on the trail when camping on an off-road adventure.  And as you know the stove you have on hand will have a big influence on what you cook and how it turns out.

We love cooking over an open fire.  Grilled burgers, chicken, fish, boiling water for coffee you can do it all.  But you have to get the fire down to a good pile of hot coals, avoid hot spots and constantly regulate the fire. It can be tricky.  For us everything tastes better cooked over a fire, even a simple quesadilla.

The down side is that many times you will find a fire ban or heavy rains have dampened your chance of cooking over open fire.  In that case you need to turn your attention to a stove.

msr backpacking stoveBackpacking stoves are compact, light weight and put out a lot of BTUs for their size.  They are extremely efficient at bringing liquids to a boil and making one pot meals (boil in bag) for one or two people.  They are not so good at simmering or cooking on anything but full blast.  Charred eggs, scorched sauces and pieces of bacon that are both burnt and under cooked at the same time are the norm if you’re not extremely careful.

cook partner camp stoveMoving up to camp kitchen stoves allows you to rock your inner Wolfgang Puck.  Typically, these are propane based with multiple burners. Camp kitchen stoves provide enough surface area and heat to throw down a griddle to easily fry up bacon and eggs while allowing you to dial back the heat to gently simmer the most delicate sauces.  If you can cook it at home on your stove top, you can cook it on one of these camp kitchen stoves.

Camp kitchens do get bulky and depending on your choice may take up a significant amount of room when you add in all the pots, pans and fuel canisters you’ll need to create your gourmet meal.

men cooking camping breakfastFuel is another choice to consider.  Propane is the driving force behind most camp kitchens and many backpacking stoves.  Propane is versatile, readily available (in the USA) and clean burning but you can’t reuse the small bottles and extreme cold temperatures can cause problems.  However for most situations propane is a good choice.

egg shells camp stoveLiquid fuel such as white gas provides a lot of BTUs, performs well in all weather and is readily available (in the USA).  Care needs to be taken not to spill the fuel during stove setup and tear down.  Many stoves that run on liquid fuel are capable of running on more than one type of fuel including kerosene or unleaded gas (available worldwide) making the stove an extremely good choice for global travelers.

Depending on the location your traveling, size of your team and the meals you plan to prepare, the right cook stove option may be different for each trip.  Knowing the pluses and minuses of each cooking option will help you make the right choice.  Or you could just go out to eat.