After driving nearly 3000 miles to pickup my Woolly Bear trailer in Houston, Texas from Taxa Outdoors HQ. I ventured off to put my new trailer through a variety of expeditions. Taking the Woolly Bear on-road and off-road. Over rugged terrain and in some of the most beautiful landscape I had the privilege of camping on to a simple parking lot to pop up and social distance from the rest of the world. The Woolly Bear has done everything I have asked it to do, but what have I found during the past nine months with my hand crafted trailer?
The first thing I did was install a GoRich 100 watt solar panel to the top of the bridge. This would allow me to charge my AGM deep cycle battery when I was docked without any electricity. The battery feeds the Truma fridge located in my slide out drawer. To ensure that the solar charge is efficient… I installed an MPPT controller. There are several brands out there and I went with the EPEVER 20A MPPT Solar Charge Controller. The MPPT controller is a must have to help distribute the solar energy evenly throughout your setup. As my battery receives power from the solar panel… the MPPT controller monitors these levels and knows when the battery is at full charge capacity to redirect that power elsewhere. The MPPT controller has usb ports that can also charge your devices directly from the solar panel.
As a secondary power source I purchased a Goal Zero Yeti Lithium 400X Portable Power Station from REI (link has been updated to the latest 500X). Pairing the Goal Zero Lithium battery with the 100W Boulder Solar Panel creates a power solution that allows you to stay off grid for weeks at a time. I use this portable solution to perfectly place my solar panel in the optimal location to collect the sun’s rays and keep my Goal Zero battery topped off. I find that throughout the day I can plug in a laptop, cell phone, camera batteries and lights to my Goal Zero battery and with the solar panel feeding it juice… I never dip below 80%. The unit still has plenty of power to keep me going throughout the night and then I repeat the cycle all over again. Having a secondary power source gives me the ability to use the other 100W solar panel specifically to keep my trailer up and running ensuring that my fridge and the lighting on the rig are always topped off.
Setup is quick and easy with the Woolly Bear trailer. Outfitted with a built in kitchen area and flanked by a slide out Truma Cooler C36 fridge the trailer has you covered when cooking solo or for your entire family. There is ample space below the kitchen area to utilize as a pantry where I keep all my cans, dried goods, snacks, additional griddle top, propane grills, and whatever else I want to bring with me to create amazing meals in the great outdoors! The stainless steel countertop is simple to clean and provides the perfect surface area to prep your meals, cook and serve delicious dishes. The depth of each shelf can hold pots, cast iron pans, cutlery, spices, cooking oils, cooking books, dishes and whatever else you need close to at hand when preparing masterful meals by the lake, near a mountain side or in the middle of nowhere. The slide out fridge placement keeps the flow between prep/cooking area and grabbing rib eyes, tomahawk steaks, butter, burger patties, eggs and whatever else you can think of keeping cool within striking distance of the chef. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite aspects of the entire trailer and a great gathering spot for everyone who wants to taste test!
KEEPING IT COOL
A few ways that I maintain favorable conditions when cooking are:
1. Have a portable fan to help keep you cool and keep bugs away from the kitchen area when you’re working your culinary magic.
2. Install an awning above your kitchen area as that’s the most utilized location on your trailer once you’ve docked your basecamp. I went with the smaller 4ft ARB Awning. The larger awnings are great to have as well, but I wanted to keep the footprint smaller so I could easily deploy the awning on my own and I like knowing that I can park the trailer anywhere and I’ll have the proper clearance to deploy the smaller awning. One reason, I’m able to get away with this setup is that I have an outdoor living room pop up solution by way of Gazelle Tents which sells 6 and 5 sided gazebos that are the best in the business! I usually have everyone hang out in the gazebo lounging with a fan or heater depending on the weather as I cook up my storm on the Woolly Bear.