Area lights around the SUVRV



Using solar post lights for area lights in a car-camping situation is inspired by the fence-post lights currently being used in rural settings as a set-it & forget-it proposition


There are many places where these can be sourced, but I sourced mine from Amazon.

The transformation needed to turn these into camp lights in car-camping situations is the addition of magnets. I chose to add four  D901 magnets sourced from K&J Magnetics thinking that the stated pulling power of 1.3 lbs each (4 x 1.3 = 5.2 lbs) should provide a good balance of power and thinness.

I thought many ways to affix the magnets to the back of the light fixture, Super Glue, J&B Weld, etc, but in the end it seemed to me that gaffers tape (again sourced from Amazon) given the inherent flexibility of the tape.


Also the tape should help with avoiding metal-on-metal contact when mounting the fixture.

A bit of trimming, and voilà, it’s done.


Backpacking Table



Starting out in backpacking late in life, I came to the sport with a few pounds around the midriff, but also with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, as well as enough ingenuity courtesy of the School of Hard Knocks. This provides the motivation for a solution that can be

  1. easily transportable, eg collapsible
  2. lightweight, and
  3. cheap,

knowing full well that achieving all three is a physical impossibility. What I’ve come up with what I believe a good compromise of these three properties, finding a sweet spot somewhere in the middle of the Triple Constraint Triangle. [more info]


List of Materials

  • A bamboo cutting board, 11″ x 15″, sourced from my local Walmart for about seven bucks. [sample]
  • Two yard signs frames, sourced from my local Lowes for about two-and-a-half bucks. [sample]
  • A length of about 10-ft of bank line, which I happen to have kicking around the house. [sample]

List of Tools

  • A hacksaw such as this one with a blade for metal.
  • A drill, with a 1/8″ bit.
  • A marker.
  • Some masking tape.


  1. Take the two yard sign frames and make a mark about 1″ above and below the cross bars. Because the crossbars are usually about 9″ apart, this gives a total length of about 11″ between the marks. Use the hacksaw to trim away the extra length from the yard sign.
    Apr 16, 2017 15-02-06
  2. Place a strip of masking tape to width-wise about 1-1/2″ from the edge
  3. Use the marker to put some ink on the newly made cut marks and press the edge of the frames onto the masking tape. This should transfer the ink onto the tape and give a guide for where to make drill marks. It should be somewhere around 1″ and 2″ from the corner.
    Apr 16, 2017 15-14-02
  4. Drill away.
  5. Make a Bowline [how-to] on the bank line and wrap it around the “handle” of the board.
  6. Place the yard sign frame through the newly drilled holes and run the string through so that the tension tries to spread the legs out. Secure the line with a clove hitch [how-to] at each of the two posts. Run the line across length of the table, underneath makes the surface more usable, and repeat the cloves and wraps at the bottom.
    IMG_20170416_141215 IMG_20170123_163300