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About this blog

East Coast Overland Adventures is my latest project geared towards providing the four-wheel-drive community with practical insight into the overland adventure lifestyle.  Unlike other overland, outdoor, or adventure blogs I hope to focus mine on doing MORE with LESS.

Not everyone has deep pockets can can afford the latest and greatest gadget or gizmo to make life in the outdoors fun and exciting.  As a former Boy Scout, long-time Jeep enthusiast, photographer, writer, and someone who watched way to much MacGyver as a kid I hope to not only inform but inspire people to use what they have and get out there.

When money is to be spent, I will advocate ways to spend it wisely.

When money can be saved, I will demonstrate ways to use the DIY (do-it-yourself) approach.

When there's planning to be done, I will help you prepare for your next adventure.

When it's time to kick up the dust, I will be out there sharing my adventures and hopefully reading about yours.

Who knows, maybe someday our paths will cross on some dusty back road where the pavement ends...

Entries in this blog

 

[Event Report] 2019 Smoky Mountain Overland Rally (Cosby, TN)

I was finally able to make it to Tennessee for the Smoky Mountain Overland Rally (SMOR).  This is an event I have been wanting to make since it's inaugural event but there always seemed to be a conflict. Home, for the weekend at least, just outside Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It's good to be out camping again. Read on for my brief review of last week's 2019 Smoky Mountain Overland Rally... Southbound and Down Full tank of gas and a full belly make for a good start of any ro

Dean

Dean

 

[Product Review] The ARB Maximum Performance Portable Air Supply

I've said it before and I'll say it again, tire pressure management is an essential skill for every overland adventure enthusiast.  It's one of my 'Ten Essentials' and I've even written a stand alone article on it.  Needless to say, when looking ahead to the 2019 season I knew I needed to up my tire pressure management game. It was like Christmas, but in March! This article is a product review for the ARB Maximum Performance Portable Air Supply.  In the name of full disclosure, I will be

Dean

Dean

 

Has overlanding become the next form of off-road cosplay?

With Overland Expo just a few weeks away my thoughts have turned westward with wide eyes.  Having missed Expo West last year I made a promise to myself I wouldn't miss it this year. Overland Expo West, it's like Boy Scout summer camp only with Jeeps and Skottles Having been to both Overland Expo West and East multiple times (two wests and four easts) one of the popular questions I get asked by people within the overland adventure community is how the two shows different.   I also get aske

Dean

Dean

 

2019 Overland Skills Weekends -

From day one the mission of ECOA has been built on the cornerstone of education.  This is a reflection of my own professional past working in academics as well as my personal desire to share my knowledge and experience with those around me. Over the last four years I have attended large events like Overland Expo as well as smaller rallies and shows as an instructor.  New for 2019 I will be hosting my own series of training events called Overland Skills Weekends.  Read on for details... Fo

Dean

Dean

 

Anatomy of an Engine Swap

If you've been following ECOA social media (if you're not you should be) you've no doubt seen me drop a few clues that the LJ is off the road and undergoing an engine swap.  While the details regarding the progress of the process are limited for now (long story) I thought I would at least take a moment to talk about why I'm doing the swap. While built for back roads, and that's where I want to spent my time, she still logs her fair share of highway miles. The time has come to do something a

Dean

Dean

 

Starting off the year right: Expedition to the New Year with Overland History

I couldn't think of a better way to end 2018 and start 2019 than spending a weekend camping with some fellow overland adventure enthusiasts. As soon as I saw this I thought, "WHERE DO I SIGN?!?" Adam from Overland History put together another "Expedition to the New Year" event this year and I was lucky enough to get invited along.  Read on for my report of the trip as well as some teasers for 2019... The trip started with a jaunt down I81 from PA into central VA We split into two

Dean

Dean

 

ECOA Recovery Guide - Phase 3: Adding to the basics

In the last recovery article I spelled out a basic list of recovery equipment I consider essential to every 4wd vehicle that considers off-pavement travel.  In this article we'll take that basic kit and add to it.  By fleshing out the kit with a few additional accessories and additional recovery equipment we can make sure out slightly modified vehicle can still be recovered. This was a tricky recovery requiring an angular pull with the winch. A strap was also used from the rear of the Toyot

Dean

Dean

 

Progress update on the Poor Man's Teardrop 2.0

A while back I posted some pictures of a new trailer project.  I acquired a surplus M116A3 generator trailer chassis from the local Army Depot.  It was too good a deal to pass on.  The original plan was to turn it into a flat-deck dual-purpose utility trailer and toy-hauler. M116A3 Generator Trailer purchased from a government surplus auction Well, that was the original plan at least... A few weeks after I got the generator trailer home I came across another trailer on the government l

Dean

Dean

 

STOP!

One of the overlooked areas on most modified vehicles whether they are cars or 4x4's is brakes.  A lot of people emphasis going fast, few emphasis handling, and even fewer stopping power.  Given the heavy E load range tires, towing a trailer, and the fact that the Jeep is my daily driver, my brakes have been long over due for an upgrade. LJ on the lift at work. For once I'm not the one turning the wrenches. Luckily I work with some talented mechanics. If you're familiar with ECOA then you k

Dean

Dean

 

Small Upgrades #1 = Radio Communications

If you look back at some of the posts here at ECOA there are some pretty cool flashy upgrades.  Everything from tires and suspension to extended range fuel tanks.  With much of the big stuff taken care of, it's time to turn attention to some smaller upgrades. Redundancy layers are essential when it comes to communications. Cell phones, radios, and satellite devices are a great way to have a backup for when one form or another fails. In particular, radios are great because they all for easy

Dean

Dean

 

[Product Review] L.T. Wright Knives Camp Kitchen & Bushcrafter HC Knife Review

At Overland Expo East last year I had the pleasure of crossing paths with the crew at L.T. Wright Knives yet again.  A perennial favorite at both overland and off-road shows in the Mid-Atlantic area I've spent more than a few minutes <cough> hours <cough> drooling over their knives. Checking out the LTWK booth at the 2017 Overland Expo East event The end of 2017 they debuted their new Camp Kitchen.  It features four handcrafted chef knives ranging from a Large Kitchen Knife to

Dean

Dean

 

Suspension Upgrades: Round 4 - Spring relocation perches

Ever since I got the LJ I've been plagued with rear suspension issues.  The combination of added length and weight over a base TJ meant the stock rear springs had trouble keeping up.   Add to that a bunch of gear, a trailer, and an oversized fuel tank even the JKS JSpec springs couldn't keep up. It's a lot of weight, but luckily she wears it well. I do need to do something about that rear end... I added airbags inside the rear coils last summer in the hopes to mitigate the issue but it wa

Dean

Dean

 

Beadlocks - Are they worth it?

If you recall, at the beginning of the year I had a set of Coyote Enterprises Boltless Beadlocks installed when I got the new Cooper S/T Maxx tires mounted. Coyote Enterprises Boltless Beadlocks What do they do and are they worth it? Although beadlocks are common in the rock-crawling world, the question we are seeking to answer is whether or not their beadlocks would be appropriate for the overland adventure lifestyle.  Let's find out... What is a bead and why does it need locked? The b

Dean

Dean

 

Opportunity, Reflection, and Ambition

As the year winds down I've been taking the time to do two things.  First, reflect upon 2017 (spoiler alert - awesome year).  Second, look ahead to 2018 (no spoilers, you'll just have to keep reading). One of my all time photos from my 2017 adventures. Tanto National Forest, Arizona I like to think of myself as an ambitious person.  Starting 4Low Digital Labs 10 years ago was ambitious.  Authoring the No Highways Tour book series is ambitious.  ECOA is also an ambitious project.  However

Dean

Dean

 

You need to go read this article - Now!

I've made it a point to keep the content here on the ECOA blog my own.  Part of that is just because this is my own little slice of the digital world.  Also because I don't have the funds currently to pay anyone else to contribute to the site.  As such, the job of content creation rests on my shoulders.  That said, I'm still a consumer of content.  Like most of you I read other blogs, I check forums, and watch countless minutes of YouTube content - both overland adventure related and not.  Occas

Dean

Dean

 

ECOA Recovery Guide - Warn Epic Recovery Kit Product Review

A while back I penned an article on winching basics.  I'd like to pick up where I left off with that article and take a more in-debth look at the winch accessory kit that I got from Warn when I got my 9.5xp winch. What's in the bag?!? The Epic Recovery Kit is an all-in-one winch accessory kit that includes a recovery strap, a tree saver, a pair of shackles, a pair of gloves, and a snatch block.  It all comes packaged nicely in a Warn branded backpack.  Let's take a look at the kit... The

Dean

Dean

 

[Trip Report] Three weekend of car-camping

Previous I wrote (or more accurately ranted) about the whole what is or is not "overlanding" debate.  Truth be told, I'm not opposed to calling a spade a spade when in fact it's actually a spade.  In this case, I spent the last three weekends of October car-camping.  Was it "overlanding?" No, not really.  Does it matter? Of course not. Was it a series of fun adventures? Yes, yes it was. Is it overlanding? Is it car-camping? Does it matter? Truthfully, "East Coast Car-Camping Adventures" jus

Dean

Dean

 

My Aussie Locker story

There was a 500 foot cliff to my right.  That same cliff swept across in front of me.  To my left was an escarpment of unknown height.  All the GPS was telling was, "Turn left here."  Alone, with no spotter, in unfamiliar territory, I had only one option.  I couldn't go back.  I couldn't go forward.  I couldn't go right.  Left.  My only option was to go left. Built to explore. Moab, Utah. 2016 No Highways Tour I cranked the wheel hard to the driver side spinning it around till I hit the

Dean

Dean

 

Woolrich Factory Tour (MAOF 2017)

As part of the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival this year the Henwoods organized a tour of the Woolrich Woolen Mill in nearby Woolrich, PA. Arriving at the Woolrich Woolen Mill It's like living in an "How It's Made" episode. This was by far the highlight of the trip since it combined a little overland adventure through the local state forest, a short hike in the Alan Seeger Natural Area, and a factory tour.  All things I love.  Read on for a series of photos from the tour... The g

Dean

Dean

 

Heading over the mountain to the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival

For the third year in a row I'll be heading over the mountain to the annual Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival.  I can't complain that this event is all but in my back yard.  I also can't complain that it's always one of my favorite events of the year.  And, for once, it looks like I can't complain about the weather <no jinx>. "Home" for the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival As such, there will be no feature length blog article this week but I will double up next week with an event re

Dean

Dean

 

In defense of "overlanding"

Overland Expo East 2017 is just around the corner.  This week I'll be leaving for two weeks in North Carolina.  First I'll be dropping down to Uwharrie National Forest for the annual American Adventurist Appalachian Rendezvous.  Then the following weekend I'll be in Asheville for Overland Expo East.  With such a high profile event like expo looming on the horizon I thought it'd be time to address an elephant in the room. Elephants don't belong in rooms. I've noticed a subtle backlash agai

Dean

Dean

 

[Trip Report] - Two weeks in NC for the Appalachian Rendezvous and Overland Expo East

Although the original plan for my trip to NC for the Appalachian Rendezvous and Overland Expo East this year was scrapped, it still managed to pull off a two week trip to one of the most beautiful states on the east coast. Even though Vol 2 of the 2017 No Highways Tour was postponed, I still embraced the NHT philosophy on this trip. May not be able to take a dirt road, but I can always take a backroad. Unlike in years past (looking at you 2015) the weather was absolutely near perfect for

Dean

Dean

 

ECOA Recovery Guide - Phase 2: Introduction to Winching

There are a few iconic accessories that come to mind when envisioning a vehicle outfitted for overland adventures:  snorkels, lights, and of course a winch.  I've already discussed my thoughts on snorkels and lights.  Now it's time to discuss winches. A winch is a mainstay for most 4x4 vehicles. Despite their ubiquity, are they really needed? In this installment of the ECOA Recovery Guide I'm not going to focus on the techniques of winching itself.  That's where a hands-on class from a qu

Dean

Dean

 

[Product Review] Cooper Tire 15,000 mile Update

Rocking 255/85R16 Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx tires while exploring Jefferson National Forest in central Virginia In January of this year I got a set of Cooper® Discoverer S/T Maxx™ tires mounted on the LJ.  In the last eight months I've logged over 15,000 miles of cross-country highways, around-town errands, and backroad overland adventures.  Read on for the next installment of my ongoing tire review... Torture Subjecting a tire to the grueling demands of the overland adventure lifestyle is t

Dean

Dean

 

[Update] No Highways Tour Vol 2 - WV, KY, TN & NC - Postponed!

If you're not aware of Hurricane Irma by now I'd like to know the rock you're living under.  In the next few days a (currently) Category 5 Hurricane is going to make landfall in Florida.  While that does not immediately affect me, within a few days the remnants of the storm are projected to drift inland.  That will affect me. Irma is westbound and down with her sights set on the eastern seaboard of the US With this in mind I have decided to postpone Vol 2 of the 2017 No Highways Tour.  It

Dean

Dean

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