While it would be a stretch to say that we’ve followed a set routine on this trip, we have certain systems dialed really well. I’d like to speak to some of those.
Whenever we arrive at a new campsite that we’ll be setting up fully in – meaning we’ll be using the generator for Starlink and cooking – we have a specific process. As soon as we’ve parked, we both hop out and unclip the cover on the rooftop tent on either side. Once the cover is off, Ryan sets up the tent, while I handle the hitch. To protect the generator from the elements and theft, we have it placed snug with the gas can on the hitch. Ryan then ties it down with multiple NRS straps, followed by a cable and lock. We place two tarps over the gear, then secure the tarps with two pieces of paracord. My job, upon arrival, is to undo all of this. Depending on how elaborately Ryan tied the generator and gas can down, he may even finish with the tent before I’ve de-rigged everything.
Once it’s all untied, I usually carry the generator and gas can to a spot maybe 20 yards from the car to mitigate the noise and CO2. We place a crash pad against the generator to muffle the noise, and it works great – folks have even commented on how quiet it is for a generator. Ryan will fire up the generator and set up the Starlink satellite, in as open a space as possible. Meanwhile, I’ll usually get the stove out and turned on, boiling water and heating up olive oil for whatever we’re eating. I typically cook, while Ryan cleans. I’ve questioned whether this is extremely patriarchal of us, and I’ve decided no, it isn’t. I love cooking, and Ryan is one of the best people you can cook for – so appreciative of literally anything you make, no matter how simple.
Once we’ve both gotten rolling on our various tasks, we then can attend to the smaller details: setting out the camp chairs, getting out plates and silverware, and turning on music.
The breakdown of camp largely goes the same way. Since Ryan always takes down the tent, I always empty it out. I store all of our sleeping stuff (pillows and bags) into a large bag, grab anything remaining in the tent (headlamps, keys, bear spray), then fix the cross hairs – there are two bungee cords that need to be stretched in an X across the tent for it to open and close properly. I then zip it all up, tucking the hanging bags for our shoes in before rolling down the exterior cover.
Ryan will stow the Starlink while I dismantle the camp chairs and pack miscellaneous items into the bins. He’ll get the generator and gas can tied down and locked and I’ll finish off the trunk, shutting it. Then we work together to cover it with the tarp and secure it. I close and lock up the hitch, Ryan flings the tent cover over the top, and then we buckle it down. Now we’re ready to depart.
This process was something we talked through in July and then once again have perfected with time. It is so natural to us at this point that we rarely give it a second thought, and it takes less and less time for us to do. It’s sort of beautiful, the way it happens so seamlessly and without a word.