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Photography = Adventure

It has always been this way for me. When I pick up my camera it gives me purpose and a thirst for discovery and exploration.

I’m based in beautiful British Columbia, surrounded by the snow-covered Coast Range mountains, an hour from the Pacific Ocean and less than a day’s drive to the towering peaks of the Rockies. These places call me, and I’ll often jump in my car and hit the road.

Recently I decided that I wanted to give myself a little more freedom on these adventures, so I bought myself a tiny adventure trailer, and began to turn it into the ultimate portable photography basecamp.

I’m able to live and work out of this thing for days at a time, and in the near future I plan on doing some long distance multi-week trips. With a small desk to work at I can edit images on the road and keep up with writing new content for my photography website, Shutter Muse.

Everywhere I take the trailer people stop me to ask questions, so I’ve built this page to point people to. The whole #vanlife movement is a popular one these days, and I’m here to show you that it doesn’t necessarily need to involve a van!

Hopefully this inspires a few people to plan some photographic adventures of their own! Please scroll to the bottom for the FAQ section.

Taxa Tigermoth Trailer

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Tepui Roof Tent

An optional extra on this railer is the 3-person Tepui Baja roof tent. You can comfortably sleep two people inside the trailer itself, but on warmer days it’s much nicer to pop the tent open and sleep “upstairs” where you can get a better view and a good breeze passing through the huge vented doors and windows.

The tent’s interior is incredibly spacious, bigger than a double bed, and it has a memory foam matteress built into it so you get a great night of sleep.

Powering My Camera Equipment on the Road

It’s important for me to keep my camera equipment and laptop charged up when I’m on my adventures. Being somewhat free from the tethers of an office has always been one of the the things that excited me about a career in photography, but you can’t escape the need to charge cameras, and deal with emails and content delivery on a laptop. With the help of my friends from B&H Photo, we set the trailer up with a top-of-the-line power system.

Goal Zero Yeti 1400 Lithium Power Station

The Yeti 1400 Lithium Power Station from Goal Zero was the clear choice for the heart of my trailer’s power system, with it’s awesome combination of simplicity and portability, as well as a great selection of power inputs and outputs.

Goal Zero Boulder 100 and Boulder 50 Solar Panels

Whilst it’s possible to hook this trailer up to a 30 amp supply at a camp ground, the whole point of it if off-the-grid adventure, so solar power made a lot of sense. Whilst you don’t have to use Goal Zero solar panels with the Yeti 1400 battery, I really love the solid build quality of their products, and the great customer service you get from them if you ever have a technical question about your setup.

I opted for a permanent roof-mounted Boulder 100 panel, and an additional Boulder 50 panel that can be deployed on the ground when at a camp spot. This second portable panel is extremely useful because you can position it using an extension cable, to make sure it’s in the ideal orientation for gathering sunlight.

Additional Goal Zero Gear

From the Trailer

Light-A-Life 350 LED

This LED runs directly from the 6mm 12v output on the Yeti 1400 battery pack, and using an extension cable I’m able to run it out of the back door of the trailer and up under the rear awning to provide me with great lighting over the kitchen area. The spread of light is adjustable, and the cable coils up into the it when not in use. Up to 8 of them can be chained together and run off a single 12v output!

Venture 30 Battery

When I need to take power away from the trailer, I use this small Venture 30 battery pack. It has 2 USB outputs on it, and a built-in Micro USB cable which works perfectly for charging my headlamp and InReach satellite messenger. Small cameras can charge directly from the battery, but I also use a USB Canon DSLR charger from Nitecore. The Venture 30 is rubberized and designed for usage in rough environents. I rarely leave home without it

Light-A-Life Mini LED

This mini version of the Light-a-Life LED lamp runs off a USB plug instead of the 6mm 12v plug. It’s much smaller than its bigger brother, but it’s perfect for hanging up in a tent. I usually take it camping with me, and when I’m out in the trailer, it hangs “upstairs” in the Tepui roof tent. It’ll run for a couple of days from the Venture 30 battery pack, and light the larger ones, you can daisy-chain a whole bunch of them together too!

Guardian 12v ControlleR

Whilst most of my solar power gets dumped straight into the Yeti 1400 Lithium Power Station, I sometimes divert some into the 12v marine battery that came with the trailer. This secondary battery system is a good backup, and often gets used to run my 12v fridge when it comes with me. When you use solar power with a lead-acid battery, you first have to pass it though a charge controller which monitors the power level and prevents overcharging.

Note: B&H does ship most items internationally, and you can often get free shipping, as well as pre-pay tax and duties.

More Gear

Be sure to check out my extensive photographic gear guide to find out more about the cameras, lenses and other accessories I’m using these days for my work. Below you’ll find a few short lists of the other gear that I’ve found to be essential for my trailer adventures.

Trailer-Related Blog Content

My personal blog on this site covers a variety of topics and photographic ramblings – below you’ll find the latest ones that relate to my adventure trailer. If you’re looking for longer tutorials and reviews, be sure to check out the content on my other site, Shutter Muse.
My Newsletter

Keep In Touch

Sign up to my periodic newsletter to keep up to date with my latest photographic adventures. You’ll be the first to hear about my latest tutorials, and receive exclusive member’s discounts on my latest photography training courses and eBooks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the exact Model of the trailer?

It’s a 2017 Taxa TigerMoth. The website for the manufacturer is http://taxaoutdoors.com

What do you use to tow your trailer?

I drive a Subaru Crosstrek. I would consider a medium-sized car like that to be the minimum for the 2017 version of this trailer.

Why not get a van instead?

Cost is a factor. A well kitted out van is considerably more expensive. I also appreciate the excellent efficiency of my car on long journeys, and that’s something I’m not currently willing to give up. It’s also nice to be able to unhook the trailer and leave it somewhere while you explore the surroundings.

What do you do about heating?

Running an electic heater from the battery isn’t practical, they simply draw too much power. I have a small Mr Heater propane heater that uses the same gas canisters as my stove. I may invest in an electic heater if I plan long stays at a campground with a power hookup.

Can I buy that trailer in XXXX country?

The trailers are manufactured in the US, and as far as I’m aware, they can only be purchased from dealers in the US and Canada.

What’s the towing weight of the TigerMoth trailer?

2017 and earlier models used an aluminum frame to keep them light. The dry weight is right around the 900lb mark which is one of the thngs that attracted me to it in the first place, since I have quite a low powered vehicle. For some reason, the 2018 version has switched to a steel frame and is more than 400lb heavier. My guess is that a lot of people will hunt for the lighter aluminum versions at dealers and on the second hand market.

Do you get enough solar power from those panels?

It’s something of a moot point because there’s no room for any more anyway! Aolar input is hugely dependant on the weather, and also the time of year. In the winter for example, when the sun is low all day, you get considerably less power on a sunny day. Maybe 50% less than in the summer. Some days I replenish the power I have used, and some days I can’t. It’s tough to predict, but I know I’m doig all I can with my simple, small setup.

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