*notcot - , 18:15 - 0 Notes

NOTFZJ80: Test Trip, Big Bear I

maincamp0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

I can’t believe we’re finally at this stage… TEST TRIP! For our first quick test trip there are two big things that need testing: #1 Camping! #2 Offroading! It still blows my mind how quickly we’ve gotten here, and how much we’ve done. It looks like such a different car from when we first brought it home. Looking back for a moment - we’ve been asked “Why THIS project car?” quite a bit, and without a doubt, it’s all about the experience for me. This isn’t exactly the type of setup you can just rent - and there’s something different when you do it all yourself bit by bit to make your ultimate setup! And as NOTCOT closes in on 10, I can’t even count how many incredible experiences i’ve been exposed to as i’ve run around covering events, exploring brands, testing (new) cars all over the world, but what has been lacking are the random vacations and goal free explorations I used to have. So the NOTFZJ80 is our way to do something that none of our other vehicles can do, and a reason to simply venture out, get lost, and get inspired by the unplannable unknown. Will it work? I can’t wait to find out!

So back to first test trip… having just gotten back from Atlanta, and heading to Iron Mountain, Michigan tomorrow… we didn’t have much time to squeeze in a little test trip. So it had to be close to home! A bit of research landed us on Big Bear! Only 2.5 hours away, gorgeous lake, and an easy spot to camp for a night and off road a bit… so take a look at part one (Camping!) on the next page!

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*notcot - 08.05.14 , 17:20 - 0 Notes

NOTFZJ80: PART III

update0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

Seems about time for a NOTFZJ80 Project update! This update is a combo of accessorizing and… waiting. So much patient waiting… as the Land Cruiser heads in to TLC to get some work done. But just because the car isn’t here doesn’t mean there aren’t NOTFZJ80 Project related tasks to be done. In this update we’ve got the front bumper + winch installed, dropped it off to the shop, started the scavenger hunt for parts (which even brings us over to AutoNation Toyota in Irvine), amusement with jigger siphons, jerry cans, MaxTrax, D-ring shackle bracelets, marine grade battery and more… check out the latest progress on the next page! We are nearly adventure ready!

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*notcot - 07.23.14 , 01:02 - 0 Notes

NOTFZJ80: ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent

arbtent0b.jpg So excited to announce that The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

On NOTFZJ80 updates - the truck is currently in the shop at TLC and we have put in an order for some OEM parts over at AutoNation Toyota Irvine - so big updates to come in the following weeks! Currently the biggest update is the addition of our ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent we received, installed, and climbed around in… (No, i haven’t spent the night in it yet!) I’m still in awe of it - so fun, so BIG, and i love the way it opens and closes. While rooftop tents have long been the norm in places like Australia and Africa (keeps you up above the creepy crawlies and such) - they are starting to pop up more and more in the US lately. It took Shawn a bit to convince me it was the way to go - until our adventures at Overland Expo where i got to climb in and around a few models to fully understand how this was so different from camping in a regular tent… and picked this one!

So what’s so different? Firstly, THE VIEW! Everything looks so different peeking out from the windows up above the car. And they say a shift in perspective can do wonders - i’ve even heard that taller beds often changing the way you dream! There’s also something treehouse like about being perched up there. Secondly, the nearly queen sized foam mattress! Yup, this isn’t just sleeping on a sleeping pad in a sleeping bag. You can even close it up with your bedding in there. And thirdly, the way it opens and closes with ease - just pull off the cover, slide out the ladder, and pull it open! With a little practice, we’re getting faster and faster with it!

Oh, and yes the cantilever is super secure - and no the ladder is not structural. (First thing everyone asks as they climb up in there!) Ready to see all the details of it up close? To the next page!

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*notcot - 06.18.14 , 12:40 - 0 Notes

Rock Creek, Mammoth Lakes Adventures

0-main.jpg We recently disconnected from the world (and our technology) and disappeared up to Rock Creek up in the Mammoth Lakes area at the foothills of the Sierras. About a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles, 4 humans and 2 dogs went to go play in the woods! It dumped snow the first night we got in, but luckily it started after we were tucked away in our cabin - and the NOTpuppy, Bucky was lucky to catch his first taste of snow (which he LOVED jumping chest deep into) and the last snow of the season. The highlight was definitely good times with good friends and a chance to watch the dogs run free - frolicking through the streams and meadows till they just couldn’t handle anymore… which resulted in coming home and sleeping for a few days! Along the way we also found some amazing jerky, delicious pie, and had a near catastrophe with some flying carrion. Take a peek at the adventures (and a taste for what the NOTFZJ80 will hopefully lead to!) on the next page!

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*notcot - 05.28.14 , 14:40 - 0 Notes

Audi Q3 Camping Tent by Heimplanet

auditent0.jpg We’ve been intrigued ever since Heimplanet (the guys behind the amazing inflatable geodesic tents) dropped hints at a car tent in an email recently… and then THIS popped up on their instagram, which filled me with curiosity to know and see more! Luckily, I ran into this Autoblog piece which features it front and center! So what is it? The press release describes it as “…a newly developed concept called the “Q3 camping tent,” which with a wind load rating of up to 70 km/h is also suitable for harsher weather. The tent structure can be removed from the supplied bag and set up in roughly seven minutes: roll it out, pump it up and the free-standing tent is ready. It can even be fastened to the open rear hatch of the Q3, if necessary.”

Take a peek at the details on the next page ~ all i’m wondering now, is if an inflatable rooftop tent is a NOTFZJ80 possibility…

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*notcot - 05.18.14 , 16:10 - 0 Notes

Front Runner Outfitters

frontrunner1.jpg “GO TO EXTREMES. BRING BACK PROOF.” This ad for Front Runner Outfitters sums up the potential and lifestyle of overlanding wonderfully! And this is just one of may stunning visuals they have. Honestly, one thing that has struck me when researching all things overlanding, both online and in person, is the lack of usability and branding/identity in communications. So many of the websites seem to be surprisingly difficult to navigate, and even when you figure out which products you are interested in, it isn’t the easiest to find exact dimensions/weights, vehicle compatibility, and i’ve run into lots of dead ends following links. This definitely feels like a very forum driven industry when it comes to trying to find reviews and detailed comparisons… So it has been a breath of fresh air to find Front Runner Outfitters.

According to the press page, “Front Runner is a 14 year old South African based company founded by a team of engineers, designers, outdoor enthusiasts and professional off-road drivers.” Their tiki themed booth definitely stood out amongst the Arizona landscape of our first Overland Expo adventure… and their ‘Go to extremes. Bring back proof.’ ads are just fantastic. Additionally, as a newcomer to overlanding, their one-sheet Vehicle Specific Brochures (including a Toyota Land Cruiser 80 one that looks a lot like our white NOTFZJ80) definitely helps me visualize the possibilities MUCH more easily! Take a peek at the next page to see some of the fun goods we found, the FJ80 one sheet, as well as more of their great ads!

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*notcot - 05.17.14 , 23:57 - 1 Notes

Overland Expo 2014: Flagstaff, AZ

0-overlandMAIN.jpg I think i’m experiencing Overland Overload? Here at NOTCOT, we’re nothing if not thorough when we get into obsessive research mode! So it should be no surprise that once we watched tons of videos, acquired our NOTFZJ80, and even shared lots of fun design inspiration in overlanding gear (in a week!)… that when i realized Overland Expo was only a 7 hour drive away in Flasgstaff, we had to hop in the car and go see it all in person! And WOW, if you’re at all curious to not only see and touch all things overland in person, but also talk to both brand reps and overlanders who are camped out in their custom rigs… it is the place to go!

On the next page check out everything we found - from more Land Cruisers, Land Rovers, Unimogs, Jeeps, and more of every vintage/color… to every variations of rooftop tents, pop up and pop out kitchens, survival gear, hammock pods, and so many happy dogs…

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*notcot - 05.06.14 , 19:48 - 0 Notes

The Design of Overlanding

overlandmain.jpg Life is all about balance ~ and it should be no surprise that the more time we all spend glued to screens (yes, phones count), the more we need the great outdoors! As you may have heard, between our endless 3D printing/soldering/etc. recently, we impulse started the NOTFZJ80 Project. While Shawn has been sharing endless Overlanding videos, forum discussions, and most excitingly — the gear, i’ve been fascinated by creative design solutions we keep finding!

The world of Overlanding is all new to me. Wikipedia defines it as: Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, it is accomplished with mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping, often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries. I grew up with my first few cars being SUVs. When living in LA, SD, and SF, throwing everything in my car and spontaneously moving or roadtripping was never out of the question. I love the idea of your car being ready to handle anything and take you anywhere and back.

Overlanding fits nicely on the spectrum between luxury hotel jetsetting and backpacking around the world… in that spot that is more luxurious than camping, more self sufficient than glamping, as equipped as an RV, but everything is more efficiently packed, multifunctional, and far more capable to get you through just about anything… it’s the perfect combo of man/machine teaming up to explore the outdoors to reach amazing remote spots. What i didn’t expect was how many fascinating design solutions pop up around the basics of what you can fit in/on/around your 4x4 vehicle, and how much of a fun designer project the process can be! Take a peek on the next page at some of the fun gear/setup possibilities i’ve been learning about while we research it all…

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*notcot - 01.29.14 , 14:41 - 0 Notes

Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles

*notcot - 01.13.14 , 14:44 - 0 Notes

Ace Hotel Portland: Inside #420

*notcot - 12.30.13 , 14:11 - 0 Notes

ROADTRIP! LA to Park City + Audi Q7 TDI

*notcot - 12.22.13 , 13:09 - 0 Notes

YETI Coolers

*notcot - 11.06.13 , 14:35 - 0 Notes

Inspiration: Nashville!

*notcot - 10.21.13 , 16:50 - 0 Notes

Inspiration: Seattle

*notcot - , 16:00 - 0 Notes

Seattle Adventures: Boeing Factory Tour

boeingmain.jpg One of our favorite discoveries in Seattle - Boeing Factory Tour in Everett, WA! It’s only about 30 minutes north of Seattle, and the sheer scale of the space and the planes and the factory in motion is mind blowing.

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