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I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:23 pm
by BMF1102
First this is not a move to save money on housing, my housing bills the last 18months average $205 USD. (Gas, electric, water, trash, property tax)

Second, this became a long post. Please have a read and tell me what you think. Thank you

This is a lifestyle move.
I spend 5-6 months a year traveling for work. I typically spend 2-5 weeks in a location have a couple days to a week or so off between jobs. I usually spend $350-$700 a week for temporary housing. Where I could be spending those amounts for a campsite for a month. Or even possibly free in some areas. So this could save me money while working.

When not working I enjoy camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, outdoor shit etc. I enjoy exploring new areas, I would love to see all the National parks and various other state parks, preserves, landmarks, etc.

So I'm looking at options to carry my bike, kayak, camp gear, 2 tool boxes (for work 26" wide x18" deep x14" tall), and all basic needs for full time living. A place/way to cook, a place to sleep comfortably, and preferably a place to answer nature's call.

I'm leaning more towards a truck and trailer of some sort. Have thought long and hard about vans or class Bs.

I think I might run short on space and security (for the bike/kayak) in a van. Plus I work at nuclear power plants and they can be fickle about what you're bringing on site.

I have read C40s journal and blog and Bryan's, I have also read various other van and mobile living sites/blogs.

I'm pushing for FI as soon as possible but in more of a semi retired way. I take a couple months off work in the summers. So instead of always traveling back home between jobs I could stay and explore the different towns/areas more. This would make exploring in the off season easier by not having to always live out of a tent or renting Airbnbs.

Since I have to have a vehicle for work and typically drive 30,000ish miles a year. I thought I might as well kinda combine 2 big expenses in one.

I'm looking for thoughts, ideas and advice about what might be the best for my situation.

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:41 pm
by bigato
Would a skoolie be acceptable for the nuclear plants?

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:45 pm
by unemployable
reddit vandwellers

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:05 pm
by Laura Ingalls
Do you presently own a pick up and what is it’s tow ratings?

I’d lean towards a small/medium sized travel trailer or fifth wheel. DH’s fancy carbon bike rides on the bed when we camp. It was more expensive than the camper :x

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:56 pm
by BMF1102
@Bigato - Skoolies are pretty cool, I've also considered building out a box truck ultimately I want something more maneuverable. I'm more concerned my living quarters may have banned items on board rather than the actual vehicle being the problem.

@Unemployable - Never really spent much time on reddit I may look into it. Thank you

@L.I. - :lol: My bike is not that fancy! I have considered a small camper to tow behind my Cherokee like a Casita or Scamp. I do not currently have a truck.

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:02 pm
by Laura Ingalls
@bmf1102 His bike is fancy, but our camper is pretty ghetto too. Everyone else’s bikes ride on a bike rack on the back.

The Scamp factory makes one camper each day. They can be hard to get used and have a waitlist for new. They would be very towable with a Cherokee.

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:32 pm
by sky
Get a Chevy high top van, put some Goodyear All Terrain AT tires on it. Add a roof vent, 200 watts of solar and two or three deep discharge batteries. Build out the interior similar to this:

We have a RoadTrek class B which would also work for you, however there are better ways of doing things today. For example, a high efficiency 12 V fridge instead of an old RV fridge, or a chinese diesel heater instead of an RV heater. Having a stealthier vehicle is also an advantage over a class B. However, a class B would work.

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:47 am
by BMF1102
@Sky - I have definitely thought about vans, I would lean towards a sprinter type though. I agree with you there are far better options these days for the various appliances than what came in any older unit I might buy.

@L.I. - Yes they are hard to come by, incidentally I have friend who has restored/updated a Casita and never used it that is now considering selling it. I have 300,000+ miles on my Cherokee, I'd jump in and drive across country today. I'm not sure I want to start abusing it by toting around a camper.

Options I'm leaning towards
- Tall, long sprinter type van
- Truck + toy hauler type 5th wheel
- Truck + horse trailer with living quarters
- Truck + enclosed car hauler built out

I think having a "garage" area for the bike, kayak, tools, possibly small motorcycle, small work bench. Would be ideal for making this work long term. Having a place to work on things is really nice.

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:53 pm
by bigato
I've put a lot of thought on living in a van earlier this year, and having a bicycle was a requirement of mine. But given your first post, I'd say that your requirements would fit better in something bigger. I like the truck idea, although you may spend quite a bit of money on that. Make sure to draw plans and see what fits. You may try to use cardboards to simulate it inside your house and see if you can live in there.

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:57 pm
by BMF1102
@ Bigato - Are you going to try van living?
Unfortunately I think a van will be just a tad cramped for what I want. Although I do really like the mobility and simplicity of it.
I have lived in a pop-up camper in the past. I'm confident if I have a dedicated place to cook, sleep and poop I could make it work.

Another thought is to go with a van and keep the house for home base, or sell the house and buy an acre or so to set up a home base.
Selling the house could add approximately $65,000 to the stash.

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:37 pm
by bigato
This year, after long vacations from away from ERE, I started looking at my expenses again and attacking them seriously. The first few months of the year I was exploring the biggest fixed expense, that is, housing. I did some exploring on it and was considering seriously the van living. Mostly what kept me out of it was that in my case, it wouldn't save me much money when compared to the cheapest rent I can get around here, but also, I was a bit nervous about having to deal with a vehicle, given that I don't even know how to ride a car now (never wanted to learn) and lack any experience with car mechanics. It was too much change at once for me. So, I ended up going the route of cheaper rent, but haven't completely ruled out van living after I quit the job. Part of the process to get there would be to get rid of a lot of stuff, and there is still so much to go. The big stuff required some effort but went fast, now the small stuff... I'm postponing sorting it out. But in a way, you could say that I am moving towards van living. I learned how to keep clean without a shower, for example. The cooking would be harder if I wanted to be stealth, because of the noise.

Actually, this is another advice for you. It's a huge change of lifestyle for most people, and you can work your way towards it while still living inside walls. It may well be that at some point of the path, you decide that you had enough downsizing and that going further is not for you. It happens, it's ok. But it is so much better if you can find that out before you start spending money on the van and remodeling. But well, you have more experience with mobile living than I do.

If your house has a garage and you can rent the rest but keep the garage for yourself, you really could make it work comfortably. But keeping both the house and the van without renting the house sounds like a lot of work, not sure if it will be an improvement on your life or just added burden. Having an acre would also work if you were allowed to park and plug to utilities. That would be great in my opinion. You could even grow a lot of food with little work.

Also regarding feeling cramped, I know that I could make a vw van work *for me* with space for a bicycle, but definitely not a kayak. But there are bigger vans, you may find one that is enough. I'd love a kayak myself now that you talked about it :) That's why I asked about the skoolie. You see, I'd be mostly fine pooping at work, and having no shower would pose no problem. The cooking, hmm, I really prefer to cook and that's where the vans start getting small, or at least not so convenient because now you have additional worry about fuel for the stove, danger of fire, or big batteries if you think electric, worries about how to recharge them, how to get water. You see, very soon it doesn't seem like you are simplifying your life anymore. The *idea* of simplicity is interesting, but will it really be simpler? What about the worry about people finding out you are inside your parked van? You really need to think about what benefit you are looking to reap here because simplicity and peace of mind ain't it. Now, the mobility is fascinating, specially if you have a free enough schedule.

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:12 pm
by BMF1102
@ Bigato - just crossed my mind.... Inflatable Kayak!

I'm still pondering the rest of your thoughts/advice

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:44 pm
by Laura Ingalls

They would fix you up only 35-80k :lol:

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:37 am
by BMF1102
Laura - $35,000 wouldn't be terrible if it included the vehicle but I could not bring myself to spend it! :lol:
Have you done any van/mobile living or are currently? I've tried finding your journal (if you have one) but no luck yet. I like a comment of yours in another thread about "multiple crappy streams of income" being enough, or something to that effect. I would like to hear more about your situation, I will look for your journal again and read comments of yours.

Bigato - I could see Van living being a pretty daunting prospect especially if you have never driven a vehicle and have zero mechanical experience! Luckily I am very mechanically inclined and have experience driving numerous vehicle sizes.
I agree that any sort of mobile living will not necessarily be simpler. I guess I meant I like simplicity of a van that has everything you need in one unit, and not having to drag a trailer around, is what I was referring to with the "simplicity" comment.

My 2 largest expenses are temporary accommodations and vehicle fuel, so a highly fuel efficient car and a tent are the simplest solutions. Something slightly more comfortable would be preferred though!

I am in fact really leaning towards just a van and keeping the house. Perhaps when I find a good place to set up a home base for my mobile arrangement then renting the house.

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:46 am
by Laura Ingalls
I don’t have a journal, maybe I should fix that. I am half of a straight married 50 something couple with two high school aged kiddos. We both have part-time jobs and DH trades options as well. We still have shortfall which has been equivalent to a SWR of 1.0-1.5%. I also consider our FAFSA friendly income as a future passive income stream too. Looking forward to a life with more slow travel, less winter, and no more school schedules.

I haven’t even camped this year :roll: . We have camped a lot with our aged 5th wheel and 3/4 ton pick up. In 2015 we had our camper in a seasonal site and our neighborhoods were all full timers. DH extended family all loves camping and has a variety of camping setups.

I saw the vandoit’s in person all custom builds with brand new vans. They were pretty sweet, not my ideal as comfortable bed for two and a kitchen fitted for more than reheating is my ideal.

Re: I'm going mobile, let's discuss the options.

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:26 am
by CS
Having watched a lot of van videos it seems people's progressions often are from

Large truck with trailer
Large RV with toad (small car off the back)
Class B
steathlier class B

People seem happy to shed the stress of the trailer and the expensive towing vehicles. A lot of people overestimate how much room they need.
Perhaps you could rent something for a period and see before committing to a purchase.