RV Recommendations

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 198
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Thu May 17, 2018 9:07 am

@C40

I’m looking into it but I’m working in a metropolitan area and I may have to go at least 40 minutes away to get to a campground. I would have to calculate a distance after which the increased time/gasoline expenditure for commuting makes it not worth it.

The cost of some campgrounds is what had me also thinking about RVs- I wouldn’t be able to set up a tent in the Walmart parking lot.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 9813
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by jacob » Thu May 17, 2018 9:23 am

What luxagraf said. We lived in an almost always stationary RV between fall 2008 and winter(*) 2011.

(*) ... which in the east bay meant 32F lows in the winter. I saw snow once and people were running around taking pictures of it. The worst part was "monsoon"-season where it would rain constantly (22hrs/day) for three weeks straight in the spring.

If you're stationary (i.e. full hookups in a mobile home park), dealing with blackwater is just a matter of going out once a week (obviously depending on tank size and the number of people) and pulling a handle. This sends it all into a hole in the ground. Then close that handle and open the gray water tank. This flushes everything "clean". Of course on can do any number of stupid things such as pulling both handles or not securing the hose. I've never done that nor do I know anyone who has every done that, but I did see it in a movie once. Incidentally, when hooked up you can leave the gray water handle open to flush directly into the sewer. Don't ever do that with the black water. You need to retain the piss to move the shit so to speak :P

+1 to avoiding electronics and fancy solutions as much as possible. I have the same low opinion of house electronics, but RV electronics is worse. RVs are not designed for full time living so doing that will be wearing them hard. Also, RV appliances are 2-4x more expensive than domestic ones. Ditto marine stuff. Go to campingworld.com or westmarine.com and see what a fridge costs. For example, our RV came with gray/blackwater tank indicators that showed how full they were. Fancy fancy. Within a few months there were fouled. Of course you can buy a solution for that. Tank wands and sprinklers and all kinds of chemicals every time you empty the tanks. Or you can just say screw it and realize that it's possible to tell how full the tanks are by the sounds they make when running the plumbing. This is a good argument for building your own RV out of a van. You know exactly how it's wired. You can get a simple/practical solution.

Avoid a flat roof. I repeat, avoid a flat roof. Water will pool on top of it and once it does, it'll sound like you're living in a submarine when it rains. You must get a curved roof so water will run off!! Pooled water makes leaks worse. The more "holes" you cut/have in your roof, the higher the risk. This goes with the "convenience electronics" too. We had 2 A/Cs, 2 skylight/fans, a CB antenna, and TV antenna. Having nothing or just one A/C would have been better. IMHO, holes (if you must have them) are best made in the side of the RV. Hunting for leaks is somewhere between annoying and impossible. Water will find a way, so water might be coming down the front while the actual hole is in the back. Eventually we bought two billboard tarps on ebay (search "used billboard tarp"), hammered in some grommets and strapped them over the roof. We used those during rain season and winter. It cut our heating gas usage by 75%!. IIRC we were advertising for AT&T + some cheap credit company to the sky. You could tell on google satellite :lol: I once had to battle those tarps in 60MPH gusts. That was not fun.

Leveling jacks are awesome. Unfortunately ours came with a fancy automatic push-a-single-button system that never worked. (Refer to comments about fancy electronics above.) Get manuals (permanently installed scissor jacks). They're much cheaper and there's not much that can go wrong. This also avoids rocking the boat in the wind.

If you park under a tree, you'll get shade which is nice. Without it and without A/C, the interior will get real warm. We once had a power outage in CA in the summer and interior temps rose to 140F! Careful about leaving pets home. However, if you park under a tree you will also get sap on the roof which is very hard to clean off! Add dust to sap and it turns black.

If you park on soft ground (boondocking) over vegetation, the dew will eventually rust out your bottom. Also oils leaks, etc. Hard top is better.

Size matters. Most people err on the large side (same with boats) rather than the small side. Ours was 34' long. This meant planning the approach/ingress on gas stations because there were some turns we couldn't take. We once had to drive the damn thing through downtown for a smog check. That was a high stress situation. Keep in mind that our 34' size was a compromise. DW wanted something around 38' (because she "needed" the space). I wanted something around 26-28'. Today we both agree that something around 21-23' would be better because we don't really need the space and we "want" the mobility. There's a lesson here :mrgreen:

Living in a motorhome, it means that when we had to take the "motor" to the mechanic, it also meant taking our home to the mechanic. This meant means losing both your vehicle and your home until they get it fixed. That's a strong argument for keeping those two separate i.e. truck+TT/5th. Also, few mechanics will take RVs (you have to look for an RV mechanic) but everybody will take a truck or a van.

Some people get three-way fridges + washer and dryer. That's insane! Don't. Always follow the KISS principle. The final S is what costs $$$$.

So why didn't we sell the car back then and buy a truck and a TT? IIRC, the main reason was that gas prices in CA at the time were $5+ and DW had a commute. Why didn't we move closer to her work seeing as I was retired? Because the local and only RV park in that town didn't allow dogs. And because of the size "requirements" mentioned above. Also we hadn't learned the above lessons yet. If we had to go back and do it again, we would have done the truck and the TT even as gas prices were above $5/gal.

On my http://earlyretirementextreme.com/frequ ... -questions I mention the wall tent. We've done quite a bit of car camping in a three person tent (cheap dome tent) while cooking on an MSR whisperlite. A "small" wall tent weighs ~60 pounds. If you want a stove, that's another 40 pounds. However, what this gets you is the ability to sleep on cots which is certainly nicer than sleeping on pads. It also gives you the ability to bathe inside the tent. You can sit upright on a small chair. Having been rained out in a dome tent, the wall tent sounds like a more "comfortable"(*) option when you have the car/horse to carry it. An alternative to the wall tent would be a teardrop trailer.

(*) Yes, I hate/resent it when comfort is used to justify something ... so I guess it's just a matter of degree :oops:

User avatar
theanimal
Posts: 1075
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:05 pm
Location: Gates of the Arctic
Contact:

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by theanimal » Thu May 17, 2018 10:08 am

There was a guy a few years ago who lived in a wall tent full time in Virginia, iirc. He kept a blog of his lifestyle and musings on tent living for a while. I think he had a friend with vacant land who let him put his tent there. His whole set up looked really nice. If I lived in a warmer area, I'd give serious consideration to doing something similar.

Here's the blog:http://dshillingtentliving.blogspot.com/2012/04/

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 9813
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by jacob » Thu May 17, 2018 10:19 am

@theanimal - Excellent, thanks!

I think I was sold on the "big tent" idea some years ago when I watched Dave Canterbury's Journal of the Yurt.

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2007
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by C40 » Thu May 17, 2018 10:25 am

Thanks for posting that, theanimal!

I may end up doing something quite similar.

User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 5716
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by jennypenny » Thu May 17, 2018 10:35 am

That's very cool. I think I would build a big greenhouse and put the tent inside it. It would help with climate control and give me a place to garden year-round.

User avatar
C40
Posts: 2007
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am
Location: Western U.S.
Contact:

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by C40 » Thu May 17, 2018 11:16 am

ERE TENT CITY!

Augustus
Posts: 380
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:15 am

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by Augustus » Thu May 17, 2018 1:28 pm

All the people touting the benefits of having more intimate encounters with feces aside, I just potty trained my kid, you'll have to excuse me but it's not high on my list of priorities to add more contact with feces into my life. I'm not waking up every morning thinking.. something is missing in my life... oh I know! I really miss cleaning up a big steaming pile of shit! I'll hire that out, ERE be damned.

Tent would be a cool solution. Dump all the annoying maintenance/risks of system of an RV. Are you able to find campgrounds near your worksites? Sounds better than an RV/camper. But again, TRY IT FIRST. See how you like it before sinking any money into it. Different strokes for different folks, obviously...

Edit, just saw your notes that campgrounds are 40 minutes away, nope, nonstarter. You're trading too much of your time in that scenario. I lean back to camper. I personally think these ones are bad ass: http://alaskancampers.com/ They have a manual hydraulic system for raising and lowering, I also distrust RV electronics in general. The more old school manual the better. IIRC the alaskan campers haven't changed much since the 1950s, they are supposed to be very reliable because of their nonreliance on poorly build electrical systems. Plus they look AWESOME.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 9813
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by jacob » Thu May 17, 2018 1:50 pm

I think the biggest issue with the wall tent is that you'll likely only be allowed to build a platform on private land lest you can convince the camp-manager that you can dismantle the whole setup in an hour (maybe pallets or a bunch of 8x4' plywood that's kreg jointed together and which you burn when you leave?), lest it look like you're building a permanent installation. AFAIK, wall tents don't have bottoms, so you'll be in direct contact with the wildlife (think ants, ticks, snakes).

Stahlmann
Posts: 383
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by Stahlmann » Thu May 17, 2018 5:50 pm

theanimal wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 10:08 am
There was a guy a few years ago who lived in a wall tent full time in Virginia, iirc. He kept a blog of his lifestyle and musings on tent living for a while. I think he had a friend with vacant land who let him put his tent there. His whole set up looked really nice. If I lived in a warmer area, I'd give serious consideration to doing something similar.

Here's the blog:http://dshillingtentliving.blogspot.com/2012/04/

My fellow students used to "live" (squatting style, on campus) in tents in Hamburg when they traveled for Erasmus exchange. They changed mind as winter started, though.

I heard this as the joke yesterday during millennial's exchange on cost of rent (good to live with parents near work; #rentistheft), anyway experienced peak in HR). Of course, I wanted details and didn't laugh, because I was mentally like: "Bringing 200 EUR for each month from this project to home country. Wow, nice trick!". They spent it on alcohol probably, so - meh.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 9813
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by jacob » Thu May 17, 2018 5:55 pm

#students :)

User avatar
luxagraf
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:32 pm
Contact:

Re: RV Recommendations

Post by luxagraf » Thu May 17, 2018 7:12 pm

Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 4:16 pm
Already looking at these:

https://montanacanvas.com/product-category/wall-tents/
Met a guy in Utah, or maybe Colorado I can't remember now, but he traveled on a Harley with one of these (or very similar). His name was the Lonesome HillBilly. He stopped by our fire one night for a while, really nice guy. He wrote some books on motorcycle camping if I remember right.

Post Reply