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Old 10-30-2013, 11:38 AM   #15
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Box truck

Here in Virginia Beach there are two mobile RV repair businesses - both run out of kinda large box trucks. One guy showed me how he could modify a corner of his with an added shower, composting toilet and generator for electric heat - so that he could serve a wider territory to include most of Eastern VA and NC.

Small 5 x 8 trailers are great if they're also workrooms... but if you need inventory and a mobile workroom, and have a hydraulic lift or folding steps to get up to the bed... bigger may be better.

DO heed prior posters who have warned about the zoning wonks. They can and will screw with your best made plans.

If you really want to live free park and move about every three days. I have noticed - a fiver, or a trailer or a big moho will be hassled in some parking lots/informal stopovers. A utility box truck - or a truck camper or virtually any van conversion camper won't be. Don't announce "we're camping" by having a cookout or deploying awnings and the assumption is that you belong there or are working there.

Paula
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:44 PM   #16
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I do not know if you could find one at a low enough price, but a horse trailer might be a good choice. You can get them with a small insulated living area and use the open area for the horses for storage and a work room. If you are handy it should not be too hard to rebuild the interior of a used one.
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreaminWA View Post
That's a great idea! Thanks!
Always check with UHaul.


They sell a lot of their trailers, boxes and trucks.

Bob
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:07 PM   #18
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You seem to have it all sorted out then

The Nature's Head toilet gets excellent reviews, we'll be getting the same model installed in our own trailer next year. Also, love the Little Cod, but remember that because of it's diminutive size, it needs near constant feeding. Still, it will get the trailer warm in no time. I have friends who are using an old Airstream as temporary shelter while building their house on a rural property in Northern Ontario, they have heated it with wood for three winters - so far without problem.

Solar, there are people on here who know (much, much) more than I do about solar, but I do know that the difference between a sunny and a rainy day is spectacular. Our modest 100 watt panel keeps us in power without problem when exposed to the sun (we use very little electricity when camping, have no TV or microwave so the main use is LED lighting, the water pump and the fridge electronics) but delivers next to nothing on an overcast day.

Your trailer does need a, modest, minimum of power to work, for the fridge, the toilet fan and light. It doesn't sound like you're planning on using the grey tank, so you won't need to run the furnace to keep the tanks warm.
We have thought about the heating issue and unfortunately airstreams don't allow enough room to put anything much bigger than the little cod We honestly didn't put much thought into heating the pipes until today. (Lucky we don't own an airstream yet!) We have an energy efficient ceramic heater that turns on only when the degrees drop a certain amount but I'm sure that won't work well enough to keep the pipes from freezing. We may try and go with a gas powered furnace?

What is the best and most efficient way to minimally heat the trailer while gone? We can't afford to get too high of wattage on solar power until we've saved some money just living in the Airstream.

The Natures Head toilet we picked because it does get fantastic reviews from full timers and isn't INSANELY expensive. Also can be used for compost. (Hubby isn't too enthused with using our waste for fertilizer but necessity is the mother of invention ^_^) We don't really watch TV, which is insane to our friends.. but that's kind of what we have our computer for. If we really have that bad of an urge to watch a movie we just look it up online.

It'll be a pain, but we're giving up our microwave, one, because they put toxins into your food, and two, because they waste way too much needed solar power. We were also considering a propane fridge. I've read bad and good things about electric and propane.

We will be replacing the black water tank with a fresh water tank. So anyone know any better ideas to keep your tanks from freezing without using too much? I.e. propane furnace?
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:16 PM   #19
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If you go with a utility trailer for storage, I would suggest insulating it and running a power cord to it and keeping a little heat on in it all the time too. Things rust pretty quickly from condensation. A uninsulated storage shed on the ground can be a disaster.

And you are gonna need a large propane tank. Look at where people work-camp and the big propane bottles they use. You need to keep the heat on enough to keep the pipes from freezing.
Bill, that's a great idea. My husband's inherited things are very precious to him and we hadn't even considered the condensation they would gather. We have a small ceramic heater that is the best and turns on whenever the temp drops below a set point and is very energy efficient that we can use. Would it be beneficial to wrap things in tarps as well?

We thought about the propane issue. We are looking into that as well. Is there any efficient trailer heaters you can recommend or are they all basically the same?
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:25 PM   #20
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My husband and are planning on living in an older airstream full time to save money. We know the initial cost is up there in price and takes commitment but we're prepared for that.We can rent out a half acre with no power (just water) for 100-150/mo.
In general, full-timing is not a less expensive alternative to renting, because of the costs of maintaining and fueling a tow vehicle.

As others said, what about zoning?
What about sewer?

Quote:
Our main concern is this:
-My husband just inherited tons of really nice tools and some big items from his grandfather and we aren't sure how to store them. Obviously we can't put these things in an airstream even with gutting it out. We talked about getting a shed to keep some of our larger things in. (Again, this is full time living so we won't be moving around a lot.)
My husband is concerned that if he buys a shed he will have to leave it on the property because we're not sure how to tow it. He is a real penny pincher so anything he invests in he wants to be able to keep.
How feasible is it to live in an airstream and also have the weight of tools and other larger things we have to carry around?
The possibility of theft should be a concern. Get insurance.

Fulltiming is a lifestyle that requires selling or giving away items that are not portable or that you do not use.

Quote:
Is it possible to break down a shed and take it with us should we have to move?
Is there any other storage ideas someone has aside from renting out a storage unit?
Cargo trailer, as others have suggested. Be aware, though, that even if rain-tight, high humidity is a problem in these and will make tools rust over a period of months or years.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:25 PM   #21
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Thank you. We were hoping to be able to split the trailer into two work rooms. One for me, and one for my husband. We live outside the city in a more rural community but I will check on the CC&R's in our area to see what I can find. We should be getting some inheritance money soon and we were considering using that to purchase a piece of land a little more in the woods where people can't see our trailer from the road. This will keep us a little more off the radar. The reason we really need a set place is because we have a young, hyper golden retriever who really needs the place to run. Yes, I know. Being in our situation we should not have taken him in. But he's in a WAY better situation now than the place we took him from so we're keeping him.

We considered a converted old school bus as well. That would especially allow more room but I heard they aren't as reliable and a lot more difficult to heat.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:27 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by DreaminWA View Post
We will have the natures head composting toilet which does not require the black water tank.
What about grey water?

Quote:
We will have solar panels but only for lights in the house. (Eventually we will upgrade.) We are gone 12 hours a day so anything that needs charging can be done in the car/work. The reason we picked an airstream is because you cannot have a fireplace in the park models. We are going to get the Little Cod fireplace. My mother has it and says it keeps the place extremely warm. It heats up to 500sq ft and a 31ft airstream is under 300. Eventually we will be using the airstream to travel but we have to wait until my husband is done with school The only times we'll need an immense amount of heat is weekends and night time when we'll be sleeping. My husband is like a furnace and we already live without much heat. We try to keep our bills as low as possible so we just bundle up.
Keep in mind that the Little Cod will generally not hold a fire overnight. It uses small stovewood and has to be refuelled every hour or two.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:28 PM   #23
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Horse trailers with living areas up here cost in the thousands. If I was down south they're pretty reasonable because there's more of them but they're a rare commodity up here. We did peruse craigslist and found some smaller nice 2-horse trailers for around 500 But we have to make sure to insulate and heat. We did find more horse trailers than any other so your idea is pretty spot on Thank you!
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:29 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Always check with UHaul.


They sell a lot of their trailers, boxes and trucks.

Bob
Sometimes they have insulated ones too! Thanks for the idea!! It might take a little bit but I will keep my eye out!
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:34 PM   #25
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We have an energy efficient ceramic heater that turns on only when the degrees drop a certain amount but I'm sure that won't work well enough to keep the pipes from freezing.
They aren't any more efficient than anything else. THat's all marketing hype. They will keep your trailer around 15 degrees warmer than the outside temp, if you run them on high.

Quote:
We may try and go with a gas powered furnace?
If you're thinking of an RV furnace, like the ones from Atwood and Suburban, that would be a wise move.

Quote:
What is the best and most efficient way to minimally heat the trailer while gone? We can't afford to get too high of wattage on solar power until we've saved some money just living in the Airstream.
You would need $10,000 of panels and $10,000 of batteries to have a chance of heating an Airstream on a cold winter night with PV panels.

Propane is the most practical fuel, though wood will work as long as you're there to tend the fire

Quote:
The Natures Head toilet we picked because it does get fantastic reviews from full timers and isn't INSANELY expensive. Also can be used for compost. (Hubby isn't too enthused with using our waste for fertilizer but necessity is the mother of invention ^_^)
I'm skeptical of these. Be sure you talk to people who are using them daily under similar weather conditions before you purchase.

Quote:
It'll be a pain, but we're giving up our microwave, one, because they put toxins into your food
Hmm.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:36 PM   #26
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In general, full-timing is not a less expensive alternative to renting, because of the costs of maintaining and fueling a tow vehicle.

As others said, what about zoning?
What about sewer?



The possibility of theft should be a concern. Get insurance.

Fulltiming is a lifestyle that requires selling or giving away items that are not portable or that you do not use.



Cargo trailer, as others have suggested. Be aware, though, that even if rain-tight, high humidity is a problem in these and will make tools rust over a period of months or years.
We won't be moving around too much for about 3 or 4 years. I'll look up the zoning but for the particular place we'll be keeping the trailer we shouldn't have to worry.
There is no need for sewer due to the composting toilet. The half acre we're renting is relatively private and the neighbors (not the people we're renting from.) are very good friends. I recently helped facilitate her through breast cancer and she is always home watching out for us. She will have a birds eye view of our trailer from her porch.

We do have insurance. We are getting rid of most everything we have. The only things we are keeping are the bare essentials and the things we have inherited. We are young and will one day build a cabin to keep these things.

Bill mentioned that concern in a previous post and mentioned insulating the trailer and putting a small heater in it to cut down on humidity. We're also considering a dehumidifier.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:38 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by DreaminWA View Post
Thank you. We were hoping to be able to split the trailer into two work rooms. One for me, and one for my husband. We live outside the city in a more rural community but I will check on the CC&R's in our area to see what I can find. We should be getting some inheritance money soon and we were considering using that to purchase a piece of land a little more in the woods where people can't see our trailer from the road. This will keep us a little more off the radar. The reason we really need a set place is because we have a young, hyper golden retriever who really needs the place to run. Yes, I know. Being in our situation we should not have taken him in. But he's in a WAY better situation now than the place we took him from so we're keeping him.

We considered a converted old school bus as well. That would especially allow more room but I heard they aren't as reliable and a lot more difficult to heat.
Many markers here for you sinking cash into a situation you can't get it back of if it doesn't work out.

I would suggest renting an RV for a week or two and living in that before committing a great deal of money (purchasing land, fixing trailers, etc)

That is the best way to find out whether the lifestyle meets your goals.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:39 PM   #28
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What about grey water?



Keep in mind that the Little Cod will generally not hold a fire overnight. It uses small stovewood and has to be refuelled every hour or two.
We have thought about the fireplace and it is a concern. I wish we could get a bigger one but its not a wise idea as far as space saving is concerned. We have some very warm blankets and bundle up during the night. Should it get too cold we'll just do what every pioneer did. Either tough it out or get up and throw some more wood in the fire. We didn't pick fulltiming as living because it was a glamorous lifestyle but because its a fulfilling one :P
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