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Old 10-29-2013, 07:56 PM   #1
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Question Newbie Questions -What about all my husbands tools?

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.

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?
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?
We're planning on staying in one spot for the next 4 years. But plans change so we want to be prepared. Please help
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:07 PM   #2
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Hi, and welcome to the forum.

We're looking into buying a piece of land right now, as a rural homebase for our trailer during summer - kind of like our own private campground.

The first lesson we learned was that there are regulations concerning trailers, living in trailers and keeping a trailer on a piece of land long term. In our case, weekend and holiday use, we would not run into many issues, but we were told that we could not legally live full time in the trailer.

Local regulations might be different where you live, but it's worth enquiring if you can actually occupy the land for full time living.

To answer your original question, weight and available space are an important consideration in any trailer. A trailer is not a house, and Airstreams specifically are built for travelling, meaning there is comparatively little interior space available. We own a 34' long trailer, which offers ample space for our family of five, but there are compromises to be made.

If you're not planning on moving much, or at all, you might be better off with a park model, or a larger 5th wheel made by some other brand.

Additionally, you mention that you have water only, no power. Spokane gets cold winters, so how will you be generating power for your furnace and other needs? Where will you be dumping your black tanks? Are you planning on converting to a composting toilet? That needs power again, albeit little. During winter, solar becomes far less effective than it is during summer.

You might well have thought this through completely, have all the permits needed lined up and access to power as needed. In which case, disregard everything I've said above.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:15 PM   #3
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Are you planning on staying in the Spokane area? I'm really familiar with winters in your area and and Airstream isn't the ideal trailer for winter living in your area. I spent a winter living in mine on the coast, which is much milder than Spokane, and wouldn't really want to make a prolonged go of it again. You might be better off looking into a four season trailer or park model (Airstream is a 3-season trailer, unless you're prepared for modification/preparation).
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:36 PM   #4
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We will have the natures head composting toilet which does not require the black water tank. 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.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:39 PM   #5
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Also, we are prepared to redo the airstream to suit the weather here Owning an airstream requires elbow grease and we understand that.
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:48 PM   #6
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But really the question I want answered is what kind of cheaper storage solutions would suit us?
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:56 PM   #7
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But really the question I want answered is what kind of cheaper storage solutions would suit us?
Pick up a small used enclosed trailer. 5x8, 8x12, etc. Then you can move it when needed. They come in handy.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:04 PM   #8
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That's a great idea! Thanks!
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:22 PM   #9
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We will have the natures head composting toilet which does not require the black water tank. 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.
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.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:27 PM   #10
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Pick up a small used enclosed trailer. 5x8, 8x12, etc. Then you can move it when needed. They come in handy.
What an excellent idea. They're really cheap too - we just picked up a 5x8 for $2400.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:33 PM   #11
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I have seen 5x8's here in Tampa for under a grand in decent shape. As with our Airstreams, prices may vary.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:55 PM   #12
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I have seen 5x8's here in Tampa for under a grand in decent shape. As with our Airstreams, prices may vary.
The one we bought was new - a client project, i.e billable.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:51 AM   #13
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Don't forget to figure out a way to keep your plumbing from freezing while you're not heating the trailer.
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:11 AM   #14
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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.
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