We're doing a complete shell-off renovation of our 79 Argosy 27'.
I thought, since I'm going to be documenting the whole process, I might as well share it for others to see. It might be a help to someone, as so many of the posts already on here have been a huge help to us.
This thread will be the main thread, with links to all the subtopics I create for those areas, both questions and documentation.
Comments, opinions and reality-checks are welcome.
This post will be continually updated as I revise our plan.
Background on us
We're a family of 5 (three small kids) who want to experience a more natural, serene and adventurous life. We're minimalists, focused on making life simpler.
I work remotely, so we plan to travel quite often. We live in Colorado and have land that we can park on when we're not traveling.
We don't like most campgrounds, so we're putting much of our effort towards boondocking/off-grid situations.
We're determined and patient.
Our mission in the renovation
To build a simple, functional space for full-time off-grid living and traveling.
We'll have a high-quality water purifier hooked up to a 100-200ft hose. This will be used to fill our fresh water tanks from nearby water sources.
In addition to the mounted storage tank, we'll have a large collapsable bladder for storing extra water (200-300 gallons), or carting it in the back of the truck from nearby sources.
1kW solar setup
Three to four panels that can dismount from the roof depending on sun exposure.
This includes a 2-burner induction cooktop, A/C, and a washer/dryer combo unit. More on this later.
Solar hot water
All of our hot water will come from this. Some days we may not have hot water. We are OK with that.
It will probably have a ~70-gallon insulated collapsable storage bladder stored under the Argy for holding hot water. When we move, we empty it out and fold it up.
I'm considering running PEX pipe under the floor for in-floor heating. My father put this in his house, and uses it almost exclusively to heat his house, even in the Colorado winter.
No propane or natural gas
First, simplicity and minimalism is a high priority for us. Adding gas adds complexity, time and money in the build, maintenance and operation.
Second, autonomy is a high priority for us. Gas requires refilling. We want to maintain as little tethering as possible.
Third, we've had some serious health problems due to natural gas. We are now extremely health conscious, and gas doesn't make the cut.
Wood burning stove
Yes, I've read all the pros and cons of doing this. I know there are a lot of negative opinions, but for us I believe it's right.
First, there are some tricks to maintain long burning times and consistent temps.
Second, wood is an abundant and renewable resource where we plan to be 90% of the time.
Third, it doesn't require the grid and is simple. It helps improves our anti-fragility.
Fourth, it provides an alternate method of cooking – both stove top and oven (since we'll most likely go with an oven model).
Fifth, it will most likely remove the need for a dehumidifier, as wood burning stoves are very dry, especially compared to a gas furnace.