Hi Everyone –
Wife and I have decided that we are ready to take the leap into full-timing. At this point we are anticipating launching in about a year timeframe. In the meantime, I’m trying to prepare a budget inclusive of anticipated/expected costs. While the timeline is a bit out on the horizon, my goal is to pay cash for as much of this purchase as I can. To that end, I’m hoping to create a realistic budget, including the basics: trailer, TV, hitch, full solar, and any other up front modifications which may make sense given my intended usage and needs. And then, start saving my pennies like crazy.
My current RV and overall experience is limited to a Class-C rig ... my 2006 Winnebago View. Other than walking through trailers at shows and dealerships, I have no experience with Airstreams or other travel trailers. I’ll also add that I’ve spent up to 5wks traveling and working remotely from my View … albeit regularly with shore power + onboard generator (I do not have any solar capability currently). I really like the View, but for a number of reasons, we have decided to pursue an AS/trailer solution as we full-time.
As a bit of background, I’m currently in the Seattle area and the plan will be that my wife and I both keep our jobs via a telecommuting arrangement. Suffice it to say, our daily energy needs will likely be intense (2 laptops, an additional dedicated iMac/server, onboard wireless router, antenna amplifier, in addition to other nasic needs for lights, water pump, fantastic fans, etc.). My guess is that we will land upon a 27’FB and our hope is to secure a sufficiently powerful solar solution allowing for self sustainably equal to our ability to sustain freshwater/waste tanks (typically 3-4 days).
I have no experience with solar and have been reading a lot about it, but to be honest I find the entire topic a bit overwhelming. The reality is, my only real-world hands-on reference point is limed to my set-up ... two deep cycle Interstate 12v
(95ah) batteries. While both batteries are relatively new, I do not think they are all that effective given my typical energy demands, particularly when I need to regularly run the furnace. Much to my chagrin, I always need to power the generator less than 24hrs into the trip for recharging. The cruel reality is that my current set-up does not sustain my ability to work remotely while boondocking, but I will absolutely require such ability when I begin full-timing.
BTW – I’ve replaced most of the lights with LED alternatives and do practice extremely conservative consumption when not connected to shore power.
Early on, I would expect that we may full-time and stay fairly close to the Seattle area ~ 1-2 days drive distance until we’ve fully found our rhythm on the work front. then, the goal is go anyplace we chose. Until then. given the PNW weather patterns, I’ll want to ensure panels with sufficient ability to function given the often overcast skies.
I would greatly appreciate hearing any feedback from folks with similar size trailer and energy demands/usage … what solutions have you landed upon, any regrets, and ballpark costs I should plan to budget.
From what I can tell within the forum chatter, there seems to be varying opinion on AS pre-solar kits, so I would love to hear more about that given my purpose. Additionally, I assume the stock batteries absolutely will need to be replaced, and I’m very interested in knowing if I should anticipate dumping any of the the other stock electrical system/infrastructure. Lastly, I’m also curious if any of you are running 2+ batteries with your solar solution, and if so, where do you store extra batteries (beyond the two on the tongue).
Thanks in advance for the comments -- really appreciated.