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Old 05-13-2012, 08:02 PM   #1
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2012 27' FB International
Los Altos , California
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Newbie Questions...


My husband and I just bought a new 27fb International Signature and we will take delivery the first week of June! We are so excited!

We went out to Los Banos to look at it today and while we were talking to the dealer, he said a couple things that I'd like to check on...

1. We were talking about water hoses and I asked about a water filter. He said we could get one but we should NEVER drink the water from any campground! Is this true? Do you all haul around your own water that you buy somewhere?? Seems like a lot of weight to haul around!

2. He also said we would probably need a generator if we did any dry camping. I asked him how long (on average) one could go using just the batteries if we were conservative and he said maybe overnight. This seemed pretty short to me as I have been in the boondocking forum and thought it would be quite a bit longer. Is he right or is he just trying to sell a generator??

Thanks for any input!


PS Since we are just starting out, any and all other advice is welcome too!

...if we weren't all crazy, we would go insane.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:07 PM   #2
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1) I disagree. I have drank from every campground I have stayed in for decades! So has my whole family. Never gotten sick. Campgrounds have the same water quality standards and testing regimes that municipalities have. Others here disagree. To each their own.
2) he's correct....maybe 2 days if you're really good at conserving and don't run the furnace a lot. I wouldn't jump into buying a generator until you explore your options and sources. There is a lot of reading here on the forum about gennies.


"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:09 PM   #3
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WELCOME to the forum and happy for you. You will love it.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:27 PM   #4
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Welcome Dolly. Loads of good advice to be found here and well worth reading back on past posts by using the 'Search' function.

We're new to RVing, just starting our second season up here in the Great White North. Because most of our camping has been at sites without city water, we've had to rely on the Airstream's fresh water tank for much of the time. Even with sanitizing the tank and system regularly, we were never happy drinking that water, particularly when in hot places, so we've always carried store bought bottled water, in 1 gallon containers, purely for drinking. The stuff in the freshwater tank has been for washing, showering, etc. On those occasions when we've had a city water hookup at the campsite we have used an in line water filter and we're still here to tell the tale, with no stories whatsoever of illness, so either the water was OK or the filter worked, or both! Others may tell a different tale but it worked for us.

I can't speak on the generator issue because we don't have one; I only ever want to boondock if it's absolutely necessary. Battery usage will depend on so many things from the state of the batteries to start with, right through the the weather. The new Airstreams have LED lighting which is pretty easy on the power and there's other things you can do to conserve energy, too. Why not try it out in the comfort of your own driveway?

Anyway, have fun with your new acquisition, you'll be alumaholics in no time.
Steve; also known as Mr UK Toad

"You can't tow that with that!"
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:29 PM   #5
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Ah, to drink or not to drink, that is an age old question. Personally, I don't worry to much about the water from municipal sources. However, I do recommend a taste and smell test before you add it to your tank. There is a process for sanitizing your tanks, do it twice a year. [instructions come with your trailer manual]

We use bottled water for coffee, tea, etc., because it ensures a clean subtle flavor from the beans/leaves. Otherwise, we use tank water freely for washing, cooking, bathing, and flushing.

If you are nervous, there are filters you can attach to your "water only plastic fill hose."

A generator is quite useful if your dry camping lasts more than two nights (with conservation kept in mind). You can also add solar panels later if you discover you enjoy boondocking and it is substantially cheaper if not bought as the Airstream option.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:31 PM   #6
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My goodness, if he's worried about drinking water from a campground maybe the road is NOT the best place for him. There are real and then there are perceived threats out there, and I don't think campground water falls under either:-)

Define conservative? If you are really really conservative you can go forever without running down the batteries.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:09 PM   #7

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Do you think you would.....

enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning sitting next to your new Airstream, smelling the bacon cooking, enjoying the great outdoors?
Then don't make it with water thats been sitting under your trailer.

We do have a hose filter for the tank water and another filter on the kitchen faucet and use that for cooking and washing, but we bring filtered home water for everything else.
Most of the places we camp have very potable spring water, which we do use as needed.

BTW...first thing I would do when you get the new trailer home, bleach sanitize the FW tank, see the owners manual. We didn't and regretted it...smelled really bad on our first trip.

We usually boondock for extended periods in DEC,(forest), areas where running the generator every day or so is a necessity, even with the conservation up-grades/procedures we've adopted.
Have not invested in the mega solar option, as our camping preferences and locations don't make it cost effective. 30W's of flexible panels used when the sunny environment presents itself is all we can justify at this time.
So far a Honda 2000i, converted for dual use,(LPG & Gas), has worked well for us over the last six Seasons. Runs everything but the AC, and keeps the batteries charged.

Sweet Streams



Sandra wanted to go to Cleveland on vacation,
but Im the Husband, so we went to Cleveland. 😂

Its a crooked piece of time that we live in.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:35 PM   #8
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We used to run back and forth thru Los Banos, going from Hollister to Dos Palos. But here where we are parked now, the water system is notoriously corrupted. Everybody knows here to NOT drink the tap water.
So we always keep two or three five gallon bottles around (keep them outside in the shade in the summer). And one inside during the winter depending on the kind of winter we are having.
There are probably many answers to what us Airstreamers do with our water.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:53 PM   #9
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You'll find a lot of people don't drink the tank water from any RV... not that it will kill you or anything, but it's just sometimes not the freshest tasting. Bottled water, or refilling bottles from the municipal water supply is the best taste for your drinking water.

Dry camping will depend on if you need access to 120V... i.e., air conditioner or appliances. I have one wee battery and it runs my furnace and lights a long time (days). A pair of bigger 6V RV batteries will last a good while. All I really run (and can run) off battery is lights, water pump, and furnace... but my furnace is small, and non-ducted...
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Old 05-13-2012, 11:05 PM   #10
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We're new to rv'ing.... In fact next weekend will be our 4th time camping in our (new to us) trailer.... So we've still got alot to learn...

That said, We replaced the original furnace with an Olympian 8 catalytic heater and have been very pleased in the heating ability as well as the ability to heat the trailer without relying on electricity (I understand furnaces are one of the biggest drains on electricity).. We spend most of our time outside when camping but even with lights on during evening and use of radios, etc we've not had our batteries run out after 3 days... (note: we installed 2 lifeline 6 volt agm batteries)
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:13 AM   #11
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Are you kidding me????? You OWN your RV and you DONT have a filter on it? It's your fault! You can get a filter that will get ever single thing out. Can you say PRO-ACTIVE?
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:31 AM   #12
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Water Filters

I too use the white water tank for showers, doing dishes, etc. Living in the south where daytime temps are often in the 80's and above, the white tank can get stale tasting fast, so the bleach and drain routine at least twice a year is a necessity. I actually notice that the water pressure is better when using the pump - though it's noiser too.

I also put in a tablespoon every time I fill the white tank. Chlorine bubbles off pretty quickly - and while I get a tiny whiff or two of it when doing dishes or showering - I'd rather not have a tank that's green inside. (I've seen that, and bathing in algae? No please. )

There is actually a downside to filters - either the pitcher or the inline. They can filter OUT floride and chlorine. Most municipal water systems have small quantities of each. (I will not get involved in the floride debate.) But a tiny bit of chlorine is good to keep stuff from growing in the water. If you FILTER water and let it sit in the white tank, or anywhere else at room temperature overnight or longer - UCK! I generally don't drink campground water - just that the taste differs so much from one camp to another, but when I do, I filter it through a pitcher right before drinkng it.

I've reluctantly stayed in one really nasty campground - neglected and old with bad water lines and poor sewers - and then the police raided a couple of gypsy trailers one night. NO way I drank anything but bottled there. I also moved on as soon as possible.

If you're in any campground that is government (county, state, federal) run or if it's a well run commercial campground - you can bet they take good care of the water. Bad water would put half the campers in the hospital and get the owners sued pronto.

As for batteries, I've gone nearly a week without electricity, but that was in warm enough weather that I could go without the furnace. Even a small generator can recharge batteries.

It's a big temptation to go out and buy a whole lot of stuff when you first get an Airstream. You can save a BUNDLE by waiting until you take two or three trips and are kicking yourself over something you've left behind.

The exceptions you should have on your first trip:
  • matches or campfire lighters
  • food, water, beverages, paper plates, silverware
  • personal insecticide
  • fire starting materials - Kingsford match lite, dry newspapers, etc.
  • toilet paper
  • tooth brushes, toothpaste, soap, washcloths and towels
  • books or e-readers that identify poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac, ticks, snakes, etc.
  • first aid kit
  • expired credit/debit/gift card, Benedril and Primatine (for anaphalactic shock) * I'm allergic to bee stings - not as seriously as some, but I puffed up semi-impressively last year when I got about a dozen at one strike. To get stingers out, PUSH from the point outward with the corner of a a credit card so that the venom sac gets no pressure, pulling with tweezers or fingernails will squirt more venom into the wound. Primatine and Benedril will help breathing - but a trip to the hospital is still next order of business!
  • A credit card or cash, and a map to the nearest WalMart / grocery store.
Happy trails. Paula
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:18 AM   #13
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The op asked about campground water not whitewater tank water. I do no drink out of the white tank unless necessary, but do use campground water. Most of the time for drinking we bring water from home or use bottled water. Jim
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:50 AM   #14
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1. Water. As you see, you will get a lot of different ideas. I always drank tank water (after annual sanitizing, etc.) until one day, when LEAVING a fairly remote ccommercial campground after several days, I saw a single, small sign (maybe 6 inches square) that simply said, "Do not drink campground water!" It didn't make me sick, but maybe I'd just happened to drink only for coffee and so it was boiled? Maybe it was contaminated with e.g. mercury or PCBs? Since then, I a.) filter the incoming tank / city-water-hookup water, b.) carry a gallon jug for drinking and tooth brushing, etc. I also carry a small pump filter [MSR Waterworks] that I've used all over the world to purify water from lakes, streams and municipal supplies, and if my drinking jug gets low, then I filter another gallon with the pump filter. I've seen folks with serious gastrointestinal upsets from bad water, and I just don't want to be one of them. I'm gonna' be too busy having fun to be sick, so I take simple precautions. Your choice, and you get to live with the result.

2. Batteries. This will also be a very personal result, and will depend upon how good your "new" batteries are, how much electirity you use for lights and entertainment and water pumping and furnace and vent fans, etc. It will also vary a LOT depending upon the season and elevation (cold weather = more furnace use = faster energy consumption). The only way you will know is to go out and try it. But until you know a lot more than you do now about the subject, you may well be wasting money on a generator. I have one that's propane and gasoline powered. Then, after a couple of seasons of almsot no usage and having to haul around gasoline and a big extension cord, I decided to put a pretty good sized solar system on the trailer's roof, and I literally have never used the generator since, except to run heavy-duty power tools in remote places on my farm. So if I were you, I'd try it all out first, before investing in a gennie. Then, if you need/ want one, you'll know what to buy.

Good luck, and welcome to the Forums!

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