I love ridiculous titles!
We’re back to RV shopping again! Winnebago, because they are very popular and among my favorite models of motorhome other than Lazy Daze. End of Days, because anyone with a frontal lobe can see things aren’t looking too good for modern humans. Collapse appears to be on the horizon. No matter, a practical post is in order. I’m excited for a good change! I have something of a plan for the next few months to years. I outlined some of my motivations for living in an RV in 600 sq. ft. Is Too Damn Big, Living Small in a Big World and Mobile Minimalism. I’m getting down to addressing some important details of this particular lifestyle change. What kind of RV? Where to buy it? Private seller / RV lot? How are we going to pay for it? Finance? Where are we going to park it? Do we need hookups? If so, is it a safe area? Is transportation accessible? What kind of insurance do we need and how much will it cost? What are we going to do for extra space? What about our car?
Ok, hell. That’s enough of that shit. We’re looking for a class C motorhome, 28 to 31 ft. long with no slide outs. That length looks like it will work for us. The shorter class C’s usually have a living area behind the cab, then a kitchen and immediately behind that is a bathroom/shower in one corner and a goofy bed with a corner cut out in the other. The corner of the bed is left off so you don’t trip over it getting to the bathroom. I mean, I want a small space, but that’s too small. The 28 footers have a walk around bed in a separate room. At least it feels kind of separate. I’m also looking for a model that has a sleeper over the cab and ONLY a sleeper. None of that media center / storage cabinet BS and a crummy little pull out mattress for the youngest kid on a camping trip to sleep on. We don’t use our bedroom for much of anything now, so it might as well take up as little space as possible: a loft over the cab. Nice and cozy. It’s just the two of us so we don’t need the bed in the back. That’ll be given away. The mattress usually sit’s over a storage space where the freshwater tank is installed. Things in the back room will be altered so as to provide a little additional storage space for clothes, towels and the like. Beyond that, I would like to keep it as simple as possible. Maybe a fold away sewing machine or comfy chair or hammock chair to have some separation when one of us wants some personal time.
A lot of models have a slide out portion, usually in the living room. This, I think, is a waste. The space added is not particularly useful, just a more open floor. Then there are risks of leaking around the gaskets, insulation concerns, possible compromise to the structural integrity of the box, a dependence on the slide out (difficult to move around while in), and it’s just one more thing to break. Plus, it adds more weight to the rig and lowers cargo carrying capacity. Nope, don’t want one.
The kitchens are generally very small, of course. Some are better than others though. A passenger side kitchen is usually lined up along the wall behind the side door. It’s a stainless sink with a small hinged countertop which can be flipped up for use and then beside the sink is a small three burner cook top with the an EasyBake Oven underneath. Tough, is all I can say. For some reason, the driver’s side kitchens are a bit bigger and sometimes the sink is in sort of a corner cabinet that comes out toward the middle of the rig and it usually borders either a fold out couch or the back of some booth seats towards the front of the vehicle. This latter type is more favorable to me because it allows the removal of the couch replaced by a small table or cabinet for more kitchen space. Maybe, a large flip up counter or cutting board.
The bathroom in these things is about the size of my coat closet, but I don’t need much space. The walls are pretty much bare so, I can see adding a bunch of small, shallow shelves for toiletries and the like. We’ll be setup in an RV park with full hookups for water, electricity and sewer. Everything that goes down the sinks or shower goes into a greywater tank that is dumped down the sewer periodically. The marine toilet drops into a blackwater tank and is dumped the same. I read that one should not let them drain continuously, but should allow the water to accumulate to 2/3 full or so that solids can’t deposits themselves in the bottom of the tank. The “poop pyramid” it’s sometimes called. Ick!!!
We’ll be using these systems largely as they were designed until I can make the desired changes towards something more sanitary and sustainable. I want rid of the marine toilet and blackwater tank as soon as I can build and install a composting toilet. Commercial models like the Envirolet and Nature’s head are appealing, but expensive. A good old toilet seat and a five gallon is good enough for me! We’re simple folks. Ok, that’s too simple, and gross. I intend to build a wooden cabinet in place of the marine toilet with the appropriate sized hole large enough for, ahem, necessities. Fixed to the hole is of course, a seat with lid. Within the box is a standard five gallon bucket for solids ONLY. Feces is covered immediately with sawdust or something similar. When the bucket is full it is covered and removed to age and compost, being replaced by a fresh, clean bucket. Urine is collected in a specially manufactured plastic funnel and piped into a receptacle that can be poured on trees or into a flush toilet somewhere, but why waste all those nitrates? Any odors are kept at bay by a small electric fan that keeps negative air pressure inside the cabinet and pipes it outside through a small vent. Neat huh? I love talking about humanure. What a great resource!
So, I want to live small, but I also want the advantages of having supplies that can’t be comfortably stored within a motorhome. That’s why I’m looking into buying an enclosed dual axle trailer which can be utilized for storage and a small workshop for repairs, improvements and personal research projects. The advantage of a towable space include being able to store seasonal items, gardening supplies, sentimental items and tools, without over weighting the motorhome itself. I fancy a 7 x 12 model with a ramp door in the rear and a man door on the side. Barn doors for the rear are also available, but I like the flip down ramp option because it could be supported by foam blocks to level it out for a porch to add additional workspace. I could apply a linoleum like floor to the whole thing for easy cleanup. Also, I might install a roll out awning in the rear to offer sun or rain protection. As far as storage in the trailer, all manner of shelves, cubby holes, hooks, shelves and cabinets, custom to our needs. I’d like to build a small workbench with flip up boards for additional space when needed. Some LED lighting, small heater and fans will make the space comfortable when working on projects. The trailer is one of my favorite parts of the motorhome project! Finally, a workspace that I can call my own with all the customizations I’ve always wanted and a place for EVERYTHING. No clutter! The trailer might even get it’s own solar power system, possibly coupled to the main rig, but with each able to run independently.
Well, that just skims the surface of plans and improvements for the motorhome. It feels good to have a project. A big project yet not so big that I’ll have to spend the next thirty years paying it off. That’s the whole point: freedom to deal with collapse my way.