While we transition to a mobile lifestyle there are a lot of unanswered questions that we need to have answered. We also have some things that we can’t give up and need to make sure we are able to obtain them while on the road. The first thing we need to do is determine if it is a feasible option to do this or if it is more of a fantasy. Doing a lot of research beforehand will be the key here. By the time we leave, we should have a plan of action. One thing we know we need to do is sell our house and belongings purchase an R.V. and vehicle.
R.V. (Recreational Vehicle)
What type of R.V. do we get? A travel trailer, Class B, Class C, Class A or a Fifth-wheel. Each one has its pros and cons. Here are some.
|Travel Trailer||Can be pulled by a vehicle. Lightweight. Slideouts give more room when stationary. Least expensive.||Need a vehicle to tow trailer.|
|Class B||Self contained. Usually inside of a modified van. Small. Can go almost anywhere with the vehicle.||Small. Usually doesn’t have room for a shower or a full-time bed.|
|Class C||Self contained. Usually on a van chassis. Much more room. Can tow a vehicle behind.||Smaller than a Class A or Fifth-Wheel.|
|Class A||Self contained. Usually on a truck or bus chassis. Even more room. Can tow a vehicle behind.||Larger vehicles have a harder time negotiating certain roadways and parks. Most expensive.|
|Fifth-Wheel||Has a setup closer to a house. Many more different layouts.||Need a Heavy Duty vehicle to tow fifth-wheel.|
If we select a self-contained R.V. such as a Class C or Class A we will want to have a vehicle we can drive around with while the R.V. is parked in a place. There are a few ways to accomplish this.
|Trailer||Almost any vehicle can be carried on a trailer.||Trailer adds a lot of weight. Need to find a place to store the trailer. Not easy to set up.|
|Tow Dolly||Some vehicles can be put on a tow dolly.||Dolly adds weight. Need to find a place to store dolly. Hassle to hook vehicle to the dolly.|
|4 Down||Easiest and fastest setup. Hook up and go. No extra equipment to store.||Only certain vehicles can be towed 4 down. The vehicle will need a base plate installed.|
Our current vehicle, BMW X3 can only be used on a trailer. It is not able to be put on a tow dolly or 4 down without damage. We will need to sell this vehicle and obtain a new one if we are going to go with a Tow Dolly or 4 Down.
Once we get an R.V. we need to think about utilities and how we are going to get them. Living in a stationary home these things are taken for granted because they are always there. On the road, we will need ways to obtain these or produce them ourselves.
Electricity Requirements: We will need 2 types of electricity everywhere we go.
120VAC – This is the electricity that the US uses for almost everything. It is the standard 3 prong outlet that is in your house. This will power the refrigerator, air conditioners, plug-in heaters, computer, monitors, printers, phones, TVs, microwave, electric water heater and any other device that plugs into a standard electrical outlet. This will also charge the batteries for the 12VDC electrical system.
There are a few ways to get this type of electricity.
- Plug into a power pedestal such as at a campground
- Have a generator onboard the RV to supply the power.
12VDC – This is the electricity that is supplied from batteries. This will supply power to many devices when 120VAC isn’t available. This will power interior lights, water pump, electric stairs, leveling jacks, slides, furnace and any heated pipe coverings. It can also power an inverter which will change power from 12VDC to 120VAC. This can be helpful when 120VAC isn’t available and it is needed to run something, such as a TV. There is no need to run the generator just to watch TV.
Since 12VDC power is coming from batteries, the batteries will need to be charged daily. They can be charged a few different ways.
- Charged from AC power (Plugged-in or from a Generator)
- Charged from the Alternator of the RV when the RV engine is running.
- Charged with Solar Panels
Water Storage Requirements: We will need 3 types of water everywhere we go.
- Fresh Water Storage: To contain water for drinking, cooking, showering, washing, laundry, etc… This can be refilled by a standard garden hose and filter at any location that has potable water.
We will also need to find a way to filter and purify water since we will be getting it from many different sources.
- Grey Water Storage: To contain water from the sinks which will contain mostly soapy water. This will need to be dumped at a dump station when it is full. (Typically one every week or two).
- Black Water Storage: To contain water and waste from the toilet. This will need to be dumped at a dump station when it is full. (Typically once a week).
We will need propane to run some appliances and use as a backup on other appliances. Propane will be used for the Furnace, Stove, and Oven. The refrigerator and the hot water heater may also run off of propane as a backup to when 120VAC isn’t available.
We will need some way to make sure we are able to get Data while on the road. Data will be essential for us as we will need it to connect to the Internet.
- WiFi: This uses WiFi signals to connect to the Internet. This is good for stationary places that have good WiFi. Some places have poor WiFi signals and may require boosting the WiFi signals for improved performance.
- Cellular: This uses Cellular technology to connect to the Internet. This will be accomplished by using a mobile hotspot from our cellular provider. This is a better option for a mobile environment as the signals contact cellular sites. Many places have poor cellular signals and may require boosting the cell signals for improved performance.
- Telephone service: This will need to include Cell phones as well as traditional phones in the R.V. The traditional phones will be hooked up to a VOIP adapter.
To tie this all together we will need a Router for our R.V. This will take the WiFi or Cellular signals and process them in the router. The router then will put out a WiFi signal that we will use just like you do with a router in your home. Everything will connect to this WiFi signal. This will include Computer, Cell Phones, Smart TVs, Printer, Remote Thermometer, Internet phone & Security Cameras. Just so long as there is a WiFi or Cell signal into the router everything will be able to work off the local network and Internet.
As we figure out all of these things we will post more about them and how we implement them.