Greetings Kristen and welcome to the forum.
First, best wishes on your hunt for an _adventure rig_ for you and your hubby.
OK...I'm partial to Parkliner
, and since you seemed at least interested in that brand i will share what my wife and i did in ours, much of which seems to fit with what i read from your posts (with a bit of reading between them also)...
Items we chose in our Parkliner
#35 (_link to build thread
Ice Box standard... We luv it
! The only mod we did was swap out the stock wood grain
for white on the panel
(~$10 bucks at home depot and ~10 minutes work). A $1.25 block of ice in the upper area keeps fridge
at ~40 degrees for 6 days (it was low to mid 60's daytime)...we keep our veggies in there. Our Engle Deep Blue cooler has ~20lbs of ice and our meats and keeps low 30's for ~week. There is still ice in the Engle from a 20lb bag we put in on May 25th. We will put another bag in this Sunday...we keep it cooled down from now till fall
freeze. It is a well spent ~$10 a month and it is ready to go when we camp every 4th week from now till November.
(I am adding a PS detailing why we chose the fuel source that we did for our PL#35. Post script will be below this in Blue text
SAFETY DISCLAIMER: We arrived at our decision due to our personal experience and camping style. Use your common sense and follow all manufacture's recommendations.
A fellow Egger asked the question "Why Butane?" over at this post in our Adventure Blog here at FGRVforum. I won't repeat the my entire reply, but the gist of it is our choice came about due to our typical camping environment over the last 20 years of adventures in the Pacific Northwest. Our temps are what i would consider _mild_. They run from a low ~40 in early morning to a warm ~high 70 in the late afternoon. Nothing Butane can't take care of in the morning _chill_. IF i were living in the Dakota's or say the Sierra Nevada's we would have gone with the built in Propane system BUT we would have utilized an aftermarket radiant wall propane heater rather than the typical fan-driven propane heater; we've had them in rigs and disliked the noise and battery drain. That said, if you camp during the milder times with temps rarely if ever dropping into the mid 30's Butane will still be fine. We have woken up in our van conversion not knowing it had snowed outside during the night. Got up, put on a kettle to boil on the butane stove in the van's kitchen module and ~5 minutes later the kettle is whistling with 16oz of hot water and all cabin _chill_ is gone. Inside the van recorded temps with the two of us inside run ~8 to 10 degrees warmer than outside.
Also take note that i stated we use this setup to take the _morning chill_ out. WE NEVER use these appliances when we are relaxing or settling down for the evening. WE ARE ALERT and walking about the rigs or getting our clothes on or prepairing a meal. WE NEVER use these in the evening when getting ready for bed. That is what _body heat_ is for
Sooooo....theoretically outside temps would have to be mid 20's before the Butane appliances would have _cold start_ issues. Then one just places a canister in bed with them and warms it up for a few minutes and all is well. Sounds kind of creepy dangerous, but perfectly safe unless you carry pocket knives with you in bed to puncture the can! Also realize these canisters are the size of a can of cooking spray and easily warmed with body heat. OK...i think that ends my PS in blue text thoughts.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program
Heater... No built in Propane by choice
. We use a small Stansport Portable Outdoor Butane Heater
. We place it on the bamboo floor in the shower/bath area with door open to living area
. Last week (5 day trip with temps in low 50's at wake up)...we ran the heater with front shower window open and MaxxFan cracked for about ~30-60 minutes each morning to take chill out of Parkliner
cabin (we sleep in the van and eat/entertain in the Parkliner). We have yet to finish that butane canister, but probably close to empty i suppose.
Hot water & Showers...
We use a portable 12,000btu butane stove
(one fuel source rule for us. we buy our butane canisters at a local restaurant supply for ~1.50ea. Put in a new canister i think the second morning that was nearly used from a prior trip. 3 days of meals/boiling water and canister is still going.
) that is clean and efficient. We can cook indoors or out
. We boil water for showers in a tea kettle. For showers Cari (My McGirlver) rigged up a battery
powered garden sprayer (PS we used a RL Flo-Master 1.3 gal. Battery Powered Sprayer
) for use in the shower. First we put in a kettle of room temp water, then a boiling kettle full...and we get two luxurious showers out of that little bit of water!
We ordered it cuz we thought we'd have the unit in the "U" sofa configuration
. BUT what we've found by the third adventure is we really like having both main
tables up and ready to use at all times (remember bed/froli sleeps system is in van conversion
). So in retrospect...we could have saved a few bucks and stuck with the standard non-folding main table...but then i suppose i would have always wondered if that "U" was as cool to use as in the pictures. (sure it's nice, but not very practical!). We use the main table to dine & relax at. And the side table to charge electronics and as a galley extension/prep area.
Ask Chandler to install a MaxxFan 5100K
...it is light
years ahead of the Fantastic Fan! (_image link
_ to a shot of our van conversion roof where i swap out old FF for MF after loving the MF on Parkliner!)
Ask Chandler to install the same window in the galley area as what is used in the forward shower window
. It is a nice hinge-at-top weather proof marine design with glazed privacy glass. Lets in a nice breeze if needed during cooking!
Dead bolt... GET IT.
The door hardware is a high quality home schlage matching pair and works excellent!
Parkliner/Chandler was also open to our request of moving things around (such as fresh tank on camp/river/curb side). Ask him...he will probably say yes!
I think i answered most of what i saw in your OP...I will check in tomorrow after work.