Advice on All-Electric Egg Camper - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-05-2009, 07:43 PM   #1
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Name: Ray
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I talked to Jim at Egg Campers and he pretty well convinced me to go all electric with our new trailer when he said that tunnels and bridges sometimes restrict use by vehicles with propane. Have any of you run into problems? In this area I have noticed that the Mobile tunnel has a sign saying that vehicles with propane must take an alternate route; do these restrictions really apply to private campers, or only commercial haulers?

Also, it seems that boondocking with an all electric rig wouldn't be a problem as long as you have a generator to charge up your battery every so often, or would you need to run the generator nearly all the time? I realize that running the AC and cook stove would be a problem, but the AC would be the same with a propane rig anyway, and we could always use a small Coleman stove for the cooking, so would all-electric really be much of a hassle? It just seems a nice idea to eliminate one more system with its potential complications.

Oh, and another thing, (somewhat off topic), Jim said he didn't recommend a weight distribution hitch with our S-10, (towing capacity 5600 lbs with WD hitch, and 3500 lbs with regular hitch). What do you think of this recommendation? Also, can the weight distribution feature be added to an existing hitch later if we decide it would be a good idea?

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Old 08-05-2009, 07:55 PM   #2
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I live in a climate that gets lots of rain and wind. I've thought more than once about jerking out the propane stuff because I don't use it (always hooked up to electric when camping). But, I do know, in a worst case scenario were to happen weather wise, in the dead of winter, I could hole up in my trailer and be warm (propane furnace), eat well (propane stove) and the 3-way refrigerator would keep the food from spoiling if necessary. I don't choose to purchase a generator for a "just-in-case" as it's an expense I'd rather not have. What I've got would work just fine.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:00 PM   #3
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Propane is propane. The rules apply to all. That said, each state is a bit different.
I am rebuilding a Play Pac and it will not have propane. My planned adventures don't require it. It's one less hassle to deal with. Others, Gina comes to mind, use their propane and will give their thoughts. It really does matter what your preferences are.
I believe you can add WDH later.

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Old 08-05-2009, 08:32 PM   #4
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After a great week in the Smokey Mountain National Park this past spring, where we were without any hookups, I would have to say that we would not have stayed without propane. We had a generator for battery charging, but quiet hours limited its use. It got a bit chilly at night, so we used our Wave 3 propane heater. We were able to fix tea and toast every morning on the (propane) stove in the Scamp. We ran the refrigerator all week on propane. Sure, there are work-arounds for all this, like camp stoves, ice boxes, more blankets at night, etc. but we would not have chosen to stay there without our propane system and would have missed a beautiful week of camping right next to a trout stream in the park.

I think the Egg Campers are great, but I really like the options enabled by having propane available. However, other considerations may outweigh the capabilities provided by propane, and you'll no doubt be able to have lots of fun with the Egg Camper.

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Old 08-05-2009, 08:40 PM   #5
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Whether or not you want to use propane, as others have mentioned, depends on you and your camping scenarios. For myself, if I did want it (and I do have it but I'm speaking hypothetically here), I wouldn't let the very occasional detour because of a tunnel keep me from having it. When I go up the east coast, for example, I have to take the eastern beltway around Baltimore, because the 895 and 95 tunnels do not allow propane. It's about 2 miles further, if that.

Now, if I lived in a specific place where there was only a "no propane" tunnel that I had to take every time I left the driveway, and it was way out of the way, things might be different. But for a "might happen someday" occasional tunnel or alternate route, I wouldn't let it sway me.

Using a direct fuel is almost always more efficient, and in the case of propane is much quieter. That is, compared to using fuel to run a generator, which you then use to charge a battery, which you then use to power an appliance. You lose efficiency through all those stages, generators make some level of noise, and it's one more thing to buy and maintain.

That's not to say there is not a place for a generator, don't get me wrong.

I guess what I'm saying in a long-winded way is that I wouldn't go "all electric" in a camper unless I was *sure* that I was going to only camp at places with electrical hookups 99% of the time.

Propane is often stated to be dangerous. It is. Just like driving and towing trailers and hiking in the woods and playing with 110 volts. In all of these, you have to have your systems in good shape and respect them. So to my mind, unless you simply have a fear of it that will bother you no matter what, that's not a reason in and of itself to rule it out (not that you are ruling it out for that reason, but it's a common refrain).

I probably sound a little strident here (ya think?). I just get my hackles up a little bit when I get a sense that people are "convincing" someone of a certain choice perhaps without taking into consideration all of that person's potential decision factors.

Maybe you could tell us a bit more about your intended and imagined camping scenarios, and we could chew it over a bit more.

Raya
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:05 PM   #6
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Ray, you already have some good advice here so I can't add much. Read it over and apply to your situation.

For your other issue, verify in your owner's manual that your truck's limits really are as stated for the WDH. If they are, you're good to go. I can think of only one reason why a trailer sales person would recommend against a WDH, that is maybe he doesn't want to weld anything onto the tongue of his trailer. But there is a way around that: the single-bar WDH that I use just clamps onto the tongue. Works great.

If their advertised 250-lb tongue weight is accurate, you might not need the WDH. You can buy one anytime and install it in an hour.

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Old 08-05-2009, 09:44 PM   #7
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Towing capacity isn't the only factor to check for WDH. A very heavy tongue weight will lower the rear of the tow vehicle and take weight off the front end, causing steering and handling problems, as well as messing up your headlight alignment. If you have front wheel (only) drive, a WDH is almost mandatory except for the lightest of tongue weights. And you can only partially rely on distribution of the load inside trailer to lighten the tongue. It needs to be around 12% of the trailer weight (10-15%). Any lighter than 10%, and you'll probably have trailer bounce and sway causing control problems.

If you you know your tow vehicle's tongue weight rating, and your trailer is under that limit, then try it without the WDH. If you feel you need WDH, then get the lightest duty setup that exceeds your actual trailer/tongue weights. The WDH bars are made to flex and add a little spring to the connection. This gives a shock absorbing action, which is lost if too far over-rated (too stiff). Here's a link to a few WDH systems that are for up to 4000 lbs trailer weight:

http://www.etrailer.com/c-wd1.htm

Most, if not all of these, including the 2-bar ones, can be installed without welding, as the lift brackets are made to clamp on with set screws or U-bolts. I have full time AWD, so once I get my trailer into usable condition, I will seriously be considering the single-bar type, to keep the weight more or less balanced on all 4 wheels.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:00 PM   #8
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Towing capacity isn't the only factor to check for WDH. A very heavy tongue weight will lower the rear of the tow vehicle and take weight off the front end, causing steering and handling problems, as well as messing up your headlight alignment. If you have front wheel (only) drive, a WDH is almost mandatory except for the lightest of tongue weights. And you can only partially rely on distribution of the load inside trailer to lighten the tongue. It needs to be around 12% of the trailer weight (10-15%). Any lighter than 10%, and you'll probably have trailer bounce and sway causing control problems.

If you you know your tow vehicle's tongue weight rating, and your trailer is under that limit, then try it without the WDH. If you feel you need WDH, then get the lightest duty setup that exceeds your actual trailer/tongue weights. The WDH bars are made to flex and add a little spring to the connection. This gives a shock absorbing action, which is lost if too far over-rated (too stiff). Here's a link to a few WDH systems that are for up to 4000 lbs trailer weight:

http://www.etrailer.com/c-wd1.htm

Most, if not all of these, including the 2-bar ones, can be installed without welding, as the lift brackets are made to clamp on with set screws or U-bolts. I have full time AWD, so once I get my trailer into usable condition, I will seriously be considering the single-bar type, to keep the weight more or less balanced on all 4 wheels.
Ray,
I have an eggcamper myself. My recommendation is that if you are sold on the all electric, then go with it and this is why. If you choose to add a propane tank, you can get that tank holder pretty cheap and a tank pretty good deal to, and run copper to it also. A two burner stove top on top of cabinet top next to sink is nice, but that could come later if you want it all for about 150 bucks at the most. I added the two burner stove top to mine early on, but I have not used the stove top much, but will some here and there. However.... the large area next to the sink to work and prepare your fixings etc. is real nice. You could go electric now and then add the gas easily in one day as I did.
An easy change upgrade if you decided you want it. I still use electric items to cook with, even thought I have the stovetop. Just something to think about.
I do recommend the refrigerater he offers. It will work off your 12 volt battery direct for a couple of days on a good battery if charged up good. It is roomier than it looks.

Weldon
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:15 PM   #9
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An easy change upgrade if you decided you want it. I still use electric items to cook with, even thought I have the stovetop. Just something to think about.
The only thing(s) I was thinking about that wouldn't be that easy (cheap) to change would be the refrigerator (because if you were going propane you would get a two-or three-way that would work on both electricity and propane) and the furnace (which might be propane if you weren't going all electric).

Choices, choices

Raya
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:24 PM   #10
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I'd agree with Raya, that to add the propane items later and convert it could be quite expensive. One point that is rarely mentioned when this topic comes up, is that you will also be paying higher campground fees to always have utilities.

Many of the state and county parks and some of the less expensive campgrounds, not to mention "boondocking" don't come with utilities. When we first got our Scamp, I almost took the propane out and now I wouldn't do it. The refrigerator is awesome to have when "off the grid" and we actually have done more dry camping then I ever thought we would. It is also nice when looking for a campground late in the day or night to not have to worry whether it has utilities or not, just a space that is available.

If you are experienced trailer folks and know from that experience that you would only camp with utilities, then I'd get electric. If you don't have that experience I might lean to a more versatile camper. As Donna D said above, if the trailer is capable of being off the grid then you also gain an evacuation shelter if utilities go off at your residence.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:41 AM   #11
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And we lean the other way---- no electrical, 120 AC or 12 volt DC in either trailer. We are set up for boondocking. Gas stove, Mr Heater, gas lamp in both... Converted the ice boxes to cupboards/pantries. Use a couple ice chests. Then, when we stop at a park that has hookups, ask if they have any w/o hookups and if they are cheaper. It just comes down to your camping style and what you are comfortable with. Of course, in the Pacific North West, the tunnels that prohibit propane are nonexistant, so that isn't a concern. Larry
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:55 AM   #12
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Think about resale----If it does not have propane people may not want to buy it when you sell. I know I would not buy a unit with out propane.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:24 PM   #13
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I just talked to Jim at Egg Campers again. He said he hasn't sold a single propane unit all year.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:38 PM   #14
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I just talked to Jim at Egg Campers again. He said he hasn't sold a single propane unit all year.
Ray, as you can see, we have an EggCamper. It is all electric and has no built-in cooktop. We use an outside 2-burner electric cooktop and have a bottled propane grill. We did get a Honda generator, which we have not yet secured to ensure it remains with us, so we have not even fired it up yet. Most of our camping is done in the deep south, so we have experienced no problems with the total electric. The Trillium has both propane and electric, but when we traveled clear across country, we never used the gas cooktop, since we did not cook inside, except coffee. We have a little electric cooker that we could use if the weather did not permit outside cooking. I guess it is all a matter of choice. Vi & john
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