Planning my full-time future in an egg (and an efficiency question for you) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-01-2015, 01:43 PM   #1
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Name: William
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Planning my full-time future in an egg (and an efficiency question for you)

Hello, board! I'm a Texas-based freelance writer, and I plan to get a 13-foot fiberglass "egg" for solo full-timing within the next couple of years. Several months of the year will probably be spent in RV parks with hookups; the rest of the time, I'll be out wandering from campsite to Wal-Mart to wherever. I will mostly be using the camper as a place to eat, sleep, and work in the evenings on my laptop; during the daytime I hope to be either driving or exploring local towns.

I'm wondering how little power and water I can manage to use on my un-hooked journeys, based on the following....
  • I have no fear of sponge baths (even cold ones! ) or washing my hair in the sink.
  • I would only be using my camper toilet when there wasn't another facility handy.
  • I could easily install some internally-powered LED cabin lights to optimize my energy efficiency in the evenings.
  • I could recharge my laptop (which can run for at least 10 hours per charge) with a cigarette-lighter AC plug once a day.
  • I don't plan on running TVs, stereos, or other equipment; my laptop can serve my home entertainment needs.
  • In such a small space, I imagine I could run a small electric and/or propane furnace for short periods of time, instead of all night long. I can also cover windows, etc with thermal material as needed (maybe with the aid of some Velcro).
  • I would still need to make the occasional coffee, tea, or hot food, but only for one person. A few gallons of bottled water might go a fairly long way for these purposes.
  • I WILL be looking at running some air conditioning during the hottest days in the hottest locales.

So if I'm willing to go Spartan, how efficiently can I run my little "home" when I'm not hooked up?
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Old 01-01-2015, 02:38 PM   #2
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William,

When we purchased our first RV we parked it in the front yard and moved in to learn about it and how to live in it. This permitted us to learn what we needed and didn't need. We are always amazed by how little it takes to live comfortably.

Your questions really relate to style and you will develop your style.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganchan View Post
Hello, board! I'm a Texas-based freelance writer, and I plan to get a 13-foot fiberglass "egg" for solo full-timing within the next couple of years. Several months of the year will probably be spent in RV parks with hookups; the rest of the time, I'll be out wandering from campsite to Wal-Mart to wherever. I will mostly be using the camper as a place to eat, sleep, and work in the evenings on my laptop; during the daytime I hope to be either driving or exploring local towns.

I'm wondering how little power and water I can manage to use on my un-hooked journeys, based on the following....
  • I have no fear of sponge baths (even cold ones! ) or washing my hair in the sink.
  • I would only be using my camper toilet when there wasn't another facility handy.
  • I could easily install some internally-powered LED cabin lights to optimize my energy efficiency in the evenings.
  • I could recharge my laptop (which can run for at least 10 hours per charge) with a cigarette-lighter AC plug once a day.
  • I don't plan on running TVs, stereos, or other equipment; my laptop can serve my home entertainment needs.
  • In such a small space, I imagine I could run a small electric and/or propane furnace for short periods of time, instead of all night long. I can also cover windows, etc with thermal material as needed (maybe with the aid of some Velcro).
  • I would still need to make the occasional coffee, tea, or hot food, but only for one person. A few gallons of bottled water might go a fairly long way for these purposes.
  • I WILL be looking at running some air conditioning during the hottest days in the hottest locales.

So if I'm willing to go Spartan, how efficiently can I run my little "home" when I'm not hooked up?
Norms suggestion is a good one. Each of us is different as to water and power use. Changing over to LED lights is a big step in power conservation! But on that point you should know a few things about what you will and will not be able to use when not plugged in. First off unless you are wanting your battery dead in short order you will not be running the AC. Make sure what ever trailer you get has a good 12V fan in the roof. You also will not want to be using an electric coffee maker - pick up a good kettle and a french press or a stove top drip from a camping store. Also you will not be able to use a small electric heater - best to get a trailer with a propane furnace, even with that you will need to use sparingly as the fan on it will eat up battery power. Personally would not own a trailer that did not have a fridge that allowed for it to be run on propane, so no battery power lost to the fridge.

Also be warned if your laptop can be a bit of a power eater as well, while its recharging. There was another thread called Solar Power: Baby Steps Questions a few days ago on that topic you may find helpful. Also a website called the 12 Volt Side of life may be worth a read through so you have a better idea as to power consumption.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:49 PM   #4
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Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I do have a kettle for heating water, if that's the way to go. As to charging my laptop and other gizmos, I'm thinking about getting a hand-crank generator just for that purpose. Someone on another board has also suggested that I can lower my power consumption by using a portable camp stove for cooking instead of the trailer's stove.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:54 PM   #5
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to FiberglassRV William, we're glad you're here


Sooooo, what's your tug? I ask because we may be able to point you to a bit larger size/model that has more creature comforts and would make full-timing a more pleasurable experience.

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Old 01-01-2015, 04:58 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=ganchan;497910
Someone on another board has also suggested that I can lower my power consumption by using a portable camp stove for cooking instead of the trailer's stove.[/QUOTE]

Did they say how you would save power doing that? As the trailers stove is propane it does not use any battery power - or at least the one in my scamp does not.

Not sure what hand crank generator you are looking at but if your planing on recharging your laptop with the hand crank generators I have seen, I would think you would need lots of time and really big forearms that don't tire out easily
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:38 PM   #7
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William,

We use the trailer's stove to cook every day. Just cooking a single tank of propane will last us 3 months. The hot water tank is similar, one doesn't use that much hot water. Often we'll just heat water on the stove to do dishes. If it's cold, we will usually pick a campground with electricity and use a small electric heater and/or electric blanket.

To charge computers we charge from USB ports installed in the trailer or charge in the car while driving. Our computer, a Chromebook laptop runs for 5-8 hours on a single charge.

If you're going to spend money consider a solar panel, a relatively small solar panel can keep your battery charged and all your electrical devices. As well wire your tow vehicle so you can charge your trailer battery from the tow vehicle as you drive.
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:25 PM   #8
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Solar panels

I put solar panels on my trillium with 4 20wat panels 2 golf cart batteries put 2 30 lbs lpg tanks it was good for 3 weeks of remote camping at -15 t- 20c in Alberta .I did some furnace mods to make it much warmer at little cost.
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:49 PM   #9
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I did some furnace mods to make it much warmer at little cost.
Mike,

Sounds interesting. Please elaborate. And thanks.

Also, I added a 100 watt solar panel and have plenty of energy for furnace, LED lights, fantastic fan, water pump, and charging the laptop and i devices. And on driving days I don't even switch on the solar panel as the Subaru's alternator quickly brings the battery up to full charge.

John
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:54 AM   #10
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I found this info helpful too. I've tried charging my laptop off the vehicle cigarette lighter when driving. It's taken many hours to fully charge.
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:08 AM   #11
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A camp stove will require a lot more in $$$ and energy to use than the usual RV cooktop, not to mention the added inconveniences and risks. Remember, ya gotta buy those LP cylinders for the camp stove.


Many FGRV's don't have enough roof strength to support a typical RV A/C unit and you will have to look into rigging up a home type unit in some manner, hopefully not, as another poster once commented, "Red Neck Style" aka, through a window.... LOL


And... with an a/c unit you will have to be looking at finding camping facilities with power hookups ($$$) or using a generator. And at night, when it's still hot, the latter may be nada in many locales.

And again, what will you be towing with? That alone can rule in/ rule out a lot of choices.
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Old 01-02-2015, 02:42 PM   #12
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Judy what kind of laptop do you have and what do you plug into the outlet? In the past I used a 150 watt DC to AC inverter plugged into my cigarette lighter and my laptop's regular AC/DC convertor plugged into that making it the same as charging it at home.

Recently I purchased a computer charger that does not require AC.

As to 'Red Neck' air conditioners, we use a home air conditioner in our Scamp and it's invisible from the outside and only draws 5 amps. A number of people have made this mod.
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