New Scamp 16 order options for boondocking - Fiberglass RV
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Old 01-05-2022, 10:31 PM   #1
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Name: Kai
Trailer: Aliner, Scamp 16' build in May 22
California
Posts: 2
New Scamp 16 order options for boondocking

Hello fiberglass community,

We're on the Scamp list for a May 2022 delivery of a 16' layout 4 and we're deciding on options. Fair warning - this is a long post. I've been reading and thinking about this since getting on the Scamp build list a year ago (and actually we were thinking about a camper before the whole Covid rush but didn't pull the trigger). I don't so much have a list of specific questions as I'd like to get feedback on my line of thinking and my wife is tired of hearing me talk about this! I'm mostly looking for either validation or challenges/critiques to my thinking.

I've also read enough threads to know I may be wandering into contested territory with some of this, especially bringing up composting toilets...hoping to learn about extending time between dump stations and potentially using a composting toilet for that purpose.

We are a family of four with a 6 and 4 year old. We're on the west coast so no extreme temperatures. We nearly exclusively boondock - tending to camp at regional, State, Forest Service, and National Parks - hookups are the exception and we stay for up to a week at a time. We currently have a 15' Aliner that we took on a 4 week trip and a few 2-3 day trips last summer - that's the extent of our camper experience, though we have lots of tent camping experience. None of the campgrounds we went to over the summer had hookups and I don't foresee that changing in the future.

With 4 people in a small camper, we spent most of our time outside, including cooking & doing dishes. Inside was for changing, sleeping, and the occasional break. We anticipate the Scamp being similar.

Over our summer trip, we used a 2.6 gallon Thetford portable toilet and a 21 gallon Camco Rhino gray tank. As gross as emptying the Thetford was, it was also really nice to just walk over to a bathroom to empty instead of hauling the camper to a dump site. The gray tank we either emptied at a dump station or down a toilet, which was also nice since many places we visited did not have dump stations.

Current thinking on order:

Factory Order 16' Layout 4
  • Delete toilet
  • Either delete black tank or connect it to gray tank to increase capacity
  • Add roof fan
  • Add second fresh water tank
  • Add 3.7 fridge (unless we decide to use 12v aftermarket fridge, then delete fridge)
  • Add dual LP tanks
  • Swap axle to support 15" tires (if possible?)

Aftermarket
  • C-Head or other composting toilet
  • 14" or 15" wheels & lift kit?
  • Catalytic heater or fan convector attached to hot water tank (eventually)
  • Lithium battery (eventually)
  • 12v refrigerator? (would require lithium)
  • Solar - already have a 100 watt folding panel, would need to add more to support 12v fridge


Composting vs standard toilet
I'm concerned that the Scamp 9 gallon black tank isn't large enough to free us from always searching for dump stations. With the 2.6 gallon portable toilet, we generally had to dump it every other day. That would translate to every 6 days or so with the 9 gallon Scamp black tank - and probably more frequently as I generally did not use the toilet and our kids often peed outside but a "real" toilet in the Scamp would get used more.

When we were on our 4 week camping trip last summer, I noticed that there were only dump stations at about half the places we went and these were sometimes closed. We also often stayed places 5-7 days, including places without a dump station, so would anticipate the tank being full when packing up. I may be overthinking this, but I really don't want to feel tied to dump stations - it would feel different if we could go two weeks between dumps.

I also see there is now a dry flush option available from Scamp - need to read a bit more about what those are, but I'm not particularly interested in a $2/flush cost.

With a composting toilet, we would be limited by fresh and gray water systems, not black tank.

Shower / Hot water / Gray water system
We are considering removing the hot water heater from our build to add more storage, reduce cost a bit, and because we didn't have hot water over our summer trip and didn't really miss it. Heat water on the stove for dishes. Showered in campground showers or using an outside solar shower. We would like to be able to use the wet bath shower but may just hang a solar shower in the wet bath on the occasions we want to use it.

Are there any considerations we need to know about using a composting toilet in a wet bath?

We may have filled the Camco Rhino to 15 gallons once before dumping - though there was more limited gray water usage with the Aliner since there was no shower and dishes were primarily done outside and dumped. Anticipate this being similar with Scamp, though would fill faster if we used the shower.

Ground clearance
We like to get off the beaten path. Not 4x4 but forest service roads. There are lots of threads about lifting a 13' Scamp but fewer about the 16'. Not sure if this is needed? Don't want to tail strike. The Aliner has 15" wheels and a factory lift and it did fine going where we wanted to go.

What options do we have to increase clearance? Scamp parts store lists the Dexter axle for 16' as 32 degree down. Is that right? Posts here seem to say it's 22 degree down. Will the factory install an axle with enough clearance for 15" tires? Or with the bolt on axle that Scamp now uses, is it relatively straightforward to add a lift bracket? I realize this doesn't change the axle height but would help with tail strikes.

Fridge, Cooking & stoves
With our Aliner, we primarily cook outdoors and I would anticipate doing the same in the Scamp. The Aliner has an external propane hookup and we have a low pressure stove that we could use either inside or out (I think we cooked inside once in 4 weeks).

I anticipate continuing to mostly cook outside, it looks like we'll need to figure out a propane hookup ourselves though as that isn't a Scamp option. This is probably a tee after the low pressure regulator and a long hose. Curious to hear how others are cooking outside.

We had a really hard time keeping the 3 way absorption fridge in the Aliner cold, though we ran the fan most of the time. We worried about food safety when the contents weren't cold to the touch. These absorption fridges seem to be very widespread in camper trailers but we had a really bad experience with ours. Thinking about deleting the fridge from Scamp build and adding an aftermarket 12v compressor. Of course then we'd need to add more battery and solar capacity - it gets expensive fast.

There are both vertical door 12v fridges that are drop in replacements for absorption and there are cooler style top opening 12v fridges. Any experience using these systems in a Scamp? Where might a cooler style fridge go?

Occasional guest room
Over the next year or two our kids will move into their own rooms, which will take away the guest room in our house. We hope to use the Scamp as guest quarters when that happens. I imagine it's bad practice to leave waste in a black tank, so we would have to haul the camper to a dump station after each visit even if it isn't close to full. Another reason for a composting toilet.

Yes, this was a long post! Thank you to folks who have made it to the end and I really would like feedback!

Cheers, Kai
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Old 01-06-2022, 01:44 AM   #2
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Name: Kenneth
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Black tank delete

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaid View Post
Hello fiberglass community,W
The toilet and the black tank are the same part in a Scamp. Both will be gone.
I do have 2 fresh water tanks and like the reserve water, but I have a shower.
I also have a 3.5" lift kit under my Scamp, still tows well.
I would never have a composting toilet in an RV and most that claim to have one really have a litter box for people.
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Old 01-06-2022, 08:48 AM   #3
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Name: will
Trailer: 16' Scamp
Wyoming
Posts: 70
Congratz on the Scamp!

In our Scamp 16 we have a 65 quart Truckfridge. Direct replacement for the icebox. It has been working great for 7 years. It will freeze your orange juice if it is set too cold.
In humid areas it does require defrosting regularly.

Have a 100 watt solar panel mounted flat on the roof and a group 29 deep cycle/rv battery. Keeps us well supplied with 12volt.
Solar system by Windynation.

In our mountain cabin we have a Natures Head composting toilet.
Change the compost weekly (2 adults)
Empty the urine bottle as needed.
In our experience, most people who bash composting toilets don't have one.

As Donna says, YMMV.

Will
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Old 01-06-2022, 10:16 AM   #4
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We have a no-bath, no-fridge Scamp 13 and camped with our two kids a lot like you in AZ and CA: moderate weather with occasional cold nights, developed and primitive campsites without hookups, cooking and eating outside.

I would strongly recommend the factory furnace over a catalytic unit. With so many people in a small space, things can go south fast, and young children are more susceptible to low levels of CO that a detector may not pick up. Condensation can also become a problem. We don't use ours much, but it has saved a number of trips (Big Sur in November and winter desert camping with nights dropping into the 30's).

Yes to the large fridge and dual LP tanks. The extra water tank will probably cause sway problems at highway speeds if both are full, but if you can fill the second close to your destination and drive slowly on secondary roads, it might be worth it. As an alternative, maybe the onboard tank plus several portable containers? You can install a 6" marine hatch in the tank(s) to make them much easier to clean and fill. We keep one of those 6-gallon water containers with a spigot parked at our outdoor kitchen.

Speaking of which... We often set it up at some distance from the camper, so a hose wouldn't work for us. Since we don't have a fridge, when we don't need heat, we disconnect the single LP tank from our trailer and use it to fuel our Coleman stove and lantern off a tree. Eventually I'm going to replace the single 20# tank with 2@11# tanks, one plumbed to the trailer and the other to fuel the kitchen. With a large fridge, water heater, and furnace, you will use more propane than we do, but you could do the same with a dual 20# set-up: one for the trailer and one for the kitchen.

With propane for your primary energy needs, you can get by with a fairly modest 100-200W solar set-up with a single large (G31) conventional battery. You can spend a lot of money to go all-out electric, but there are limits with a trailer. In a motorhome or van, you can use the vehicle's propulsion fuel for heat and hot water; in a trailer you have to carry a separate fuel supply, and LP makes a lot of sense. And since you have it, why not use it? Propane fridges can be fussy, but I think you may find the top-vented 3.7CF unit in the Scamp works better than the small side-vented unit in your Aliner. Perhaps you could later add a small chest-type 12VDC fridge for your most pershable items? I'd probably put it on a slide-out tray in the large cabinet aft of the stove in layout 4.

No personal experience with Scamp bathrooms, but I'll just point out that in layout 4, the bathroom enclosure is really tiny as well as height-limited (maybe around 5'6" tops). Do you really need an on-board shower? We use campground showers when available and sponge baths otherwise. No shower means you can also eliminate the water heater, making for a much simpler plumbing system and less water and fuel usage. If you really do need the shower, having a toilet you can move out of the way for showers is an advantage in that layout.

An onboard toilet is handy for emergencies and boondocking. Porta-potty, black tank, or separating (I'll avoid calling it composting)- all are legitimate options for different people and different situations.
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Old 01-06-2022, 07:19 PM   #5
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Name: Kai
Trailer: Aliner, Scamp 16' build in May 22
California
Posts: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by AC0GV View Post
The toilet and the black tank are the same part in a Scamp. Both will be gone.
I do have 2 fresh water tanks and like the reserve water, but I have a shower.
I also have a 3.5" lift kit under my Scamp, still tows well.
I would never have a composting toilet in an RV and most that claim to have one really have a litter box for people.
Thanks! Understood re toilet & black tank, that makes sense.

Are you using something like this for your lift kit? And are you running larger tires with it?
https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories.../LC270682.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyowill View Post
Congratz on the Scamp!

In our Scamp 16 we have a 65 quart Truckfridge. Direct replacement for the icebox. It has been working great for 7 years. It will freeze your orange juice if it is set too cold.
In humid areas it does require defrosting regularly.

Have a 100 watt solar panel mounted flat on the roof and a group 29 deep cycle/rv battery. Keeps us well supplied with 12volt.
Solar system by Windynation.

In our mountain cabin we have a Natures Head composting toilet.
Change the compost weekly (2 adults)
Empty the urine bottle as needed.
In our experience, most people who bash composting toilets don't have one.

As Donna says, YMMV.

Will
Thanks Will. Very encouraging that you're able to keep your 65L truck fridge running on a single 100watt panel & group 29 battery.

Are you emptying your Natures Head weekly because the solids are full? Or out of habit? I thought we'd get a couple weeks before needing to empty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
We have a no-bath, no-fridge Scamp 13 and camped with our two kids a lot like you in AZ and CA: moderate weather with occasional cold nights, developed and primitive campsites without hookups, cooking and eating outside.

I would strongly recommend the factory furnace over a catalytic unit. With so many people in a small space, things can go south fast, and young children are more susceptible to low levels of CO that a detector may not pick up. Condensation can also become a problem. We don't use ours much, but it has saved a number of trips (Big Sur in November and winter desert camping with nights dropping into the 30's).

Yes to the large fridge and dual LP tanks. The extra water tank will probably cause sway problems at highway speeds if both are full, but if you can fill the second close to your destination and drive slowly on secondary roads, it might be worth it. As an alternative, maybe the onboard tank plus several portable containers? You can install a 6" marine hatch in the tank(s) to make them much easier to clean and fill. We keep one of those 6-gallon water containers with a spigot parked at our outdoor kitchen.

Speaking of which... We often set it up at some distance from the camper, so a hose wouldn't work for us. Since we don't have a fridge, when we don't need heat, we disconnect the single LP tank from our trailer and use it to fuel our Coleman stove and lantern off a tree. Eventually I'm going to replace the single 20# tank with 2@11# tanks, one plumbed to the trailer and the other to fuel the kitchen. With a large fridge, water heater, and furnace, you will use more propane than we do, but you could do the same with a dual 20# set-up: one for the trailer and one for the kitchen.

With propane for your primary energy needs, you can get by with a fairly modest 100-200W solar set-up with a single large (G31) conventional battery. You can spend a lot of money to go all-out electric, but there are limits with a trailer. In a motorhome or van, you can use the vehicle's propulsion fuel for heat and hot water; in a trailer you have to carry a separate fuel supply, and LP makes a lot of sense. And since you have it, why not use it? Propane fridges can be fussy, but I think you may find the top-vented 3.7CF unit in the Scamp works better than the small side-vented unit in your Aliner. Perhaps you could later add a small chest-type 12VDC fridge for your most pershable items? I'd probably put it on a slide-out tray in the large cabinet aft of the stove in layout 4.

No personal experience with Scamp bathrooms, but I'll just point out that in layout 4, the bathroom enclosure is really tiny as well as height-limited (maybe around 5'6" tops). Do you really need an on-board shower? We use campground showers when available and sponge baths otherwise. No shower means you can also eliminate the water heater, making for a much simpler plumbing system and less water and fuel usage. If you really do need the shower, having a toilet you can move out of the way for showers is an advantage in that layout.

An onboard toilet is handy for emergencies and boondocking. Porta-potty, black tank, or separating (I'll avoid calling it composting)- all are legitimate options for different people and different situations.
Thanks for this detailed response. Good info on the catalytic heater. I'd like to reclaim the space from the factory furnace since we'd be using it so infrequently but not at the expense of safety.

Additional portable water containers is a good idea too, in the category of "why didn't I think of that?" Having water away from the trailer would be great for the same reasons you list. And we actually already have a 5lb propane tank we used with a high pressure stove when tent camping, it's really nice being able to refill that and not deal with those 1lb disposables. We could just use that for external stove.

On the fridge, I'll do some more research about top vs side-vented absorption - it would be great if that resolves the problem. I'd rather not replace with a 12v, I just wouldn't spend a penny to get the performance we saw in the Aliner, would rather use a cooler in the tow vehicle.

Good food for though on the bathroom. I didn't realize it's that small! Last summer we used combination of solar shower and campground showers. I would anticipate continuing to mostly do that, but my wife is also really hesitant to spend this kind of money and not have "facilities."

Did you have any issues accessing primitive sites without a lift on your 13'?
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Old 01-07-2022, 07:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaid View Post
Did you have any issues accessing primitive sites without a lift on your 13'?
We don’t go deep into the backcountry. Our tow vehicle is a 2WD Pilot, so it has its own limitations. One local spot we do visit regularly is 3 miles down a moderately rough dirt road. I have to be careful crossing dips and washes but so far without incident. And yes, a few inches of lift would be nice. Eventually.

Sounds like the full bathroom is important to your wife. The small bath in layout 4 can work as long as you are not unusually tall or large. You might see if you can find one to look at in person.

The main bed is also quite small at 45”x76”. Something else to check. Our 13’er has the same beds, and my wife felt confined against the back wall, so we rearranged: She shared the rear double bed with our younger daughter, sleeping head-to-toe. I took the lower front bunk, and our older daughter took the top.
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Old 01-07-2022, 10:31 AM   #7
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You will be much further ahead when researching composting toilets on other RV sites. It seems that non-fiberglass RV owners are much more open minded concerning composting toilets. I much prefer the idea of a composting toilet considering all the research I have done on them. Considering all the lithium battery system updating I have done on my Scamp 19, my next big project will be replacing the toilet/black tank system with a composting toilet!
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Old 01-07-2022, 11:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parmm View Post
my next big project will be replacing the toilet/black tank system with a composting toilet!
GO, for it.
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Old 01-08-2022, 08:12 AM   #9
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We empty Natures Head weekly as part of our weekly routine, along with filling water, laundry , etc
Will
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Old 01-09-2022, 04:58 PM   #10
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Fresh Water Tanks, Power, Toilet

Having two water tanks is nice as long as your remember that they are located behind the axle. If you are close to your destination to boondock and fill them you would be good (no long haul at high speeds; you will sway). Otherwise carry water in portable containers stored in the wet bath.

I use a Solar Battery (Kodiak) in conjunction with the the deep cycle marine battery, and one 100 watt solar panel. The solar panel is not fixed mounted as I have a tendency to place the Scamp in the shade and therefore can place the panel in the sunny spot.

Our Toilet is a conventional assembly from Scamp. With four people it will fill quickly. I wish we had done something like a composting type. More importantly separating the solids from the urine. Iím going disassemble our current set-up with something that does just that.
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Old 01-12-2022, 01:15 PM   #11
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Awning

Recommend getting an awning. It's a bit pricy but essentially doubles your living space. D.
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Old 01-12-2022, 04:30 PM   #12
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I went with Dexter's biggest lift and have 17" inches at the door, and closer to 20" at the rear bumper. I am not afraid to take it just about anywhere. That also got me 15" wheels and larger brakes. I run all terrain tires which make me feel a lot safer in the rocks.

My other favorite mods have been my solar setup with 350w on the roof and 150ah AGMs; my 12v compressor fridge; and, my AirHead toilet. With 20 gallons of water I can boondock in comfort for a week or two, easy, and shower every day. I have a microwave and an induction hot plate to save LP. I'm a landscape photographer and I've got enough power to edit at night what I shot during the day.

It seems most people who have a negative opinion of composting toilets don't have one.

BTW: a 16' is going to be different than a 17' in the way it handles weight. I was having trouble with sway until I moved my water storage nearer the axle whereas the [I]wisdom[I] I was given was it should be closer to the hitch. Each brand is going to be different, too, so you'll have to experiment to see what configuration works on yours.

Best of luck! I think you're on the right track.
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Old 01-12-2022, 05:24 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by CASITA BANANA View Post
It seems most people who have a negative opinion of composting toilets don't have one.
Perhaps that's because they have a negative opinion of composting toilets. I have a negative opinion of Bud Light and don't have any in my fridge.
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Old 01-12-2022, 09:38 PM   #14
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Glad we got (for boondocking):

C-head composting toilet... Insanely simple design
(Don't allow water to get inside the solids tank; use a cover and/or shower curtain)

Love our awning and screened clamshell (Gazelle); expands our living space

Love our Renogy 200w solar suitcase (versatile)

IF (only if) you need AC, we went with a Champion Dual Fuel inverter generator (2800w on propane) and an Easy Start on the AC. Don't plan to use it so much, but there when we need it.

Good luck!!!
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Old 01-28-2022, 09:08 PM   #15
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Trailer: 2013 16ft Scamp
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I have a 16, layout 4 and I want to replace the toilet/black tank with a cassette toilet. Iím not sure how easy it would be to empty a ďcompostingĒ toilet however since the bathroom space is so small. I too cook mostly outdoors so I installed a quick release LP valve on the side of Scamp to attach to my grill. My fridge works pretty well, though it does freeze my veggies from time to time. Portable fridge fans always die on me, so eventually I would like to wire in a circulating fan, or replace it with a 12v fridge. I just bought a lithium battery and I have a Renogy 100w solar suitcase but eventually I want to add flexible solar panels to rooftop. I carry extra water in 5 and 6 gallon containers and front load them so I can carry my e-bike on the rear hitch and prevent sway. I definitely recommend the awning. When I am boondocking with family, we set up an outside bathroom tent that is so easy to set up and take down. That way, with so many people in a small space, we donít have to deal with odors. We rarely use the furnace, except to take the chill off in the morning or on chilly evenings. It is noisy and uses a lot of electricity. Good luck to you and happy trails.
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Old 01-29-2022, 10:53 AM   #16
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Robin, I'm wondering if you mean a portable toilet (porta-potty) rather than a cassette toilet? Cassette toilets are permanently mounted and plumbed with a slide-out black tank "cassette."

If you use the shower in layout 4, it might be nice to have a toilet you can remove from the space completely when showering. Some composting/separating units can also be used that way.

If you remove the factory toilet, you will have a largish hole to deal with. In the context of this thread (ordering new), you can delete the toilet from the bath package so you don't have the hole.

Black tank toilet, cassette toilet, composting toilet, separating toilet, portable toilet... lots of choices! All can be good options for different people depending on how you travel and camp. Maybe not this one, though...
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Old 01-29-2022, 10:55 AM   #17
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For six years we had a Scamp with layout #4, like you're considering, but with all the options. It was our first fg camper. We only used the bathroom at night. If you buy the right height porta-potty it can slide underneath the front bench for travel and daytime use.

After the Scamp, for five years we had a 17' Casita Spirit (side dinette) with no furnace, grey water tank or toilet. Ours had the bunk option up front and still another could sleep another in the dinette area. The following is mostly from our stripped-down Casita use.

Skip the toilet and use a porta-potty (cassette toilet) like you've used in the past. My sister-in-law carried a portable room to set up outside for the toilet at the campground. Composting toilets (yeah, right!) are fine for two people but can't see it with two children. The Scamp toilet area takes up too much room when you need the space for two growing children.

We used a catalytic heater (Martin) in our Casita, but with two children I'd forget that option. Get your Scamp with a furnace and remove it, so it's there (wired for 12v and gas) if you need it, or leave it in unless you really need the room. That closet in layout #4 is huge giving you maximum storage!

Since we had no shower in the Casita we didn't miss the hot water tank. Navy showers worked for us.

With the standard setup on our Casita we scrapped a couple of time in dips, one time wrecking a stabilizer. Raising the camper 2" probably would have eliminated the scrapes.

Spend the money and buy lithium batteries right away. You'll never regret the additional expense and they will charge quickly with your portable solar.

I'd get the second water tank if possible. With items packed in that huge closet you should not have a light hitch.

Get the a Maxxfan. With four sleeping in the camper you will appreciate the fan on low at night for moisture removal.

Didn't see an oven, but we don't need one. We now have a portable Omnia Oven and it's fantastic. Wish we had bought it years ago. This morning we had perfect quiche.

The absorption fridge in our 2001 Scamp had trouble in +95 degree weather. However, absorption fridges have improved dramatically in the past few years. Our 2007 Casita and current Escape fridges work great. I'd get another absorption, especially with the boondocking we always try to find.

We added additional solar to our roof so we don't need to deal with the 100 watt portable, but that portable will come in handy at times, so it won't get sold.

In all honesty, when I turned 69 we ordered an Escape 5.0 with most of the options, so now we glam bookdock. You're far away from those days though.

Just my biased experiences,

Perry
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:09 AM   #18
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Cassette toilet. Black tank cassette slides out though a hatch on the outside of the trailer. Other models slide out the back rather than the side. Permanently mounted and plumbed to cold water for flushing.
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Portable toilet (porta-potty). Bottom tank separates from the top to empty. Has internal water supply for flushing that must be recharged. Moveable.
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Old 01-29-2022, 12:09 PM   #19
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California
Posts: 104
Jon is correct, what I’ve been calling a cassette toilet is actually a portapotty . This is what I have, and love it as it sits like a regular sized toilet, but too tall to store under front bench or back bed unfortunately.
Porta Potti 92306 White Thetford Corp https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKR3VYT...VYNFCZ0M9Z4928

I’d like to remove my factory toilet/black tank, but what do I need to do to plug up the hole? Then I have the option of storing the PP in the bathroom or moving outside into my shower tent (and giving my showers extra room). Also I can store my 4 Ľ foam bed topper in the bathroom if II need to set up the table.
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Old 01-29-2022, 02:55 PM   #20
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Name: Shelby
Trailer: Casita SD
Tennessee
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If the OP is still around.... I'd suggest going with Li battery from the start if you'll be boondocking. At the very least, be sure your power center and any solar controller will support Li. No need to buy that stuff twice. I'd limit on board fresh water to the size of your gray tank. Extra water in jugs that can be set outside or moved around and refilled as needed. I also agree that a factory furnace will work better and be safer than anything you can cobble together. A fridge that runs on LP makes sense for boondocking.
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