Since we purchased our Bigfoot
in 2015 we have made a lot of modifications to make our camping more enjoyable.
: After fixing the saggy roof we turned our attention to solar power
. We went with a 100w Renogy monocrystalline panel. Well made and affordable. The charger is a Morningstar Sunsaver. It is a 4 stage (bulk, absorption, float and equalization) charger and has temperature compensation. Documentation and customer support is really good. Two 6v golf cart batteries provide ample power. Since we like to know where things are at with charging and discharging we installed voltmeter gauges for the panel and the battery
. An ammeter for the panel is also very useful. Knowing a bit about battery
behaviour allows us to avoid purchasing an expensive battery
monitor. We are very happy with the setup.
2) INVERTER: We enjoy watching DVDs in the evening and since we frequently camp without hookups, an inverter was required. After a fair bit of research we decided on the pure sine wave PST-300-12 inverter from Samlex. For solar
applications it is ideal as it will tolerate a fairly high input voltage. In addition, it is very quiet as the fan only comes on when needed. Like the solar panel
, it is affordable, well made and comes with good documentation and customer support.
3) TV/DVD: We had some leftover equipment kicking around the house that fit quite nicely inside the trailer. Building the mounts took a fair bit of work. Simple, cheap and effective.
4) BATTERY BOX: Dealing with two plastic battery boxes was a pain so we decided to build something that was more convenient and secure. The new box has drain and vent holes and is bolted to the trailer.
FANS: The original absorption refrigerator
works well as long as it is not too hot outside. Looking for some performance gains we installed some second hand computer fans both inside and out. This summer we will find out how much of an improvement the fans make. The fans are controlled by an inexpensive switch mounted below the solar
6) ACCESS SLIDERS: Improving access to storage areas has been a great help, especially when setting up camp.
7) BUILT-IN CABINET: Purely cosmetic, but worth the effort.
8) SHELVES: We found that shelves in the closet helped greatly to store clothes and other items. The shelves for dishes and food are also useful.
9) COUNTER EXTENSION: This extension was made with some leftover laminate that was glued to plywood. Hardware cost only about $3, but the mounting was a bit tricky.
10) EXTERNAL DRAIN: The factory location underneath the trailer was a real pain. Much easier now.
11) HANDLE: Getting in and out of the trailer is now a lot easier and safer. Due to the non-planar surfaces a special mounting block was cut from a piece of yellow cedar.
12) STEP: Keeping with our theme of simple, inexpensive and effective, we repurposed a piece of scrap aluminum to give us a wider and deeper step. A wooden removeable support is used underneath.
13) GARBAGE CAN: It took us a while to find a good location for the garbage can. A few zip ties and this mod was completed.
14) INTERIOR: We painted the door fronts white and used a funky colour on some of the walls. The doors were very fiddly to do.
15) MECHANICAL: Two years ago we ditched the drop axle
and purchased a new axle
from a local supplier. We added new Dexter self adjusting brakes
, u-bolts and heavy duty greasable shackles. The axle
was triangulated properly to avoid any alignment issues.
The next big project is to paint
the exterior. We plan to spend a few days doing prep work and then shoot it with epoxy primer followed with single stage 2 part acrylic urethane. Finding time is the hardest part.