Setup for VERY Longterm - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-03-2020, 11:59 AM   #1
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Name: Dane
Trailer: Prowler
Minnesota
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Lightbulb Setup for VERY Longterm

Hi all, new proud first-time owner of a 2001 prowler for the cabin. I'm having trouble finding tips and things to do for longterm usage. I've recently cleared out a section of land, ran power and put a gravel pad area which will serve as the camper's new permanent home for as long as I own it.
My main question is what should I do for stabilizing the camper for such long term use? I've been thinking of blocking it up with cinder blocks similar to a mobile home and getting the wheels off the ground. Is there something different/better I should consider?
Another item I am trying to figure out is in regards to winter. I'm thinking of building a carport type of roof system or something that will protect it from the elements but also allow some later season usage.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-03-2020, 02:56 PM   #2
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Old Prowlers home

That is where many twenty-year-old stick-built RVs end up. While a well maintained 20-year-old molded fiber glass RV will sell for more than its original purchase price and is still on the road. Every fall here in Wisconsin we see many stick-built RVs listed for sale as hunting shacks. I sold my Prowler to be used as a guest cottage at a lake home.
Remember to anchor the Prowler like a mobile home. I do not know about yours, but mine was definitely not a four season or full time RV. (YES I DO HAVE A PICTURE FOR EVERYTHING!)
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Old 08-03-2020, 03:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaneO View Post
Hi all, new proud first-time owner of a 2001 prowler for the cabin. I'm having trouble finding tips and things to do for longterm usage. I've recently cleared out a section of land, ran power and put a gravel pad area which will serve as the camper's new permanent home for as long as I own it.
My main question is what should I do for stabilizing the camper for such long term use? I've been thinking of blocking it up with cinder blocks similar to a mobile home and getting the wheels off the ground. Is there something different/better I should consider?
Another item I am trying to figure out is in regards to winter. I'm thinking of building a carport type of roof system or something that will protect it from the elements but also allow some later season usage.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to the forum. So a few things... You might want to check in over at iRV2.com where members will have more info about prowlers than we do here but, regardless, you'll want to use metal straps (high wind protection) and some jack stands for stability. Please don;t use cinder blocks - they fracture easily and may result in an accident.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f44/secu...nd-120780.html
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:43 PM   #4
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Name: RogerDat
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Many if not most RV's are not insulated enough for when temps drop below freezing. Water lines, hot water heater, toilet, gray and black water tanks may not be located where they can be easily kept from freezing.

Might want to insure you have an easy and effective way to drain/blow out the water system. Be a bummer to come back put some water in it, start the pump only to find there was a low spot that collected water which froze and cracked the line.

+1 on anchor that thing and do not use cinder blocks. I wouldn't trust scissor jacks either for long term. Real jack stands. Ideally sitting on concrete base set below frost line, with anchors for the hold down straps.

You are also going to need to be very attentive to looking in hidden locations to detect leaks early.

Last but not least decide if you want to lock it. Those rustic locations see a lot of theft. Smart is to have nothing in there worth stealing and don't make them break your door to get in and find out there is nothing. Ask around to assess risk in your area.

Before I would build a roof for the camper I would build a shelter for outside cooking, eating, or sitting under in general but that is just me. It also can give you a place to mount a couple of solar panels that are high enough up to discourage thieves. Bear in mind if your batteries are available they are something that thieves will take. Scrap yard for cash money or resale to another camper or cottage.

I considered doing something like this but more of a campsite where I could drive and not have to worry about a reservation. People I know who have something on site all the time seem to enjoy it but they also have to deal with stuff I wouldn't want to. Besides who in their right mind would leave a FGRV in the woods rather than drive it around to "see the world"?

Good luck.

You might check out Insulated Concrete Forms. Essentially hard foam blocks you can fill with concrete to make supports or foundations. Or storage that is semi-secure.
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:59 AM   #5
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Name: Dane
Trailer: Prowler
Minnesota
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Thanks for the replies. I've got a bit of a unique situation, family homestead, the cabin is over 100yrs old and beginning to no longer be safe. But we know the neighbors, and all that. My siblings and I are weighing options on creating our own 'bunkhouses'. I'm just the first to do it, got a hell of a deal on the camper and was thousands less than building what I want. Permanent power, no running water, stream right through the property and a sauna. All i need in life
I ran a 50amp to allow for a larger unit or a building in the future. Planning a deck next summer. Snow fall can get pretty high in northern MN so I don't expect to go up all winter, but would like to get up as late as I can. Last winter when we winterized we still used the camper a few times just had to use the outhouse and bring dishes home with us.
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:58 PM   #6
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You might want to reconsider the use of a RV trailer for a "Cabin" in the woods for many of the reasons suggested above. Just because a trailer is CHEAP does not mean it will ultimately be CHEAP over the long-term to setup, configure utilities and be comfortable in Winter or Summer.

Suggest you look at prefabricated treated wood sheds that are available most anywhere as a much better alternative. You can pick a size and build it out the inside to better fit your needs and ultimately end up with a much better "Cabin" for the future.

RV's used in a stationary setting go down in condition very fast just like letting em sit in the back yard or field and over time become a liability on your land. They don't call me "Trailer Trash" for nothin!

Yes a Shed of any type will cost "Mo Money" however a shed structure will last a lot longer over the long-term, provide better comfort when properly built out to your tastes and might actually add some value to your property.

Here is an example. I have no association with this company and post this as an example only:

https://shedsunlimited.net/shed-coll...d-wooden-sheds
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Old 08-04-2020, 01:36 PM   #7
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A sauna in the middle of the northern MN woods? I smell (or donít smell) a Finn!
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Old 08-04-2020, 02:08 PM   #8
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Name: Steve
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I grew up in Minnesota and hunted / worked in Northern Mn for over 20 years
( Hibbing , Chisholm , Ely , Big Fork )
We tried using old trailers as permanent hunting shacks twice and failed twice
If you get 2 to 3 years out of the trailer before leaks , rot and mold set in your really lucky
I would not stick a lot of time and money in the trailer . Simply use the trailer as a temporary shelter why you save up and build a more permanent structure
We finally built a 16 ft X 16 ft plywood hunting shack with an 8 ft X 16 ft screen porch , solar lights , a barrel stove for heat , folding bunk beds and a wood fired sauna for under $5000 but that was 20 years ago
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Old 08-04-2020, 02:54 PM   #9
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Name: Dane
Trailer: Prowler
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That's the ultimate plan. Just want the camper to be as comfortable and stable as it can be until it's time for it to go.
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Old 08-04-2020, 03:03 PM   #10
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Name: Steve
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We picked up a bunch of old railroad ties when they were redoing a railroad track
Jacked the trailer up and used the railroad ties as cribbing , screwing them together with timberlock screws . Spreads the load over a wider area -Cheap & stable
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Old 08-08-2020, 12:38 PM   #11
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Hi DaneO,

I am doing what you are doing on my land in West Virginia. I am about 15 years into it now and it works just fine. Some thoughts:

- It will leak. You can chase leaks every year until the leaks finally win or put it under a pole barn (which is what I did).

- The mice will find a way in and trash all your stuff. You have to check periodically to find the little holes they chew in the fabric underbody and stuff them with steel wool. Keep bait and traps out all the time.

- Winterizing the plumbing system is a must. I ended up permanently bypassing the hot water heater. If I need hot water I heat it on the stove. I leave antifreeze in the fresh water tank and pump permanently. I never turn on the pump and only use a direct hookup to the well. It makes winterizing a 15 minute job instead of a 1 or 2 hour job.

- I built an outhouse with flush toilet connected to the septic tank. It has an electric heater for the winter but I have to winterize it by draining the hose to it and putting antifreeze in the toilet. I can still use it in the winter by flushing with buckets of water from the freeze-proof farm spigot. I removed the toilet from the RV for more storage space. I never use the black water tank on the trailer.

- Grey water tank drains to the woods (shh, don't tell anyone).

- I use a propane-fired portable instant hot water system for an outdoor shower. I don't shower in the winter. I take the heater home for the winter so it won't freeze. The drain plug doesn't completely drain the heat exchanger so it will freeze - ask me how I know.

- Using electric heaters is quieter and more constant temperature than the RV furnace.

- I have started using a small dehumidifier in the summer when I am not there.

Good luck. You may find out that you don't need a cabin after all. I really like my little refuge.

Doug
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Old 08-08-2020, 12:48 PM   #12
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Name: Darwin
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Did it for 5 years, Lived in it Monday to Thursday night.
Installed flexible water line with heat tape.
If in extreme cold, you can get a heat pad for under the grey, black tanks, made just for them.
because I lived in it during that time, I had 2 tall Propane tanks installed outside and I had several electric heaters inside. Only used propane in extreme cold.
Putting it up on blocks is a great idea and level.
because I was in a Navy Campground, I had sewer hookups.
During winter, Open all cabinets where there are water pipes behind them. This allows heat to get to pipes.
If you are not going to be using camper in winter, make sure you flush all water out to include the water heater and use the RV antifreeze. On the water heater, drain it so you will not have to use so much antifreeze. A bypass on the water heater is great.
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Old 08-16-2020, 06:55 AM   #13
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Name: Linda
Trailer: Scamp 16'
Ontario
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You could build a car-port type structure over top of your trailer, but make it the size of your future cabin (perhaps 2-3x the width of the trailer). You will have the uprights that are properly footed with concrete and the permanent roof. This gives you covered outdoor space for cooking and sitting (whatever) and makes your trailer last longer because it's protected. When your trailer finally dies, you remove it, put up a few walls and have your cabin. You could slowly add components over the years, like a wall with a stone fireplace at the end farthest from the trailer. (how cool is that? Sitting outside under your roof in the pouring rain with a fire roaring in your beautiful, hand-made fireplace.)
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