I have been living in a truck camper since March 10th. I've only slept in my apartment 5 days since then.
You may want to consider what I did.
I bought a 3000 series Bigfoot
. I already had a diesel dually Silverado K3500. I paid $4500 for the Bigfoot
and add in another $3200 in upgrades, 630 watts solar
panels $900, (2) 400 AH batteries $1200, a new two way water heater $400, a $220 TV, LED light
bulbs, a $200 gas grill, and lots of little stuff.
I set the camper up for Boondocking
. I didn't want to stay in a park unless I needed to dump my tanks. I have not yet paid to stay anywhere, or paid to dump my tanks while away from home about three weeks so far and I'm off again on Thursday.
While working on my boat, I found a YMCA camp that lets me park overnight when it is not in session. It helps being a retired military officer. I also use Walmart's parking lots and rest areas.
I can park it in a normal parking spot. The whole rig is less than 23' long. I have dim "stealth" lighting
and find lots of places to park overnight for free. I often stay in hotel parking lots, and park near the event door so people think I'm an exhibitor. I have two dogs so it is not usual for someone to stay in a hotel and leave the dogs outside. Going in an out never seems to get more than a glance.
Because it is a four season camper with excellent insulation, dual pane windows
, and is not very large, it has been very comfortable and both easy to heat--cheaper to heat than my all electric apartment. And it has a really big fridge
that I stuffed full of food today and it still has room. Much bigger than anything you will find a an egg camper
This is "the" camper the Canadian Mounties use above the Arctic Circle. I highly recommend the dual pane Bigfoot
Campers-- particularly the "Winter Wall" versions. While I originally was more attracted to the much more popular and hence expensive 2500 series, I was glad to stumble on this one. The price was right and I paid about book value for it. It had been sitting in a barn for 15 years so it never had the typical modifications most people do.
For winter living or for a semi-permanent location, I plumbed it to run off external propane
tanks. It could be offloaded at a park, if allowed-- some don't allow this as they are worried a jack will break and strand it there. So it can very easily run off bigger fixed propane
tanks. I run it off two single 40 lb tanks at home and plan on upgrading to a couple of 100 lb tanks at some point. I am considering modifying my small trailer to carry a couple large propane
bottles for extended winter camping. I don't want to be changing tanks frequently in cold weather.
There is actually room for two more propane tanks in the generator
space, but I'm leaning towards adding a second water tank there. I find 32 gallons is minimal. Most people will tell you that 60 gallons is a better size for off-grid use. If you are hooked up to water and sewer, this will not matter.
So it is feasible to live in a four season camper year round, being smaller and extremely well insulated helps, even in temps down to -20°, but you will either burn a lot of propane at $20 bottle a day, or add some basement fans to circulate electric heat, if plugged in, to the warm air to the tanks in the basement.
I have discovered that winter camping is so rarely done that many places are not only empty but un-staffed.
If you definitely want to be in a campground with full hookups, a trailer would be a better choice. Negotiate long term rates and shop around.
Whatever you choose for a rig, you can probably look around and find a farm or ranch that will lease you space cheaper than a campground.
I think you are making a wise choice. You get to keep much of your housing expense, when it is over.
A friend of mine in San Francisco was an Army doctor. He lived on a tiny Tahitian ketch sailboat for two years at Treasure Island. He paid for it with his housing allowance in that time.
Whatever you choose, there is always something to do to improve a camper. Most find in fun and interesting to make "mods" to improve things, or make it more enjoyable to use when you are inside.
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