Author Topic: Any full/part-time camper-dwellers here?  (Read 1331 times)

RumBurgundy

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Any full/part-time camper-dwellers here?
« on: December 17, 2017, 11:06:18 AM »
Hello, first post here, long time reader.

I realize that this is more of a niche topic that might get me directed to RV forums and such but I wanted to ask the FI, financially focused group here to see if there were any pointers I could get before diving into other forums.

I've had a teardrop for a few years and have used it on summer roadtrips. It wasn't intended as a starter camper because I didn't want to "upgrade" from my 4cyl Honda Fit and its 40mpg (another reason I'm asking here instead of a camper/RV forum) for when I'm on the road.

After probably 2 cumulative months of sleeping/living in the teardrop over the last 2 years, I've realized it wouldn't meet all my needs outside of the scope of a roadtrip. Specifically, it'd be REALLY nice to be able to stand up (even if there isn't much walking room) and it's really nice to have indoor seating for when it rains for reading/eating/visiting.

There really isn't anything currently on the market that I've found that can be towed with my current vehicle (weight limitation is probably in the 1200#, <150# tongue weight range). The Casitas/Scamps are probably the closest match to what I was hoping for but I think they weigh too much. I recently discovered that there are some vintage options - Serro Scotty, for instance - that could fit the bill which would possibly still be roadtrip capable.

Recently, however, I've been seriously kicking the idea around of relocating into a camper for an extended period of time and renting out my house. This would not be a a pick up and go from campsite to campsite concept (I'd have a friend's vehicle to relocate a camper from the purchase site to it's semi-permanent resting spot). I'm thinking about getting a plot, installing permanent hookups/utility pole, OR parking a camper in the deep backyard of a rental property that I'm renovating and connecting it to that house's sewer and electrical.

I'm not opposed to building a permanent structure in the backyard like the one MMM built that could be used for living or as a workshop but my assumption has been that a camper would be better bang for the buck considering materials cost and not even bringing into account my time/effort/stress to build as well as permitting issues (which I would seek to work around/disregard with the camper option).

All that to say, for anyone here who has camper/RV living experience, I'm wondering what's the best bang for the buck in terms of practicality/efficiency/low maintenance/basic comfort when it comes to these things? My assumption is buying a "project" camper for renovation will be a money pit and I'd be better off finding a moderately used camper or someone else's renovation project that they've gotten their fun/use out of. Any tips or challenges to my plans appreciated here.

mmmfan500

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Re: Any full/part-time camper-dwellers here?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2017, 02:29:03 PM »
I'm curious about this too.

I have a Yaris, about the same sized car as yours so am severely limited by towing capacity. As for living on the road, bouncing from camp site to camp site, it seems to not be much cheaper than living in a permanent structure not to mention all the hassles of dealing with where to shower, cook, sleep that night if you don't have reservations, etc. But, it would be a very simple and freedom-filled existence.

But, as you suggest, living in a trailer in a permanent location could make it worth it. Have all your power and sewage hook-ups built-in and yea, it could save some cash. Not to mention the income you'd be getting for renting out the house.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 02:31:37 PM by elvisz »

Caoineag

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Re: Any full/part-time camper-dwellers here?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2017, 08:53:41 AM »
We meet the part time requirement and will meet the full time in spring 2018. We ended up going for an extended high roof Ram Promaster van and doing a low cost build inside that suited our requirements. If you want to see what we did you can check out my journal. Our issue is that we wanted to be able to go everywhere (which eliminates towing something, limited length and requires decent clearance). The other advantage with our setup is the 20mpg we get despite traveling some rough roads. All this to say that our solution is ideally suited to our use.

That said, you sound like you want something more location permanent. So in that case, I would definitely look more at the all season hunting campers/trailers (weight wise probably too much for your vehicle but if you are leaving it somewhere, way more practical as they tend to be insulated). There is no such thing as a camper that is perfect for everything so you really have to focus on how you want to use it.

Aegishjalmur

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Re: Any full/part-time camper-dwellers here?
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2017, 09:35:59 AM »
Instead of a trailer/rv, have you considered getting a concrete footer poured and having a metal Quonset hut installed?

http://www.steelmasterusa.com/quonset-huts/

I am not sure about the insulation rating on their own but a DIY rocket stove could heat one pretty well, and they do have insulation listed under their accessories.

or a Yurt?
https://www.yurts.com/





RumBurgundy

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Re: Any full/part-time camper-dwellers here?
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2017, 07:39:14 AM »
Instead of a trailer/rv, have you considered getting a concrete footer poured and having a metal Quonset hut installed?

Both solid recommendations. Part of my problem/motivation to avoid a permanent structure is 1) dealing with city officials (despite my ambiguity in the OP, I probably won't be on an isolated country lot), and 2) I'm not sure how temporary my current living situation is and I'd like to have a prolonged evaluation period before really committing to such a lifestyle.

That said, I've started thinking about putting a small shed in the corner of the backyard and adding a shower and commode to it. That way I can stick with a lighter weight, towable (for me) camper that still gives me the mobility option if I choose to use it as such. I believe I can get away with the shed in this city and do the plumbing addition on the DL.

That said, you sound like you want something more location permanent. So in that case, I would definitely look more at the all season hunting campers/trailers (weight wise probably too much for your vehicle but if you are leaving it somewhere, way more practical as they tend to be insulated). There is no such thing as a camper that is perfect for everything so you really have to focus on how you want to use it.

Great advice, thanks!

As for living on the road, bouncing from camp site to camp site, it seems to not be much cheaper than living in a permanent structure not to mention all the hassles of dealing with where to shower, cook, sleep that night if you don't have reservations, etc. But, it would be a very simple and freedom-filled existence.

Campsites are often not cheap (outside of state/national parks), that is true. You might want to look into dispersed camping on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management or the Forestry Service. It's free but the time limitation removes it from my possibilities list *for now* (as I'm not looking to be constantly on the move at the moment).