Traveling Smart while Conserving and Saving
What are some interesting things that we can do to make travel fun without sacrificing things when it comes to our campers. Well in this Travel Blog I hope to shed some light on a few things YOU the Traveler may have overlooked. Let`s take a look at some of these things.
As I mentioned in my prior blog post, redesigning your camper to serve you better can be a whole lot of fun depending on how much you enjoy designing and putting in a little elbow grease. Some things take some serious skills but most don`t and I`ve found that some of the things you may want to do in regards to electronics can be done fairly cheap. With that being said, all the things you can think of with a camper can be a reality fairly easily. The smaller the camper the easier it will be and less time consuming of course.
Let`s begin with water. You typically have three tanks in a camper. Fresh water tank, black tank and grey tank. Fresh is obviously for fresh tap water going in and black for toilet and grey for shower and sink. Hope I got that right. Well, how many gallons of water do you use flushing your toilet. I don`t know but I would say with two people about a Gallon or more a day. You could be using that for an extra long hot shower OR just saving it so you don`t have to fill up all the time. Here is what I did.
A few months ago I bought a Nature`s Head Composting Toilet. Now these are not complicated, however you do have to dump them every 3 months or so but it`s a lot less messy than having to empty a black tank. I mean, come on, who wants to deal with that. Yuck! Having a composting toilet means you don`t need to deal with the black tank ever again and that my friends is music to my ears.
I simply unscrewed the Dometic toilet system that came with the camper, plugged the hole that led directly down to the black tank and boom that part was finished. Total time to complete that task was about 30 minutes. Next I have to prepare the install for the Composting Toilet. I decided to go with building a small 2 in high platform that sits on the bathroom floor where the original toilet was and this enables me to have something between the new toilet and the floor. This way I move the composting toilet further in the corner and I have more room for using the shower or mirror. When customizing your camper make sure to think of all the options available to you before you start in. You just might be able to make it way better than you thought. Currently I am waiting to put down some tongue and groove flooring that will give a nice glow to the floor and then I will put down the new toilet and other items like table insert in the floor.
Ok, now that my idea for my toilet system is underway I have t look at other things I can do to make life better inside. The next thing I did was replace every single bulb to LED. This was a really awesome move in regards to dry camping which means not plugging into a hardwired system for electric like a designated camp site where Id be paying anywhere from $35-$100 per day depending on where I am in the country. An LED bulb draws about 10% of what a normal bulb will and that means being able to stay out dry camping that much longer. BIG SCORE doing this. My camper came with a standard Deep Cycle battery but I purchased a GOAL ZERO Lithium battery bank. I have the YETI 1400 which can power my camper for days without recharging. And because I have solar connected to my goal zero battery, I can keep my battery fully charged all the time even though I`m using energy from it as the Solar unit is large enough to do so with ease. I would like to go into my Goal Zero system in more detail at a later date.
The other thing I have done to my camper is seal the roof and prevent any water leaks from happening and this is a big preventative measure that keeps everyone cozy inside. I used a combination of high quality sealants to do the job and do it right.
I have several more interesting things to talk about very soon so please tune in to my next blog post and find out what we have going on.
Thanks for tuning in!
Scott / Alpenlore USA
Some options to choose from
Traveling can be a great way to relax and just fulfill your dreams in life. Sometimes it is all we need to do in order to be happy. I remember my very best memories were traveling out to Colorado and Virginia as a kid and spending time with family and seeing the sights. I rarely meet anyone who does not love travel and seeing new places. My dream all of my life was to just travel just like many of you, even you the reader of this blog. However, it COSTS MONEY to travel and depending on your amount of free time and income, you are limited to what you can do.
I have thought of many ways I could travel and do it on the cheap. One big advantage to achieving the low budget travel is buying a cargo van and building it the way that suits you according to your budget.
However, traveling in a small space can be challenging for someone who needs privacy or claustrophobic. Making great use of space is the best thing to plan out before you start your build and make each part of your camper multi-functional.
Example, making your bed platform into a small storage container where you can store blankets and other items or if you build a shower, make it collapsible so you have that extra space when you`re not using it. Purchasing a composting toilet so that you can slide it out of the way to also create more space. Good use of space is what really allows you to feel comfortable inside your camper and most of the designs I have seen have been poorly thought out in regards to that. One design concept that I have found interesting that I designed myself is to make a center are of the camper completely Free of anything so you have a place to stretch out on the floor. Remember when you were a kid and always laying on the floor watching TV? Well this was my idea for the camper. If you can`t do that then think about making collapsible cabinets or shelves so that you have that space when you need it. Just remember that anything you have to secure while driving should be designed to be locked down once you get back on the road.
Next, we can talk about going Off-grid. This term is often used by people to going in the backcountry and camping without hookups. Well, camping at Wal-mart parking lots will also be considered as urban off-grid. It may not be a city but you`re still in a populated area. How do travelers do this without hook-ups? Well they usually have a generator OR they have a solar unit that feeds a battery inside in order to supply electric to run lights, water pumps, heaters, computers, phones and so on. THIS is the real way to travel so you can save BIG avoiding campgrounds. You end up paying for your Fuel and Food and whatever little things you use along your travels. My 17ft camper is currently going thru this transformation where Im replacing my dometic toilet with a composting and adding a GOAL ZERO Yeti 1400 to my camper to supply power to my 12 volt system. I can`t run the A/C but I can still use everything else, that is as long as my solar can supply the energy to my Goal Zero. I have a big soar panel but I could use 1 more set to really maintain a full supply of battery strength and maintain it while using all my camper electrical appliances and devices. I will have to see how that goes as time goes by and my travels extend year by year.
I will talk more about all these topics in detail in the coming blog posts.
Thanks for tuning in everyone!
Hurricane Irma Survival
Well, that was one heck of a disaster and our prayers and support have gone out to those affected.
Alpenlore USA has donated to this effort but we wish we could do much more.
Natural Disasters like massive Hurricanes are one of those things now that we can sometimes plan for. Earthquakes on the other hand we cannot. Other disasters or emergencies like flooding can many times come without warning and you just never know where you will be when they strike.
Having first-aid kits, survival kits or extra water and power are great ideas but its always good to have something on you at all times. That is where our survival belts come in handy.
We cannot equip them with everything you need but we can equip you with the essentials and thats what we do best.
We are ready to shift into the next year in regards to product development and we have a lot of ideas on the table. Winter season is upon us and we would like to get our Ski Belt in full swing so we can have it ready for this years ski season. If you have some clever ideas we are ready to hear them. A lot of planning goes into our gear and its difficult to find items that will fit into our belts so we also have to look into other types of wearable gear and technologies.
Please help us by mailing your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org