You probably know I have already turned ‘minimalist’, but for quite a while now, I have been researching another kind of downsizing. It’s the kind that comes on two or four wheels. Yes, I am talking about my little rolling trailer. At just 160 SF of living space, not to mention about 900 square feet less than my old house, my RV is STILL too large for my little 5’4 frame and my two dogs, who combined, weigh under 10 lbs.
I have gotten rid of much of the clutter I originally started out with. This in turn has shown me how much extra space my RV has now, which is mostly wasted. I have to maintain the extra space, I have to tow the extra space (more gas), maneuver the extra space, and the length sometimes keeps me from being able to get into certain remote or uneven boondocking places. This all adds up to the idea of possibly downsizing my entire setup.
I cannot imagine what it must be like to drive or pull a big class a or a fifth wheel. I like the ease of driving into unfamiliar territory and being able to get around town just as easily as I could if I weren’t pulling anything at all. (Which I can only do half the time in my 24’/truck combo.)
The goal? It keeps changing, but currently, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have a Jeep Wrangler or Rubicon as my pull vehicle. This means SERIOUSLY getting small, as these only have a towing capacity of 3K. 😬 This way I can REALLY have fun and REALLY explore the places less traveled when I am not towing.
Even my top contender right now, the Tab 400, is too heavy for that setup. I’m not completely sold on that rig yet anyway.
I thought I would share with you the pros and cons of what I have considered so far. Maybe you are thinking of downsizing your RV, too. Oh, I’ll get to the toilet part, too.
Oliver Travel Trailers
First, I liked the idea of an Oliver Travel Trailer because it’s so SOLID. It’s probably the best quality out there of any trailer made. However, looking at it online, I just wasn’t really feeling excited about the design inside. It was too… sterile or something. Sure, it’s much lighter (color) and more modern than the usual horrible interiors of most of today’s AND yesterday’s RV’s. Still, I wasn’t feeling it. I am talking about the Legacy Elite.
Eventually, I got to see one in the flesh- A Legacy Elite II (Too long at 23′, but just wanted to see one in person). Just as I suspected would happen, I just didn’t bond with the thing. It didn’t excite me. Maybe it was TOO technical/electronic/high-tech. I like minimalism and simplicity. This RV felt kind of like the opposite. I also felt disconnected from the outdoors when I was inside of it. Not many windows and the ones it does have are very small. Ick.
I probably am completely wack in my thinking here, but that’s how it is and I can’t change it. Besides, you get what you pay for and in this case, they run around $50K new. Sure, they hold their value, and that would be great if I loved them. I just …don’t.
- Superior build
- Made of fiberglass. Little to no caulking maintenance necessary
- Great battery storage compartment
- Light and modern interior
My cons for the Oliver travel trailer:
- Sterile, not very fun interior
- Heavier than I want to go at 3,400- GVWR of 5,000 lbs. Can’t pull with a Jeep Wrangler for damn sure
- Very expensive
- So nice, I am afraid I am going to damage or ‘hurt’ it (I can’t have nice things.😂)
- This is petty, but it’s more likely to get stolen as it has a lot of worth
- It’s just not ‘me’
- Windows- small and not many. Feel too enclosed in there
NuCamp Tab 400
This little sucker really excited me when I first heard about it and saw it online. It’s fun, funky, it’s a cute little teardrop, and I just liked it from the start. However, it has a less-than-open floorplan. After seeing and banning the idea of an Oliver, this became my top contender after seeing one in Seattle, Washington. Still, it’s not perfect. I don’t think the perfect rig exists- kind of like a unicorn RV.
One big issue with the Tab 400 for me is the weight, once again. It doesn’t allow for my (current) dream of pulling with a JW. (I’d be really pushing the weight and don’t want to be struggling all the time while towing.) If it weighed something like 1500lbs, I’d be SOLD.
IF I decide against going with the JR, this is likely still my top contender, aside from finding a cuuuuute totally renovated vintage trailer or something.
- Small, funky design
- Fairly light. Just not JW light
- Comes in a boondocking version
- Decent sized tanks (30 gallon fresh, grey 18, black 12)
- Dedicated bed and table areas
- Much more affordable than an Oliver starting around $32K new
- Pretty good inside storage
- I like the type of windows it has plus the skylight window over the bed
- I definitely love the modern interior
- I just get excited when I see one/am in one!
- Good basement storage for its size
- Good interior storage
Neutral: Not sure how the Alde heating system works or how much power it requires to run since I boondock full-time.
Here are my cons for the Tab 400:
- The layout- not very open- would this bother me?
- The sinks are small, shallow and the faucet is crazy low
- The bed area- very low ceiling- might bump head getting up/claustrophobic
- Screen door- The Girls could easily get out if they figure out they can just push on screen and escape. It’s definitely not ‘secure’. Big problem
- Kind of hard to see out when window screens are deployed
The latest obsession: Vintage Trailers
Sure, the issue here is always going to be- is there wood rot? Will it be breaking all the time? Marshall sure won’t appreciate that when we are caravanning because his ass is going to be the one fixing it! LOL. So, I would want to, ideally, find one that has been totally renovated from the bones out. I DO love the look of many of them, but they have to have a fairly modern interior. None of this all-wood look or keeping the original interior for this Chickadee. Blech!
So ideally, I would get one that has been totally renovated from the bones out. I DO love the look of many of them, but they have to have a fairly modern interior. None of this all-wood look or keeping the original interior for this Chickadee. Blech!
I already knew about Sisters On The Fly and their vintage ad section. But the other day, I ran across a great website that lists redesigned (mostly?) vintage trailers. It’s called LittleVintageTrailer.com. Boy, they have a multitude of cute little rigs! I inquired about this one, little Birdie. It’s not too vintage but lacks storage and confidence for me.
However, the sellers did not do all of the repair, and the whole roof has replaced. There’s only one reason to replace a roof that I can think of. So, are the walls/floor rotted at all? Unknown. Too risky. Also, it lacks a bathroom. Hmmmm, Let’s talk about that.
I Think I Can Live Without A Bathroom! First, Let’s Talk Showers
I know, I know. I must be ‘crazy’. However, as you should already know, I live in very temperate climates and I rarely ever sweat. Also, I am single, so there’s really not much need for a bunch of showering. Just sayin’. But believe me, I DON’T stink!
Most boondockers minimize showering, as long as they stay in temperate places. Or, they ‘navy shower’- washing vital areas with a cloth daily. Also, because I boondock exclusively, I have to conserve my power and water, so I don’t take many showers.
I can sponge bath for that matter. Here are the reasons why I like the idea of not having a shower: No shower means no shower to maintain or fix. No cleaning the shower, no leaks to fix, space is saved, and less water would be used. Washing my hair- that’s the biggest issue I can see. I hope to find an RV with a ‘kitchen’ sink big enough to wash my hair upside down in. Preferably with one of those faucets that has a hose connected that you can pull out and use.
Washing the girls may be harder, but there’s always my ‘kitchen’ sink OR a DIY dogwash in town.
Therefore, most of the time, the bathroom is wasted space besides the 3- 5 times I sit on the toilet per day.
EEW, WTF? No RV Toilet???
If you can’t talk caca, you had better skip over this little discussion. Ok, so yes, I have ‘dreamed’ of living without a toilet for quite a while now.
DEAR GOD WHY???
Why? For the sheer simplicity of it. For the personal challenge of seeing how much I really can live without. I’m talking a bucket and a bag, people. Look, these people are doing it. Kind of. You get the jist…
I jest. Where did this ‘see how much I can live without’ thing come from? I think I have always had it, but I followed society into the typical direction. I got caught up in the typical, easy, expensive road of doing what everyone else does with living in a regular house, having all the required things. Including water-wasting toilets. (IMHO)
I remember long ago dreaming of living out of a car just to avoid the extremely high chunk of my paycheck going to either a landlord or the bank. That idea has always pissed me off, working for ‘the man’. Just, houses- WHY so big and WHY so much? Why do houses have to be so damn big and expensive? Anyway…
So now I live in an RV, full-time. Why no toilet? Again- the simplicity. When something breaks, I rarely have the skills or know-how to fix it myself. Then there’s the cost to replace and/or to hire someone to fix it. Well, I can sometimes get around this when I am traveling with Marshall, but that’s beside the point.
One of the best parts of not having a toilet would be that there’s no sewage to have to dump. (I have spilled while dumping at least 3 times. That’s three times too many to have to deal with THAT shit.) So the less I have, the less I have to maintain, the more money I have to spend on adventures v/s stuff.
Fast fact- When you keep your solids and liquids separate, you don’t have ‘sewage’. We create sewage by mixing the two. It’s an extremely disgusting combo, people.
Anyway, what would my options be aside from a traditional RV toilet? I could buy a composting toilet. And I might. Natures Head sells them for about $1,000, which really tweaks me. I mean, good god, all it is is a container that you put something in like coconut coir or sawdust, and it has a turning tine inside to mix up your caca with the substance. Oh, and it has a lid. That’s it. Plus, it has a separate container for your liquids. (Tee-tee, in case you were wondering.)
THAT’S IT! Ugh. $1,000. Well, they have a little fan (would have to be wired to run from my batteries) that you have to use at times, too. So, there’s something else that can break.
A composting toilet is not much different than using a bucket and a bag. You can use a bucket, cover it with a little sawdust when you are done and boom, you’re done. No smell. They even make toilet seats for buckets, WITH a lid! Cost: Maybe $20.
Gross? To each their own. I am a big girl and I poop. We all do. You look at your poop in the toilet at times, don’t you? So it’s not like you never see it. You still smell it because there is this time period where its coming out of your ass and isn’t in the water yet, so there’s the smell. This is the same thing. It’s just not going into water. It’s going into a bag. Big whoop.
Ever poo on a hike and bury it? Oh, you’re above that? Then you are reading the wrong blog. This girl is down to earth, this shit doesn’t bother me.
I can make my own composting toilet out of a bucket and bag or I may get a composting toilet. Maybe what I buy will already have a composting toilet. Anyway, this is all undecided, but I thought I would share with you my ideas in the meantime.
What About Going #1?
Well, you know I boondock full-time. This one is easy. For the most part, I will be able to pee in nature. An ‘Earth Pee’ if you will. What about after dark? I may not feel totally comfortable in areas where there are bear and moose. In that case, I can either choose to go in a container, or outside. Ever heard of a ‘she-pee’? How about a visual for ya?
They make this and other devices for girls. I can use it to go into a container that I dump once full. This is probably going to be the ‘yukiest’ part of my possible no-toilet adventures, as urine smells pretty bad, and I will have to rinse the she pee after each use. Ick. I’d much rather go outside.
Still, when going outside, there’s always the ‘splash’ issue. If there’s high enough grass, it can work. However, lots of time, like in the desert, there is none. So, the splash effect comes into play. What’s a girl to do?
Still, I don’t have to make any decisions yet. But if you find an amazing totally renovated small vintage trailer out there I may like, please let me know! You can message me here, or on my Rv Chickadee Facebook page. Actually, you can message me on Camp Addict as well.
More Gross Than A Bucket? You Decide.
Oh, hey, let’s not forget to mention this, to me, much more gross scenario- in smaller vans, they make a ‘cassette’ toilet. All you need to know is you pee and poo into a regular looking toilet. It has a very small tank.
You have to PULL THE TANK OUT and DUMP THE TANK BY HAND, like into a toilet or a dump station. THAT is gross… you will see and smell the SEWAGE up close. No thanks. I’m good. Need proof? Here, watch this if you dare.
At least with a regular toilet and holding tank, you don’t have to see the sewage unless it spills. But, you still sure smell it when you dump. Gross.
That’s enough fun for now LOL! I’ll keep updating on new rigs as I do more research. Right now, I have to go to sleep. It’s 12:20am.