Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How we do what we do...

I just stumbled across this post that I started back in June and forgot to finish (oops!) so here ya go!  =)

How we do what we do!
When we first hit the road on March 24th, 2014 we chose to take the "easy way out" in terms of our power system. Rather than installing solar power on our trailer/camper, like we wanted to do, we decided to purchase a 2,000 watt Pulsar Generator to tackle our power needs, while boondocking. It didn't take long for us to regret that decision. The generator didn't work right from the get-go, and the sound of it running was a bit annoying. Since we really do not use that much power on the road (we're outside most of the time,) we only needed to run it 2 hours/day to re-charge our trailer/camper battery. Which meant the cost of gasoline for it wasn't too bad (although NOT having to buy gasoline for our power needs would have definitely been a plus!) There were several days, however, where we had fishermen and/or other campers near us. Out of respect for them, we held off on running the generator until we seen them pull away for the day. There was also a few days where we were gone from daylight to dark, out exploring, and didn't get to run the generator at all. Which, of course, isn't good on the trailer/camper battery. After fighting with our generator for 2 months, we finally decided it was time to install solar panels. We did a TON of research to determine our power needs, how solar panels work, etc and purchased the solar panel kit shown below. (We also took our generator back to Sears to be repaired, and plan to sell it once we know it's working properly.) This is a 200 watt solar panel kit. If it generates the amount of power that the ads for it claim, it will suit our power needs just fine (as I said before, we really don't NEED a lot of power since most of our time is spent outdoors.)............................................................

We have an on-board water holding tank on our trailer/camper to use at our leisure. Depending on the distance between our camping destinations, we may or may not fill the water tank before leaving the previous destination. If we are driving a reasonable distance, we wait until we arrive at the new destination- that way we are not hauling that extra weight with us. We keep 10 clean 1- gallon water jugs (we buy our drinking and cooking water, not because we have to, but because we just feel safer that way) in our vehicle at all times. Sometimes the place we are staying will have a water source (usually a hand-pump) for campers to use, but not always. If not, there's always somewhere that you can get water....Public restrooms, if the water jug will fit under the faucet. Water-hose hookups at gas stations, stores, rest areas, etc- just be sure to get permission first. I personally prefer to get 5 gallons of water every time we go out than to try and get 10+ gallons at once. It's easier and people typically do not mind letting you fill 5 little water-jugs. Since we buy spring water for drinking and cooking, we have even used water from a river/lake before when we were far back in the woods away from a water source. Simply fill a gallon jug with water leaving about an inch empty at the top, add 1/8 tsp of bleach, cap the jug, shake it, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. If you want to carry water jugs with you, like we do, and you do not want to carry multiple water-jugs around, you can use these 5 gallon jugs instead. With these larger jugs, though, you won't be able to fill them in bathroom sinks since they will not fit under the faucet.
Or these Collapsible Water Jugs

We have an on-board water holding tank, water pump, and hot-water-heater that we can use at our leisure. However, to save power and propane, we sometimes use solar showers instead. Personally there's something I like about showering outdoors, with the sky above my head. =) If you turn the water off while you are scrubbing your body and hair, then back on to rinse- you will be surprised at how far 5 gallons of water can go. I love solar showers!  Below you will find links to 2 different brands of solar showers. The first one (The Seattle Sports brand) is my favorite as far as convenience goes. It has a little "handle" on it for turning the water on and off. The second one (Coleman brand) seems to be made of a thicker plastic. However, I'm not real pleased with the way you turn the water on and off on it. It's just not as convenient as the Seattle Sports brand, in my opinion..............................................................................................................................
 I know, I know.....right now you're probably thinking "I'm not taking a shower out in the open, where everyone passing by can see me!" lol...That's where this next item comes in. It is a shower enclosure- you simply hang it from a tree branch, get inside, and do your thing. We made our own shower enclosure with a hula hoop, 2 shower curtains, shower curtain rings, and some rope. It may not look too fancy, but it serves it's purpose. =) If you'd like information on how exactly we made ours, don't hesitate to ask (you can comment here on this post or email us.) If you're not interested in making your own, the one posted below seems to be a good choice. But what if your camp spot doesn't have any low hanging branches, to use for your shower and enclosure? We're currently working on a solution for that, I'll update this post when our project is complete! =)

We have on-board gray water (water from our sink and tub/shower) and black water (from our toilet) tanks that we can use at our leisure. When we are staying somewhere with a pit toilet, bathroom, and/or bath house- we use them as much as we can to save space in our tanks. Gray water can sometimes be spread out onto the ground, depending on where we are and how close we are to a river, lake, ocean, pond, stream, creek, etc. Some places have free dump stations that you can use, otherwise we use google search to find the nearest dump-station, to dump our black tank. Since we typically only stay in each place 2 weeks, we've never had a problem stretching our tank capacity to handle our 2 week stay.

And here are some miscellaneous products that make our lives MUCH easier, on the road:


If you have any questions about how we manage things on the road, don't hesitate to ask! =)  *COLLECT MOMENTS, NOT THINGS!*
P.S. Please take a moment to comment on this post and SHARE it! To share, just click on the red "share" button below or look for the gray facebook/email/pinterest/twitter/etc icons below (depending on what type of device you're on.) Thank you so very much for your support!!! =)

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