OK, this is not my typical post, but it’s been on my mind. It has a different flavor and touches on topics of money and cost. Everyone wants to know how much an Airstream costs. Well, you can go to the Airstream website for that, and Airstream Groups to learn about used Airstreams for rennovating. What I didn’t realize getting into this was all of the cost of all of the extra stuff. As a rule of thumb I have found when I have the extra tools and gadgets, I have not needed them, and if I have not had them I wish I did. So, yes you can roll right out of the dealership and start camping, but all of the extra toys help you have peace of mind and save you money in the long run. After all, your home on wheels is an investment. And with that said, I tend to like buying quality. I’m not going to spend time on the dollar amounts and have your eyes glaze over even more, but I thought I’d throw a few of the things I’m glad I bought, all together here to get you thinking.
In the beginning I debated generators or solar. One of the people I was listening to encouraged me away from solar as new developments are happening daily improving the technology and the expense is coming down. Since I had literally never camped they were encouraging me to start out in a campground where you don’t typically use solar. Do I wish I had solar now, yes, but like many folks, my budget allows for just a little at a time, so I went with two generators. I went with two because they are smaller so I can actually lift them each up, and when I connect them they have a combined power that is enough to run one of my air conditioners. That is super important in these warm climates. Everyone said Honda is the way to go. The day I found my Hondas the clerk couldn’t figure out why they wouldn’t ring up. Google! Yah, I was the one to figure out and inform the store that at that time there was a serious recall. So I went with Yamaha. They purr like a kitten, empty and refill easily and I have no complaints. But like I said, I have not needed what I have bought, yet. And with the generators I have put in a lot of time running them because once you put the gas in, you have to run them regularily. But, I know, if I didn’t have them I’d need them.
As you may have figured out in my “Four Dead Batteries” story, I did not have jumper cables or anything related to battery care. And of course, I ended up needing gadgets for batteries. I was grateful that I had upgraded to the AGM batteries that did not need water added to them. If I hadn’t have, I would have had to when I killed all of my batteries. Now I am the proud owner of a solar trickle cell battery charger. It’s awesome. I also have a way fancier than I actually know how to use meter for my battery. You Tube is my friend. The weather radio that got me through my Tornado Hopscotch fullfilled it’s purpose but I have moved on to this sleeker model shown in the photo. And as for safety, my first can of bear spray fell into my sink and went off in the camper so needless to say, I’m not a gun person when it comes to safety, but I did get another bear canister after the Bobcat jumped from the tree and landed just feet in front of me.
I love that living tiny in a trailer has made my footprint on this earth much smaller. Yes, I used to be a bath person. In the winter I could go through a lot of water. Now, showers are short, and sometime sailor like… that’s all I’ll say abou tthat. Gear to manage my water has been one group of gadgets I bought that I use daily. Buying water in bulk at water stores was something I didn’t know existed before living in the desert. There is no need for me to dump tons of water bottles into the trash. It costs $1.25 for a five gallon jug vs $6.00 and up for a 24 pack of bottles. My first hoses were plastic and would often burst midday on a hot day. I switched to these hoses I got at a hardware store that is now out of busines so I can’t even remember the brand. when I do my first winter camping I’ll need to get heated hoses, or insulate them which reminds me of insulating my pipes in my old house in Minneaplis. One important think is that the hoses I use are hoses certified to drink from…. What?! All of those years growing up playing all day outside barefoot drinking from the garden hose. Oh my… Well. You get the idea. Make your own choices.
My trailer will be in the shop. I ussually enjoy some luxurious hotel stays when that happens but my ussual lovely high end hotel was converted to a COVID hospital…..soooo…. I’ll be tent camping. I got myself the well debated Mr. Buddy in case temperatures get down to where it is actually cold. Folks will say they are very safe, and others will say beware since carbon monoxide is a silent killer and I don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in my tent 😳😂😊 So… I’ll likely turn it on with a flap a little open while I’m awake for extra safety.
My gas jug, again, I have never actually used. I think I’ll get another one. (Laughing to myself.) No seriously, one for diesel for my truck on those long back road stretches…. since my next ventures will take me off the beaten path. And, another for gas for my generators. If I need to run them I definitely won’t want to run out of gas, although it does seem like they will run for a good eight hours before running out, so likely not needed.
And that last photo, no matter how I tried to make it look pretty, well, it just won’t. I found the black tank hose my trailer came with was not always enough. In some sites the dump hole was too far away to reach, and in this site, a neighbor actually gifted me his broken looking attachment piece which worked perfectly because my site acrtually went uphill and the regular attachment made dump time really fun. Has anyone seen that post on the internet “How To Know When You Are A Fulltimer?”
There are tons of great Apps I use regularily to show things like where to find BLM land to boondock on. I love my memberships such as Harvest Hosts where I can find parking for the cost of my annual membership and a glass of wine if it happens to be a winery I’m parked at. Of course I love the security I can have knowing my Tripple AAA Trailer and Truck plan means if towing is needed neiver vehicle will be left behind, and it gets me good discounts at campgrounds as do a few other memberships. My Boondockers Welcome membership gives me more optins. And Escapees membership gives me access to good information from actual lawyers on residency, mail and other issues that effect my ability to still be able to vote. My Airstreaming Women’s Network (Shoutout to Lindy who created it.) allows me to have an entire sisterhood to rely on for support, advice and help, as do all of my other groups I’m in and youtube blogs I follow.
In summary, these are just some of the toys and gadgets I bought to compliment my travels. I’d estimate I spent somewhere between 5 to 10 thousand dollars on the extras, and I still don’t have solar or jumper cables or the fanciest batteries. Soon I’ll likely need to replace tires and batteries which can both be big expenses. And every year basing out of California, I pay a hefty fee for tabs and insurance. That may change soon. Most of the things I have I have not needed, but when I don’t have them is when I will need them. They give me piece of mind. In life, it’s always good to have a plan B and in my art, when it comes to buying quality tools, my theory is you get what you pay for.
Thanks again for the “follow”. Share with folks you think might like going on the journey with me. Possible future posts, my thoughts on Nomadland, Changing It Up With Tent Camping and My Trip Up the 395. Chow!