Lesson learned: clothing and laundry

Reminder, relevant to this post:  the RTR outing, 13days OG (isn’t “off-grid” what the kidz mean when they say that? 🙂 was a test of my boondocking retirement plans:

  1.  13 days at one site
  2. 1 day of travel/resupply
  3. repeat

The clothing I took with me would be a trial for what I could get away with on the road.   I have already started to remove whites from my clothing at home so I can combine loads easier.  All the clothes I brought were earth tones, which are my favorite colors. Continue reading “Lesson learned: clothing and laundry”

Lesson learned: hygiene


This may be heretical for the ‘dweller crowd, but I hate baby wipes.   <–  That’s right!  I said it!  I don’t like the smell (fragrance) they put on it.  I don’t like the foaminess.  I don’t like the sensation.  Ugggg.

Another challenge for me is my skin is naturally quite dry.  I am anglo but I get what my melanin-enhanced folk would call “ashy”.  I have to moisturize each day when getting out of the S&B shower.

the plan

The van hygiene plan was two-pronged: Continue reading “Lesson learned: hygiene”

Lesson learned: water

The water situation went remarkably well, though I did have a few challenges.

Lesson:  my fresh water calculations were off

For those following the build thread, you will remember I salvaged a 35 gallon freshwater tank out of a class C that was being parted out.

I went into the trip thinking I’d use 2-3gal of fresh water a day for cooking, cleaning, hygiene, etc.

I didn’t waste any water but did use it when I needed it:

  • replaced the sink fauctets with a dish sprayer that I couldn’t leave on.  It is also easy to dispense short spritzes to rinse stuff off or wash hands
  • kept the water pump turned off most of the time
  • used a pressure cooker or lidded vessels for cooking to reduce water loss

As it turned out I used about 1.5gal/day of fresh water, in addition to my drinking water supply.  I may start filtering my fresh water for drinking purposes, which will reduce the space needed for drinking water.

Lesson:  gray water was no big deal


My original plan was to have a plumbed graywater tank that I could drain in grass or in an RV dump.  Since I ran out of time I caught my sink gray water in a blue salvaged 7gal water jug instead.

Worked great. I collected less than 3 gallons of graywater during the entire outing so I didn’t have to empty it until I got home.  I did dispose of non-sink (washbasin, etc) water and the like by flinging/dispersing it away from desert flora.

I do have a bulkhead kit and may install it later.

Lesson:  water pumps are loud

They don’t seem loud until you run them at daybreak at a crowded RTR.  I quickly learned to fill my washbasin and teapot the previous evening to preserve morning peace.

Lesson:  vinyl hoses taste like vinyl

I made my connecting hoses out of clear vinyl tubing.  The water has a faint plasticy taste.  Didn’t notice it when used for cooking but I did when rinsing my mouth after brushing teeth for example.

I might replumb with something else, or might use a Brita to remove the taste if that works.




Lesson learned: solar power and loads

For both personal and practical reasons my solar config was the most researched and planned part of my build.  It was time to see what she could do on a boondocking run.

Lesson:  the build has abundant power

I built the solar and house power system on the cheap.

  •  3x 190W mono panels were bought off a pallet from a local seller for something like 65c/watt.
  • wiring was landscaping zip cable
  • batteries were used golf carts, $120 for the pair.
  • Chinese 40A MPPT charge controller for $200
  • opportunity circuit for running non-essential loads cost about $20 in materials to implement

Continue reading “Lesson learned: solar power and loads”

Winter RTR 2018: lessons learned

I’ve had time to think about and integrate some lessons learned from the Winter 2018 RTR<tm>.    It’s time to start documenting those lessons.

Shakedown cruise

I took 2.5 weeks vacation planned around the RTR.  I wanted to have plenty of free time and flexibility to make a comfortable drive between Texas and Arizona.

The RTR trip was the first extended offgrid experience in my van.  In total, Continue reading “Winter RTR 2018: lessons learned”