Picking up momentum

Since I started sharing links to the blog, I decided I needed to start writing more.  I’ve been busy trying to move from the broad conceptual ideas to the details.  In particular, figuring out how to build a trailer that is light enough for my little car, figuring out power options, and figuring out what to do with the Roxy-dog are the biggest challenges.  I’ve made a bunch of progress!

 My Living Options

Especially at first, I will be staying mostly in developed campgrounds for the shower facilities and other amenities.  However, I want the option to escape to primitive campgrounds or even dispersed camping (read: alone in the middle of nowhere) in National Forests or even BLM land if I find myself out West.

I considered small RVs, van conversions, cargo trailer conversions, pop-up campers, and teardrop trailers (see this great site for pros and cons of different options).  I decided that I wanted a trailer rather than an RV or van.  I wanted a smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicle than the above trailer options would permit.  That pretty much left me with a choice between a teardrop trailer (left) or staying in a tent and having something like a utility trailer (right) to carry the equipment.

Typical Teardrop Trailer

Typical Teardrop Trailer

Explorer Box with Kayak

7×10′ 3-Person Canvas Tent

I decided on something in between but closer to the latter.  I bought a high-quality canvas tent; it has standing room and customers report that they are great in all sorts of rough conditions (Alaska, tropical storms, and even sandstorms). The trailer will therefore serve more as a cargo carrier than a place to live, although I would like the option of staying in the trailer for times with bad weather or times when I will be only be at a location for night and I don’t want to set up the site.

Add in a pop-up canopy, and I will have a reasonable amount of room.  The tent is 7×10’, the canopy is 12×12’ and the trailer is 4×8’.  That gives me 246 sqft of covered living/storage space.  A campsite in general is similar to an efficiency apartment, just with a little more ventilation and hopefully a better view, like this waterfront site at Falls Lake, NC (hmm…I wonder what’s keeping all the water from flowing to the left?)

Falls Lake, NC July 2012

Another big advantage is the people-watching at campgrounds 😉  The tent is big enough for a sleeping area on one side and a small desk setup on the other side, with a little separation between.  I will generally be cooking outside, and plan to get sides for the pop-up canopy to block wind when it is cold, or perhaps cook inside the trailer.  I want everything to be versatile; rather than building a work desk attached to the inside of the trailer, I will have a small fold-up table that could be used in the trailer, in the tent, or outside.

The last purpose of the trailer will be a place for Roxy-dog to hang out during the day when I go into an office and is too hot to keep her in the car.  I am curious to see the reactions at work when I start showing up with a home-built trailer and a dog.

I will be posting more about the trailer and camper later this weekend.  Right now I’m going to set up the tent for the first time!

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