We Live Here, There and There

October 6th, 2012

Our housing situation is getting a bit excessive. We started with the camper. Then, we got the tent. Now, we have the van too! We haven’t been slept in either of the first two in a quite a bit. It’s time to clean house…. err cleanse ourselves of excess housing.

Our Three Homes

Life in the back of a truck (part 2)

January 25th, 2009

This is part of an ongoing series on what it’s like to live in a truck camper fulltime. You may read other articles here:

  1. Part One – The fulltime lifestyle
  2. Part Two – Why a truck camper?
  3. Part Three – Weights & Dealing with them
  4. Part Four – Boondocking resource conservation

Why a truck camper when you could have something much larger?

True, a bus conversion or a 5th wheel would give quite a bit more space than a truck camper, but if you can deal with the smaller size, a truck camper has a lot going for it. For starters, you can take it places that just aren’t practical in most rigs that are suitable for fulltiming. Sure, a popup trailer or an especially small travel trailer might make it down a particular nasty stretch of dirt road, but even those are going to have issues if it turns out backing out is required. A smallish Class C is as manueverable as a truck camper, but they’re awfully hard to find in 4 wheel drive models with the kind of clearance you get from a full size truck.

Another bonus to truck campers is that you don’t really need to tow along a second vehicle for running around. Many Class A owners tow a dinghy vehicle for sightseeing in order to avoid moving their RV once its parked. While, we also haul around a scooter for short trips, we often just move the entire truck and camper if the trip requires it. Better yet, if we’re going to be somewhere more than a few days and know we’ll need to run around in the truck a lot, we can just drop the camper and have a separate vehicle to drive. It takes a bit more effort than dropping or loading a trailer, but the truck can easily be loaded or unloaded in around 30 minutes.

A final reason we really like the truck camper option is that the camper and drivetrain are not married as they are in Class A’s or C’s. If you decide you’d prefer a different floorplan or the truck experiences catastrophic failure, you can always change truck or camper with a minimum of hassle and keep the one you’re still happy with. For that matter, you can dump the camping lifestyle altogether and keep the truck. Not having the RV and truck married is what allows you to have a 4wd, diesel RV with good clearance at a reasonable price. It’s also an excellent choice for anyone that would like to pull a boat. Many states prohibit double towing, and I can’t imagine it being particularly fun even in those that allow it.

But, isn’t a truck camper way too small to live in fulltime?

I guess that depends on your lifestyle and what you want and need out of life. There are probably more people living in vans than truck campers by an order of magnitude. I can stand up fully, stretch out fully and have considerably more room to move around than any van I’ve ever seen except perhaps the shuttle buses, which I imagine would make a nice little rolling house with some work.

Personally, I find there is plenty of living space, but I’ve always liked living in smaller spaces. They prevent me from accumulating too much junk and I can usually find things I’ve mislaid without much trouble. Jenn and I as well as two cats have been living in the camper for 12 of the last 14 months and I feel much more comfortable to be back in our camper than I felt while we had the run of her parent’s place the past couple of months.

The one real constriction I feel about living in something the size of a truck camper is making a concious effort not to accumulate too much junk and finding a place to store the things we need. Anytime you consider picking up a new item, you have to think about just how often you’re going to use it, whether or not you can get along without it and where you’re going to store it. On top of that, you should consider whether it will be able to replace something you already have or if you already have something that can do the same thing. This problem actually helps me to save money by not buying things just because they’re shiny!

Two People, Two Cats, Two Hundred Square Feet

April 11th, 2008

So how do you fit two people and two cats in a truck camper long term? The classic answer is to stack the people on top of each other in a corner and strap them down, then let the cats fight over the remaining 194 square feet. Since we’re not having any of that, the cats are having to learn to deal with it. Somehow, they’ve convinced me to let them use one of my drawers as a ‘princess seat’ in between the times I actively need to get clothes from them.

For those of you that haven’t met our local anarchic overlords, the gray tabby is simply ‘The Cat’ as she was here first and hasn’t bothered to tell us what she prefers to be called, although she has no such compunctions against telling us when its time to be fed. The Siamese is Hunter. I was all for calling her ‘The Other Cat’, but Jenn overruled me and now we have a Siamese cat that thinks she is people because she has a name.

What you can’t see in these oh-so -cute pictures of napping cats is the constant turf war that goes on. Sure, it’s peaceful now, but there’s nothing more entertaining than watching these kids both jump in the drawer, get on their hind legs, lay their ears back and bat each other about the head and neck. OK, maybe we’re just lacking for entertainment, but it’s still pretty interesting.

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What a Bunch of Slackers

March 17th, 2008

Talk about a long time between posts, eh? We have no real excuse other than laziness. Anyway, here’s a quick run down of the past month or so.

I quit my job! Jenn is still working a bit longer to try and meet some of her own financial goals, but I am now a lazy, unemployed slob. And not a moment too soon; the new company has become more stifling every day… which became increasingly hard to deal with knowing we already had everything we needed to hit the road.

We went to the Renaissance Festival over in Tampa during opening weekend. It was kind of rainy, but not enough to really worry about. We stayed in the camper for the first few hours when the rain was coming down, then headed into the festival… which was pretty empty due to the weather. We had a pretty good time watching the shows and hitting all of the beer tents.

We camped in a Wal-Mart parking lot the night before the Renaissance Festival, then when we saw that they had annexed a fairly large corporate parking lot across the street, we camped there Saturday night. The only other RV on the lot left, but a couple of vans stayed overnight, so I think we weren’t the only folks sleeping on-site. Thankfully, we could leave the slide out which we couldn’t at Wal-Mart. That makes life in the camper so much more bearable.

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You People Are Crazy

July 15th, 2007

Well, Jenn and I both have jobs at the same company. We’re IT folks. Overall, it’s not a bad job. In fact, the only real complaint we have most days is that we have to be there instead of elsewhere.

Recently, our company merged with a larger company. In theory, we’ll be assisting with the migration of our existing customers and then continuing to work with our colleagues in the larger company. In reality, the parent company is located 400 miles or so away and the majority of our existing systems will be shutdown. There is a fair bit of thought that we may become redundant in our current locale.

At this point, I can’t even remember exactly how the topic came up, but basically, Jenn tossed out Chris Farley’s line from SNL – ‘living in a van, down by the river!’ I think she was a bit shocked when I said it sounded like a good idea. I know I was shocked that she agreed.

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