We made some basic decisions early on:

to spend our most of our time away from RV Parks
heating system that could handle new england winter temperatures
to be able to park in a normal width parking spot
the bed had to fit my long height (I’m tall)
RV show prices were beyond our budget
we like green vans
we’re not mechanics

Each of our choices had consequences. Our unique solution was to get a new (warrantee) long and tall (longer length sleeping bed and stand up inside) Sprinter van (7’ wide) and have it outfitted by a midwest outfitter (non-mechanic). It took 7 months to receive a green van from Germany (consequences) whereas, had we chosen white, the van would have been available immediately. We really like green and were not in a rush.

Solar panels are foundational to living “off grid”. This was a liberating decision and the single most important decision we made next to having efficient diesel air heat. An inverter is helpful if you have 110V needs that 12V won’t meet.

Microwave:  We have yet to use the small one we installed. It is so essential at home but we really don’t need it on the road.  If we were plugged in to 110V more often then it might be worthwhile. It draws too much current for 12V/inverter usage.

Refrigerator: Recommend one that runs on both 12V and 110V.  That way you can have cold food stores wherever you are. Having to purchase ice and dump water every other day in the summer is a pain and will soon equal the cost of the refrigerator.

No “black water tank“ simplified winter freezing cold issues.  The porta-potti works very well and is completely inside the van. The trick is to also have a spray bottle (set to maximum spray) to help “pre-flush”.

The Fan-Tastic thermostatically operated fan, that closes automatically if it rains in the middle of the night, is great. No air conditioning,except that which comes with the vehicle, saves huge amounts of house power needs.

Last, giving careful advance thought to our layout allowed everything to work together. For example, by placing the correct sized (length x width) panels on the forward portion of the roof and the fan on the rear left quadrant, there was adequate room to place my 11’ kayak on the roof in the right rear quadrant. With kayak on top, the fan can fully open for operation, the front of the kayak doesn’t hit the solar panel during loading and unloading and there is adequate room to lift the kayak onto the 10’ high passenger side roof.   Back to RV TalkRV_Talk.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0

Basic Decisions . . . to consider in evaluating an RV (from our New England based point of view) . . .

Left: Fan installed in ceiling (seen from inside looking up)

Above (roof: from rear of van): Kayak on roof rack and fan (left) peacefully coexisting.