Thank you for visiting!

You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, the first novel in my fantasy adventure series. Visit the Edge of the World! Come for the view, stay for the adventure!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Minimalist RV-

So, my Sporz II truck tent occupies the back of my truck. The air mattress/foam pad bed fills most of the interior space. I have begun to regularly put up the awning that is part of the tent, and apply three tarps to enclose the area covered by the awning.

This configuration has been adequate for my current camping needs. It has been the focus of my thoughts as I continue to explore the idea of the minimalist RV.

Minimalism in an RV is a matter of cost as well as size and complexity. My current system is cheap, but does require some set-up and break-down time. I would like to reduce that time, but not at a much greater cost.

The RoadTrek RV is pretty small and simple, self contained and on the whole a nice vehicle. Unfortunately, the RoadTrek is expensive. For those with the money, it is a great minimalist option. Set-up appears relatively quick. Practically none, if you are not connecting to sewer, water and power.

Cheaper are the Westfalia campers. These are quite adequate, especially for one or two people. Much cheaper than the RoadTrek, but still a bit of an investment at around $15,ooo for a good rebuilt unit. Again, for those keeping things simple they are a good choice, if the cost is not an issue.

More and more the stealth camper cargo van appeals to me. Especially after examining the options for tents that attach to the open rear of such a vehicle. In full stealth mode the unit needs to be modified to provide for sleeping and potty needs, and some resource regarding water and cooking. Probably the cooking should be done outdoors unless a suitable ventilation system is installed.

When a more luxurious camp can be established the tent can be erected and attached to the open rear of the van, providing some living space in which you can actually stand up! The tents add only a couple of hundred dollars to the cost of the modified van. The vans can be gotten at a relatively low cost, sometimes just a few thousand dollars.

This set up is superior to my own in that it can be stealth camped. I cannot do that.

For those who do not understand stealth camping it is setting up to sleep in areas generally not open to camping. A stealth camper will fit in around similar vehicles, and not draw attention as the owner sleeps within. A white cargo van fits the bill quite nicely. For those stops in between regular camp grounds it is a great set up.

Tioga George was skillful in stealth camping a class C motorhome. The cargo van can be even more easily stealthed. Just pull into an area late at night where cargo vans are common, and go to bed. No lights, no cooking. Just sleep. Leave before people are up the next day.

The intent of stealth camping is often to skirt the laws regarding overnight camping. A camper must assess their own relationship with such laws, and the idea of violating a law in general, before stealth camping. The low cost (free) might be sufficient to convert otherwise law-abiding citizens to stealth from time to time. Others will be compelled to seek out an "authorized" campground in order to feel comfortable with camping.

I recognize that some of these laws are intended to prevent people from living on the streets of a community without providing any contribution to the local community through taxes and such. Other such laws are simply a way of driving people into paid campgrounds in order for the campgrounds to make the money they would not get if campers could just camp on the streets.

If you are planning stealth camping as you pass through a community and are a responsible camper, I don't see a real issue with ignoring a petty law. keep it clean, keep it quiet, and stay only long enough to get rested.

On the occasions you use a regular camp ground the tent extension can really make a van a home. If my little tarp expansion on my Sportz II truck tent can make this bit of cloth seem like home, then I can easily believe that a tent added to a stealth camping van would seem a mansion.

Perhaps I will get the opportunity to set up a stealth camping rig and try it out. The whole minimalist RV thing is fun for me, and I would love to give this a try.

No comments: