Help me understand campers please

   / Help me understand campers please #1  

HCJtractor

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I have some property where I use for recreation, mainly hunting and tractor work. I've considered buying a used camper to leave there just to spend a few night occasionally, perhaps with my wife or hunting buddies. Don't want to spend a lot, but I see some for 5 or 6 grand, and that's within my budget

But I have no electricity on site, nor water, other than a 300 gallon cistern. I do have a nice quiet generator, 2000 watts.

My question is how self contained are these? Tell me about waste disposal, heating water for a shower, battery usage etc.
would it be practical to have a trailer w/o hookups?

If I do this, it's gotta be sufficient for pleasing a lady, if you know what I mean. No potty in the woods, and a shower would be nice. I want to make it comfy enough to entice my wife to accompany me. Would not be too concerned about heat nor AC as it will be used in spring or fall when temps are pleasant.

I know nothing about camping trailers. What should I look for? I have no problem with being it being a little older and not fancy. Nor will I want to travel with it
 
   / Help me understand campers please #2  

dusty3030

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Listen, I have researched, owned, used and messed with travel trailers over the course of many, many moons.
I like the IDEA of them, I hate owning one.

1. They are all built cheap, some cheaper than others. The buzz today is light weight for towing, that is fine and dandy but that is a compromise. For a trailer that is stationary more building materials used to build it means its going to be heavier. All aluminum versus wood - doesn't matter really. A well built wood or aluminum will out last a lesser built of either.

2. Roofs that don't leak will eventually. If buying used you want one that has been under shelter as much as possible. You will want to seal the roof on one if you buy one used.

3. For one you are leaving somewhere some type of septic will be needed or plan on getting a ferry tank to haul your "stuff" with you to a place you can dump it. I'll get jumped for this on the board here but if you are only using it a few days at a time rarely and depending on where you are at you can make a nifty septic that will work with some PVC, some digging, and a 55 gallon barrel. The camper has two holding tanks, one catches the toilet (black water), one catches the rest (grey water).

4. Gas- the more propane you can use the less electric you need. The hot water tank and fridge will be for both. So if you can put in a big LP tank you can run the fridge and hot water on propane more than electric. Also the blower for the heater will work off 12 V so you can have heat without running the generator. NO AC without generator.

5. Vermin - Rats and mice love them, leave lots of rat poison.

6. Freezing, campers built for northern climates are better insulated than southern sold ones. Check out what you get has the better insulation package. The water lines are plastic tubing and if they don't split the push themselves off of their connectors when frozen.

7. Potable water - the water tank / 12V pump will give you plenty of water for showers and toilet, so not much different than home in that regard other than they are 1/4 scale and hot water doesn't last long.

8. Moisture - if you are shopping used and it looks like one someone has lived in or spent lots of time in pass. The inside is so small you will find if you aren't using the vents there will be lots of condensation inside one if you spend a lot of time in it. Condensation plus cheap construction to begin with means the wood parts inside (drawers, beds, etc.) all those nice stapled and glued together pieces will be trying to come apart if they have been damp.

All in all, just inspect wisely. Push on walls and floors, bring a light. Climb all under and in and over and check it from front to back top to bottom. Good luck!
 
   / Help me understand campers please #3  

oosik

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I agree with dusty3030. I've had one type or other of smallish camp trailers for over 40 years and they are a definite compromise at best. Plus if you leave something on your property there will always be the concern for vandalism, rodents(kinda both the same thing) & maintenance. If I were going to do this - I would consider a good wall tent, forget the showers, a well built out house and bring drinking water. The wall tent can be set up in a short time and goes home with you when you leave. You can even build a foundation & partial walls to put the wall tent on.

I see you recognize some of the infrastructure needed just to be set up for a trailer - water, sewer, electricity/batteries, showers etc, etc. The list goes on & on and pretty soon you might as well be at home.
 
   / Help me understand campers please
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HCJtractor

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All good info. I can see these drawbacks. How does the transfer tank work? And how big a propane tank? Do most trailers have these already?

Yes I have rigged a simple septic system before. Know that's not " legal" but that's another discussion
 
   / Help me understand campers please #5  

clemsonfor

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I have never owned one but have friends and neighbors with them and see lots at campgrounds at work.

Leaks are your biggest concern on old ones.

The ones I see usually have I think 1-2 40 lb tanks up on the tounge at most maybe some have internal tanks others have 20lb cylinders. I am talking campers in your price. You can bring as many tanks you want and swap them.

The transfer tanks to dump the septic are like little wheeled carts that look like they hold 30-50 gallons. They wheel them around at campsites and dump them at a dump station. Kind of nasty!!
 
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HCJtractor

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And I've thought about building a small "cabin". But primitive. Since there's no power, it will not have a stove or heat and only wiring for lighting off solar or a generator. Kinda like a cabin at a kids summer camp. But I really don't want to go thru the permit process to build something so primitive and not for anything but "camping out". But I know that the building permit office will be. And I don't want to "invite" them to my property. And the old timey out house or home made septic system won't fly.

So I don't know how to get around that. I'm sure there are lots of cabins that don't meet code. And it's not like I'm interfering with neighbors. It will be on the middle of 300 acres
 
   / Help me understand campers please #7  

dusty3030

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I'd suggest just you and your Mrs go look at some different one's on a lot with a pact to not buy anything, just go learn. New or old the layouts are basically all the same.
Look and see how the different stuff actually looks and works.
Look at cheap campers and look at the more expensive one's and train yourself a little on what those differences are.

I still love the being out there, it was just the work that kept it going was a buzz kill.

We actually are renting an apartment near our hunting land now. That is a short term solution but it sure is nice to have. We furnished completely with stuff we had piled up at home. Keep some extra clothes down there. It makes it nice to just hop in the truck and go on a whim and know you have a bed and all waiting!
 
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HCJtractor

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I'd suggest just you and your Mrs go look at some different one's on a lot with a pact to not buy anything, just go learn. New or old the layouts are basically all the same. Look and see how the different stuff actually looks and works. Look at cheap campers and look at the more expensive one's and train yourself a little on what those differences are. I still love the being out there, it was just the work that kept it going was a buzz kill. We actually are renting an apartment near our hunting land now. That is a short term solution but it sure is nice to have. We furnished completely with stuff we had piled up at home. Keep some extra clothes down there. It makes it nice to just hop in the truck and go on a whim and know you have a bed and all waiting!
And that's what I want to do. My home is only 25 miles away, so going home is easy. But to just be able to "camp out " but with some luxuries like a bed and toilet etc. so while I'm hunting or working with my tractor, she could hang out and read or tinker. I thought a cheap camper would suffice, or a small cabin would be better, but it would have to be built without a permit, as I'm not going to jump through the inspector's hoops to get it up to code. I have no desire to use a tent as that would be too much trouble and not meet her needs
 
   / Help me understand campers please #9  

Rhinohio

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I've owned some sort of camper for the last forty years, some better than others. What the others have said is true, they are high maintenance and built as cheaply as possible. They are not intended for permanent occupancy and will fall apart quickly under those conditions. The unit I have now I purchased new 8 years ago and it is still in excellent shape due to my diligence to care of problems before they manifest themselves. My wife and I use it nearly every weekend at our acreage. We did the "blue thing shuffle" for the first two years but that got to be too much trouble. Now, gray water goes on the ground and solid waste is hauled out in Double Doodie waste bags that we use with the portable toilet. Not much different than carrying out your garbage.

With all of the drawbacks, I wouldn't be without one until we get the house built. You pack some clothes, get beer/food and head for the camp. The pots, pans, linens, stove, fridge and a bed with a real mattress is already there waiting for you. We don't leave anything we're not willing to lose and always leave the coach unlocked. If the low-life comes to rip you off, maybe they won't rip the door off the hinges getting in. That won't stop vandals, but it's just stuff and it can be replaced. Check with your insurance agent WRT coverage of contents and the camper itself.

If you are that paranoid about the code Nazis, you might want to inquire as to whether a camper is permitted to be parked on YOUR property. The eco-nuts control many areas in the country and hate anything that has wheels or a motor.

Mike
 
   / Help me understand campers please #10  

dusty3030

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Got it, yeah only 25 miles away you aren't so dependent on it.

Some 5 gallon water cans and swap out propane tanks every now and again or get you a 100 gallon one you would be good to go!

Put a 30 dollar solar panel trickle charger to keep your battery up while you aren't there. Shut off everything when you are gone from it.
 
 
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