What I Have Discovered I Do & Don’t Need Living A Full Time RV LifestyleThere were items when I was preparing to live in my RV that I thought I would need only to later discover that I didn’t need after all.
1. Supplemental Infrared heater – Since I was going to be parked in Michigan throughout the entire winter season it was quite logical that I would anticipate needing a supplemental heating source. Most full time RV/Van dwellers typically follow the weather while perhaps occasionally getting caught in inclement weather for a night or two. They don’t typically, to my knowledge intentionally park in a cold climate for prolonged periods of time. However, not this lady. I’ve always marched to my own beat & this was no exception to that rule. Now, RV’s do have furnaces of course, but when you consider that they are built to recreation in, not live in full time, one might have some valid concerns about whether the furnace would be adequate or be able to withstand constant use. It is pretty typical that most full timers will carry an additional heating source, one of them being an electric source for those times when they are hooked up to shore power. The thinking behind that is that if you are hooked up to shore power you most likely have paid to be hooked up so why continue to use your propane furnace & pay for heat twice! I purchased a cube heater, as well as an infrared heater because without knowing what my heating needs were going to be I figured better prepared than sorry. In short, I did not want to need it & not have it. I have now nearly made it through an entire winter here in Michigan in my RV. What I have learned is that my furnace works fine. It has worked beautifully & flawlessly all winter long. In fact, it works so well that if you happen to be standing near a vent in your stocking feet or barefooted, it will very nearly set your feet on fire! So in conclusion, I don’t really need either heater, although I will sometimes use the cube heater for the ambiance or to take the chill off for a short time in the bedroom area when I first get home because it doesn’t get the same airflow & heat distribution as the main cabin area. As for the infrared heater, I have passed it on to someone who did need it & can use it.
2. Sub zero sleeping bag – Again, this was a case of trying to anticipate every scenario without having the benefit of previous experience & knowledge. I didn’t need this at all & very nearly overheated when I tried to use it. I ended up selling this on Craigslist to recover some of my money.
3. Portable waste tank – This was recommended to me (by recreational campers, not full timers) & being new to full timing I thought that it was going to be a wonderful thing to have. I thought that it would mean that I wouldn’t have to drive my gas hogging RV all the way to the dump station & could instead transport the waste in my daily vehicle with much better gas mileage, to the dump station. Well, here is the reality. My black water tank is 45 gallons. My grey water tank is 35 gallons. They do not make portable waste tanks that size & with good reason. You wouldn’t even be able to move it! I purchased an 18 gallon portable waste tank because while it wasn’t the largest size portable tank available, it was a size that I thought I’d be able to manage by myself. To buy anything smaller wasn’t worth the effort at all I thought. That did not in fact turn out to be the case. Here is why: A gallon of liquid weights roughly 8 pounds. Therefore, an 18 gallon portable tank will weigh 144+ pounds when full. That means the tank when full weighs more than I do. Do you think I’m going to be able to lift that into my vehicle? Sure the thing has wheels, but now we’re talking about the need for a ramp to be installed into my vehicle to load it up & that is just a level of complication that I did not anticipate nor do I want. Furthermore, remember that my onboard tanks are 45 & 35 gallons. That means that I either must try to anticipate & stop the flow of waste into the portable tank before it overflows. Let’s just say that my calculations were off resulting in my showering & sanitizing myself following my miscalculation. I sold this on Craigslist as well.
Additionally, I have found that I don’t even need a shower, sink or toilet. These items are nice of course, but not absolutely necessary. I have been parked in Michigan throughout the winter time & I have not been able to hook up to water since October because there was/is a distinct possibility that my tanks would freeze. Therefore, I have not had running water which has resulted in my not having use of these items. I’ve been lugging 4 – 5 gallon tanks of water for cooking, cleaning & bathing up & down a sometimes slippery snow & ice covered hill to my RV since October. I currently heat water on my stove for bathing & I wash in a plastic tub. I wash dishes the same way or alternately I will carry the dishes over to my aunt & uncles house in a plastic tub to wash there. I currently use a chemical toilet (I even used a 5 gallon bucket for a short time…see my review of Bio Gel) & must carry the tank up & down the same slippery snow covered hill to empty it.
What I have learned is that what I do need is a bed & shelter from the elements. Most items in life are conveniences, but we’ve been taught to rely on them. We’ve become so dependent on convenience items that we actually now believe they are necessary. I think it is good to sometimes test our limits & create new experiences for ourselves. This lifestyle suits me because I am constantly testing my limits & reestablishing new limits for what I am able to do, accept & endure. I have everything I need & so much more! I am not just surviving in an RV in Michigan in the winter. I am thriving!
Until next time, Live Authentic. Live Intentional. Pursue your dream. Live with purpose.
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