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Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Outdoors Activities => Camping => Topic started by: ttubravesrock on February 14, 2012, 12:29:50 AM

Title: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on February 14, 2012, 12:29:50 AM
Here's the scoop.

My job requires me to visit remote locations for short or long time periods.  Last summer, I was never in the same place for more than 3 days.  Because of this, combined with the fact that I am not allowed to tow or slide things in the bed of company trucks, I spent the whole summer living out of a tent, ice chest, and action packer.

This year I will be in the same location all summer.  Also, I will be in a place where the tent I own is not sufficient (sub-zero temperatures, heavy winds and snow at the beginning of the work season).  I have determined that it is worth it for me to do something more solid this year.  I have narrowed it down to five options.  I will list them in no particular order.

1.  Purchase a cheap slide-in camper for my truck (f-250 long bed or ranger long bed), gut it, and rebuild the insides to suit my needs.  This would probably be the FASTEST option.

2.  Build my own slide-in camper from scratch to suit my needs.  This would probably be the CHEAPEST option

3.  Purchase a cheap enclosed cargo trailer and build the inside to suit my needs.

4.  Purchase a used teardrop trailer, gut it, and rebuild the insides to suit my needs.

5.  Build my own teardrop trailer from scratch (or start with a flatbed trailer frame) to suit my needs.  This would be my FAVORITE option, but also the SLOWEST, and MOST EXPENSIVE option.

I will keep this thread updated as I make decisions.
I will update with pictures as I get work done.

I would like to finish my work before my job starts (somewhere from mid-April to mid-May), but I may end up starting the summer with an incomplete product, and that is OK.

Any input would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: Morning Sunshine on February 14, 2012, 03:28:08 AM
no input, having never done any of them.  just requesting that you take a few minutes and photodocument your process, whichever you choose.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: Perfesser on February 14, 2012, 09:24:50 AM
While I haven't done this exact thing, I'm always a fan of a separate trailer. Slide in campers get heavy very quickly and make the truck handle like crap with the high center of gravity.
As long as you have a place to park it afterwards at home it would make a great "always ready" bug out base.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: LdMorgan on February 14, 2012, 11:25:36 AM
The separate trailer is almost a done deal. You already know what you want, and everything else would just be settling for less.

Over a whole summer, you'll want to be able to stand up and stretch at least once without going outside. Cramped quarters are bad quarters.

I recommend that you buy a cheap slide-in camper and mount it on a cheap flatbed trailer.

If there is a cab-over portion on the camper you can build a full-with storage unit below it, solidly attached to the trailer deck. (Waste no space!)

Or even put in a gen bin.

I bet that route would be almost as cheap as the cheapest solution, and almost as fast as the fastest solution, and would give you the benefits of both the slowest and most expensive solutions in the process.

You wouldn't have to build any windows or doors. You could insulate under & outside the camper. All kinds of possibilities arise. You could even slap a hot tub on the trailer if it's long enough!

You do want to enjoy the summer, right?



Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: nkawtg on February 14, 2012, 01:05:31 PM
Maybe a lightweight pop-up slide in camper such as an Alaskan.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on February 14, 2012, 03:59:43 PM
Quote
no input, having never done any of them.  just requesting that you take a few minutes and photodocument your process, whichever you choose.

That's my plan, both for myself and for you guys.

Quote
you'll want to be able to stand up and stretch at least once without going outside.

In my case, I am pretty short, so it isn't as big of an obstacle for me as it would be for others, but I understand your point.

Quote
make the truck handle like crap with the high center of gravity.

While this is true, the truck would be parked for most of the summer.  I would drive it out to the job site, park it, get a ride back to town with a coworker, and come back with my company truck.  Then, at the end of the summer, I would drive back to town with the company truck, get a ride back to the job site, then drive back to town.  It would only have to make two trips.

However, I will take that into consideration for future use.  It will never be used for recreational camping by myself, because i don't consider sleeping in a bed camping (and neither does my wife).  However, whatever I end up doing would probably end up as part of my BOV (which is why I am sharing it with you).
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: archer on February 14, 2012, 04:13:19 PM
I recommend that you buy a cheap slide-in camper and mount it on a cheap flatbed trailer.

If there is a cab-over portion on the camper you can build a full-with storage unit below it, solidly attached to the trailer deck. (Waste no space!)

Or even put in a gen bin.

I bet that route would be almost as cheap as the cheapest solution, and almost as fast as the fastest solution, and would give you the benefits of both the slowest and most expensive solutions in the process.

oh this is a good idea...
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on February 15, 2012, 03:36:34 PM
OK, no decisions on the type of camper yet, but I have decided that a solar set up will be much better than a generator.  I don't have much experience with solar power, and I would like to know what you guys recommend for a small scale set up like I will have. 

Electrical Needs:
Fan
Water Pump (maybe)
Charging electronic "toys" - Trickle charge is fine.
Refrigeration -  This will be my primary power draw.  I want something that provides a little bit more power than is necessary to run a small fridge and fan at the same time.

That's really about it.  The sun doesn't go down so I don't need a light.  Also, when I would need a light, I don't get much sun (even during the day).  I won't have a TV.  I won't need a heater or a water heater.

Can anyone think of hidden electrical needs that I am not thinking about?

Here is the set up I am thinking of doing.
http://www.amazon.com/Instapark®-100W-Mono-crystalline-Solar-Panel/dp/B004OZJ4FY/ref=pd_sbs_ol_4 (http://www.amazon.com/Instapark®-100W-Mono-crystalline-Solar-Panel/dp/B004OZJ4FY/ref=pd_sbs_ol_4) - $320 for one
http://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-60032-Digital-Charge-Controller/dp/B000FIWKQE/ref=pd_sim_ol_6 (http://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-60032-Digital-Charge-Controller/dp/B000FIWKQE/ref=pd_sim_ol_6)- $84 for one (overkill)
http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-CPI-A4000BC-4-AWG-Heavy-Duty-Inverter/dp/B001550DVU/ref=pd_sim_auto_2 (http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-CPI-A4000BC-4-AWG-Heavy-Duty-Inverter/dp/B001550DVU/ref=pd_sim_auto_2) $26 for one set
http://www.amazon.com/Power-Bright-PW1100-12-Inverter-1100/dp/B000NIG2FG/ref=pd_sim_auto_23 (http://www.amazon.com/Power-Bright-PW1100-12-Inverter-1100/dp/B000NIG2FG/ref=pd_sim_auto_23) $87 for one
http://www.amazon.com/Optima-Batteries-8042-218-YellowTop-Purpose/dp/B00075OSDS/ref=pd_sbs_auto_27 (http://www.amazon.com/Optima-Batteries-8042-218-YellowTop-Purpose/dp/B00075OSDS/ref=pd_sbs_auto_27) $169 for one

That all adds up to under $700.  What am I missing?  Are these components sufficient?  Overkill?  Anyone have experience with any of these setups or merchandise? Can you tell where I prefer to do my online shopping?
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: Morning Sunshine on February 15, 2012, 04:10:36 PM
  I won't need a heater or a water heater.

you have somewhere else to shower?
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on February 15, 2012, 04:58:34 PM
you have somewhere else to shower?

My field office will have a shower.  Also, any hot/warm water I use will be heated using the sun.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on February 16, 2012, 11:32:26 PM
No progress today.  I had to work late because yesterday I went home early to take care of my wife.

As far as solar goes, all of those products have good reviews on Amazon, but I was hoping someone on here might have some experience with something on this small of a scale.  I have a long weekend so I expect to make some progress and get started on whatever structure I choose. 
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: endurance on February 17, 2012, 06:16:06 AM
I like either the slide in camper or teardrop idea.  I "partially remodeled" my 21' Terry trailer when I had it and it makes sense to customize the space to suit your needs for storage and convenience.  I'd lean a little more toward the slide in if the weather is going to be an issue because you can't stand in a true teardrop, nor cook, nor sit upright properly.  They're basically a bed with a trunk for cooking. 

A small slide in gives you the ability to sit at a table, cook, and stand up without going outside into the weather.  Some even have a small chemical toilet, although the idea of using said device in extremely close proximity to my kitchen is concerning.

In my case, I needed to get a gun locker hidden in the unit, put in a better bed, and add storage space, so I gutted the front end, cut the dining table in half and built what I wanted using a futon, thin plywood, and 2x3s (weight matters a lot in these things, so everything needs to be underbuilt).

As for the solar, I think you really need to look into whether or not you'll need or want to use solar to power your refrigerator.  Most of the RV refrigerators use either 120vac when plugged in or propane.  On propane they're very efficient, but on 120vac they're not efficient at all.  I suspect that a single 100w panel wouldn't even come close to keeping up with demand for the refrigerator.  For everything else, it's plenty, if not a little overkill given that you're in the land of the midnight sun and will have lots of charging hours per day while you're up there.  You might want to talk with one of the resident solar experts, like fasteddie, TexasGirl, or cmxterra before proceeding.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: Cedar on February 17, 2012, 08:31:11 AM
Because of this, combined with the fact that I am not allowed to tow or slide things in the bed of company trucks, I spent the whole summer living out of a tent, ice chest, and action packer.

Did you decide you don't care, or did the company change their minds?

Cedar
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: Adam B. on February 17, 2012, 08:50:29 AM
I would assume that building a camper from scratch would cost more than buying a cheap used one and gutting it. I see cheap slide-ins, teardrops, full-on RVs, etc all the time on craigslist. Every day there is a new one listed. One time I saw someone had converted an old box style ambulance into an RV and was selling it cheap (and it looked nice, if I had the room to park such a thing I would have been highly tempted).

That gives you a shell to start with at least, and you can most likely use a lot of what it comes with, and it still greatly reduces the time you'd need to spend putting the thing together.

That is just my opinion on that.

I'd like to know if it would actually be cheaper to build something from scratch.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on February 17, 2012, 09:48:25 AM
Did you decide you don't care, or did the company change their minds?

I would be using my personal vehicle to tow it out to the job.  Then once the camper is parked, I would turn around and drive either in my truck (trailer) or hitching a ride with a coworker from Coldfoot, AK to Fairbanks, AK (7+ hours) and drive back with the company truck.  At the end of the job, I would do the opposite and bring the camper with my personal vehicle.

That was not an option last summer because I was in a different location almost every single day.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: Cedar on February 17, 2012, 10:14:35 AM
I would be using my personal vehicle to tow it out to the job. That was not an option last summer because I was in a different location almost every single day.

Ok.. now it makes perfect sense. You are probably limited as well, being that you cant exactly go 'out of state' easily for one. What is your price range?
One idea http://cheaprvliving.com/BuildYourOwnCamper.html

Cedar
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on February 17, 2012, 10:39:39 AM
Quote
You are probably limited as well, being that you cant exactly go 'out of state' easily for one.
I've been keeping an eye on the whitehorse craigslist, but even that is about a 12 hour drive (more like 15-18 in the winter).  That is about as far as I would go.
Quote
What is your price range?
That is complicated.  My initial investment (used/new camper or trailer) is limited to $5,000.  Once this summer starts (and OT + Per Diem), I can spend more money on the interior and souping it up. 
Quote
One idea http://cheaprvliving.com/BuildYourOwnCamper.html
I actually saw that website and started drawing up my own plans.  I would need 8 sticks of 2x4s and 2 sheets of plywood per side wall.  I haven't gotten around to the front and back and top and bottom though.  Or the interior.

A benefit of a camper is that I wouldn't have to register it. 
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: Cedar on February 17, 2012, 10:43:03 AM
What about a yurt? Or are you in griz areas? We use them in the SCA quite a bit and you CAN put up one with practice in about 15 mins. I know people who rip them out of 2x4's. I have seen them done with willow and tarps.

http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/articles/yurt/

http://www.currentmiddleages.org/tents/pavilionnotes.htm#yurtsmaterialsconstruction

Or a folded home.. (http://www.portableyurt.com/foldedhomes.com260x227.jpg)

Cedar
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: Adam B. on February 17, 2012, 11:24:32 AM
Polar Bears are worse than the Ole' Grizz...

Yeah I know the Alaskan Craigslist is not as useful as it is here in vegan-hippyville where everyone is into it now. I have a friend who lives in Anchorage and it isn't much use to him in the city either.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on February 17, 2012, 11:30:46 AM
What about a yurt? Or are you in griz areas? We use them in the SCA quite a bit and you CAN put up one with practice in about 15 mins. I know people who rip them out of 2x4's. I have seen them done with willow and tarps.

http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/articles/yurt/

http://www.currentmiddleages.org/tents/pavilionnotes.htm#yurtsmaterialsconstruction

Or a folded home.. (http://www.portableyurt.com/foldedhomes.com260x227.jpg)

Cedar

My wife and I are actually thinking of a yurt for our permanent home.  However as far as temporary yurts go, one concern I have is mosquito-proofing.  Living in Canadian wilderness, I'm sure you have had a taste of what our mosquitoes are like. 

Also, what does SCA stand for?  I gather from your posts that it has to do with medieval lifestyle recreation, but I can't figure out what each letter is. 

Society of Canadian Antediluvians?
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: Cedar on February 17, 2012, 11:45:01 AM
You can still screen them or use mosquito netting. I found 2 layers were best for No-See-Ums
(http://www.nicamaka.com/ProductImages/Nic-ManilaNet-500.jpg)
But yeah, the mosquitoes, blackflies get larger as you go north and the No-See-Ums get smaller and more plentiful.

SCA = Society for Creative Anachronism. Some groups/branches are lame, but some are marvellous. It is where I learned my blacksmithing and other skills just for the want of learning and a teacher willing to volunteer to teach there.

Cedar - who HATES blackflies
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on February 29, 2012, 10:20:18 PM
Update:

Down to 6-10 weeks.  I finally made a decision today after a week or so of being indecisive.  I also found a good deal that may involve less work than I had planned for.  Here is what I am starting with.

(http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/420746_10100678035203978_16707100_52460055_1661613514_n.jpg)
(http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/427071_10100678035238908_16707100_52460057_222022505_n.jpg)
(http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/422784_10100678035278828_16707100_52460058_548131028_n.jpg)
(http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/429437_10100678035318748_16707100_52460059_84407185_n.jpg)

I need to do the following:
Re-stuff and re-upholster the beds/chairs
Check for propane leaks or cracks in the line
Check for water leaks or cracks in the line
Install solar panel(s), battery, inverter, etc
Peel back a wall panel and check wood for rot and check wires for safety
Peel back a ceiling panel and check wood for rot/sag
Replace bulbs with LEDs
Check on Furnace efficiency
Install fans in vents
Mosquito proof EVERYTHING
Design some sort of arctic entry that can easily be set up once parked
Attach awning with mosquito netting drapes as part of above arctic entry
Mount mechanical jacks to the frame for stabilization and leveling
POSSIBLY repaint exterior
POSSIBLY install attached ladder to reach the solar panels on top
ALTERNATIVELY, I could just buy a ladder and keep it in the truck
POSSIBLY repaint interior (it is an early 80s vinyl wallpaper now)
POSSIBLY install skid plate to the bottom of trailer
More...

Let me know what you think. 
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: Cedar on February 29, 2012, 10:35:33 PM
Re-stuff and re-upholster the beds/chairs - Might want to go to Goodwill and see what they have. Might be cheaper
Check for propane leaks or cracks in the line
Check for water leaks or cracks in the line
Install solar panel(s), battery, inverter, etc
Peel back a wall panel and check wood for rot and check wires for safety - Might not want to touch it
Peel back a ceiling panel and check wood for rot/sag - Might not want to touch it, make a problem where there was none.
Replace bulbs with LEDs
Check on Furnace  - And buy spare brushes and learn how to put them in (I was getting good at putting new ones in)
Install fans in vents - Get solar ones.
Mosquito proof EVERYTHING - Get womens silk scarves and put them over the screens. Keeps the No-see-ums out we found.
Design some sort of arctic entry that can easily be set up once parked - Like a porch entry? Sweet
Attach awning with mosquito netting drapes as part of above arctic  - Might double it. I found it keeps the smallest out
Mount mechanical jacks to the frame for stabilization and leveling
POSSIBLY repaint exterior - Use the waterproof stuff on the roof, BUT DONT WALK ON IT!!
POSSIBLY install attached ladder to reach the solar panels on top
ALTERNATIVELY, I could just buy a ladder and keep it in the truck - Way better. No holes and bear proof
POSSIBLY repaint interior (it is an early 80s vinyl wallpaper now)
POSSIBLY install skid plate to the bottom of trailer

Cedar
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on March 01, 2012, 10:25:55 AM
Re-stuff and re-upholster the beds/chairs - Might want to go to Goodwill and see what they have. Might be cheaper Well, I think the plan right now is to wash the current fabric and make sure the foam stuffing is ok, then make padded slip covers that can be put on once it is in 'bed' position.
Peel back a wall panel and check wood for rot and check wires for safety - Might not want to touch it
Peel back a ceiling panel and check wood for rot/sag - Might not want to touch it, make a problem where there was none. I don't understand how that would create a problem.  If there are any structural problems that I can't see from a visual inspection, and I can solve it by taking one panel off and shoring the bad spot why wouldn't I?  At this point, I'm probably not going to be rebuilding the whole thing, but next fall I might.  Would you care to elaborate?
Check on Furnace  - And buy spare brushes and learn how to put them in (I was getting good at putting new ones in) Well then, it sounds like I may need to ask for your assistance on that project!
Install fans in vents - Get solar ones. Yep!
Mosquito proof EVERYTHING - Get womens silk scarves and put them over the screens. Keeps the No-see-ums out we found. Hmmm... Sounds kind of expensive, but probably worth it
Design some sort of arctic entry that can easily be set up once parked - Like a porch entry? Sweet Yeah, a good place to take off your muddy boots, pants, etc and maybe even dry off before you open the door
Attach awning with mosquito netting drapes as part of above arctic  - Might double it. I found it keeps the smallest out Double it AND stagger the entrance flap by a couple feet
POSSIBLY repaint exterior - Use the waterproof stuff on the roof, BUT DONT WALK ON IT!! Thats what rollers are for :D
POSSIBLY install attached ladder to reach the solar panels on top
ALTERNATIVELY, I could just buy a ladder and keep it in the truck - Way better. No holes and bear proof That will be the short term option, maybe next winter I will do a ladder, but who knows?
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: endurance on March 03, 2012, 09:30:59 AM
Personally, I'd seriously think of replacing one of the couch/beds with a futon.  I was sore-ly disappointed with the comfort of those cushions after a few months of constant use.  That and they actually started to mold just from sweat and condensation on the underside; my futon never did that.

Otherwise, I think Cedar and you have about covered it.

Are you planning on going with the existing propane tank(s)?  How many and how big are they?  It might be worth while to upgrade to either a 100 pounder (which are a pain in the arse to move around) or two additional 35 pounders (which is still light enough for one person to lift into a pickup when full).

You may also want to look at the hot water heater pilot light's propensity to get blown out.  I ended up building a little sheet metal shroud around the exhaust port to deflect the wind.  Nothing fancy, just piece of 6" flashing that you can bend to deflect the wind from blowing in the exhaust.

Oh, one other note is that you're probably going to want some extra lengths of pipe and fittings and possibly even put in a couple of shut off valves so you can keep part of the plumbing up and running when something freezes, splits or otherwise fails.  Most are CPVC plumbing that just doesn't hold up over time.  I swear I replaced every foot of plumbing in my place five times over by the time I moved out of it.

And buy a couple fire extinguishers and a CO detector.  A little fire on the stove can turn into a nightmare very quickly in those little things and with propane appliances, a good CO detector is a must.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on May 07, 2012, 10:28:23 PM
UPDATE:

Reupholstering has not been done.  Planning on using sleeping bags for the first part of the summer anyway. However, since my wife has decided she's spending a good chunk of the summer with me, she wants to pick out fabric and make it pretty enough for her.

No rotting in the few places I checked.  I didn't take any panels off or anything though.  I'm not too concerned.

I haven't checked the furnace, because I decided to use all my propane for cooking and showering.

No fans in vents, but EVERY window opens very nicely.

Can't test the mosquito-proofness because we just have the big ones now.  Once the little ones show up I bet I will find that I have not done enough yet.

Built the bottom part of the porch.  I plan on making a stand-alone awning after I get in the field.  My goal for everything I make will be for it to fit in the back of my truck, so I'll have to make the legs fold and lock or something like that.  See the end of the post for pictures.

No paint, ladder or solar yet.  I'm waiting to start getting OT paychecks before I do too much.

Porch Pictures: https://plus.google.com/photos/106785276410345473590/albums/5740006788866933329

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-JpvaP0JiO4I/T6iZw5ji14I/AAAAAAAAAmM/FAfQxjqtrpM/s891/IMAG1124.jpg)
BEFORE

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-8Lhg6dBZjtg/T6iZ_Hl4NpI/AAAAAAAAAmc/rgZDckOeFII/s891/IMAG1126.jpg)
I started framing the bottom step.

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-NeVnL5pzo90/T6iaLfA38UI/AAAAAAAAAms/4SI6sNn9R60/s891/IMAG1128.jpg)
I started framing the top step.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-X60PL_Qw2BQ/T6iaYcqlhsI/AAAAAAAAAnI/BcU14MmgKbQ/s891/IMAG1130.jpg)
I finished framing the top step.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bvVQGCl7qcA/T6iaeimguYI/AAAAAAAAAnU/TGPNrbkuJp0/s891/IMAG1131.jpg)
Then after framing was done, I cut the plywood (not really plywood, its OSB).

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-RMktHSpUOw4/T6iasnzKYvI/AAAAAAAAAns/lvLXtZiKpzU/s891/IMAG1133.jpg)
Then I finished framing the bottom step. Don't ask why I didn't just finish it the first time around. 

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-TBAAdWefKTo/T6iawziAD6I/AAAAAAAAAn0/DJdiZdsXE6k/s891/IMAG1134.jpg)
Set it up, make sure its level... CLOSE ENOUGH

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-dMPblJ2Zsd8/T6ia4UTK6zI/AAAAAAAAAoA/6nNsv9wNwn0/s891/IMAG1135.jpg)
Here it is all set up.  I didn't bother trying to center it left to right.

(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-F0nOU0D3zbE/T6ibKT3DkzI/AAAAAAAAAoY/TuAWeOfLpDg/s891/IMAG1138.jpg)
I put rugs on the top step. The side rug is for Nova to lay on.  I envision using the sides of the bottom step like this, but more plants.

Let me know what you think.

NOTE: My wife plans on painting it.  She gets to choose the colors and I'll paint it.  This is not to make it pretty, but she is HIGHLY susceptible to splinters.  The paint will serve to make it pretty, avoid splinters, and provide some weatherproofing.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: endurance on May 08, 2012, 06:11:04 AM
Looks like home.  Good luck with the 'skeeters when they come.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on May 08, 2012, 03:32:27 PM
Note the sudden appearance of power tools on the third picture.  My drill AND saw both decided to wimp out on me at the same time.  Due to this, the first day of work involved hand-drilling and hack-sawing.  Needless to say, I decided to suck it up and replace my broken tools after that.

Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on August 09, 2012, 09:40:47 PM
UPDATE:

I've been living in the trailer for 3 months now.  I don't have pictures, and my internet is probably too slow to upload any right now.  However... I've learned a few things.

1. Sliding the couch back from bed to couch mode doesn't seem like much, but makes the trailer feel MUCH bigger.
2. I only had a few mosquitos get in.  Usually they hide in the dog's fur and sneak in that way.  These are fun. 
(http://imgsrv.worldstart.com/ct-images/bug-zapper-racket.jpg)
3. If you lower one corner jack by a half to quarter inch, then almost all of the rain that hits the roof will drain to one point.  On Tuesday, we got a half inch of rain and I collected ~35-40 gallons of water.
4. 2'x2'x6' is not big enough to shower.  I built an outdoor shower out of a 54" x 54" pallet, 2x6s, lathe, and a tarp.  I purchased a propane powered outdoor tankless water heater and used water collected off of my roof. 
(http://www.unfinishedman.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/eccotem-l5-portable-tankless-water-heater.jpg)
**NOTE** that picture is not mine.  I will post pictures of my contraption for you guys sometime. 
5. Without using a pilot light for anything all summer, my initial 20# tank, which I don't know how full it was when I bought the trailer, is still going.  I bought a second tank for the shower, and it is on it's first.  I don't expect to change it out at all.
6. A couple coats of deck paint does wonders for OSB plywood.  The porch has worked out great. 
7. Having windows that open on all four sides is very important so that you can get a cross breeze in any wind scenario.


That's about it for now.  I'll try to update with actual photos one of these days.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: cmxterra on August 09, 2012, 10:07:00 PM
What water heater did you go with? I am thinking about one of those for my M109
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on August 09, 2012, 10:17:34 PM
What water heater did you go with? I am thinking about one of those for my M109

I went with the one pictured.  It is the Eccotemp L5. It works great. 

http://www.amazon.com/Eccotemp-L5-Portable-Tankless-Outdoor/dp/B000TXOJQ4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344572178&sr=8-1&keywords=eccotemp+l5
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: cmxterra on August 09, 2012, 10:27:05 PM
Thanks for the link. Good to have first hand info. What are you using for water and water pressure?
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on August 09, 2012, 10:55:57 PM
Thanks for the link. Good to have first hand info. What are you using for water and water pressure?

My reservoir is an outdoor trashcan like this one.
(http://www.nflateyourparty.com/500_500_csupload_18999353.jpg?u=279001654)

My water pressure comes from a 6 GPM pump (Anything from 2.5 - 6.5 GPM should work fine.  It is a non-submersible utility pump.  I will take a picture of the set up at some point, but it is kinda like this one but a little bigger.
(http://di1-1.shoppingshadow.com/images/pi/9a/42/c8/29287211-260x260-0-0_1+10+HP+Self+Priming+Portable+Utility+Pump.jpg)

I just have the inlet hose stuck in the trash can and the outlet hose hooked to the shower/water heater.

I get about 1/2 to 1 second of cold water at the beginning, but it gets hot and stays hot.  It can get dangerously hot, but has a temperature regulator that is very accurate, and you have to really want it to get that hot. 
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on August 24, 2012, 03:24:47 PM
UPDATE WITH PHOTOS:

Here are some pictures of my outdoor shower set up. 

Photo 1: Reservoir, trailer, pump, and shower.
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-9Wlv5GcC68I/UDfg_U_I9CI/AAAAAAAAAss/Mu5V_cS80Po/s925/IMAG1162.jpg)
Note the window above the trash can.  That window deposits water directly into the trash can when it rains. Half an inch of rain gives me ~25-30 gallons.  Note that the pump is screwed into that log that it is sitting on.  I have the hose coiled like that because dropping the water to the ground and then bringing it back up causes the pump to have to work a little bit harder. Ideally, I would have a slightly shorter hose in use.

Photo 2: Propane, shower, and stall.
(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-sG5MahWP4U0/UDfhFYhNABI/AAAAAAAAAs0/BhCAtFlHKDY/s925/IMAG1163.jpg)
Note the shower stall is a pallet, studs, and a tarp.  I already had the tarp, and the lumber was all free from the jobsite I'm working on.  That plastic white thing hanging by the shower is the cheap plastic hose the shower unit came with to connect the water heater to the shower head. I replaced it with the metal one from my trailer. Eventually I will put the plastic one in the trailer to replace the metal one.  Propane tank is your basic 20# tank, not one of the little ones that require a special adapter.

Photo 3: Power to the pump.
(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-8PW4Pj6Z7XY/UDfhJSjJAXI/AAAAAAAAAs8/hOcjJaFevIc/s925/IMAG1164.jpg)
This is the #1 thing that I would like to change about my set up.  I haven't been electrocuted yet, but to turn the pump on, I have to plug it in. To turn it off, I have to unplug it.  I guess I could install a simple switch, but I'm too lazy, and they don't sell them at the grocery store.  (I'm only in town 20 hours a week including sleeping time, and that's one more store I would need to go to in order to get a switch.

Photo 4: Water Heater.
(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Xo3I36kOwis/UDfhOimb8OI/AAAAAAAAAtE/LeQGF7NbkCo/s553/IMAG1165.jpg)
The right knob is for water pressure.  I just leave it on high (1.2 gpm)
The left knob is for temperature. Anything past halfway is too hot for most people.  Max temp = 160F, which is great for doing dishes!  The little water drop looking things are a window to see the propane burner.  It also gives a nice glow so you can shower at night without a candle or lamp.

Photo 5: Shower Head.
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Aqsn-VQ5XhE/UDfhTqqDujI/AAAAAAAAAtM/gAnzX198E24/s925/IMAG1166.jpg)
This is the only photo I took that shows how the shower is open at the top.  That meant I had nowhere to mount the shower head.  I strung a couple bungee cords across to where the hooks were in the middle and it works like a charm.  It doesn't slide side-to-side or front-to-back.  You can also see that I took a piece of scrap wood and made a shelf out of it to put my soap and candle on (homemade candle out of leftover wax from old candles and cheese and a piece of a sock for a wick). 

Sorry I don't have any swimsuit models like in the picture posted a few posts up.  I hope this is informative.  Let me know if you guys have any questions/comments/suggestions.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: LaMar on August 24, 2012, 04:17:45 PM
(http://www.simplesolarhomesteading.com/video%20screen.jpg)

I have built many campers and shells for boondocking. My latest plan is for a solar cabin on wheels. This might not work for your plans but may give you some ideas.

I design and build solar powered off-grid cabins and bug-out vehicles so glad to share ideas with anyone interested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZKtGRGW1-U

Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: endurance on August 24, 2012, 04:24:49 PM
You are brilliant in solving problems and terrifying at how you solve them.  Radio Shack and Home Depot sells a remote control battery operated switch that will turn that pump on and off and never expose you to more juice than a 9v battery. 

Thanks for the update!
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on August 24, 2012, 04:58:06 PM
You are brilliant in solving problems and terrifying at how you solve them.  Radio Shack and Home Depot sells a remote control battery operated switch that will turn that pump on and off and never expose you to more juice than a 9v battery. 

Thanks for the update!

You seem to know more about switches than I do.  Is there one on Amazon that matches your description?  My only disclaimer is it has to be Free Super Saver Shipping because they like to jack the rates up for alaska.
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ImNotGivngMyName2AMachine on December 10, 2014, 08:25:22 AM
Here you go ttubravesrock, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001Q9EFUK - $12.44 & Free shipping on orders over $35 if you don't have Prime, has great reviews and is "outdoor" (take w/ grain of salt there...)
Meant for Christmas lights and resistive loads but one of the comments says "...it does not handle high amperage motors (12 amps and above) very well. For smaller motors and lighting, it should work quite well"
Title: Re: Challenge: 8-12 weeks, Budget Constraints, Build a Mobile "Cabin"
Post by: ttubravesrock on December 16, 2014, 02:49:57 PM
thanks for reviving this thread.

I'm still in the same trailer after three summers now.
However, I've made some upgrades (almost zero to the interior) that have improved my quality of life.

I will get some pictures and write-ups posted one of these days.