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The Letter That Started It All

From: Bob Giddings
Subject: The Boondocking Fulltimer
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel, alt.rv
Date: 2000/06/18

Maybe you can help me.

In less than 2 years I will turn 56, and will be able to leave my present job with the means to live in moderate comfort anywhere I want. I have always traveled, covering most of North and South America and Europe over a span of 30 years, but like most people I was always in a hurry, straining to cram too much into a 2 or 3 week time frame. I have lately come to think that as a segue to my new freedom I would like to revisit and fill in the gaps in these trips in a more leisurely manner by adopting the fulltime RoVing life for a few years. But there are problems.

It seems to me that the RoVing life skates precariously between a life I would enjoy and a life I would despise. I have a predilection for remoteness, altitude, solitude, freedom of movement, and novelty in my surroundings. I would like to dip into and explore a lot of cities, but spend most of my time at remote lakes and national forest campgrounds, boondocking for 4 or 5 days at a time. But I would despise spending any considerable length of time trapped in a series of trailer parks, tethered by the umbilical of electricity and cooped up cheek by jowel with a lot of other people all equally squirming inside what amount to expensive tin cans. Indeed, the idea that I would spend a large amount of money to get to such a place is a fine nightmare indeed.

So I have been thinking about the RV requirements for a fulltimer who is also a mosttiming boondocker. I now camp in a 13 foot trailer pulled by a Jeep Wrangler. It goes anywhere, but I couldn't stand it full time. I would welcome any suggestions or comments or experience any of you might have that you think might help me in my choice of a fulltiming RV, given what I have told of my habits. I have not closed my mind to any arrangement, but the location of my favorite places leads me to think I would be happiest with a 5th wheel coach hauled by a ¾ ton 4WD pickup. I will purchase an adequate pickup once I have chosen the proper trailer. I like the roominess of slides, but I am afraid they might not fit in some of the smaller sites. I also sometimes would like to Stealth RV: that is, to camp without appearing to camp, as in cities, and extending a slide is a little too obvious an announcement that someone is making himself to home.

As a starting point, I divided the selection criteria into the Inside Life and the Outside life. As you might suspect there are a lot of conflicts between the two. I am trying to think this out carefully. I am trying to follow the Carpenter's Rule: measure many times, cut once.


1. Length and height appropriate to stretch out a bit in rainy weather .. I am 6'4". Maybe 30 feet long? ( The larger the better.)
2. The Lounge area should have a clean, well-lighted, comfortable place to read, a GOOD 12V auto CD player, and adequate storage for a good selection of books and CDs. Perhaps also a small TV, since I already own a Direct TV receiver (for the music channels). I lean toward the rear lounge, because the window placement usually gives a lot of natural light, and the back of the trailer usually faces the best view.
3. The Kitchen should have a gas oven and a large fridge, and some open counter space for preparing meals. I don't like the stovetop right next to the entrance, too much chance for in and out accidents. Center placement over the axles might minimize the jostling and breakage on bad roads. I once had to clean up a pint of honey that broke inside a cabinet and dripped down into a light fixture, and once was enough. I don't need a microwave.
4. The Bath should allow me to stand up straight in the shower. Again, mid-placement allows the most height.
5. The Bedroom should allow me to sit up comfortably in bed and move around. Mid-height at least, about 56 inches.
6. There should be room for a desk and chair, with laptop and printer handy, and a filing cabinet or equivalent. This is hard. Perhaps I can adapt a dinette with storage under a removable top, and filing cabinet underneath the seat?
7. Adequate wardrobe storage. The largest I have seen on mid-height models are on one side just in front of the bedroom, and in the rear bath models.


1. Length and height appropriate to small remote campsites. Maybe 20-22 feet. (The smaller the better)
2. Axles and structure able to take the pounding of bad roads. Reasonably light weight. Road clearance. (Axles should be the lowest point.)
3. Large water and propane tanks.
4. GOOD braking system for the mountains.
5. Good heating and insulation for temps to the teens. Heated and protected water storage tanks.
6. Room for 2-4 Golf cart batteries for boondocking. Solar kit for recharging.
7. Storage for Mountain Bike.
8. Awning and provision for outside cooking.
9. Prefer fiberglass or hard siding. Bad weather in the mountains.

As you can see, if you have read this far, there is a basic contradiction between the specs for a good Boondocking trailer, and a good Fulltiming trailer. I am thinking the sweet point is around 24 feet. I have not found the perfect trailer yet. I may have to buy very used and rebuild to suit. The best general layout I have seen is the Mallard 265H , which you can see at :

I realize the Mallard line is marginal in other respects, and I have not seen this trailer in life. But I do like the layout. Anybody seen anything better? It is still too long. What have I missed? Something obvious, no doubt. Feel free to rub my nose in it. :)

Thanks for your time.

Bob Giddings

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