The camper thread! Pulling, using, equipment, maintenance!
Official camper thread?
I thought it would be nice to have a camper thread where we can discuss not only pulling with the X (on topic ) but equipment you take camping, how you take care of your campers, handy items to have in the camper.
Reason I wanted to start a camping thread is mainly because I wanted to gloat about my new camping accessory!
I have been looking at generators for a long time and knew I wanted a honda. For a year+ watching ebay I never saw any that were much cheaper then new unless they were beat to crap. Got this one on sale for $895! I saw the sale earlier in the week but waited, when I went back they were sold out including the one off the shelf. Had to go to another town and luckly they had the same sale and only had one left! They didn't have a display unit just the one new one in the box.
Anyhow last summer I met a guy in another campsite with an EU2000 and I got to talk to him a bit about it. He told me if you shut everything off you can start the AC and once it gets going you can then turn a few lights on or whatnot. Now I don't plan to have to run AC since we mostly camp in northern WI I mainly want it for charging the camper batteries when they run low instead of having to run the truck. If it will run the AC that will juts be a plus to me. Anyone else have experience with the EU2000 and if it will run the AC unit?
Thats good to hear! Do you lock yours up at all? I hear these things get stolen more than cars. I was thinking of pulling the cover and finding a good place on the motor to bolt on a cable loop to put a chain and lock on to keep it around for awhile.
We've only used it while at horse shows and fairs and only while we with the trailer. If I used it at a campground, I would definitely lock it up somehow because I have also heard they are stolen often.
I don't pull anything, instead we use a tent or if the weather is bad, sleep in the back of the Ex. This kitchen from REI comes in handy and folds up to a small size. Handy when camping in the rough - no park benches.
I used one when I had my camper which had the upgraded A/C unit - 15k vs. 13.5k if I remember correctly. Worked fine - it would also run the DC converter with no issues. It would not run AC and hot water but that really worked best off propane anyway. Have fun with it - they are fantastic units! Keep the exhaust pointed away from the camper and make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working.
Would that also work on the roof? We left ours uncovered for most of the winter this year because we had peope staying in it off and on so it really got dirty this year. There is a lot of black mildew from rotting leaves and pine needles.
A generator had been thought about this yr...we go to a lot of campgrounds that do not offer electricity but do have limited generator hours.
We camp in my "project 76" A Shasta I pulled out of the woods and spent the next yr making functional.
the truck has a 3000W inverter so I can use that for any major electric needs but I for the most part use battery powered lights and such, propane stove and there are 2 batteries in the camper as well, I'm usually good for 3-4 days with no issues, and have found it's just as easy to hook a set of jumper cables to the camper batteries and run the truck for a few minutes(the 250A alternator doesn't mind a little work once in a while)
This yr I welded up an extention on the bumper, mounted a couple large ammo cans on the back for storage and added a large trunk to the tongue.
The interior has been redone. I ended up with a 19' camper with a full kitchen, huge dinette, full bath and a king size bed for under $1K plus time. I couldn't find a floorplan I like with a new one so this was an easy choice. Plus having no basement compartment keeps the height down to 8.5' so it's not like towing an extra wall down the road...another plus I havent been able to find on a new unit.
I just got my 1rst camper with a generator!! Its the Onan Gold Marquis unit - amazingly quiet. Don't know squat about taking care of it yet (reading manual soon?? - Lol). I've used genny's on my other RV's over the years, anything from 4k to 10k and always hated firing the noisy sob's up when I did use them. I often sleep at rest areas, etc when traveling to next location and A/C is mandatory in the summer... Those 'lil Honda's are amazing and that 2k watt unit runs ALOT more than I ever thought it could!
Since I live in my camper more than my house, I can talk a little about 'maintenance'... Here's a few items I'd recommend staying on top of:
- TIRES. Trailer Tires (ST's) suck *****. The only thing you can do is be sure to always inflate them to MAX pressure listed on sidewall and literally inspect each tire EVERY time you stop. I use my IR thermometer as soon as I stop for this - even a couple psi makes the temp different. You are looking for low pressure of course, but also nails, etc as well as uneven wear or tread 'separation'. I can assure you from personal experience that even doing all this, the damn things still fail 'for no apparent reason'.
- AXLES. Most modern trailer axles have some sort of 'easy-lube' where you can use a grease gun to maintain axle bearings. I still pull my drums off once a year to inspect brakes and bearings. I recently found a few of the wire connectors on the brakes had failed on the 5ver - the damned 1000 miles of salted roads from my trip up to NJ in Jan was murder on the copper wires.
- ROOF. They recommend using 'proper' cleaner/conditioner (usually once/yr), but even more important is maintaining the caulking/sealant at all the pentrations and edges. You MUST use 'rubber roof' sealer, nothing else sticks to that rubber stuff. Don't wait until ya get a leak, then its too late... These campers are made of spruce and balsa wood - ok maybe not the latter , but all of the wooden structure is quickly damaged by moisture and we don't even wanna talk about mold.
- AWNING. If camper sits 'outside' uncovered, ya gotta open the awning frequently to let it dry out. It collects rainwater and condensation as well as having road-grime driven into it while traveling in the rain. If you don't let it dry out, it will mildew and stain the canvas. I guess those 'canvas/awning cleaner/conditioners' might help mitigate this damage, but you can prevent it by just letting it air out after being wet.
- FIBERGLASS. Ever notice how dingy the white gets on RV's after a few years? Prevent this by staying on top of the waxing. There are plenty of good products out there for boats/RV's - don't cheap-out here. You want to avoid ANYTHING abrasive or 'chemical cleaners'. The outer layer of the gel coat has a sealant and is the most UV resistant part of the finish. If ya let it go to the point you've gotta use rubbing compound or worse (wet sanding) - you will forever lose the long-lasting shine it had when new. I use 'car wash' soap or a little squirt of dishwashing soap and a soft-bristled brush on a pole to wash and the 'black streak remover' for the stubborn spots. (I'm convinced the black streaks have something to do with the 'natural' degradation of the roof and the 'remover' targets whatever that is...)
On the 'using' side of things it is recommended we leave the black water holding tank valve closed until tank is full or its time to go. If ya leave the valve open while at camp, the TP/etc may not go all the way out of tank when ya flush since the volume of water is so low. I generally try to add as much water to black tank as I have patience for and often drive up to the dump station on way out of park. That should help shake up anything that has settled out and keep tank clear of debris. I usually go ahead and add a few gals of water and smell-good stuff to slosh around in there for the ride home. Oh, and always drain the black tank first so the gray water cleans out your sewer hose!
Ok, I have to go back to work - but I'm sure I'll think of more. I know there are at least a few others on here that tow/live in campers as much as I do - surely we do things we don't even think about anymore that others who use their stuff less frequently could benefit from.