A Utility Trailer for Long Trips or Full Timing
There may come a time when a person wants to take off on a cross country trip where they may choose to stay in a rough camp for an extended period of time. This would exceed the limits of what a week end camper Van could provide with comfort. The need for a bathing area, a toilet, a laundry for clean clothes, hot water heater, electricity on demand, storage, and of course a suitable quantity of water contained in a well organized secure system which could be towed behind the Van would be an ideal solution. A utility trailer would be the most logical solution to contain this equipment and have it as mobile as the Van. Thus one would have the comforts of a larger RV while on the road or in camp but with the option of separating the Van from the trailer to run errands, go touring, or attend an event, or visit a place of interest without having to tow the trailer along. It would be left behind in the campsite locked up or parked on a secure parking lot. The Van would contain the bed, clothing storage, kitchenette, food, refrigeration, and it's own stores of water. Belonging to any of the national franchised Gyms would provide for toilet & bath when away from the utility trailer. If in a long term rough camp, one would have all of the conveniences of a home. His cell phone would connect him to the internet or callers if in range of a tower.
One of the pieces of equipment I'm listing in this utility trailer is called a "laundry center" which is an apartment type over & under washer & dryer. These stand about 6'6" tall, weigh about 240 lbs and are efficient with water and energy use. The under side of the trailer would have plastic plumbing leading to a flexible hose to carry the waste water off to a suitable area for drainage. These units are designed for a wider range of power sources and can be found used quite affordably. I intend to use the one in my home which operates on 220 V/ac. Hot water generated in an on demand propane heater
will provide for the Laundry & Shower. There are 115 VAC powered
Laundry Center machines too
A used Utility Trailer such as this one could be built to the floor plan as shown above in a few days. The electrical and plumbing would not be too challenging to install. I would imagine moving the equipment into the trailer through the back door and building from the front to the back. A crank down swivel wheel, like those used on the front of boat trailers, would help to level the trailer when in camp. Electrical wiring and Propane hoses would connect the trailer with the Van such that they could be disconnected when the trailer is detached from the Van. A 4 1/2 vent would have to be installed in the wall for the Hot Hater heater and likewise for the Laundry Center. Other ventilation for the Generator's exhaust and interior ventilation of the trailer would be a consideration...trying not to cut holes in the roof. The electrical wiring & plumbing would be left to the builders preferences.
Such a utility trailer would allow the Van owner to build his rig up over a period of time acquiring equipment from auctions, liquidation sales, and online services like Craig's list. "Wish com" is another amazing source of goods at crazy cheap prices.
Such a unit as this is 6' tall 24" wide and 27" deep. The washer capacity is 1.5 cubic feet and the dryer is 3.4 cubic feet and would provide for one or two people's needs quite efficiently without much demands for water. The unit operates on 240 volts a/c 30 amps. They can be found used quite affordable. The Whirlpool Thin Twin is known for it's quality. Model # LTE5243DQ
Water tanks for the trailer could be found with a 2 gallon per minute 12 Vdc electric pump from $80 to around $200. Such agricultural sprayers are available through stores such as Rural King and can hold from 15 to 25 to 40 gallons of water weighing up to 350 lbs when full. A plastic tarp awning could collect rain water & the tank also be used as a cistern.
Propane fueled on demand hot water heaters can supply 2 gallons per minute of water heated to 35 degrees above the stored water temperature. Higher temps at lower flow rates. These units are affordable at $150 to $200 dollars and weigh 12 lbs empty.
By my calculations a trailer as shown at the top of this page would have to be able to carry 1200 lbs of cargo fully loaded. If a camp provided water the 40 gallon water tank could be drained to shed 333 lbs of it's weight. The tank would be filled before boondocking
Other miscellaneous concerns would be with the forward weight of the trailer. For batteries, generator, water tank and propane tanks the estimated weight would be around 750 lbs. Other stored items on the shelf in bins would only add more to that weight. Again if traveling with the water tank empty it would only weigh 400 lbs. A generator would need to provide 30 amp service at 110 or 240 Vac as the Laundry Center would require it and work directly from the generator. The water pump and water heater could work directly from the batteries so a shower wouldn't require the generator to use it. The work bench would be a 2' X 4' folding plywood surface hinged to the wall of the trailer. I would imagine that equipping a utility trailer in this manner would cost between $1000 to $1500 dollars. Being resourceful pays.
Sheet Metal shower stalls are common items new or used. Usually in 32 X 32 X 70+ inch sizes. Light in weight and easily installed. Height is adjustable.
Plastic Tarp rigged for cistern
Here is a message board for Teardrop & Tiny Travel Trailers
Occasionally people with a low budget look for ways to put a rig together without the time, effort, and expense of a build out so that they can get on the road. If they can find a trailer made from a wrecked Pickup Truck and a good deal on a Pickup Truck slide in Camper, they could tow it with a car or small size pickup truck fitted with a suitable hitch. Of course everything should be inspected so it is safe to operate before going on the road.
When I find a Utility Trailer to fit out and am ready to go full time this is what I expect to have. The Van is my Rig. Just borrowed the Trailer for the photo to visualize what I'd be working with.