Frequently Asked Questions
Why did you choose an Airstream Basecamp to live in?
Over the course of a year, I visited several dealers and looked at everything from Class A motorhomes to tiny teardrop trailers. Also, from spending eight months on the road traveling already, I had a solid list of must-haves and wants. In the end, the Airstream Basecamp was the only RV that fit all of our needs. Read the whole list in Why I Chose an Airstream Basecamp as my full-time RV home.
How do you afford to live on the road?
I work full-time as a Process Consultant for a large insurance carrier. My role is completely remote which allows me to travel, while keeping a regular corporate Monday thru Friday, 9am-5pm job. There are a few times each year when I fly into one of our corporate offices to attend meetings or team building events, but otherwise I just log in from the RV!
How do you plan your route, and typically how long do you stay in a place?
I typically plan our travel based on chasing different experiences. This is all organized via Google Calendar, which tracks all of these events in one place: hiking permits, festivals, convergences, trips with friends, etc. That gives me a basis of where I need to be and when. I’ll look at the calendar, see I need to be about 700 miles away in 3 weeks and know I need to start heading that way.
What route I go depends on my Google Maps and what is pinned on there as saved locations. Green flags mark places I want to go (recommendations from friends, google searches of the area, state or national parks, etc.). Blue, yellow and red dots are places I’ve been. So if I’m heading towards Vegas for example, I’ll try to connect as many green dots as possible. And if I have friends along the way, the route is usually flexible, so we may veer off to go visit!
Typically we stay in a location about a week or two. That is as long as we can stretch our tiny tanks (10-12 days), and gives me a full weekend to explore the area between work weeks. It also allows me to focus time on work and not have to worry about moving mid-week.
How do you power everything, including your work computer?
Lithium batteries powered by solar! I purchased the Basecamp with a 160W solar panel option. For 8 months I used this and the two stock AGM batteries. There was no inverter, so in order to charge my work laptop, I installed two 12V plugs and used a 12V charger from amazon. Everything worked great as long as there was sun. However, if there were any cloudy or rainy days, the batteries would run low and I had to either borrow a generator or run to a RV park.
So in March 2018, Pullen Solar designed and installed an amazing new lithium battery and inverter system. Parts are listed below. Although there is 200A of lithium, and only 160W of solar, my overall use is pretty minimal. The solar charges the batteries back up no problem, as they usually never go below 80%. I’ve now gone 5 days in cloudy weather with no worries! Since we mostly boondock, the new setup is an absolute relief and has been life changing. I can run everything off grid now, even my crockpot!
160W Zamp Solar roof panels.
Two BBGC2 100Ah Battle Born lithium batteries.
Victron Smart Solar MPPT 100/30.
Victron Battery Monitor BMV-712.
Victron 2000W Inverter Multiplus Compact.
Where do you store the cat litter?
We get this question quite a lot! It’s all stored underneath the bed. Check out Where to keep cat litter in the Airstream Basecamp.
How is RV life compared to when you lived out of the back of the 4Runner?
Luxurious!! And dare I say… spacious!! When we first hit the road I needed Ethernet connection for work. Therefore, we lived in AirBnBs during the week so I could have normal internet, and camped in the back of the 4Runner on the weekends. This meant every week we would unload and move everything from the 4Runner to the AirBnB, including the litter. RV life is much easier, as I just hook up and tow it all with me. Everything stays in its spot, and it’s a lot less work to move around.
Another big difference is that the Basecamp feels like home to Jasper & Napoleon. Although we change sites often, the inside is always the same. Every time we park, they jump in the RV and know exactly where their food, water and bed is. Also, if they hear something that scares them, they know where they can run for safety and have a place they feel secure.
We also have so much more room! I know it sounds crazy but after the back of a 4Runner, the Basecamp feels spacious. I’m able to stand when I get dressed and actually move around. Some other great benefits: there’s a bathroom, instead of having to use the woods. I have a shower, instead of wet wipes. And a kitchen versus a tiny backpacking stove.
A huge relief is also having the litter box out of the truck. It would sit open at the foot of the passenger seat. This worked well for Napoleon who sits up front, but means litter would get everywhere! On the arm rests, on the seats, on the bed in the back. Once I was trying to get a coffee at a Starbucks drive thru, and as they handed me a macchiato, the employee looks into the truck to see Napoleon taking a huge crap. Although those moments provided comic relief, I am glad to be done with those days!
The one item I do really miss about camping in the 4Runner is the agility. We could camp anywhere, scout any dirt road without worry, and sleep incognito in parking lots.
Overall, RV life is a huge improvement. But the mattress is still in the back of the truck, so I am hoping to take her back out for same off road adventures someday!