I have noticed that even though I do a monthly RV cost summary I rarely write about RV life. I really want to dive more into it to help others decide if it’s right for them. Most of the content I find about RV life frames it in such a way it makes it seem perfect. Always the perfect sunset with the perfect backdrop. You never see these people show you them working on the RV, cleaning, it breaking down, and the hundred other realities of RV life.
RV Living Hacks
Living full-time in my RV for two years I have learned a thing or two. I have learned a lot through my mistakes and the day-to-day curve balls RV living will throw at you. We all know there are a hundred different ways to do different things. By no means am I saying my way is the right way. Shit, my way might not even be the best way. If you have a better way please comment and share it. This is just the best way I have found that works for me.
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Trial, error, sweat, tears, and sometimes even a little blood is how I have learned many things in life. RV life is no different. I never realized how important being handy would be living in an RV. Because this is my home if I can’t fix it and have to take it to a shop I have to find another place to live. Rarely do you ever hear or read that when you are researching RV life.
My hacks are different unique ways I have found to do things on my RV that save time, money, and energy.
By utilizing these hacks you can do more living and less wasted time on the small things. I guess you could also pay someone to do these things as well. Sometimes I even would agree that is the right path to take. Most of the time for the cost I rather fix or do it myself. RV shops will rob you blind like no other shop I have seen. That is because there or not many RV shops, so they don’t have to compete for customers.
I also love learning new skills in life. I have become very handy since moving into my RV. I still have lots to learn though and still make plenty of mistakes along the way.
RV Solar Part Three
One of the biggest projects I wanted to tackle was installing solar on my RV. For me, the thought of sustainability in my life both pre and especially post FIRE was very important. It meant I could have more flexibility, fewer expenses, and ultimately more freedom. The dream of living in an RV meant all that to me and more. That I could live anywhere and not be so reliant on outside factors. Funny because solar is reliant on the sun LOL!
Here in San Diego I without a doubt do not need solar. In fact, I’m pretty sure the math would say I spent more on my solar than it has saved me money. How did I come up with that conclusion? I split my time between two main RV parks here in San Diego. One has full hook-ups and is roughly $1,200 a month. This spot will be going up to $1,700 a month on Jan 1st, 2022. The second spot has no hookups and is roughly $600 a month. When I say “hook-ups” I am referring to water, electricity, and sewer.
So only at the one RV park do I not have electricity. When I first started staying there I had no solar at all. I simply used a generator to power my RV. This is what every other person does there. The generator was around $500 at Costco. One gallon of gas powers it for around 5-7 hours. So for $4-$5, I have roughly half a day worth of power. Now Monday through Friday I am at work so $4-$5 would last about two days. All in all, in about a week I would spend roughly $30.
Now my solar has cost me roughly at this point I would say $4,200 to $5,000. I must admit a good chunk of that was wasted from lessons learned along the way. Most of my gear for the solar I have upgraded from my initial setup. One of those things I wish I would have planned better and gone bigger right off the bat. An easy example of this is batteries. My first batteries were four AGM for $1,079. Well about a year into this adventure those went to shit from my inexperience. So I upgraded to two Lithium batteries on sale for about $1,350. That was a steal for lithium batteries. Most of the time the cost is easily four times that.
So you can see I wasted my initial $1,079, If I would have simply researched a little bit longer that could have been invested into the right gear the first time.
The reason I decided to do the solar so soon was somewhat of me envisioning my FIRE life now.
My thoughts are if I’m going to live in the RV after FIRE, I will do so more in a nomad slow travel style. At which point I hope to be staying at more off-grid in nature spots. My vision was looking up at the night sky and enjoying all the beautiful stars. A generator, while mine is fairly quiet still would kill that vibe.
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Part Three Control Board
These hacks/how-to’s on my solar is my current setup after living and learning over the last two years. My first setup I would never recommend to anyone. While it did work for what I needed, it was such an inefficient setup that I laugh at myself for it.
I hope you enjoy this series even if you don’t live in an RV or have one. Still, a pretty cool skill to know how to install and set up solar to be more sustainable.
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FYI I am not a professional installer or electrician and will never claim to be. This is how I did it and by following this method you are responsible for any and all outcomes : )
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