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Random questions from the crack of dawn


Allentc2
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Dreamt last night of living in a TT somewhere out in the American Southwest. Sitting in a camp chair admiring the scenery while some shirts danced on a clothesline in the afternoon breeze.....:blink:

Okay, so how do full-timers do laundry when they're boondocking?? :lol: After about six months of researching the lifestyle, I have eliminated truck campers from my list of "desired retirement home', leaving Class As, Class B+/C-s, and TTs, with TTs currently in the lead. None of the ones I'm looking at come with a washer/dryer (and I'm about certain I wouldn't want one anyway). So how do you guys wash your unmentionables? I recall seeing some foot-powered thing about the size of a kitchen garbage can, but I can't find it now. Washtub? Coin laundromat? Inquiring minds want to know.

Also, let's say you break camp one brisk morning (or sweltering, doesn't matter) and drive a few hundred miles to your new spot for the next month. In a TT, do you keep the a/c running so when you get there you don't have to wait for the "house" to cool down/warm up?

I suspect I will find more weird questions, thanks for your patience. 

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8 minutes ago, Allentc2 said:

Also, let's say you break camp one brisk morning (or sweltering, doesn't matter) and drive a few hundred miles to your new spot for the next month. In a TT, do you keep the a/c running so when you get there you don't have to wait for the "house" to cool down/warm up?

We didn't do much dry camping but we did use laundromats for that part.  Very few travel trailers have any way to keep the overhead air conditioner operating while traveling and few RVs of any type have enough power to operate them when not connected to shore power, except via an external gas/diesel generator. Most class A rigs have one built in and many fifth wheel trailers do with some travel trailers offering that as an option. Generators are much more common with the motorized RVs because those have a fuel tank that can be used, while any type of trailer would require the addition of a tank for petroleum fuel, not normally found in them. 

Air conditioning is the main reason that far more RV people spend time in the boondocks where no resources are available in the winter months than in summer. Those who do dry camp in summer usually do so in mountainous areas of high altitude where no air conditioning is needed. There is no practical way to operate an air conditioner for long when no outside energy source is available. 

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We almost exclusively boondock.  We use laundromats.

While we did have a fifth wheel when we were fulltiming that had a washer and dryer, we didn't use it when we were boondocking...uses too much water and gray water capacity and we'd have to run the generator while doing so.  When the washer finally gave up the ghost, we had both removed.

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...any type of trailer would require the addition of a tank for petroleum fuel, not normally found in them...

Most trailers and fifth wheels have propane tanks. There are generators that run on propane and also duel/tri fuel generators. Some generator equipped trailers and fifth wheels are equipped with propane powered generators. If you add a generator to a trailer or fifth wheel (whether gasoline or propane powered), it would have to have enough capacity to run the air conditioner. Many of the smaller portable units popular with boondockers will not run an AC unit unless paired with a second unit.

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...So how do you guys wash your unmentionables? I recall seeing some foot-powered thing about the size of a kitchen garbage can, but I can't find it now...

Here are several.

Edited by trailertraveler
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In our Class C and Class B we made laundromats one of our stops on travel days. In our class A we towed a car so could go to the laundromat anytime.

In our Class C and Class B we used the cab air to keep us comfortable on travel days. They weren't big enough to need the roof air running while traveling.

In our Class A,  we mostly ran our generator and A/C on travel days to exercise the generator without irritating neighbors.

When boondocking the days seldom got hot enough to need the air--just open some windows and turn on the fans.

Linda Sand

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A lot of Class C motorhomes also have built-in generators that are powerful enough to run AC units, which I do if I am stopped some places without electric. I also occasionally use my generator and AC at rest stops when I take a break for more than a few minutes and the weather is hot.  Mine not only will run the AC unit at a stop, but also the microwave if I need to heat up something. 

You can buy an external generator for a trailer, but very, very few of them are powerful enough to run an AC unit, and those that are are so big you would not be able to store them. 

However, most people who boondock, and a lot of the rest of us, plan our travels so that we are not camping in extremely hot or extremely cold places.  Think mountains in Colorado or along the Oregon coast in the summer and Arizona in the winter.

Edited by Solo18
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We're full-timers in a 40' DP. It has hookups for a washer and dryer, but we don't have those appliances. We go to laundromats. If we're in a campground that has laundry facilities (not all do) we'll do one or two loads on any one day. If we have to go into town to do laundry we'll take everything and use the largest machines we can.

When we're traveling the generator is running. We have a residential refrigerator, and usually we need the a/c going. That's one of the reasons why we chose the coach we did. It is comfortable all the time, including when we stop for lunch on travel days.

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My truck camper has plenty of room for 30 sets of underwear, socks, and T shirts so I can go up to a month between Laundromat visits.

Regarding the travel and A/C question, first I never spend a month at one location.  I typically stay a few days at a campground and travel everyday to nearby locations.  I have no problem keeping the RV heated or cooled as necessary.  I leave a vent and the pass through to the camper open.  The truck heater or A/C works well to maintain a reasonable temperature in the camper.  Heat is not much of an issue.  Even starting with a cold camper, the furnace will warm it up in a few minutes.  Cooling is a different issue.  If the RV gets really warm, it can take hours for the A/C to cool it.  I don't like to run the generator and I almost never have hookups.  I leave for cooler places when the temp start climbing to the uncomfortable zone.

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Also, some state parks do have laundromats in the campground--or at least one or two washers and one or two dryers.  This is very common in Florida and Ohio, for example.  Makes it very convenient, even though you might have to line your clothes up and wait until the next person is done.

I usually move campgrounds every week or two, and often choose a campground based on the fact that it has a washer and dryer.  I have enough clothing for at least two weeks, so sometimes, even if I cannot find a place that I want to stay a whole week at that has a laundry, I will stay overnight some place on the way between places to catch up on my dirty clothes. 

AND, when I visit my kids, I always bring my dirty clothes to pay them back from when they were in college and brought their dirty stuff home to wash! 

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On days you want to splurge, many public laundromats have a "Wash & Fold" service.  The one I used while camp hosting in TN charged $10.00 for 10 lbs, which was one good-sized load.  It was only a few dollars more than if I used my own money to wash them myself.  I could drop it off, go do other errands or explore the area, and pick it up on the way back.  It is a bit of a splurge, but since I had no nightly camping fee for several months while in that area, it was a lovely treat.

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Having a horse or a heard of critters is a sure way to generate dirty clothes so out on the road we use..........THE COWGIRL MAYTAG..........so you ask what the heck is that? ?

well take a plastic bucket and a CLEAN-NEVER-USED toilet plunger and half fill the bucket with water and some detergent and ......."plunge" into the wash-day tasks.......

Empty them suds and wring the clothes then fill the bucket and rinse-soak while enjoying a adult beverage or two or.......three.....

Warning: DO NOT let your Maytag plunger be stored near a toilet.......,

 

Drive on.........(so little laundry.....so much adult beverage)

 

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I use an ezwash portable (linked above) along with a nina spin dryer the majority of the time with a laundromat trip thrown in here and there. Mainly to do larger items like blankets,  multiple sheet sets, etc. that are not very convenient in my washing machine. I've also used hotel/motel/other washing machines. Even if you're not a guest, many places will let your use their machines for a small "donation" when a laundromat is not available.

In the past I've tried the wonder wash. I didn't really care all that much for it. It took up a lot of space for VERY limited load sizes. I've also used the bucket and specialty wash plungers and washboards before. I still carry them as a backup or to do small loads like a few dishtowels/cleaning rags that can leave a bit of "film" in the washing machine.

Other than the amount of storage space the camp washing machine and spin dryer take up though there isn't a lot of down side. Especially if you are solar capable and time your loads to run on excess production. They do a surprisingly good job. If I had to give up one or the other I would keep the spin dryer. It dramatically cuts down drying times to a fraction.

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We had a wonderwash, used it a couple of times and realized it is no better than just hand washing your clothes in the sink.  Was a pain to drain soapy water out and put rinse water/clothing back in to rinse. 

 

We use laundromats at campground or in town, whichever is least expensive and go about every 2 wks.   Many Corp of Engineer parks also have laundry facilities.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/14/2017 at 5:22 AM, Dollytrolley said:

Empty them suds and wring the clothes then fill the bucket and rinse-soak while enjoying a adult beverage or two or.......three.....

Warning: DO NOT let your Maytag plunger be stored near a toilet.......

Drive on.........(so little laundry.....so much adult beverage)

 

:lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, Allentc2.   Right now I'm single, and so I travel mostly solo.   Your question focused on "unmentionables".   I hand wash my underwear EVERY night.  No exception.  I'm a "clean machine" guy.   I'm mostly in dry areas rather than humid areas of the country, so the cotton underwear dries overnight.   I also wear Ex Officio microfiber, quick-drying underwear.   Those dry far, far quicker than the cotton underwear.   Socks?   I wash them as needed: no less than every 3 days.  

If I happen to wash the underwear or socks in the morning and I'm traveling, I just rig a clothes line inside my car or my rig.  Air dries the garments quickly.   And I've also been known to put the garments on the dashboard so that they get sunshine and dry quicker.   No one cares.  

Once a week or whenever I need it, I go to laundromats for the heavier clothes (shirts, slacks) and I use that opportunity to re-wash all the "unmentionables" for a thorough cleaning.    I've seen that portable washer you've referenced.   I have no experience with that, but it looks like a fun idea. 

Thanks for asking the question.  

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