I Live in a Van, Down by the River! RV life AMA

I recently purchased a large travel trailer, and am fulfilling my inner redneck completely by living and working full-time in a trailer park. In Texas. It’s a learning experience. I want to share my lessons learned.

So, let’s start with my rig. It’s a 2020 Keystone Passport 2950BH Grand Touring. Let me decode that.

Keystone is the manufacturer.
Passport is the model.
2950 means that the internal living area is 29.5 feet long, 8 feet wide, excepting the slide which adds another ~36 square feet when extended.
BH = bunkhouse. By design, this rig sleeps up to 10 people.
Grand Touring is marketing wank.

I have an indoor kitchen - 3 burners, an oven, a microwave, a mid-size refrigerator and freezer over/under. I have an outdoor kitchen - 2 burners, and a mini-fridge (well, I need to procure the mini-fridge, still).

2 air conditioners. 1 full bathroom with a separate external door. The bunk beds each sleep 2, but I’ve removed the lower one to convert into the Bullshido Mobile Command Center (pics to come).

42" LED TV in an integrated entertainment center. Radio, Sirius/XM, satellite TV ready, cable TV ready, integrated WiFi with LTE (I’m upgrading that to a 5G this weekend). Outdoor speakers on a separate circuit. Outdoor SAT/CATV connections. Underbelly is heated. Wired for cameras/security (that’s a project on my list). Master has a full-sized queen bed, and dual barn-door isolation from the rest of the rig. Water heater will operate on propane (2 tanks) or electric. Refer will operate on propane, if there’s no electric… i.e. your frozen shit will stay frozen in transit.

This is my first experience with living the RV life full time, so I’m learning as I go. It’s a lot like freedom, though, so far. Any of you that have lived on the water will appreciate these tales.

(edited to correct specifications)



You miss-spelled reefer.


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Where are you going to get 9 other people?

The border is close by.

My eldest is living with me, now. I had mentioned previously that there are new toilet behaviors. Last night was her first download. “Daddy, how do I poop?”

Here’s the best method I have found, so far.

  1. Make sure the overhead vent is on.
  2. Use the foot peddle to put some water in the bowl.
  3. Tear off four pieces of toilet paper.
  4. Split into 2 sections of two, and make an X.
  5. Lay that over the drain, let it soak a bit.
  6. 2-3 squirts of Poopouri or an off-brand equivalent that is septic-safe.
  7. Drop your load, clean as appropriate for your body and movement type.
  8. Flush until clear, don’t over-use water (especially if you’re boondocking).
  9. Use air freshener liberally, and close the door behind you.

You want for a house warming gift?

Flattered, but I doubt it comes in septic-safe/RV/boat version. Besides, I don’t think my daughter would dig it.

Here’s a lesson. The smell is coming from your gray water. That would be sinks and shower. Plug the drains when not in use, and especially on hot days.

Who is your provider for LTE/5g?

I’m going with T-Mobile. I’m already a long-time customer, and they give me like a 50% military/veteran discount.

Family of five, unlimited everything, I pay like $130 a month, and they cover my Netflix bill, too.

So I paid for the hotspot outright, I think that was closing on 4 benjamins. $50 a month for 100G service, and it drops down to unlimited 4G after the fact.

So far, it’s a godsend.

Starlink was recommended to me by a couple friends as I was securing the technology. For the time being, I’m in close contact with my local COVID distribution tower, so I don’t need to go to space.

Internet access always seemed to be the biggest drawback for the RV lifestyle to me. Glad technology has caught up some.

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Yes, they have traps. But, in a water-conservation mindset, you are not clearing those traps fully, and without a whole house of insulation, stuff evaporates.

On that note, I haven’t had to run the water heater this week. It’s been so hot that the water comes out of the tap well over 110 F (I haven’t measured it specifically, but it feels hot).

Yesterday, my black tank went from Empty to 2/3 full, then back to 1/2 full overnight, and now it’s 2/3 full again, and blinking on the full marker. No burps, yet. It’s on my to-do list, for probably today - I keep putting it off, because I didn’t know how long I was going to be in this spot; now I know I move at the end of this month, and at the end of next month, so I’ll bother to hook up the waste hose.

So, I think one/both of the capacitors is out on one of the ACs. It’s not blowing cold. The blower runs like a champ, so it’s either the start or run capacitor on the reefer compressor @hungryjoe. I’ll have to climb up on the roof to diagnose, and I don’t have a ladder handy. Weekend project.

Did it freeze over, by any chance?

No, I left it off for a full 24 hours to check. Good observation, though. Poor airflow will cause AC’s to freeze up, which is the main reason you should change your filters on the regular.

So will low refrigerant (cause a system to freeze up).

@submessenger Check your condenser fan.

It’s this unit, circled in red:

Hooked up the plumbing discharge. Yeah, the poop chute. Tank is now empty, but indicator still stuck on full. An exercise left to the audience to figure out.

Best practice - run your grey water for a moment to check for leaks and lube the pipe, then let 'er rip on the black, then clean it out with grey water. I’m on a sideways incline (btw, nailed it, pics incoming) but that means I had to finagle the tube a bit to get a constant flow.