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In addition to the solar power, I got a few items to make the van experience more comfortable. After three years of heavy use, I can happily report that the van is perfect for me and makes my lifestyle pretty comfortable.
Hi Cody, the solar power doesn’t make the van go places, it just powers plug in devices for use inside the van.
Hi, Ive got the solar set up and a honda generator but had I had it to do all over again I wouldve just charged up my 6 deep cycle batteries up from the alternator. I agree that the power from the alternator really puts a lot of charge into the batteries, much more so than the one solar panel on Vanifest. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van and on a sailboat with my superhero husband, Brian. March 12, 2013 by paul Entering retirement age, Sonny and Linda Jobe decided to make a change and live entirely off the grid by purchasing and outfitting a farm house in Doddridge County West Virginia with 20 solar panels. Check out the full story to find out how the Jobes are further adapting during the winter months. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. If you live in the city, there are many luxuries to enjoy—power with the flick of a switch, grocery stores or shopping malls less than five minutes away, constant communication with everyone via cell phone, internet, or radio. After 20 years on Capitol Hill, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has taken himself completely off the grid, retreating to a secluded property in West Virginia.
Bartlett lives without a phone, without a link to outside power, and without municipal plumbing. For the past few decades, Bartlett spent his free time up at this property, prepping it for the day he’d go off the grid. Living completely off the grid, he rises at dawn six days a week in order to maintain his power sources, food, and way of life. This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged off the grid, emergency preparedness, Survival, skills, solar power, emergency power on January 31, 2014 by beprepared.
Hey Clint, It definitely is amazing that Congressman Bartlett has been able to make such a drastic change to his lifestyle and to be succeeding at it at this point in his life. Well with a cushy retirment from government, he has all the money he needs and it arrives every two weeks. Hey we all had a chance to take political science and work to get elected, reelected by our constituents. KIRK DAVIS and JAMES W, you both are right on your comment, an old man like him or his profession will not be able to BUILD 5 CABIN and do all the plumber and stuff himself, with money you can do everything easily and buy others help.
Being a computer geek, it was important to me to keep my electronics safe while plugged in. I can power a 1500 watt appliance for about 5 minutes each day, such as the electric kettle at left which boils water in just a couple minutes.
It’s best to just sip 50% of the power and only on rare occasions take it lower than 50%.

These items have made the van lifestyle so much better for me and I think most van dwellers would benefit greatly from these items. I don’t have any desire for the stress of searching for a bathroom early in the morning, hair rumpled, looking homeless. Yes, you can sleep with this heater on but I usually just turn it on in the morning or evening when I relax in the van. A passive solar water tank on the roof of the van sounds like a great way to have a warm shower. You could try van life with your mom’s house as a safety net or a place to go between trips. We came across Politico Magazine’s article via Instapundit and, whether or not you agree with Bartlett’s political views, we think there are some interesting things he’s done as a prepper that make this article worth reading. He built five cabins by himself, then wired solar panels and ran pipes from freshwater springs to each cabin. He spends about 10 hours a day cutting logs, gardening, and doing other tasks around the land. As to the John Deere … I’m not entirely sure, but based on his wife’s comment in the article, they might use the John Deere to get around easily on their property and to check up on their land and surrounding property line to make sure everything’s in order. I congratulate him for choosing this healthy lifestyle but I do not give him credit because it don't impress me.
Vanifest is the longest model of Dodge Ram Van (19 feet) and had been converted to 4×4 before I purchased it. It was a good price for the large amount of wattage it provided and that was why I chose it over a specialized vehicle solar panel which tend to be smaller and more expensive. I had a custom plywood box built for it to enclose it, but for smaller batteries plastic boxes are available.
I have it hooked up to my sealed battery and it’s draw is so low I hardly even notice it. This porta potti is always ready when I need it, doesn’t smell at all when properly closed, is easy to empty in an outhouse and fits right under the sleeping platform. This one seals completely and doesn’t leak, is easy to pour from, and has a flat surface for food preparation.
I rappel big waterfalls, drive from Idaho to Alaska solo, live and work in a van in the wilderness and dodge encounters with wolves and bears. My solar panels were intended to constantly trickle charge the batteries so they stay as close to 100% as possible. During the first year of living in my van I rented a parking space for $100 per month at a house with some really fun roommates, you may consider that, too.
I rappel big waterfalls, scuba dive with sharks, dodge encounters with bears and wolves, and work remotely as a full time computer programmer. Been working on it and i hope to be there and yes it is hard having to work, commute and raise a family, but money to the side, but i think we can do it, just got to have that willingness. It has some neat safety features, too, like automatically shutting off if tipped or if the CO2 sensor detects that there is too much CO2 due to the heated area not being vented enough.

In my Dodge Ram Van, it’s easy to position the spout at the side door over the plastic step. I do rely on dump stations or outhouses to empty the toilet, faucets to refill the water, and propane to run the heater and camp stove. I also find a cell phone signal booster helps me get even further out and still enjoy good cell service. I’m wondering if you have ever tried or if you do use passive solar to heat up water. I'm currently taking a class learning how to can my own food, they say it's easy, no opinion on it at this time.
The plywood box is bolted to the floor under my bed and vented to the outside through a small, plastic vent. I also have plenty of power for smaller items like my laptop (and curling iron, blow dryer, haha) whenever I want.
Ice is expensive and so is ruined food, so I feel this expensive fridge was a good investment.
I only need to worry about these things once per week at most, and could go much longer if needed. Thats something i would love to do to mine but i don’t know how much it might cost, and does it still have enough power to go fast for interstate travel? I have only been approached twice while boondocking in my van, and I’ve been sleeping in random places since 2010. In the unlikely event the sealed battery offgasses, the gasses go outside through the vent and not into the sleeping area. The amount of power available is highly variable based on the sun and amount of driving I do, but for my lifestyle it has worked out well. I considered trailers in a mobile park and 5th wheels but each require a stay in a park, which for a single person, may not be too safe for me. You can find vans that are already converted, and then you wouldn’t need to customize the van yourself or deal with unknown costs. I did a lot of calculations to decide how much power I needed, and I recommend you do the same. I also wonder about convenience of bathing and using the toilet because if I am not stationed at home with the vehicle, it can be hard to find places to shower, etc. I plan to do this mobile thing, but want to be stationary until I decide to set off somewhere and I am planning to quit teaching and find work more suited to my passion.

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