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Almost ready to order - need help on a few final decisions


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I did my plant tour at the end of October and am almost ready to put in my order, planning on taking delivery in September of 2019. I am on the fence about a number of critical decisions.

 

1. That darn composting toilet. I'm not in love with the idea of having to climb up on that thing. I'm only 5' 4" and apparently for a guy of 6' 1" it is "a stretch." And I don't believe it is going to magically separate pee and poop without a lot of wiping around in there afterwards. I will be just one person almost always, so I would think a black water tank would last me for weeks and weeks if I am careful. I'm not particularly bothered by the idea of gloving up and dealing with the black water dump business now and then. I used to be a river guide and the way we dealt with poop was 100 times worse than that. Heather also told me that some people use Sani-bags that they get on Amazon. The composting thing sounds kind of heavy to deal with, and the fan will use electricity all the time. Plus the fairly high up-front cost for a relatively simple thing doesn't seem worth it to me. For a solo boondocker, I'm thinking to go with the regular toilet. But any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

I am also undecided on the camera system. As a solo traveler and only a moderately experienced trailer-backer, I would actually like to have a LOT of cameras. And a BIG monitor. It seems that I read in an older post that the Voyager camera system just wasn't that good a deal. It is only a 4.3" screen, which isn't very big. I think I would rather have Tadi Brothers put a system together for me. But then again, I don't want just anybody drilling holes in my Olie. And I wouldn't have cameras when I take delivery. It sounds like I might be able to buy a system and make a service appointment to have it installed the day before I take delivery. So I want a "factory" system, just a better one than they currently offer. Has anyone had experience with making a deal like that? Recommendations?

 

I am also on the fence on the hot water heater. It seems wasteful to heat a full six gallons of water when I can never, ever imaging using that much at once when I am boondocking. I'm pretty sure I can take a more than adequate shower with less than a gallon of water. And dishwashing doesn't take much for one person. The wasteful part of either system would be whatever water you had to let run before you got hot water to the shower or tap. I think fresh water is going to be my main limitation for boondocking, so I can't just let it run down the drain while I wait for it to get hot. The demand heater appears to be simpler to winterize, but it has the potential to be more complex if anything goes wrong as many have noted. But in general I am leaning toward the Truma since it makes no sense to me to heat six gallons of water when I only need a gallon or so at a time. I am set on the idea of a propane generator, so I will be carrying extra propane bottles anyway. But it seems more cost effective to just heat what I will use. Thoughts?

 

And last for the moment, I am seriously considering the Champion propane generator. Anybody have one? Like it? Is it quiet enough?

 

Thanks to all in advance.

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Jaque

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That darn composting toilet

I went with the compost - with some experience under our belt, I'd go that way again. Yes it is a little work, setting it up, and eventually emptying it, but the black tank thing is about the same, and you don't use any of you water.  The height can be solved with a simple step up "platform", and the dc fan uses little energy. I unplug it when the toilet is not "composting" (empty).  We haven't had an issue separating the  1s and 2s.  Keep a small spray bottle with some vinegar for cleanup. I believe in the end it comes down to personal preference - with your experience with rocket boxes, it shouldn't be a big deal.

 

I am also on the fence on the hot water heater

I went with the Truma - I like it very much. I have had a little experience with it setting a code, but I believe that was my fault - once left the propane off, and the other,, not sure.  It is very simple to winterize. Again, probably personal preference.

 

As for the other - I didn't need a camera, and generators - are like people, all kinds to choose from.

 

Good to have another Ollie owner, wishing you well in your purchase and future travels.

 

 

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

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The standard heater will give off some heat and will help keep the area between the hulls warm in cold weather. It is also easier to find someone that knows how to work on it and find parts if something goes wrong. You just pull the anode rod to winterize which is not a big deal.

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Tom & Cheryl 

LE II #305

2018 GMC 2500HD SLT Duramax

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Jaque -

 

I hated the part of ordering that you are going through now.  So many choices and trying to think of all the possibilities versus the monies being spent.

 

I went with the standard toilet.  I too travel much of the time solo.  When not boondocking there are virtually always toilets nearby for poo.  When boondocking I have a shower tent and a collapsible toilet that uses those bags Heather mentioned.  That system works great, uses no "on-board" water and is easily disposed of.  On long trips, I do carry a small "blue" portable tank in the event I need to make more room in the black tank - just be careful to not put too much "stuff" in the portable tank so that I can lift it to a regular toilet for emptying if necessary.  While intriguing, I found the composting toilet to be expensive and uncomfortable versus the benefits.

 

I didn't go with the factory camera system for two reasons.  First, I thought that it was a bit expensive.  Second, I simply didn't want another screen in the cockpit of my truck.  At delivery I added a small camera located in the upper half of the spare tire cover that transmits signal via WiFi to my tablet or phone.  It works great except for when it rains - the camera picks up too much road spray to see tailgaters.

 

The water heater is another one of those return for the money things.  Basically $1,000 for instant gratification?  Like KountryKamper, I too believe that the winterization is no big deal and servicing while on the road is easier.  For small things like dishes, I simply heat water in a pot on the stove.  For showers I almost always use a solar shower and the shower tent I mentioned above.  This is a great way to save water, room in your grey tank and propane that would have been used to heat the water.  When I really do need to use the shower in the camper I do not allow the water heater to heat the water to its maximum.  I posted a thread some time ago on my system of using a meat thermometer with remote readout to monitor the water heater temperature and turn off the heater when it hits about 106 degrees.  Then when taking a shower I do not need to mix cold water with the hot to get the correct temp and I can take a shower easily before the water starts getting too cold.  I will edit this post if I can find a link to that thread.

 

Finally, I'm no help to you regarding the generator.  Almost always when I have needed air conditioning I have been able to use a campground that had electric hookup.  Even camping this summer out West when daytime temperatures hit highs of 108 degrees, the lack of humidity plus the decline in temps overnight provided easy sleeping.  Other than that the solar panels kept my batteries fully charged each day.

 

Good luck on these "final" decisions of yours.  Either way you decide on virtually any of the options, I'm sure that you will be happy with your Oliver.  These campers are just so easy to travel with.

 

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Composting toilet - just buy it, you will fall in love with it. Put all paper products into a small 3 gallon flip lid wastebasket. It fits neatly between toilet and vanity. Spritz the front bowl area two or three squirts after peeing. The vinegar kills the odor and rinses the bowl. Poo is not an issue, normally it drops straight down onto the compost. If you get the runs your toilet will not like that. For your height issue, there is a floor ledge that sticks out in front of the base. Climb up, set your feet there and no worries. Or you can get a small step and stash it behind the toilet when not in use. My wife is 5'6" and has no problems.

 

For a boondocker the NH toilet is simply wonderful, just get used to the quirks. Not having to find an open dump station and wait for fifteen minutes is priceless. If you camp off season, this is a huge factor since many close down when freezing night time weather arrives. Around here that means late October. Plus it saves a bunch of your potable water. If you decide that you hate it, sell it on Craigslist for $400 and buy a flush toilet. All the plumbing and the tank is in place. Installation of a standard RV toilet would be very simple.

 

Camera; you NEED a backup camera when solo, no question. It is not just for backing into a site. It is useful in heavy traffic too. You might want to invest in a different system. I already use and really like the Garmin RV660 gps and I mounted a Garmin backup camera. The gps will accept up to four wireless camera inputs. Resolution is low but entirely adequate. ...  https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?faq=w0sjNmRQFR3N58uLaMpMR8

 

http://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/how-to-install-a-garmin-bc-30-backup-camera/

 

Hot water heater: get the standard unit, leave it turned off until you need some hot water. Turn it on for fifteen or twenty minutes and it heats up enough for one person. It is cheap to replace or service and is generally very reliable. We just run ours 24/7. It does not use that much propane and we have the big gas tanks.... if we do plug in, it switches over the shore power if the outside switch near the bottom is turned to "ON".

 

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

 

 

 

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Jaque:

 

Welcome to the Oliver Family and our Forum.

 

An item not yet commented upon is your concern with not wasting water while boondocking.  Spot on!

 

Solution:  Cut the top of a plastic milk jug above the handle in an oval shape towards the opposite side so that the sink faucet handle/shower head can slip into the jug but leaving the jug handle intact.  When you want hot water at the bathroom or kitchen,  use the jug to collect the cold "Hot water".  Place it by the toilet for future flushing.

 

I also encourage you to scour the Forum and Oliver University sections of this site.  The owners and OTT have an amazing amount of info on line that is invaluable.

 

John

 

TOM:  Thanks for the reminder that the hot water heater indirectly also assists in keeping the inner hull space warm.  I had not thought of that before your post.  Mahalo!

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Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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Good solution, John. But, if you decide on the waterless composting toilet, you can still collect the water and heat in a tea kettle for dishwashing and hand laundry.....

 

Besides the price, the roughly 6 inch height difference in the nature's head toilet and the standard RV toilet would be problematic for some of us shorter people,  though I'm a big fan of the concept. Might improve winter camping possibilities,  imo. However, we've only used the flush toilet and black and grey for 11 years, without issue. Never had the composting toilet.

 

We've had both types of water heaters, and we camp without electricity or hookups most of the time. Topgun's described method of heating shower water to a comfortable temp only is wise, and used by quite a few folks. Heating dishwater in a teakettle not only saves propane, but cuts water use by making you keenly aware of how much water you are using for the task.

 

We replaced the standard 6 gallon with a Girard instantaneous a few years ago, when our water heater died. We like it. But, you may be just as happy with the included 6 gallon... which also had the advantage of running on electricity when you have it. I don't think the Truma runs on dual fuel. I know our girard is lp only..

 

As far as generators, I'd look around at a few more choices. There's a gen set thread running now that offers more ideas and opinions... Are you getting  solar? Do you really need a generator for anything more than charging the batteries occasionally? There's a lot to choose from.  And, you may not want to start with something so very large and heavy, right off the bat.

 

Good luck. So many options. My decision would include those items most expensive  and difficult to add later,  balancing against the budget. Water heater is an easy upgrade, for example.

 

Sherry

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Standard water heater for us. You will learn when to shut off the water heater.

 

Standard toilet is great. Dumping occasionally is no big deal. Especially if you are use to the lifestyle.

 

Camera. Ours from the factory is about 7 1/2"  on the monitor. It is so nice when passing, you can see when ton pull back in. You can bring the monitor in at night or when camped and have a security cam. Have a cam put on the front and you can see what is going on on that end as there are no windows too.

 

Welcome, but if they find out there is an Oliver in Alaska, they will all come to visit...

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Thanks to all for the good answers. I am now leaning toward the composting toilet, which initially I thought I didn't want. It's just one less thing to deal with when I have to pass through town repositioning or resupplying. It does seem like a lot of money for what you get, but it should minimize town time waiting in the dump line and maximize boondocking time, so maybe money well spent. And it looks like I will be saving on the Truma hot water heater which I was originally pretty sure I wanted. If I don't think I need 6 gallons of hot water, I certainly don't need endless hot water. I will embrace the idea of just heating it up to the temperature I want to save propane and not let anything go down the sink unused. I hadn't thought about it heating the hull. And of course it carries another six gallons of drinking water, which I expect will be my main limiting factor for boondocking. I'm still researching the cameras but when I talked to them at the factory it did sound like they would work with me on giving me a "factory install" on a higher end system if I want. So thanks to all for your help. As always, the Oliver forum is a tremendous resource and part of the reason that convinced me to buy one in the first place. If I have trouble, there is an apparently endless supply of knowledge generously shared by Oliver owners. I'm looking forward to becoming an expert myself in time so I can be on the other end of these discussions.

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Jaque

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Jaque, I had Oliver do a wired camera for me from RVS.  If they're still willing to do that, I'd highly recommend it as it has a really nice HD screen and is 100% reliable.  It was a little bit of work on my part to run the cables in the truck, but worth it, imo.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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