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Living Full Time and Boondocking


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Hi all.  This is my first post here, so will start with something basic.


I'm selling my home and ridding my life of most everything.  70 yrs old now and am the last of my kind.  Only me and my 7 yr old mini-daschund.  Been think mainly small motorhome under 30', but like what I see in the small twin bed Oliver model.  Love the modern style and shape.  I find the interiors of the small motorhomes rather boring and cheap looking in many ways.  Boring, like if you seen one you've seen them all.


The point can one be happy living out their remaining years moving about in one?  Anyone else here downsized to making one of their home?  And can one be equipped with enough of a modern solar/battery/inverter system to make one almost fully electric for a lot of boondocking?  If not, how close could one come?


With my home sold I will have enough to buy new vehicle/rv and a lot or two to stay for some longer periods in different parts of country, like maybe AZ and Oregon.  I do want to do summer traveling which I suspect would include much isolated/wilderness boondocking.


Any and all input, suggestions, and opinions welcomed.

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You state " (I) like what I see in the small twin bed Oliver model."  Be aware that there are two different sizes in the current Oliver lineup. The smaller of the two is the single axle 18.5 foot Elite. The larger is the dual axle 23.5 foot Elite II.  Only the Elite II is available as a twin bed layout. I will address your questions with the Elite II in mind.


There are those that own an Oliver and full time in it.  We are not one of them so I can't speak to actually living in 40 square feet.  We do travel extensively (6-8 months of the year, broken apart into 3 or 4 trips) in it and I am fine living in it within those lengths of time.  But, I am always ready to get back home for a few weeks/months and then always ready to leave again.  I don't know if I would feel this way were we not traveling in an Oliver.  As snobbish as it may sound, the SOB's (some other brand) do nothing for me but other folks may be less discriminating than I.


We boondock almost exclusively and yes, "one (can) be equipped with enough of a modern solar/battery/inverter system to make one almost fully electric for a lot of boondocking."  You will want/need propane of course (get the larger tanks) and adding a generator of sufficient size to easily run your air conditioner would round everything out for all eventualities.


If you plan to travel with only your dog, I would get the twin bed model you propose with one side a bed and the other side outfitted as a couch.  If you find yourself in need of another bed it can quickly be converted.


Since you plan to buy a new tow vehicle make sure you get one with plenty of power to get you where you want to go efficiently and comfortably. Learn all you can about tow capacities for the various towing prospects and you will save a lot of headaches and money. Over the past 11 years, we've owned both and Elite and Elite II and have had four different tow vehicles, two for each one.  First was a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited for the Elite.  Our first trip to the West was a joke.  I wondered if it would get us over the mountains. A fully loaded vehicle with a 3500 lb towing capacity, two adults and two dogs pulling a 4000 lb trailer...not good.  Quickly traded the Jeep for a Chevrolet Tahoe (lost $7000 in the deal.)  Tahoe did fine for the Elite for 5 years. Sold the Elite, bought the Elite II, pulled with the Tahoe...mediocre experience. Traded the Tahoe for a 1500 Sierra, 11,800 lb tow capacity, 6.2L gas burner w/Max Tow Package...much better experience but still under powered in the 10,000+ foot mountain passes and rather dismal mileage (always less than 11mpg.)  Traded the Sierra for a Silverado 2500HD with a 6.6L diesel...extraordinary experience, never slows down when tackling anything less than a 10% grade and using the exhaust brake and down shifting mean rarely touching the brakes going down the other side.  All this with a 31% increase in fuel mileage.  Full disclosure: our trailer is built much heavier than current models and, fully load with gear and water, will weigh in excess of 7200 lbs.

Steve, Tali and our dog Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie, Lucy and Reacher (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 





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If your health is good and you truly have a desire to downsize at this point in your life, then go for it!!  But, make sure you have an exit plan just in case living alone is no longer an option.  Will you be ok financially to rent a small apartment?  Go into assisted living if that becomes necessary?  If you are able to do this, then there is no reason not to go ahead with your plan.  Can one be happy?  Happiness, I believe, must already be in your heart before making any major life changes like the one you are considering.  Your plans sound so wonderfully filled with hope and courage and opportunity.  With that said, only you can know if you will have the peace of mind, heart, and soul that will bring much happiness.  To be honest, my plan is to do the same...see the country and nomad along the way with an Ollie in tow.  Good luck to you wherever your journey takes you.

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Back in the early days, there were several couples who fulltimed in the Elite, the smaller trailer. That required some serious downsizing, but they managed.

The smaller trailer could easily work for one person, and one small dog. The truck bed becomes important for storage, but the lesser weight of the smaller trailer could make up for it.

Back in the day, some people tried to make the Elite into twins, which you can do, but the beds are only 26 inches wide, or so.Too small for most couples. You can, however, create a twin bed thwartship with a twin xl foam mattress, and have some extra space for added cubbies. The normal thwartship (east/ west) bed is the large dinette area.. queen long, more like full size bed width...

We never set up the big dinette anymore. We leave the big bed up fulltime, and store three crates under it. The little dog sleeps on one her own bed, atop one of the small dinette seats.

The Elite has the same equipment as the Elite II, but not a ducted furnace. (Unless that has changed... our 2008 is not.) With one person, less to tow, less to clean, easier to fit in tiny spaces...

Have you seen either model in person? That's really important in such a big decision.

Best of luck,


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

Florida and Western North Carolina, or wherever the truck goes....

400 watts solar. Dc compressor fridge. No inverter. 2 x 105 ah agm batteries .  Life is good.




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Thanks all for the positive heartwarming comments and wishes.  I should have said up front that I am a vampire.  No sorry , that is not correct. I meant to say that it is the bigger Elite II with twin beds that I would want if I went that way.  My first decision is if I want to go motorhome or travel trailer.  That is a hard and big decision.  I must say that I truly love simple and  smallest I can feel comfy in.  The less hassle the better for me.  I am thinking that I will be setting up camp at an own your own lot RV park in AZ in winter for 7+ months a year and traveling throughout NE for most of a long summer.  I might want to go to Alaska one summer.  I am thinking too that I may want to buy a small lot in an Oregon RV Park as well and just have a semi-permanent place to spend part of summer if I dont want to move around much some years.


I have spent a couple hours learning about tow weights and tow vehicles you all have discussed on here which is very clear to me now.  I would definitely go p/u truck, most likely a low mileage used RAM cummins or  competitors diesel for best mpg.  The new Ford gas engines sound nice though also.  I am not a p/u guy so dont have a preference really.


I would have to learn the nuances of a tt and p/u configuration and the parking and hook up procedures for a person all alone, just like I would have to learn how to drive, park, and set up a 30' motorhome.  I am supposing that if you are simply spending the night somewhere that there is no reason one would need to disconnect your truck from tt.  No I have not seen an Oliver in person yet.  Am looking forward to it though.  Hopefully there is one just north of or  near San Diego

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