Sometime in the next month or so, I will have to give Safari Condo (the company making Breeze) my final list of options so that they can start building my trailer (yay for the day the building actually starts in January or February). Making this final set of decisions is a lot harder than it sounds and way harder than the original decision to buy the trailer in the first place. There are a dozen or more options to choose from, based largely on what you will be doing with your Alto.
Me, I will be living in Breeze, so comfort is key, as is the ability to do things on my own. I won’t have a buddy to help push or pull things, it will be just me wrestling the trailer up to the tow hitch and leveling it out on a site. Sometimes I will be at campsites with shore power (electric hookup) and sometimes maybe boondocking (no power outlets) on public lands in the middle of nowhere. And then there is the weather. Kind of hard to stay in the zone of 60-75F all year, so I need to figure out how much of the time I would need heating or air conditioning. Let’s face it, the Alto is kind of an aluminum egg so it’s going to get hot in the sun (which is where it wants to be to have the solar panels be most effective). So the decisions I make have to cover a wide range of possible outcomes.
The big decisions (important and pricey)
- Fridge with 12v or LPG/12v? 12v is better for boondocking if I have enough sun (see solar panels below)
- AC/heat pump or no? Heat pump works to only 40F. A/C, though, is always good.
- Heater/water heater combo that runs on 12v or LPG, or just the fast-start water heater. How much will I need a heater? And how long does a tank of LPG last? The stove also requires LPG so I don’t want to get into a “be warm or be fed” discussion with myself in the middle of nowhere.
- Manual or electric roof fan? The manual can run in the rain, the electric can’t. But electric sounds so nice and easy. Push a button kind of thing. Then again, the manual can’t be that hard, it’s not like I have to climb a tall ladder to get to the ceiling! I really don’t know the pros and cons that much so I need to talk to more owners about this one
Some options I’m going for because they will make solo nomad life easier:
- Wireless rear camera. This shows traffic when driving as well as helping out when backing into a site.
- Remote control trailer mover. Lining up the hitch to the trailer will be dead easy with this baby. And honestly, they had me at remote control!
- Solar panels and 12V battery for storage. Being able to go off the grid and get to those wild places on national lands is one of the big reasons I want to be a nomad.
Some just aren’t me at all:
- Microwave oven – less fake food, better real food when I don’t have a microwave. Yes, I will miss microwave popcorn. A lot. But I’ll deal.
- AM/FM/CD setup with speakers, radio antenna. I have a bluetooth speaker that works fine and I stream music from my iPhone. This is a habit borne of years on the road: the music I have on my phone is the music I listen to.
- TV/DVD player – I don’t have a TV so I won’t miss this. Netflix and movie rentals on the Mac will continue to be my entertainment strategy. And books on Kindle, which I use way more than Netflix.
- Alto storage cover. Unlike most owners, I’ll be living in my Alto not putting it in storage for the winter.
And, finally, there are the crucial cosmetic decisions:
- Light or dark cabinet finish
- What color of fabric for the cushions
It’s this last selection that is causing me all kinds of angst. When I visited an Alto, it had the green cushions and I pretty much fell in love with the way the green reflected off the interior (aluminum) ceiling to make a dreary day outside (typical PacNW March day) seem sunny inside the trailer. But now the green is no longer available, and while there are rumors of a blue/teal option coming, right now my choices are boring beige or riotous red. Neither one, as you might guess by the adjectives, excites me. I think I’ll be lobbying for a third choice, or asking if I can supply fabric to their weight/durability specs for a custom cushion option. For something I will be living in, I don’t want to settle on an “it’s ok” cushion setup because I will see my choice every single day. I want to love it, or at least like it a lot, and right now, I don’t like either option more than “ugh” or “well…”