Iterative Development: A software metaphor for van builds

I am a software developer, specializing in relational database development. In software development, we have processes (“methodologies”) that help us maximize the quality of our product. While there are many different methodologies and permutations thereof, they usually look something like this:

  1. Gather requirements (what does the customer want?)
  2. Analyze requirements (what do these requirements mean?)
  3. Design (how should we solve their problem?)
  4. Development (build it)
  5. Test (test it)
  6. Integration (make it work with other things, if applicable)
  7. Deployment (deliver / install / configure the product)

Problems can arise in any step along the way. When they do, you bring those problems back to step 1 and repeat. The loop continues until there are no new requirements / problems (or the project runs out of money). Continue reading “Iterative Development: A software metaphor for van builds”

Fulltiming / Vandwelling Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance is more important than ever, and now you have to deal with house maintenance on top of that. It’s not just oil changes and tire rotation; your vehicle’s owner’s manual has important maintenance that needs to be done after 30K miles, 50K, etc. Sometimes it seems that most vehicles don’t get this very necessary work done. Continue reading “Fulltiming / Vandwelling Maintenance”

How to sleep better in your RV

Light:

  • Rise and sleep with the sun.
  • Block out outside light with Reflectix, window covers, fan cover, etc.

Noise:

  • Park somewhere quiet and level.
  • Wear ear protection, like you do at the gun range.
  • Park a reasonable distance from running water (as the USFS will tell you anyway, I think 100-200′) and other noise sources.

Continue reading “How to sleep better in your RV”

Notes on Water

To prevent water lines from freezing:

  • Wrap water lines in aluminium foil with a strand of electrical “heat tape”. Obviously, make the heat tape easy to disconnect, or put it on a switch. Then, wrap some foam pipe insulation around the whole thing.
  • When water is not in use, turn off the water pump, and drain any excess pressurized water from the system into a bucket in the sink.  Capturing it in a bucket allows you to reuse it for some other purpose.
  • When you first turn on the shower, there is an initial moment where the hot water hasn’t come into the plumbing yet, so some water gets wasted. Collect this water in a bucket and reuse it for some other purpose. Keeping the bucket in the shower, if you have enough space, will also help you to reduce the amount of wasted runoff. This water can be used, for example, to flush your non-composting toilet.

Continue reading “Notes on Water”

Backup Systems

Things are going to break. Things are going to fail at the worst possible time. Therefore it’s critical to have backups for everything, especially if you’re going to be dispersed camping in the middle of nowhere.

Below is a list of things you’ll need to consider, and some options for each one. For each system, you should consider having at least two choices while you’re on the road. These are just the ideas I’ve found. Continue reading “Backup Systems”

Useful Apps for Fulltiming / vandwelling / van life / RV life

  • AllStays Camp and RV (Android | Apple)
    • Campsites (Army Corps, National/County/State/City Park, Forest, Independent, KOA,  BLM, overnight parking, Walmart (and even suggests whether they allow overnights; but check with the manager anyway))
    • Visual map with icons and icon filtering
    • GPS-aware; shows you what’s nearby but you can look around beyond that; shows your current location in relation to the things on the map
    • Look up data by type, state, city
    • Photos and reviews
    • Primitive spots that other apps don’t show
    • Truck and rest stops
    • Weather
    • Dump stations
    • Supplies
    • RV service
    • Low bridges
    • Many parts of the app work even without service

Continue reading “Useful Apps for Fulltiming / vandwelling / van life / RV life”

General and Unsorted Advice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQNRS3nJflM

These are some points worth consideration, which I have discovered or thought up in my own research. Some may work for you, some may not.  Some will apply to van life, some will apply to RV life; some both, some neither.

Your GPS, Wifi, and Cell signals won’t always be there.  Carry physical maps, an atlas, and ideally the Motor Vehicle Use Maps for the areas you plan to visit.

National Parks require dogs to be on a leash, and they are not allowed on some hiking trails. Continue reading “General and Unsorted Advice”

How to Spend Your Time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8k25XrAgzM

You may find yourself with lots of time on your hands; even more than you’re used to. Some of you will therefore easily become bored. Here are a few ideas to help get you through the “boring” parts.

Firstly, if you have the means and the flexibility, you should be traveling. The world has countless amazing places to explore. But you can’t be exploring all the time. Continue reading “How to Spend Your Time”