Expanding our exploring capabilities

After a couple of years using our REI Kingdom tent, and being limited to two sometimes three seasons, we have decided to expand our capabilities.  There is a time and a place for large tents, and one for compact featherweight tents, but we’re in the need of an all-season mobile shelter.  When our family goes on a long expedition we’ve have many one-nighters ’till we’ve got to our destination; setting up our tent(s) – while not complicated – is cumbersome.  There are times after driving for 10+ hours that I and my wife really do not want or have the energy to set up and breakdown for a one-nighter.  We just want to pull over, find a secluded quiet spot and rest/sleep.  The other obstacle we wanted to overcome was the extreme weather conditions that prohibit us from enjoying our stays; like 90°F nights with 80% humidity or 35°F or below nights.

We’ve entertained the thought of converting the van into a more RV adventure van but my skills and resources prohibit that from becoming a positive outcome.  The van is a very comfortable equipment and family hauler and we’re going to leave it that way.  So we spent last year researching what we truly wanted for the family; something that could work for just my wife and me, the boys or the whole gang of 4 people and 3 dogs.  The first criteria was it needed to be a trailer, light so it could be hauled by our Pilot if the van was not available.  Second, we needed to be able to sleep the 7 of us if needed, this includes providing us with heat and A/C.  And the third and most important requirement was that it couldn’t inhibit us in our explorations by locking us to only camping locations that were wide open or RV parks.  We don’t need a bathroom or shower, have no problem using porta-potties and outdoor showers.

17' Spirit Standard LayoutThe model they had was a Spirit Standard, a no thrills comfortable trailer that had everything in our checklist.  This model comes with a bunk bed, a large 4 person dinette and a two-person dinette.  Both dinettes can fold into beds.  It has a cooktop,  A/C, furnace, fresh water tank, and storage all wrapped up in a 17′ package.  For us, it’s exactly what we wanted.  Our plans will be to keep the 4 person dinette set up as a bed and we will be building some foam/fiberglass cabinets to be placed in the bottom bunk for extra storage.  When the kids are sleeping with us, our youngest will be on the top bunk and our oldest with take the side dinette.  When the temperatures are tolerable the kids will be sleeping outside in the tent.  We’ve opted out of having the factory-installed awning and will be going with the ARB 2500×2500 awing and enclosed room.  So the boys will have the option of either sleeping right outside our trailer or further away.

Once we’ve picked up our Casita – aka Edna, we’ll be doing some modifications to make her perfect for our family. 

  1. Improved Shock kit 
  2. Scissor jacks for the back of Casita
  3. Over the propane storage platform
  4. ARB Awning – mentioned before
  5. Interior cabinet
  6. Solar panels & system
  7. Power Cord Inlet
  8. Hardwired EMS 
  9. Keypad Lock

I’ll be posting those upgrades on the site and Instagram. 

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