Happy New Year! We’ve stayed put with Dory safe in the garage over Winter Break, but we did do a few little trailer projects. I also thought this would be a good time for a post of some of our favorite trailer gadgets thus far. Some are used daily, some handy for specific purposes, and some just cool. I’ve provided links to these, along with pictures, down below.
Some of our projects were prompted by plans to head south to Joshua Tree next Spring Break for a whole week to ten days. Looking at campsites down there, it appears most places do not have services and many are not reservable ahead of time. In some ways, this really appeals to me. I’ve always liked the idea of just hitching up and driving; no plans, no reservations, just see what comes. On the other hand, it would require us to be a bit better prepared for spending time being completely self sufficient. So that gave me some things to plan for.
First off, I needed to increase the storage capabilities for food. On weekends, we mostly bring heat-and-serve meals, or items that are easy to throw on the grill. This is great, but takes up a lot of room in the fridge. It is clear I’m going to have to branch out into honest cooking when out there for longer periods of time. Prompted by posts on the Altoistes site, I did some reading on The Boat Galley and looked into some interesting cooking solutions involving Billy Pots and Thermoses. This kind of cooking not only cuts down on propane use, but also offers some nice flexibility in terms of timing. Essentially, you cook whatever you’re making on the stove just long enough to fully cook the meat or bring ingredients to a boil for a few minutes, then you take the pot off the heat and put it inside a thermal case. It continues to cook without you having to worry about energy usage or flames, and you can come back hours later to a hot meal. That’s the theory anyway. And while I can’t speak to billy pot cooking personally yet, I can say that cooking instant rice or couscous in a thermos just by pouring in boiling water and waiting ten minutes is very handy and really good food. I’ve been putting together a list of meals that go with rice or couscous and that’s been fun. I also tried cooking pizza on the WeberQ and that was seriously awesome.
As for storage, I figure I’ll need more places for things like rice, spices, canned things, and tons of coffee pods. So I got another “Like It” drawer from the Container Store to put cleaning things in, lost the tub that previously housed them, and got some wire racks and clear stackable shelves. It took a substantial amount of time to find exactly the right fit so that I’d maximize space and yet not run into plumbing under the bench area. I must say, I’m pretty happy with the results, and the research and measuring time pleasantly occupied me for the whole first week of break.
We previously stored our dirty clothes bag under the bench, so that had to be moved in order to free up space for food. Happily, The Container Store also had a perfect blue and white striped laundry bag and all I had to do was cut it down and hang it in the bathroom.
Other minor projects included mounting Mr. Moose with real screws for eyes, adding another cup holder, and getting a clippy mount for my iPad so we can watch movies or downloaded TV shows.
I also washed all the linens and that was a pain in the butt. I have some ideas, thanks to some helpful Altoistes, for how to facilitate putting the foam mattress pad back into the duvet cover next time, but I’ll bet it’s just going to be a big chore no matter what. Yes, I tried the “burrito method”, and no, that didn’t help. You try rolling 2″ thick foam padding inside a flannel duvet cover.
And last, the biggest wow factor project came in the form of my Christmas present from Richard. Here’s how our conversation went over gifts this year:
Am I supposed to get you a diamond ring?
I would kill you if you spent money on a diamond ring.
We already have Dory. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to get you.
I’d really like a dimmer switch.
A dimmer switch with diamonds inside?
That depends; will it dim the lights?
Yes. And it will have diamonds, but they will be invisible.
So the LED strip that goes under the front cabinets is now dimmable by remote control. This is very cool because the light there is quite bright. Great for working, but not so much for dinner. And lighting the LED candles, while pleasant, is not enough light to see. This allows us to have the overhead strip at a nice low setting and turn on the candles for ambiance. I’m looking forward to that!
That’s a wrap for current projects. What follows is a list, in no particular order, of some of our favorite gear. I’ve organized the list in broad general categories and have provided links. This is by no means comprehensive, but just a highlight reel of things we currently like.
- Techimpex Espresso Machine – **If anyone is serious about getting this machine, Richard will help you figure it out.
- Bellman Milk Steamer – **Note on the Bellman: we have had to replace the little gasket under the nut on the bottom of the steamer. This seems like a funny place to put a gasket and it looks like others have experienced the same issue.
- WeberQ –
- Omnia Oven –
- Pur Water Filter –
- Thermos 16oz Food Container –
- Magma Nesting Pots – We got the cobalt blue set
- Aquabot –
- Collapsible Tea Kettle –
Organization and Storage
- Plastic Shelf Organizers (varying sizes and shapes) – I used: 2 Pantry Binz at 8″x 8″ and 8″x 11 1/4″ and 1 Deep Drawer Binz at 6″x 16″ for the floor under the sink. I used 4 Deep Drawer Organizers at 4″x 12″ for the bathroom shelves, 3 Linus Wide Open Stacking Bins 12″x 6″ for under the rear bench to put in front of the water pump, and 4 Room Essentials Cabinet Organizers at 6″x 15″ for the utensils shelf.
- Pocket Organizers (2 different ones) –
- Command Hooks (varying styles and sizes) –
- EZ Roll Paper Towel Holder –
- Plastic Storage Containers (multiple sizes) –
- Wire Mesh Stacking Shelves –
- Like It Stacking Drawers –
- Eagle Creek Travel Towels –
- Microfiber Towel Bath Mat –
- Hanging Organizer –
- Trekr Washcloth-
Miscellaneous Nifty Items
- Simple Human Soap Dispensers –
- Water Hog Entry Mat –
- Bose Speaker –
- Channellock Screwdriver –
- Trimetric Battery Monitor – This installation requires tapping into the main wiring at the battery
- LED Flashlights –
- LED Candles –
- Caframo 12V Fan –