Okay folks! Here’s what you all helped Frank and I acquire for our new home. (I’ll speak for Frank and say, “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the generosity you showed in helping us!”)
The Hiker-Trailer is different from the standard teardrop design, as you’ll see from this first photo of the port side. While the teardrop arcs down towards the back, the Hiker is “boxy”. There’s no tapering of the roof. From my perspective, this is one of the biggest selling points for this camper … especially for big guys like me. The cabin has a lot of head room from front to back. Granted, I still can’t kneel without bending my head to one side, but it’s a lot easier to move from front to back than what I’d imagine was the case in the classic teardrop. I can lie with my head at the galley side as easily as if it was near the front of the cabin. The only “cramped” feel I have is when I’m trying to change positions from front to back. Or if I’m sitting in the door (which is a perfect height off the ground for my feet to be flat on the ground) and want to pull my legs into the cabin. In those cases, the extra foot of width provided by the 5′ x 8′ model would have been ideal. But that’s a luxury at his point. Besides, I can address that issue simply by losing weight – something I seriously need to move forward with now.
From this angle, you can see the electrical port at the back of the trailer. It’s nothing fancy – you connect the exterior power source and it feeds a 5-outlet power strip that’s affixed to the interior wall. It’s primarily situated so that you can power a few appliances in the galley as well as things like a your laptop and phone that might be inside the cabin. The only minor issue I had was powering my C-pap machine at the front of the cabin … something that was easily taken care of with an extension cord.
This one has two doors – the standard model comes with only one. So far, I’ve pretty much used only one door, but it’s nice to have both of them. That way, you’re not worried about clearance issues when you park. No clearance on the right? Use the port door. Nosy neighbors on the left? Use the starboard one. I took these photos at the campsite in Hemet, CA, where the starboard door opened to a lake view. I’m using the port door at our current location because of clearance issues. I would have never bought a new one with two doors, so we have yet another reason to be grateful that it worked out so that this one is our new home!
While the door height is perfect for sitting, it’s proven to be a little tall for Frank to easily jump in. I’ve converted one of the now-empty storage boxes into a step for him. Works like a charm! As you can see from his smile, Frank’s digging our new abode. :o)
As an aside, I’m not yet sure what we’re going to name the trailer. At the suggestion of one of my Facebook friends, I’ve taken to calling it the “Nutshell” … quite appropriate given who’s living in it. I’m certainly open to suggestions from any of you. Feel free to spit out names as you come to them. (My idea of the “Coffin” was already rejected out of hand by everyone.)
The front interior has a couple of shelves at the top. Shelley, the former owner, was gracious enough to leave the IKEA storage units behind. They’re affixed to the wall with velcro and accordion out to provide some nice storage space. I’ve actually removed one of the top units and am using the bottom unit as a shelf for the C-pap, which has worked great! The other three units currently house towels, toiletries and small eletronic gear. I discovered the hard way that the top shelves need to have a brace running in front of them … otherwise, the contents empty onto the floor when you’re moving. Another friend, Cheryl, suggested a spring-loaded rod, similar to a shower curtain. Great idea … and I’ll be picking a few of those up before we head out to our next destination.
By the way, I took this shot from behind the trailer, looking through the “pass-thru” from the galley to the cabin. I just bought a coffeemaker … if I can figure out how to program it, it’d be pretty cool to be able to open up the pass-thru door and pour myself a cup without having to go outside, don’t you think? :o)
Shelley also left behind a thick, foam mattress for us. It’s perfect! Definitely better than some of the other mattresses I’ve tried out. For additional padding, I’ve laid down the two comforters underneath the sleeping bag. I actually have enough room to lie flat without having to scrunch up my knees to fit!
The mattress folds up into a little sofa … you can see the headrest bent upwards in this next photo. When the mattress is fully laid out, it acts as a buffer that keeps things anchored in the lower storage area under the galley. Right now, it’s holding a storage box with assorted tools on the left, while the Nikon camera and the SiriusXM box sit on the right. I’ve stretched out the antenna and have it running through the back hatch right now to get better reception. I’m probably going to have to change this around a bit to maximize access to stuff. I’ve figured out that I don’t need to have those tools stored so handily since I don’t have to use them all that often. It’d be much better to simply store them under the camper and then bring them back into the cabin when we up and move. Hopefully I’ll figure all that out before we leave on March 24th.
The two side windows are really nice! They both have screens. Actually, we have to leave them open at night, otherwise condensation forms on the frames of the windows and the doors. I’ve always slept with a window open anyhow, so it’s really not that big of a deal … especially with our -0- degree sleeping bag. Frank and I have both slept incredibly well since the Nutshell has become our home.
The shelves at the top of the back wall open into the galley. Again, I made the mistake of putting a bunch of supplies up there, only to discover them all lying on the sleeping bag at the end of our first day on the road! I have a feeling those things will wind up being stored where the tools now are. Most of that stuff is either excess (like extra storage bags, for example) or cleaning supplies anyhow. No need to have them right there when you first open the galley, right? (The only other “would have been nice to have” thing … besides another foot of width … would have been a taller galley opening so that the bottom storage would have been more easily accessed through the galley. But again, that’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Please don’t take that as a complaint – I love our new home!)
I love the galley! Right now, it’s a mess … even messier than in this photo. Like I mentioned earlier, the first thing I did after settling in at our current campsite was to go out and buy a coffeemaker along with a crockpot. They don’t leave much room for all the dishes and stuff on the right. They’re probably going to be moved to the top shelf where the supplies are. That way, I can also buy a small electric griddle. The idea is to minimize when I have to use the propane stove (which also sits on the top shelf right now).
Ideally, I’m thinking about getting a small fold-up table that can be used for the stove. That would require some additional protection from the rain, of course … but once again, my friends have come through with some great suggestions. Shelley shared a photo of a guy using a 12′ x 12′ canopy to cover almost all of his teardrop! In thinking about that, I could situate a canopy like that at the front corner of the Nutshell and it would provide about 5 1/2 feet of cover on one side of the camper and about 3 foot of cover in the back. That’d be plenty of room for a table. The one I’m looking at allows for optional side panels, which would offer protection from the rain … certainly enough room to take off my shoes and clean Frank’s feet before entering the cabin. I could even use the tent carpet as a floor! Knock on wood that this approach works out.
So that’s it – the grand tour. I’ll do another post tomorrow about our current location. This post turned out to be a little long (what else is new, right?) :o)