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Old 03-19-2006, 12:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Whidbey Island, Washington (USA)
Posts: 465
Sources of conversion ideas and equipment

I know a lot of us turn to the RV industry for ideas pertaining to interior layouts and the various systems (electrical, plumbing, etc). There are a lot of good ideas there but I think there's another area that we might look toward to generate some ideas and solutions...long-distance cruising boats. I grew up involved with RV's and with boats and I've learned a lot from both.

I think for the most part many of us converting skoolies are not looking for the run-of-the-mill, typical RV. We want something a bit different and a lot of us want to do it our own way and then go our own way. I see a lot of discussions on the various boards about boondocking and/or being pretty darn self-sufficient. This is where I think the boating world can help us out. I know of few groups that define the idea of being self-suffcient and self-reliant any better than world-cruising offshore sailboats. With perhaps the sole exception of dealing with human waste long distance cruisers have all the same issues as skoolies that want to live "off the grid". And, they have to do it thousands of miles from help (or even land). Good electrical systems, water systems and such are critical to their survival. [You often find the *best* systems are the simplest!]

So the next time you're just wandering the hallways of your mind contemplating how to put together some of the systems on your skoolie conversion peruse the Internet a bit and visit some of sites dedicated to world cruising boats and the how-to's that are often there as well.

It seems the expectation of modern RV designers is that the thing will be plugged into shorepower every night at the KOA or at most have to make it through a couple of days "roughing it" in a State or rural campground. If you replicate a lot of these systems in your skoolie you'll end up with the same limitations that most factory-built coaches have. This is why I think looking at long-distance cruising boats, who may *never* plug into shorepower, is a useful exercise. You can gain a lot of knowledge about their systems even if you never utilize them; it's bound to get you to think a little differently about things and may lead to improving the systems you are installing.

Anyway...just food for thought...hope it leads to some interesting and enlightening exploration.
Les Lampman
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