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Packing Up to Go Boondocking or Anywhere Really

Packing Up to Go Boondocking or Anywhere Really

Packing up our Airstream go boondocking... or to camp anywhere really

When we pack up our Airstream to head out to boondock, dry camp, moochdock, or anytime we’ll be away from hookups for a while, we have a list of steps we go through. This is pretty much our normal towing checklist with the addition of a few other things. It’s definitely changed a bit during our time on the road, but we take it pretty seriously…because forgetting one of these steps could result in a bad time!

If you’re just in the planning stages for living on the road in your RV, you might not even have a checklist yet. Or maybe you’re new to road life and your checklist is evolving with each move. Either way, we hope that sharing our process with you is helpful and highlights some things that could improve your packing process out there on the road!

Be aware, your rig will probably have some steps we don’t have, it’s up to you to figure those out! Check out some owners’ forums or Youtube to find out more specifics.

Our Checklist

Curtain: This one is specific to us. We need to take down our tension rod that creates our “bedroom” area. Otherwise, it will fall to the floor as soon as our rig starts rolling down the road.

Blinds Up: Pull all your blinds up! You don’t want these things clanking around while you’re driving and getting all bent up!

Windows: Close and lock all windows! Our Airstream windows can be closed and not locked, so we have to make sure we check all the locks before we head out.

Vacuum: Might as well clean up a bit before you make a mess of the place moving it around!

Close Cabinets: Make sure all your cabinets are closed and latched. Also, try not to keep any heavy, rolly things just inside the door, they can gain momentum and force their way out and create a little pantry jailbreak. Don’t give them a chance to break out!!

Lock Pantry: This is specific to our rig, but some others might have a sliding pantry. Make sure you lock this as it could also act as a battering ram to open your pantry door!

Antenna Down: If you have a TV antenna up, you really should lower it before towing. We have ours modified to have a cellular antenna, but we don’t need it all the time. We only use it in spots with terrible reception, so it doesn’t come in to play each time we pack up…this makes it easy to leave out of our checklist…so don’t forget it!

Booze Away: Put the booze, or any other glass bottles you have sitting out in the open away in a safe spot. We use Cooper’s bed for this.

Plants Away: We gather our plants in a felt bin and store them together in a corner of Cooper’s bed. Like with booze, dog beds go a long way to protect your things!

Close Vents: Make sure your fan vent and other vents are closed.

Make Espresso: Do all the things you love that require electricity while you can! For us, this is using our espresso machine…typing this up is a reminder that we should upgrade our inverter at some point to enjoy espresso off the grid!

Remember ABC: Always Be Charging! We try to charge everything up while we’re plugged into electricity. This means our phones, tablets, camera batteries, Omnicharger, other USB chargers. Think of having all these at full capacity as being a larger battery bank when you hit the road!

Eat Tamales: Have a good meal before you head out. Being hangry and moving your rig is absolute misery!

Dishes: Do the dishes while you’re still hooked up to water and sewer. Don’t forget to put them away!

Storage: Get stuff in sensible places. This is going to differ depending on what you have and what you travel in. We have certain things that go in our truck, like grill and camp gear. We have spots for storage containers in our Airstream. You just want things to be secure, especially when you’re traveling down the road at 65mph and have to slam on your brakes. Look for anything that might swing or slide and find a place on the floor for it. Use blankets or clothing to protect delicate things. And if you can’t find a spot for it, throw that shit on the bed!!

Secure the Bambino!: Our espresso machine is a Breville Bambino Plus, that’s where this phrase comes from. What we mean by it is take the extra time to secure any fragile items so they don’t get damaged heading down the road.

Piss Jug: We have this because we have a composting toilet. We dump it about every two days. But if you’re in a spot where you can dump it, you should. It’s really awkward walking into a rest stop bathroom with 2 gallons of your own urine and dumping it into a toilet, then walking out like it’s normal. Always dump the piss jug when you has the chance!

Grey Water: Because of the composting toilet, we just have to dump grey water. If you also use your black tank, we’d advise you to dump that one at this point…just do it before you dump the grey!

Pack Chairs and Table: This stuff folds down really small and we store it in the back seat of our truck.

Roll Rug: We roll up our outside rug and store it in the rear bumper.

Grill: Pack up and cover our grill, also detach the propane can and store it securely in the cab of the truck.

Cooper’s Toys: Our dog is not a minimalist when it comes to toys. We have to look around camp and gather up all of Cooper’s toys he has managed to strewn about during our stay at this spot. He would not forgive us is we forget something.

Cooper: It’s pretty hard to forget Cooper when we’re packing up. He gets really sad and nervous when we start packing things up and worries we’ll leave him. He’ll often sneak into the truck and hide so he doesn’t get forgotten

Garbage and Recycling: It’s best to get rid of this stuff when you have access to a dumpster and recycling bin. If there isn’t recycling at the place you’re staying, you might be able to find one along the way! Try a site like this or just Google “recycling”. 

Laundry: If we’re at a park or house with laundry, we make sure our clothes are clean when we set out.

Water Pump: Turn off the water pump to prevent any possible messes during travel!

Water Heater: Turn off the water heater so you’re not driving around with a large flame burning inside your rig.

Furnace: Turn this off for similar reasons to the water heater.

Toilet Water: Now that we have a composting toilet, we no longer have to worry about this. But we did need to do this for a bit, so it’s worth mentioning here. Just make sure you flush out your bowl after you turn off the water pump and before you hit the road. Otherwise, that toilet water is gonna slosh around and make a mess of your bathroom floor!

Fresh Water: Fill up your freshwater tank to the max and fill up any jugs you might have so you’re at full capacity when you begin to dry camp. The only time we might not do this is if we have a long drive ahead of us and we can get water closer to our destination. Water is really heavy, so if you can get away with not carrying it you might save on gas and brake wear.

Batteries: Check to see that your batteries are charged up. They will most likely get a bit of a charge along the way, but it’s best to make sure they’re functioning as expected.

Generator and Fuel: We don’t have a generator, but you might, so don’t forget to bring it for off-grid camping!

Hookups Unhooked: When everything is charged, flushed, and cleaned, it’s time to cut the cord and put your hoses and cords away. We store our gear in the back storage compartment and the bumper storage.

Fridge is Running: We always make sure our fridge is running on propane when we unplug from electrical. No one wants their food to go bad! And no one wants to clean out a stinky fridge while boondocking!

Propane: Speaking of propane, you want to have enough for your trip. If it’s been a while since you refilled, now might be a good time to do so.

Shower Head: We place our shower head on the bathroom floor so it doesn’t fall while driving.

Steps Up: Fold up your steps before heading out, you wouldn’t want to beach them on a rock while off roading. We looked at an Airstream this had happened to, it was not pretty.

Lock Door: We lock our Airstream door while towing, especially the deadbolt. We wouldn’t want it swinging open on accident.

Hitch Up: We have a ProPride weight distribution hitch, so it’s a bit more complicated that most hitches. Once we have the ”stinger” inserted into the receiver need to:
1. Secure the 2 over-center-latches on each side of the hitch unit
2. Insert lynch pins in these latches
3. Attach both tow chains
4. Hook up emergency brake cable
5. Plug 7-pin electrical connection
6. Raise up weight distribution jacks
7. Raise the tongue jack and store jack foot and any blocks
8. Remove wheel chocks

Final Walk Around: At this point it’s good to take a look inside the trailer and make sure everything is ready to roll. Take a walk around the outside of the trailer and check to see that all vents, doors, chocks, hoses, and wires are where they should be.

That’s what we do every time we move the trailer. We have a checklist in an app we use called Todoist to help us not forget to do any of these steps. You don’t need an app, but you should have at least a physical notebook or a note on your phone that has your steps detailed.

Do you have a checklist that has other items on it? What are they?

Good luck out there on the road!

Items seen in the video

Here are some of the items seen in the video. None of these products are sponsored. These are things we use and believe in and would recommend to anyone.

Our Vacuum –

Our Espresso Machine –

Omnicharger –

Folding dish rack –

Our toilet –

Our camp chairs –

Our folding camp table –

Our outside rug –

Our grill –

Easy to pack propane tank –

Super versatile water jug –

Super durable water jug –

Some of these links are affiliate links, following one and purchasing an item helps support us and does not affect the cost of the item. Thank you for making a purchase via these links if you do!

Unboxing our new Front Runner Explorer chairs

Unboxing our new Front Runner Explorer chairs

Unboxing: Front Runner Explorer Chairs

We don’t normally do unboxing videos, but we got some chairs and they came in a box, so we figured we’d unbox them on camera. These are the Expander Chair from Front Runner. They’re much smaller and easier to stow away than our old chairs. Hoping they help us save space when we pack them up, while still being pretty comfortable!

Get them from Front Runner Outfitters (they’re cheaper!):

Get them from Amazon:

Our folding table that fits perfectly with these chairs:

The outdoor rug from the video:

Amazon links are affiliate links, following one and purchasing an item helps support us and does not affect the cost of the item. Thank you for making a purchase via these links if you do!

Renovating an Airstream while traveling full time: Part 2

Renovating an Airstream while traveling full time: Part 2

Renovating an Airstream while traveling full time – Part 2

In Part 1 of our Renovation on the Road series, we showed you why we wanted to renovate our Airstream, and our new kitchen galley and standing workspace. In this part we’ll go over our new dinette and some of the benefits of the renovation. It’s another long one, but it’s mostly pictures.

Please check out our Youtube video for more details and some footage of the renovation!

Wrap Around Dinette

We’ve seen a lot of other Airstreams with a dinette up front. Instead of it having 2 benches on opposite sides of the table, there are 3, so the bench is continuous and forms a “U” shape. This makes a lot more room for company when we have it, or just lounging on a regular day. This also gives us a bit more room at the front of the trailer since the couch used to have a lot of dead space behind it. Now we can better enjoy the panoramic windows. Plus, the table drops down and forms a bed if we have guests visiting.

Our old dinette was super well built by Airstream to begin with. It was also very light. To throw it away would be a waste, so we reused it up front after some heavy modification.

We cut off the back-rests of the dinette, since the wall would now act as a back rest. The backs were then used to span the distance between the 2 benches to create a third bench against the front wall. The benches against the side walls of the trailer had enough support to stand on their own, so they just needed to be screwed to the floor.

The new bench against the front wall needed supports and bracing added to be able to sit on it. This was done by using 1”x1” aluminum supports riveted to the Airstream walls with L-brackets. We built a wooden box to protect the electrical components stored under the dinette which also served as an additional bench support. 2”x2” studs were placed vertically along the curve of the Airstream to support the bench as well.

This whole part of the construction was very unplanned and involved a lot of creative adaptation to make things work. It was a semi-stressful but fun part of the project that let us explore a lot of different bracing options

Once the benches were built, we cut out bench tops out of 11/32” fir plywood. To do this we made templates out of cardboard to match the curves of the Airstream. These bench tops can be lifted up to access storage under the dinette.

Building anything like this in an Airstream is very tricky due to all the curves and angles. It’s a lot like building something in a crooked house. You have to adapt to the surroundings as you build.

We painted the benches with a minty white Valspar furniture paint. It seems to hold up pretty well, but we already have a few chips. It’s something we’re keeping with us to do touch ups in the future.

The table top is made from the same 3/4” maple we used for the galley top. It’s been white washed and sealed in the same way as well. The dinette top is mounted to a Springfield 3-Stage Pedestal. This allows it to be easily lowered to match the height of the benches. Then the pillows can be reconfigured to create a sleeping area for guests, or a place to lounge around for movie night.

The last major part of the dinette is the cushions we had made. We drove from Oregon all the way to Las Vegas and straight to Galaxy Foam. We took measurements on the spot and had foam cut that morning.

Then we took the foam pieces directly over to Oscar’s Upholstery and had covers made for them. He also added dacron wrapping to the foam. All of this was very rushed and barely planned, but it still turned out great!

During the renovation we also removed our TV, which we rarely used, and replaced it with a plant shelf. This is way nicer to look at than the black box that almost never turned on.

Benefits of Renovating

Now that we’re done with this renovation we’re super stoked that we actually did it! We’ve found even more benefits than we expected! Here are just a few:

1. More storage space overall. The under-bench storage is great for larger items and stuff we don’t need to access as often. The cabinet storage has given us a better spot to keep our dishes, pots and pans, tin foil and other wraps, Cooper stuff, extra hygienic stuff, water bottles, and we even have a semi-junk drawer.
2. Our shoes have a storage space right when you enter the Airstream, so they no longer need to take up space by the entry mat
3. The trash can has a dedicated space so it takes up less of the usable floor space.
4. Cooper’s food container is no longer taking up floor space.
5. The galley top gives us way more room for food prep and a place to serve dinner. It also doubles as a stand up desk.
6. We have more room for guests to sit around our dinette.
7. The cushions are way more comfortable, making it easier to sit for longer periods and work.
8. It’s easier to access the internet gear and battery monitor than it was in the past. We often need to manually reboot the router after a move if it’s not working properly.
9. We have more power outlets that are easier to access than we did in the past.
10. The open space in the center of the trailer is great for yoga, stretching, or foam rolling after a bike ride.

All of these benefits make our daily life so much better in the Airstream! We’re so grateful we had a friends’ driveway and access to their tools for a few weeks!

Have any questions about our renovation?? 

Below are more pics and links to some of the gear we used for the renovation!

Here are a few of the things we used for this build:

Recessed Power Strip with USB –

Magnadyne USB and 12v Outlet –

Trond 4 Outlet USB Power Strip –

3M Sanding Blocks –

Bosch Router –

Bosch Sander –

Milwaukee Impact Driver –

Milwaukee 6.5″ Circular Saw –

Diablo 6.5″ Finishing Blade –

Varathane White Wash Stain –

Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane –

Purdy Brush –

3M Blue Tape –

Small Paint Rollers –

Aluminum 1″x1″ Tubing –

RV Door Latches –

Nitrile Gloves –

IKEA cabinets –

Springfield 3 Stage Pedestal –

Rivets –

Cheap Rivet Gun –

Galaxy Foam –

Oscar’s Upholstery –

Some of these links are affiliate links, following one and purchasing an item helps support us and does not affect the cost of the item. Thank you for making a purchase via these links if you do.

Renovating an Airstream while traveling full time: Part 1

Renovating an Airstream while traveling full time: Part 1

Renovating an Airstream while traveling full time – Part 1

Renovating an Airstream on the road while travelling full time is a major challenge. We learned that recently. We just finished some serious changes to the layout of our Airstream and we wanted to share them with you!

This was originally meant to be one post, but we got a little out of hand with words and photos! Don’t worry, it’s a long post, but it’s mostly pictures! So, this is the first part which covers why we made these changes, and how we built our new galley kitchen. When you’re ready, you can find post 2 here.

Please check out our Youtube video for more footage and discussion of this renovation!

Before we first hit the road back in August of 2018, we spent over 6 weeks working on our Airstream. We added solar, put in a new floor, redid the kitchen, resealed the roof, added antennas for better cell reception, repainted the entire interior…even the cushions, and more. During this time we had all the “furniture” out of our Airstream and were impressed by all the room we had.

Reasons for Renovating

We realized that the current layout of the couch and dinette was not ideal for a few reasons:
1. The dinette was positioned so it cut into the “hallway” between the front and back of the trailer, making it feel cramped when you walked by.
2. The couch was located up in the front of the trailer and faced into the trailer. So you could not enjoy the panoramic windows when sitting on it. There was also empty space behind it, which increased the amount of floor space it took up.
3. If a lot of people were visiting and some were sitting at the dinette, their backs would be facing people who were sitting at the couch. This ended up in some awkward neck craning, or just lame conversations with the back of peoples heads.
4. The dinette was not very comfortable. Think floral foam, but not as pleasing to squeeze.
5. The couch was not very comfortable, so we did not sit at it often.
6. Since we did not sit at the couch very often, it tended to collect a lot of clutter.
7. The layout of the dinette and couch together created an empty space that wasn’t very useful to hang out in and also collected clutter.

We envisioned a different layout that would solve a lot of these problems, but we were up against a hard launch date. We had to get to Idaho to meet some friends by early September. Starting an additional renovation project that involved furniture building would certainly make us late for that!

In addition to pushing back our launch date, we were also very fearful of creating something that had way less space than the original design and was much weaker. Each time you move the trailer, you are subjecting everything inside to a small earthquake, so things need to be built well to not fall apart.

Plus, we weren’t sure how much we’d like this lifestyle, and we already committed a lot of time and money into it.

So we hit the road on schedule and endured our Airstream’s “sleep six” layout for over a year. Truth be told, we were excited to be on the road and enjoying things outside of the trailer. We were making the best of what we had and not letting it hold us back in any way. 

A Place to Renovate

We still knew that a better layout was possible, and we took notes from fellow Airstreamers over the last year. We saved posts from Instagram and Pinterest of designs that inspired us. All of these were to be used someday when we could make this change for ourselves.

One struggle of living on the road is not having a lot of space to work on your trailer. You can do small things like fix a water pump or add a plant shelf, but doing something that requires ripping furniture out of the trailer for days or weeks is frowned upon at RV parks and could be considered littering on BLM land. So, even though we had a plan to renovate the trailer, we did not have a place to do so.

That is until we visited our friends, Keeley and Vegard, in Oregon. They were great friends from Ithaca who moved out West recently. One of their prerequisites to buying a house was it needed a driveway that could fit our Airstream, so we could visit! Thanks for thinking of us friends!

Vegard is also a creative carpenter and handyman who has an enviable array of tools, including a planer. If we were to do our renovation, this would have to be the place!

Constraints and Fears

Again, we had a limited amount of time to renovate our Airstream. We had dentist appointments in Nevada in early November and had friends visiting for Jay’s birthday in Sedona. We had to be there in time to meet them.

We were also still fearful about not having enough space to fit all of our stuff after we made these changes.

With all this in mind, we set off to IKEA in Portland to look at some cabinets and see if we could use them to simplify our build out…and also to get some Swedish meatballs! We left IKEA overwhelmed by Hygge and in possession of some cabinets, or “Sektion” in their terms. Guess we were doing this renovation after all!

Enjoy this random picture of the Oregon coast.

Over the next 20 days, we ripped the Airstream apart, cut up our dinette, gave away our couch, took a lot of trips to the hardware store, sanded, painted, screwed, wired and rewired, learned too much about foam, hired an upholsterer, and ended up with a layout that we absolutely love.

Here is a breakdown of what we did to accomplish this for our kitchen galley! Check out Post #2 to see our new dinette and the benefits of our new set up!

Our Kitchen Galley

The dinette used to live in the center of the trailer…awkwardly taking up space and not being very helpful. We wanted more space to prepare food and an area that could be used for a standing work space. Opening up the center of the trailer would be a bonus too. So we built a galley style combo of cabinets and countertop to meet our needs.

We used a combination of 2 IKEA cabinets and some 3/4” maple plywood to create a street-side galley parallel to our existing kitchen. The IKEA cabinets made the build so much faster and simpler than building cabinets ourselves.

The wheel well and wiring conduit provided some restrictions when it came to positioning the cabinets, but we actually used this to our advantage.

The wheel well juts out beyond our fridge wall, so we had to place the first cabinet away from the wall. This enabled us to extend the counter top to the wall and create a storage space under it for our garbage can, dog food, water, and whatever else we’d like to stick here. It’s also where we moved our internet gear, battery monitor and some electrical outlets. The wheel well itself was boxed in with plywood to hide its unsightliness.

The wiring conduit runs behind the cabinets and prevents them from being mounted right next to the Airstream’s outer wall. This is fine since it’s a curved wall and would be difficult to mount anything too. By positioning the cabinets away from the wall, we created a small storage space for flexible items like backpacks and yoga mats. When living in an Airstream, take any extra storage space you can get!

The cabinets themselves were mounted on 2”x2”s to raise them off the floor without making them so tall they would block the window.

We used RV latches on the cabinet doors in the way you’d typically see it done in any RV. For those not familiar with RV latches, they keep your doors from flying open when driving down the road.

For the drawers, we needed to make something a little different. We built a T-shaped frame behind them and centered the latch on the back of the drawer. If we didn’t do this there really wasn’t anything positive to mount them to on the front of the drawers. It hides the latch nicely and works better than if they were mounted up front.

The counter top is made of A-grade 3/4” maple plywood that’s been sanded and slightly routed. The color, or lack of, is from Varathane White Wash wood stain. For durability, we used Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane to top it off. This gives us a durable and easy to clean surface that brightens up the trailer.

This new space really makes the trailer feel larger, the large counter gives us plenty of room when making food. It’s a great spot for plants, and can easily hold other things that used to clutter up our dinette and couch. Most importantly, it provides 5x the area we used to have to prep and serve food.

That about covers why we made these changes and our new galley kitchen. For the rest of the renovation and to see the benefits, check out Part 2 of Renovating an Airstream on the road series!

Here are a few of the things we used for this build:

Recessed Power Strip with USB –

Magnadyne USB and 12v Outlet –

Trond 4 Outlet USB Power Strip –

3M Sanding Blocks –

Bosch Router –

Bosch Sander –

Milwaukee Impact Driver –

Milwaukee 6.5″ Circular Saw –

Diablo 6.5″ Finishing Blade –

Varathane White Wash Stain –

Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane –

Purdy Brush –

3M Blue Tape –

Small Paint Rollers –

Aluminum 1″x1″ Tubing –

RV Door Latches –

Nitrile Gloves –

IKEA cabinets –

Springfield 3 Stage Pedestal –

Rivets –

Cheap Rivet Gun –

Galaxy Foam –

Oscar’s Upholstery –

Some of these links are affiliate links, following one and purchasing an item helps support us and does not affect the cost of the item. Thank you for making a purchase via these links if you do.

We made it!!! One year of life on the road!!!

We made it!!! One year of life on the road!!!

We made it!!! One year of life on the road!!!

We’re celebrating 1 year of living on the road!! We hit the road at the end of last summer and headed straight from the Northeast to Sun Valley, Idaho. Since then, we’ve explored numerous places in the West with our Airstream. We’ve learned to boondock on BLM land, mountain biked some of the world’s best singletrack, found places to shower or swim after biking, installed a composting toilet to extend our boondocking, and ate a whole lot of tacos! Life on the road has been even more fun than we imagined when we set out. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with it’s fair share of challenges.

Even though there’s still a lot to learn about life on the road, we thought it would be helpful to put a video together to answer some of the questions we get from time to time. A lot of these questions pertain to the last 6 months. We have a different video dedicated to the first 6 months already.

Have a look and let us know what you think!!


What have we seen in the last 6 months? 0:30

Best part of RV life? 2:17

Worst part of RV life? 3:04

Favorite campsite? 4:22

Worst campsite? 5:22

Favorite area visited? 6:52

Did we choose the right rig? 8:06

Most frustrating moment? 9:45

How much longer will we live like this? 11:32

How would you feel if you had to stop today? 11:53

Is RV Life for everyone? 12:49

Advice for newbies? 13:48

How did the last 6 months compare to the first 6? 15:32

Where are we headed next? 16:37

Learn about our first 6 months here –


Do you have questions about living on the road? Let us know in the comments below!