Monday, August 31, 2015


Following up on the Air Forums Small Space Living thread and also my earlier post titled "Best of Small Space Living" in which I had summarized handy items to make Class B living easier, here are a few more products that I've recently added to our Airstream Interstate travel kit.
Downsizing Win #1:  Exchanging a conventional stick-house-sized tea kettle on the right for the compact one liter version on the left = most of the capacity with none of the bulk.
Sourcing:  I got this from a merchant in Canada, who swore to me that it's the exact tea kettle that is kept on every Cape Island fishing boat operating off the northeast tip of Nova Scotia.  This exact model is traceable through Alibaba but does not seem to be available for retail sales outside the Commonwealth (if you are in Canada, try the World Famous mass retailer website, which is apparently not accessible from America).  However, MSR makes this model which is very similar.
Downsizing Win #2:  Miniature stainless steel wine glasses to replace the oversized space-gobbling polycarbonate versions I had originally gotten at Walmart.  These are available through West Marine, and would you believe that some of the customer reviews criticize their small size (6.5 oz)?  For crying out loud, people - refill!!

If you are REALLY obsessive about saving space, there is also a version with a detachable stem
Safety Win:  No glass in the motorhome!  GSI makes this collapsible wine carafe so that the bulky bottle can stay at home.  Some user reviews complain about leaking, but for ten bucks, I'm willing to give it a try.  
Boondocking win:  This odd little USB-powered (thus you can recharge using 12 V!!!  Yippee!!!) personal fan.  When I'm boondocking in excessive southern heat, I want just a bit of air movement over me at night.  Not like a full sized roaring fan, just a slight circulation.  This device delivers that, although if you buy one, read the Amazon reviews first.  The product was obviously cobbled together from unrelated parts, leading to a clip that is so strong I need both hands to open it, but a base attachment mechanism that is unexpectedly fragile.  I can live with these eccentricities because I haven't found another like it on the market. 
Organizational win:  Tablet holder from Walmart, fits on back of seat head rest.  Straps could be used to hold many other objects.  About $15. 
Dead space win:  For a long time I searched for a collapsible basket that would fit safely into the under-cabinet dead space next to our fresh water tank and water pump.  I finally found this one, called a "rugby striped bin" at The Container Store.  
Here are some additional make-life-easier products that I probably posted to Small Space Living at one time or another.
This nylon camping sink lines the Dometic and can help prevent premature filling of the small gray water tank.  The sink has carry handles, so the water can be removed and dumped outside, which is particularly handy during boondocking.  This is the Advanced Elements 10-liter portable fold-up pocket sink.  Sea to Summit also makes a version, but I've previewed it in REI's brick and mortar, and it was not clear to me that it would be superior to this cheaper version.  
BTW, sink inserts are not uncommon among Class B owners, who all face the same challenge of gray water storage limitations.  Here's another idea shown in Brent Rose's Connected States introductory video.  
Military grade 10-liter potable water jerry can from Lexington Container Company.  This fits into the lower cabinet beside my fresh water tank.  For the reasons explained in this thread, I don't drink water directly from the fresh water tank. 
Seat pocket organizer from Home Depot for 77 cents.  I'm a fan of the Big Orange Retail Giant (BORG) so I put this here for amusement value as much as anything else.  It is held in place by a mini-bungee cord.  
Silicone funnel makes fresh water filling and bleaching easier.  About four bucks from a kitchen supply store. 
Collapsible traffic cone from Walmart.  Walmart has a fantastic assortment of camping and RVing supplies. 
Sometimes cheap is a good thing.  Polyester sheets from Walmart, very light weight but more importantly, should be quicker-drying than cotton in excessively wet or humid conditions.  That is important for boondocking in hot southern weather.  
No space in a Class B for full-sized towels, so these microfiber versions are a better fit.  Shown here is the Shandali product in two sizes
Also, this little kitchen hand towel is great because it attaches to the cupboard handle and stuffs up into its own miniature sack when not in use, thus is kept out of the way (unlike the pooch). Pactowel Nano Lite.  
Nalgene bottles... can't say enough good things about them.  This is a 1-liter version that fits perfectly in our Dometic fridge. 

Logitech UE Boom portable Bluetooth speaker.  I went with this in lieu of swapping out the in-vehicle stereo for an upgrade.  This is water resistant as well.  In this photo, it is suspended from the camera monitor using a Geartie.  
One of my favorites:  The Pacsafe Travelsafe 12L.  Achieves a measure of internal security with next to no bulk, no appreciable weight, and a low price point.  Can be concealed in all those strange nooks and crannies that are found in a Class B and locked to the vehicle frame.  No security device guarantees against theft, but this one would sure make it more difficult, especially if the thieves didn't happen to be carrying bolt cutters with them. 

First-world gadgets for first-world space challenges.  Except the ones I have listed above are not useless!!