I started this post as a response to a thread regarding impractical features in people's higher-end trailers. But I realized that it wasn't really relevant to that thread and I had pondered so long on it that I wanted to post it somewhere! So I'll post it here in boondocking and hope that others can contribute. Since we are strictly boondockers, we have a little different idea on what we want and don't want out of our TT. Not everything in my list is boondocking related.
Things we like that we didn't think we would:
*TV. Our Aspen Trail came with an LED TV and this is an item we would have thought had no place in a list of camping gear. But with twin boys under 5 years old, it has been an excellent feature to keep them occupied when playing outside isn't practical.
*Outside sprayer. Our first TT had an outdoor shower with hot and cold taps. The current TT just has a cold water quick-connect with a hose and sprayer. I use it all the time to rinse things off. It is also great to spray oneself down for a quick cooling on a hot day. I do miss having the option for hot water outside though.
*Shower. Other than a sponge bath, personal hygiene is something that never featured high on camping priorities. And to be honest, I'm the only one who has used the TT shower and only a few times. But it has been wonderful for those times that I have! Plus with the Oxygenics shower head, it is as refreshing as a house shower. As boondockers, water conservation practices mean I usually still just stay grubby. But having a shower available sure is nice. We gave the filthy boys a bath once, too.
*Electric tongue jack. A huge reduction in sweat output when hooking up/disconnecting! This implies reduced stress as well which should never be a part of a camping experience.
Things we've added to meet our needs:
*Solar panels. We were the second owners of our first TT and it came with a solar panel. We immediately recognized the benefit of harvesting free power falling from the sky and never had to deal with thinking about battery recharging. For the current TT which we bought new, I knew I would be investing in solar and researched and installed a system myself. So far it has met our needs and I've only had to explore other battery recharging options a couple times, mostly because I parked in the shade.
*Inverter. As mentioned, our TT came with a TV and as boondockers I figured I'd need a way to power this thing when out camping. So I included an inverter install when I did the solar. Turns out it is pretty convenient having AC power available for whatever without needing to run a generator. TV, battery chargers, rice cookers, whatever, as long as it isn't a big load. Solar recharges during the day, so battery depletion isn't that much of a concern.
*An electric drill bit for leveling jacks. http://www.amazon.com/Quick-Products...3&sr=8-1-fkmr0
I randomly clicked on an advertisement link for this bit when it popped up while searching for something else. It allows you to use an electric drill to crank your leveling jacks up and down. Like I mentioned with the electric tongue jack, a huge reduction in setup/teardown sweat and stress! My father in law was very envious of mine so I got him one for a gift.
*More 12V outlets. I think most campers come with a single 12V outlet. With the amount of items we have that can be recharged/operated off of 12V power, it made sense to have more. Many of these items can also be run with 120V AC power off the inverter, but it is usually more efficient to avoid having to convert 12V DC power into 120V AC power before using it. I installed another 12V outlet in the bedroom and I have socket expanders hooked to both. 5V USB plugs are pretty standard these days and you can run those from 12V outlets.
*USB power sources. I'm talking about the stand alone batteries that recharge via USB and also use to charge things by USB. We use take advantage of solar to charge these batteries up during the day, then use these batteries for recharging devices after the sun does down. No camper power required.
*Switch to all LED lights. This one is huge for boondocking. LED lights use a fraction of the power of incandecent lights and this really helps reduce the load on your batteries. While they can be expensive if you buy them in a shop, they are quite cheap if you're willing to buy from ebay direct from China. Maybe the quality control isn't as thorough as the more expensive ones from a store, but you can buy what is needed plus replacements off ebay and still be spending less money. I bought from this seller 2011_led on eBay
*Winterizing bypass kit for water pump. We live in Montana and it is necessary to winterize. I've gotten by just doing a blow out with air, but there is certainly piece of mind when it is followed up with anti freeze.
*Blow out adapter for winterizing. Related to the last point, this device allows you to blow the water out of your plumbing using an air compressor. Amazon.com: Camco 36153 Brass Blow Out Plug: Automotive
*Clear sewer hose adapter. It's gross to look at, but it sure is nice to have a visual cue for when stuff is done draining or sufficiently clean. Amazon.com: Camco 39572 5" Clear Sewer Hose Adapter: Automotive
*12V power monitor. I like having a better idea of actual battery voltage than what the typical stock monitor provides. Amazon.com: INNOVA 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor: Automotive
Things we have but maybe don't need:
*Generator. Obviously this one is reliant on people's specific needs. But we never had a generator with our first TT and never ran into issues by not having one. I picked up a nice generator (Yamaha 2400) along with our new TT because I figured we might need to run the air conditioner. Turns out that even with a hard start capacitor installed, this generator is barely marginal for running the 13.5 kBtu air conditioner. And if we're at a high elevation, it is probably a no go. Since we have solar, I have only needed it for battery charging once or twice and that is because I parked in the shade. So our generator plus gas is just a stinky 75 lb weight I haul around but don't use.
*The stock radio/DVD player. In our first TT, we used it's radio and indoor/outdoor speakers a lot. Since that time, our personal gadgets have expanded to include wireless bluetooth speakers and portable DVD players. We find that since we have other superior gadgets for music and movies that we never use the stock stereo. It is just a parasitic power draw and I'm thinking of getting rid of it.
*Microwave. My inverter and battery bank are insufficient to run the microwave. One time we fired up the generator to make microwave popcorn. I think that has been the only time we used it.