Strategic Debt?

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Normally, it is wise to live not just within but below your means. To try to spend less than you earn, in order to be able to save.

In order to be able to avoid debt – and something worse than just being in hock, which also makes it harder to avoid getting deeper in debt.

The less savings you have, the more you depend. On everything in your life – and work life – going just right. When (not if) it doesn’t – as when an expensive appliance you must have, such as a refrigerator, croaks unexpectedly or your car needs an unexpected major repair – and you can’t just pay for it, you are usually compelled to finance it and thus assume more debt. More – and higher – payments means less being able to save . . . which means being even more likely to have to assume additional debt when the next thing needs to be paid for with saving you have even less of now.

Before you know it, debt overwhelms you – and you’re broke. Then, they own you.

But that’s only the traditional financial pitfall of not saving. Of spending more than you can afford to pay.

The worse one is the new one. It is that being in debt chains you to work. And for many people, work has become Woke. Whether it manifests in the form of attending – and pretending to agree with – indoctrination that insists the sexes are fungible and only white people can be racist (and that racism when practiced by other races isn’t) or being told that in order to be allowed to continue to work, a Diaper must be worn and your sleeve rolled up, whenever they say and however often they say.

Being without debt means being able to say No – this is not acceptable; I won’t do that – with the strength that attends knowing they don’t own a piece of you. Knowing you can live without work, for however long it takes to find another job. Because you don’t need to earn much to live.

And so, sweat much about not being able to eat. Or being possibly homeless next month, because you have no money saved up to pay the next month’s rent.

But these are not normal times, financially and otherwise.

About 15 percent of the face value of whatever we manage to save each year is lost –  because we haven’t spent it. This being what is styled “inflation” but which is more accurately understood as currency devaluation. It is a form of theft that few understand, because they see that the face value of their savings hasn’t changed. I have $2,500 in my savings account! Except it is worth about 15 percent less; i.e., it buys about 15 percent less – which amounts to the same thing as the government simply seizing about 15 percent of whatever you have managed to save.

Maybe, sometimes, it makes sense to spend – precisely in order to save.

These thoughts back-and-forth through my head as I ponder possibly buying – not all at once – a small camper-trailer. Not just for fun, though it would be a lot fun to have one of these things. And not just for camping, either.

Long road trips are more pleasant when you don’t have to stop in (and pay for) skeevy hotel rooms or sleep in a cramped car, at skeevy rest stops. In theory, one could ride in the back of the trailer – who’s going to know? – and stretch out on the bed during the ride.

It beats hell out of sleeping in the back seats.

But there is another reason I’m pondering this; two of them, actually.

The first is that – much as I abjure debt – it may make sense to spend, in these abnormal times. It is harder to devalue the worth of useful things, as opposed to the currency we’re obliged to buy them with. Though definitely not gold or silver, a camper-trailer may hold its value more than the dollars I’d ordinarily save up to buy (all at once) something like this with. In a Worst Case Scenario – as regards the value of the dollar – we might wake up next month to discover a dollar is worth a lot less than 15 percent of its face value. It might be worth nothing, or nearly so.

In which case, whatever we thought we saved we just lost.

When inflation is bad, it can work out that you’re saving money paying off a loan the balance of which – and payments plus interest – was set in contractual stone before inflation (and interest rates) got a lot worse.

The other reason is that it might not be a bad idea to have a viable alternative living space that can go where you need to be. Times are weird  – and their getting a lot Weirder is not improbable. Being able to just leave – and go somewhere else – is a nice and perhaps very smart option to have.

Some preppers have “bug out” bags, but it is hard to live out of a bag – or a backpack.

This little camper-trailer I am looking lustfully at could be comfortably lived in for weeks – even longer. It has a bed – plus a shower. And a fully equipped kitchen, too. All on the go. The thing is only 16 feet long and weighs just 2,500 pounds – so my little truck can pull it. You can also fit it with a solar panel on the roof that will gather enough free power to run the small refrigerator it has, plus the lights.

In other words, it is a mobile off-grid alternative house, with – literally – all the comforts of home. It is also about $18k out the door, which means I cannot afford to just buy it. But I could get it for about $150/month and that is tempting because it’s a small debt. Especially in view of the 15 percent my savings are losing each year, courtesy of the Biden Thing.

But it’s still more debt that I have now – which is none, other than the sums I (like everyone else) is said to “owe” (in perpetuity) for the privilege of being allowed to stay in the house and on the land I thought I had bought (and fully paid for) years ago.

So, I am . . . hesitant.

Is it right – is it smart – to do things you would ordinarily never do in normal times? I think I may have just answered my own question!

. . .

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78 COMMENTS

  1. A few more thoughts:

    Eric, If you park it in the woods and leave it for a while, it’ll be destroyed in short order.

    Secondly, you’re what, 7’9″ or 6’2″ or something? Have you sat in that thing for a while? I think the fit would be tight- even for minimal use- but if you think you’re gonna sit at the dinette and work for a few hours at time…uh, no- it will not be a comfy place where you can stretch out and sit comfortably. These are minimalist every-inch-used-twice contraptions…it’s not going to be like sitting at your kitchen table or at a booth in the coffee shop.

    Thirdly, in all but very cool weather, these things get hot inside…fast. If you can’t have the A/C running the whiole time you’re using it, you’re not gonna be a happy camper. You’ll be sitting outside of it in a lawn chair on a nice day…and at home on a hot day.

    Hey, when’s the last time you spent $18K, much less went into debt for it? Not that it’s my bidness, but I don’t buy the ‘pay it back with devalued dollars’ argument- as those dollars may be harder to come by very soon- and may not seem quite so valueless after the bubble pops and a lot of things become cheaper. At that time, those holding some cash may be in a good position…but those having prior obligations may not fare so well.

    For stay-cations, why not just build a little shack in the woods? A small metal-clad post building, or small building on a skid that could easily be moved…made to you’re own dimensions so it fits it’s intended purposes, and can be outfitted with what you need- and all for a fraction of what this trailer and the interest will cost ya?

    • Morning, Nunz!

      You raise a number of sound points. Yet, I still like the idea of having such a rig for the purposes mentioned. I would take care to protect it from the elements, which I do with all my equipment save the plow blade (which doesn’t seem to mind being outdoors). We have actually been inside the model I wrote about; it’s remarkably spacious for two people. Me included! The “RV queen” bed is amply wide and long enough for me ( 6ft 3) and more than long enough for her (being about a foot shorter than me). That aspect of this doesn’t worry me at all. The one I’m wrasslin’ with is making payments – even if small ones. It goes against my lifelong policy of paying as I go and saving rather than spending. But I am very concerned about the way things are looking for savers in this country. And I do like the idea of having something easily portable that’s very viable to live in, as it may come to that, too.

      • Mornin’, Eric!

        “Actually been inside”….but have you actually sat in the seats for at least a few minutes, and layed on the bed? Looks can be deceiving. IIRC the video mentioned the bed being 72″ in length…. That’s 3″ less than your “length”…

        I know…the idea of it seems very romantic and practical- and once you get those dreams in your head, -especially after you’ve actually seen the thing in-person, and it’s clean and new, and looks so nice, it’s almost impossible to resist- That is how they sell these things.

        Yeah, I know you’d take good care of it, but these things were meant to stay on cement. Leaves and pine needles in the awnings and vents….rodents and other critters…moisture from the ground; moisture from rain and snow…heat and sun…. They get old, fast.

        Oh, and forget about sleeping in it while someone else drives. Most of these little guys do not have sprung axles- they ride like ass….

        I do agree with ya though, that we savers are screwed. But then again, everyone is getting screwed, and I do think that those holding some cash may be a little less screwed than most others. We’re currently in an unsustainable period of economic contradictions which will end one way or another- but I think we can agree that it will not end well, but of all times, that does not mean that we should abandon the sound principles which have sustained us thus far.

        Have you figured out what the actual total of the payments will come to? If you have to have a camper (and there’s nothing wrong with wanting one, for whatever reason or no reason at all) why not just get an old one on Craigslist for $1000?

        • Hi Nunzio.

          Many, many, many moons ago I was in Eric’s current situation. Just starting out, with a new wife and she was very fond of a car we had looked at. Nature took its course… 🙂

          Saving fiat at this point is a mugs game. I keep most of what I’m concerned about in gold, silver, and lead. A little crypto because I’m interested in the technology. But I seldom have more than what I need for bills and a reserve fund in the system. The rest I turn into food, water, and back ups for vital equipment. Over all history, every single fiat currency has gone to its nature level. Zero. The mighty US dollar will be no exception.

  2. I am an RV guy, I have for the last six years have enjoined my John Steinbeck fantasy, I have lived in a 2011 19′ Jayco travel trailer with my small ankle biter and traveled all over the Midwest and Southern states. It is 4400# tare weight and I figure about another 800# of clothes, food, tools, personal protection. Jayco is above better the say Forest River (owned them), and others. You have to know how to maintain them and fix them so you are not spending crazy money having an RV Tech monkey drain your wallet. Because the high fuel prices and availability of decent campgrounds. I have decided to buy a small house or rent a small apartment. I will keep the RV. True, RVing isn’t for most, but it can be rewarding and meet and see sites a more leisurely pace. being Retired helps. I used nothing except my S/S for expenses and banked my two pensions. If I got a little low, I would always find part time work, where ever I was, washed a lot of dishes in restaurants and had the bonus of eating there free… You have to keep your head on a swivel as you are somewhat vulnerable and do not know the lay of the land and people who inhibit it. During my travels I moderated two blogs and being a retired nurse, I would preform medical chart audits and forensics for a law firm which br ought in needed cash over the internet.

    • Hi Cederq,

      Thanks for your input on this. My intention – my idea – is to have this thing (if I decide to get it) chiefly for “staycaytions” – at home. I would park it in the woods at my place and then we could hike down the trail to it, for some get-away time without going anywhere. With the option to occasionally go somewhere else. And the option to take home with us, if we need to get out of this area – a possibility, though I don’t think it’s a big one. Even so, having fallbacks is nice.

      Among the things I like about the model I am looking at are that it is small – 16 feet – yet it has everything two people need to live comfortably for more than just a weekend. A large bed. A dinette table with two benches (plenty of room for me to work). A kitchen with a stove and an oven and a microwave oven. A two-piece ‘fridge that can be powered at least partially by solar. A shower and a toilet.

      I am only reluctant to proceed on account of not being able to just buy it. Ergo, having to finance it. That is something I generally do not do and have not done in years. But I worry that whatever I have saved may be gone, soon – and not because I spent it…

      • Hi Eric.

        I look at debt as either productive or not. I also separate needs from wants. That’s even more vital when resources are limited. I’d personally not do that. Why? Because its a net liability. It exposes you to the situation of being in debt, when not just the national, but the global economy is tanking. Look at how long it will take to pay that off. Even if you can make double payments. You will be exposed for years. Ask yourself, with how things are going, does the system have years before Bad Things™ happen? While it is more mobile than your home, that mobility is limited. When (not if) the Schiff hits the fan, the last place you want to be is on the roads, or anywhere close to them.

        I also look at debt as a series of missed opportunities. What else could you afford to buy out right, with even one year of payments? Let alone that of $18K and interest.

        If you really need to bug out, the local situation is going to have grown so bad, that hauling a trailer will make you and your friend stick out like a sore thumb. That’s why I suggested a good four season tent and the gear to support it. Its much more mobile than a trailer, and doesn’t attract attention. It also doesn’t take fuel to move it. That’s going to be a major consideration in times to come.

        But as always, the final decision is yours. You have different priorities and perceptions than I do. In any event, I wish both of you the very best of luck. We are all going to need it.

      • Hi Eric

        You could get a small camper to put on your truck, they are good enough, I have seen them as cheap as $500…..I recently saw a truck with a camper for $3500…that is better then paying rent…

  3. Here’s genuine first hand experience: I have lived on a sailboat, in a trailer, in a vardo (Gypsy wagon), and in an actual tipi. I traveled a LOT when I was younger. Boats are not cheap to live on, and will not save you much – if any – money. I lived in my 30′ sloop for about 7 years, eventually moving to a large cabin cruiser. Lots of challenges, lots of expenses, remarkable restrictions, and if you’re not passage-making not nearly as much freedom as you envision. I currently work as a department head at a marina in a coastal city, and my above view has simply been reinforced by what I see and the people with whom I talk.

    After that I sold my boat and bought land. 12 acres that were secluded but not exactly remote. I cut back into the woods, brought in a shipping container for storage and a travel trailer to live in and began building a cabin and converting it to a little hobby farm. Lots of fun for a while. But I did still have to earn some money and came back from a three day work trip to discover I’d been cleaned out. All my tools, two antique tractors, building supplies, a utility trailer, solar, and more had all been stolen and my travel trailer was gutted and gratuitously vandalized. A loss of several scores of thousands.

    You just can’t leave something like that. There’s always someone watching, and that will just get worse as things get worse.

    I live in a family owned compound (facing duplexes) in suburbia now, which has good and bad points. I have converted my former work van into a potential stealth camper, but don’t intend to ever use it for anything but travel and fun. Home is family and friends, and you’ve got things much better there than you ever will on the road. Safer, more comfortable, better in most ways.

    My experiences / opinions, and worth exactly what you paid for ’em

    • Hi Bill

      I lived in a boat for 5 months a year when working commercial fishing and on tug boats. i lived in a tent for 3 years in a remote construction site, I lived in a 26 ft RV for 2 years because I got sick of high rent, then lived for 11 years in a 27 ft sailboat to escape high rent. the sailboat was fine, with a small space you don’t collect a bunch of junk, that is why people buy 4000 sq ft houses and SUV’s to store all their useless junk they collect.
      The costs on the sailboat were mostly just moorage (1/3 the cost of renting an apartment) plus insurance, there was very little maintenance compared to a car, eventually there is some maintenance….haulout, bottom painting…..

      an apartment is more convenient but has other problems, a landlord, neighbors, parking issues, maybe bad neighborhoods, you are stuck in a box, can’t takeoff like in a boat or even an RV….

      a marina has better security then an apartment, you have water front property, better neighbors, fresher air, own where you live with no property tax….

      With a boat you could anchor or use a buoy, then pay no rent or property tax. that is too hardcore for most people…lol. with a boat there is free food…fish…

      ten years ago it was smart to use extreme leverage and get into the housing market = $$$$$. now the renters are smarter….

    • Hi Bill

      Boats are not cheap to live on, and will not save you much…..what issues did you have with your boat? My 27 ft sailboat wasn’t a money pit….maybe I was lucky….

  4. I wouldn’t do it Eric, that would be unnecessary debt, save up for it and wait it out like RG said. I don’t think I would even buy something I had to tow behind me. That’s going to be clumsy and inconvenient. Or, like Black Flag said, buy land, put up a small cabin, can be off the grid as much as you want—or—again, go for a truck camper. You might also think about those camper type vans like Mercedes makes and I guess Ford.
    Plus, why would you want to running up and down the road bugging out to go somewhere that might be worse than where you are? Sounds like you have a good setup already, chickens, ducks, dog, cat, garden. You are better off where you are to ‘hunker’ down. You are familiar with the area, know the people, have friends, etc. Don’t be going out among strangers. I’m in a pretty good spot, on 60 acres, can only see two houses in the winter when no leaves on the trees, mostly relatives, can’t see anyone in the summer. Just a short drive (1/4 mile) to end of my road, then scattered houses on main road. Friends and relatives close by that I can call if needed.
    Now, if any of you get desperate and need a place to go, you can come down here. We will set up a compound of all of us like minded ‘fanatics’, lol. We can be like that movie Tremors, where Reba and her husband had all those guns, lol. I had to look the name up, couldn’t remember it. The government will get wind of it, come down here and blow us all away like they have a history of doing—and then we really won’t have to worry about anything because we will all be dead.

  5. Rv’s are generally poorly built if not top of the line models. Don’t buy new, buy an old trailer or motorhome that needs work within your ability for cheap and move it onto a rural vacant lot. Or just buy the vacant lot and use the frontier to build a stout off-grid cabin. Rv’s need their roofs checked and resealed yearly, a small cabin is maintenance free for years or decades and can be built anywhere you can squeeze your truck and haul building materials-stealthy. Cheap/salvage rv’s are great sources for cabin appliances, wiring and plumbing and can be gutted/converted to storage or a workshop when too used up for living or travel.

    Offgrid cabin in the woods-start to finish. A good watch.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b3XqNW3Bd10

  6. Lots of great comments/advice below Eric.
    Re: “it may make sense to spend, in these abnormal times” I’ve reached that conclusion as well and just bought a new JD farm tractor. Between a need/want, but justifiable for the little farm, and it’s going to be 10-20% more next year with my dollar worth that much less.
    Re: RV. Lots of great advice mentioned already. The ones’ that stick out to me are:
    Floriduh man: your truck is going to kill itself, it’s not big enough or powerfull enough. going to ‘max allowed’ is not a good idea, think 50% of max allowed is much better and less stressful on you and it. Been there done that. Tag trailer towing is not the most fun thing to do, especially in your Appalachian region.
    JumpR: think of making your own. seen some very good ones. bathroom and heat are challenges though. must have a heat exchanger heater, not direct flame.
    RG: the covid buying of all recreation things was through the roof, never seen before. A lot of these people are already starting to question their use/purchase of these and there will be a glut of used ones soon at fire sales as they try to get out of their payments.
    RV’s can be a lot of fun, and has been for my famliy for over 10 years, but it’s work/reward.
    For me, the biggest issue was tow vehicle vs rv weight. I am at 60% max allowed now and have much less stress on me and it.
    Best of luck
    Best of luck.

  7. Plus side:
    Loan will be paid back with devalued dollars
    Mobile domicile can be used if real estate assets must be liquidated
    Can be lived in if permanent residence needs repairs
    Requires minimal maintenance

    Minus side:
    Interest paid
    RVs are in high demand with higher prices right now
    Not using it is a waste of $$
    No camper is ever put together 100% correctly

  8. WTH is a, “pay test”?

    Crack me Up: “i can not accept as true with how easy it become”

    ‘Is it real? Or, is it Memorex?’

  9. Eric, as others have mentioned, there may be times when stealth is necessary. If you have the time and some skillz, check out Utoob for enclosed cargo trailer conversions. There’s many cool ones out there and can give a lot of ideas. You control the weight, appliances, and layout of the trailer and most importantly, the insulation level since most RVs are poorly insulated.

    If necessary, you could park the truck along a road where parking is acceptable with trailer connected and stealth camp in it when a travel trailer RV would be moved along quickly by an AGW.

    I was heavily considering this option a while back and got some graph paper and started to lay things out on paper and was impressed with what I could potentially do. One of the items I was going to to do for myself that most RVs do not come with was have a light duty firearms safe to keep valuables inside. Let’s say the trailer wrecks, catches fire, etc, a light safe might help keep the things I want to keep, “safe”.

    My setup would have been on the cheap but still have had a shower inside, the shower water would come from a 5 gallon bucket and run through the propane powered portable shower water heater. Small AC unit that could be ran with shore power or small generator (this can be done very stealth with a home portable AC unit where the unit is inside and hoses can ran to holes in the floor so that no exterior AC unit is detectable). Small indoor safe propane heater for heat. Teardrop style outdoor kitchen. Rear door modified to become a level deck for the kitchen when lowered and a retractable awning overhead. There’s all kinds of toilet options you could use and when not showering (and possibly while showering), that’s where the toilet stores and is used.

    If you were to go with a DIY setup, I do recommend keeping it a single axle trailer to save weight. Check it out, you could potentially save a lot of money finding a used enclosed cargo trailer and using it as a blank slate.

    • Hi JK

      An unmarked work van with no windows, a van with the windows blocked off or a 1 ton cube van is good for conversion to a living space because they are stealth, RV’s or truck campers are bad news because they can see you are living in it, you might get fined. My friend lives in a Chev astro van 12 months of the year…..no rent…

      Or go to california, there is so much homelessness there they don’t bother the people living in RV’s on the street anymore. One guy bought a bunch of old $500 cars and rented them out to homeless to sleep/live in….lol….

  10. While I can’t say if it’s a good idea or not, but if you do buy it consider building a pole barn to keep it out of the elements so it will last longer. Lots of trailers leak and then rot away.

    • What I sometimes wonder is, how does a person keep the mice outta those things when they are in storage? Especially, in a pole barn.

      I’ve read about stuffing dryer sheets everywhere. Does that work very well? I can’t imagine Eric stuffing dryer sheets in his TA to keep mice out, he’s prolly got a mouse-proof garage.

      I knew a tiny pretty woman who had to put numerous holes in the drywall in her fancy house trying to find a big mouse that went in there & died & didn’t stop stinking. …

      I once had a river-rat boat. There were always mouse nests in it every Spring when I would untarp it. It was parked outside tho.

      …Then, there was that time a RAT made a nest under the intake manifold of my Hot Rod… chewed a sheet ton of wires! Fun times.

      These comments have all been interesting to read, yet, I imagine Eric with a gleam in his eye like Clark had in, ‘Christmas Vacation’ for that pool & I think, “He’s already went out & got the thing, lickety-split. Like, yesterday”.

      • Sticky mouse traps are very effective and do solve mice problems, just have to dispose of the little critters that will scare the bejesus out of you and any elephant in the jungle.

        A mouse trap with some peanut butter used as bait will catch any mouse in the house.

        A cat will help a lot.

        • Hi Drump,

          We have three inside cats – and no mice! I also find cats immensely calming. My old girl (16) Beezy is purring on her bed on the left side of my desk as I type…

          • Eric, the family cats number three at this time. At one time there were kittens, a total of 14 cats in the house until they were found homes. Back down to three cats, which can be tolerated. Those crazy cats know how to hang out, that’s for sure.

            Cats hunt, bring home dead birds, one cat, the youngest of them all, was eating a bunny rabbit here the other day. One cat brought a bird into the house, let it go, the bird flew towards the living room window to escape. Two cats descended on the bird, the bird still flew away. Finally landed on a pan lid in the kitchen, then flew out the back door.

            My second son asked if he bring home a cat from a farm, probably 40 cats later, the kitten population is under control. Spayed the female Siamese, her kitten days are over.

            Cats always thank you when you feed them, rub their heads on the back of my hand.

            • I had an outside cat, no mice problems and always brought me his trophies. He was 20ish years old, disappeared Memorial Day. He seemed like he was in good health, so he either went off somewhere to die or a critter got him. The rabbits know he is gone because they are everywhere this year. Can’t decide whether to get another one or not, have to have someone to feed him when gone and that’s aggravating. I sure do miss him though.

      • Helot, I’m a little baffled that I haven’t had much trouble with mice in the 22 years I’ve been storing our RV in a farm shed. Every time I put it away, I cover the outside openings for the water heater, fridge and furnace with heavy black plastic. Surprising that they haven’t chewed through that. I did have them get into a cardboard box one time that I had stored on top of the propane tanks and chew an electric cord off, so I don’t leave anything in that compartment anymore. For safety reasons it has to be open at the bottom.

      • Hey Helot, I found mice all the time in our closed off barn, the pole barn is home to many who pass through. We’ve got some cameras down there and we have been visited lately by a big ole clunky bobcat. Its funny seeing them try to run. We also have a great big mane coon named Sammy who probably singlehandidly sired most of the wild cats around here.

        He is a killing machine. Although some in the neighborhood give him elevated status. When the wife gophers 2-3 times a year she will sometimes catch dozens, leaving the carcausus out, they always disappear by the next day, Its funny listening to the neighbors talk of the cats gophering prowess when in that instance he just pretends to be the great hunter, when he is in fact more of a gatherer.

        In two years Ive yet to see a single mouse poop in our Avion. When I striped off the old floor I still didn’t see any. The vermin seem partial to our woodpile. Easily controlled between Sammy and mouse traps, even the Norwegian wood rats fall for the ole peanut butter with a walnut in it every time.

  11. Another alternative that might match someone’s goals for bugging out is a used live-aboard sailboat.
    Yes, it can be a hole in the water to pour money into. That can also describe RV’s, especially with fuel prices high and still rising.
    Sailing offers no-fuel transportation, a source of low cost protein from fishing, and a sense of accomplishment (from both sailing and fishing) that you don’t get from an RV.
    More freedom than you get with an RV and a possibility of escape from the tyrants in DC when it becomes necessary.
    Until that time, you can travel the great loop and with planning avoid northern blizzards and southern hurricanes.

    • I’ll second that, Mr. Galt!

      And the thing is, for what that trailer costs, or very little more, if one is not concerned with aesthetics, and the latest and greatest electronics and all of the fancy ‘yacht” crap, one can get a good solid (and quite large) sailboat, with a good small diesel pony motor.

      A friend picked up a mid 70’s 52’ Gulfstar a while back for under $20K. Sure, the teak was faded, and there was nothing modern or fancy…but just had to replace the starter in the Perkins diesel and clean her up a little, and he had an AWESOME practical boat that could sail virtually ANYWHERE in the world. Alas, the mast was too tall for where he wanted to keep it, and he also started having health problems, so he sold her to someone, on-time, for $25K. I was very disappointed to see it go- It’s REALLY nice knowing someone with a boat like that in these times. Get 12 miles out and no one’s gonna bother you, and the world is yours.

      Here’s a pic of that Gulfstar…
      https://i.imgur.com/SHGBU4U.jpeg

      Something like THAT is money well spent (But I wouldn’t go into debt for even that!) (Throw in another $1400 for a used Sunfish, to learn how to sail).

      • Hi Nunzio.

        I’ve always like the boat idea. I have some friends who have traveled all over the world in them. Its definitely better in terms of mobility than a camper/RV. But simply being outside of some gangs territory is no protection. Especially the major gangs with large deep water navies. Hell, even the minor gangs have coast guards that range well out side of their official territory. Then there is the matter of storms, and all the nasties that live in the oceans.

        Not to mention rogue waves. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_wave

        I’d much rather take my chances on dry land, than the many variables out in the deep ocean.

        • Hi BJ!

          Yep! Re: The 12 miles: Thing is, they generally don’t ‘patrol’ out there- unlike inland waterways, where you can just be minding your own business on a nice day, and a sea-going will just pull up to you.

          Yes, waves and storms…things breaking, and who-knows-what else- it can be daunting and scary and deadly….but the level of freedom you experience is unreal. And just the ability to be able to go places that are inaccessible to most others….. It really puts you in a different mindset, and makes you part of a very small minority, and just ‘puts you in a different place’ in every sense of the word- physically, spiritually, psychologically…..

          And you get used to the scary things and or learn how to deal with them. When I was a kid and got my first clam boat (Before I even had my first car) even the 5-mile wide bay seemed daunting (It was a rough bay…waves could be 6 feet if the wind kicked up)…it was scary. But you learn to deal with it…you learn how to handle the conditions, and develop confidence in your ability to do so…and before long, what used to be scary and daunting is just normal and not given a second thought.

          At this point, a boat is likely one’s only ticket out of here- whether to somewhere else…or to vagabond-hood/man without a country mode.

      • Hi Nuzio

        There is free sailboats….the boat needs maintenance, which costs more then the boat is worth so it is a liability, on going mooreage costs, insurance, and surveying costs, it costs more to tow it (very expensive) and there is recycling costs.
        Get one, anchor it = free rent…lol. There is small sailboats around 22 ft to 28 ft at reasonable prices, $2500 to $10,000….sailboats have an advantage, very low fuel costs…..

  12. Ask yourself this question: is it a NEED or a WANT?

    In general, if the need is so immediate that greater harm comes by not satisfying it than by servicing debt, then the answer is yes, sign an installment contract and pay it off, in advance if your means allow it.

    I can see the value of being able to live in reasonable comfort if things go to shit and you must “bug out”.

    • Hi Doug.

      That’s exactly what I’d be asking myself. While 18K isn’t that much in relative terms. Its much more than I’d want to be in debt given our current situation, and the near term possibility that things will get much worse quickly. One possibility would be to purchase a good four seasons tent. Then add solar panels and related gear. That would cost far less, and wouldn’t leave one in debt. Its also much more mobile and could be taken into areas that a camper/RV could never go to.

      • For $18K, I’d rather buy a few acres in the middle of nowhere- a second location- where one could build a Unabomber-style shack or even live in a tent. Put the property in a corporate name or some other such thing to keep it distinct from ‘you’- and it would really be a hideout…and even if one never used it, it would at least not depreciate, and more likely appreciate.

        But $18K and years of payments for something which is poorly made, and depreciates like dog poop on a hot Nevada day, and which may be used a couple of times a year? I don’t see any upside to that. And ya can’t really live in that li’l thing….too small…not enough storage even for essentials…not suited for four seasons.

          • Hi Nunzio

            Some people just live in mini vans, the dodge ones were cheap, they are stealth they don’t know you live in it…..why pay rent or a mortgage now that real estate is crashing…..

            I know someone that lives in a Jetta diesel station wagon with 2 dogs, I call him 2 dog night, there was a song by that name, I found out it meant that a 2 dog night is a night so cold that you have to sleep between 2 dogs to keep warm….lol

            • A minivan or Jetta is getting a little on the extreme side! I’d hope to have something I could at least stand up in.

              Back before I escaped Long Island, I was almost homeless in my late 20’s. Couldn’t find a place I could afford to rent…much less one that would accept pets. I was on the verge of buying an old school bush (A rather nice one..older, and cheap…but in good shape and all stock) to live in….but then I found a tiny cottage to rent- but I almost wish I had gone with the bus! (The landlord was a nice guy..but the cottage was pretty cheesy! Had some good entertainment though from the 6’7″ pot-head neighbor though…who lived in an even tinier cottage with his wife and bunch of cats)

        • another alternative is caves. there was a story about a guy who lived in a cave, he lived off dumpster diving, eating roadkill and donations of food from strangers, he lived with no money at all, he hated money….lol….men lived in caves for a long time….go stake out a cave now….beat the rush…..

        • Hi Nunzio

          There is another alternative……build a raised platform 1 foot off the ground maybe 8 ft by 12 ft, build a frame over it like a house, sloping roof, cover, seal the whole thing with plastic, then pitch a tent inside on the platform, add an airtight wood heater by the entrance door….you have a house, year round comfort and cheap to build. small trees can be used for poles for the frame, split shakes for the floor.

          • I like the way you think, Anon!

            What you suggest would be cheap, versatile, and comfortable!

            The school bus thing is a good option too. Some people make the mistake of using them for long-distance RVs, which can be a mistake unless one is careful to make sure they get one that is geared for the highway- which many school buses aren’t- but for shorter trips, or just stay-cations, they can be great, and last for ages.

            • Hi Nunzio

              Re: this setup, i lived in one for three years at a remote construction site, it was fine….build a frame over it like a house, sloping roof, cover, seal the whole thing with plastic, then pitch a tent inside on the platform….You need a power saw, a hammer, a shake froe, to split shakes, a hatchet, maybe 300 sq. ft. of heavy plastic sheeting, clear plastic lets light in, an airtight wood heater and a tent. It could be built for $500? ….. not including the tools….the homeless should do this….

            • Hi Nunzio

              I had a friend and we discussed this stuff, a school bus is great to convert, stronger then RV’s and cheaper, put a wood heater in it and finish the interior, park it on a remote lot…you have a house. Business opportunity…Buy a remote lot, clear a spot for your school bus, then clear 5 more spots and rent them to people to park RV’s etc..

              I saw a picture of a cave in a remote area that a Buddist Monk lived in, he had a stove, shelving, a bed and a garden out back, he died, the cave is vacant…..he was smart no rent…lol

              • Hey, Anon,
                I’ve basically been living that way for the last 20 years- just maybe one step up: When I moved here, I bout 27 acres, and a used singlewide mobile home ($12K)…built a small pole building for storage (Tools and stuff…not crap)…and I’ve ben living rent free ever since. Just have to pay utilities (Electric, water and phone) and property tax (&*^%$%^&&!!!) -$300 a year (“agricultural land, and a mobile home isn’t counted as real estate)- so I can live on fumes…which is good, because being extremely lazy and not interested in money, that’s exactly what I earn! And I used to still be able to save at least $100 a week…though not as much lately…).

                Pretty sweet- I even have an above ground pool (27′)….and beautiful views everywhere I look.

                I really don’t understand what I see so many others doing: Working their lives away- maybe they earn a lot of money on paper- but they live in crowded ugly oppressive cement shit-holes and pay a millionaire’s ransom to do so. I hope that those who run the rat race enjoy their moldy cheese- they’re paying a high price for it. If I die tomorrow, I’ll have no regrets, because I have enjoyed my life and served no one…and maximized my time, which is our most valuable commodity.

  13. Everybody has to come to grips with this at some point. Most here seem part of the responsible, saver, investor class. We always worked hard, carried little to no debt, and had a 12 month cushion of cash in the bank. One of the only disagreements my wife and I ever had regarding money was how much to leave in the bank. Its now down to three months, no need to make the Cyprusing we are all about to receive harder than it has to be.

    An RV is horrible place to put your money. We bought an old 26′ Avion in the summer of 20. It was only 8 grand and all original, we put 2 grand into it for new floors, toilet, and a few other minor improvements. It is now very nice, and I could easily get 15 grand, which I figure is the same as the 10 grand I have into it. We have only used it twice. It sits under our open air barn, ready to be rented out. Problem is I hate the idea of sharing my shit with a stranger, So for now its a BOL on our BOL.

    It is a wonderful feeling being able to tell whoever fuck yiou, I will not comply. No debt is a nice way to live with less stress. At this point a lifetime of hard work, saving investing, having a good credit score makes me feel like a sucker. This beast is going down, the debt isn’t even serviceable at this point. Makes me want to max all my credit cards and LsOC and buy guns, gold, silver.

  14. Another thing to consider, do you have someplace to go to with it? Not just an RV park/campground. ‘If everyone else is heading for the exits at the same time’ kind of thing.

    A lesson from hurricane Katrina was, have someplace to go To. Whatever you do, Do Not become a refugee.

    🌐 HURRICANE KATRINA – The Place With No Name

    http://www.theplacewithnoname.com/blogs/klessons/p/0038.html

    A guy I know sold his camper after many years, he found that all the campsites nearby were always located very near railroad tracks & crossings & he found it nearly impossible to get a good nights sleep. Relaxing & recharging was the main point of having the camper, negated by the train horns. I don’t know if it’s like that out East, too.

    As an alternative I’ve considered/daydreamed about buying a slice of land somewhere further away as a go to spot. Maybe set it up for two campers & rent one spot out to cover the expense?

    And, if you’re getting it as primarily bug out – while certainly not luxurious comfort – an over the cab pickup bed camper seems more practical & nimble. YMMV.

    A challenge to contemplate, can you make an income stream somehow from your camper purchase? Thereby making it a true investment.

    “Note that the decision of the toolmaker to allocate the two loaves of bread towards the purchase of materials is likely to have a positive contribution toward the production of future consumer goods.” …

    https://mises.org/library/what-condition-us-savings

    I’ve read some interesting blogs by not-twenty-something couples doing adventure camping/traveling in setups similar to this:

    https://www.adventure-journal.com/2022/04/driving-anywhere-and-fixing-anything-in-a-sweet-95-landcruiser/

    I imagine they made some income from blogging about their life.

    • Helot took the words out of my mouth!

      In addition to his wise words, I would also add that camping trailers are notoriously poorly built (There are a few brands that build ’em well- but you’ll PAY for that!) and lose their value quickly when bought new. The appliances they come with are often of substandard quality…yada, yada. I would NEVER go into debt for such a thing. Older functional used ones can often be had cheaply- and often have already have the problems fixed.

      My preference, if I had a place to go with it, would be to buy an old step van (Extra points for an aluminum Grumman one)…put in a composting or other portable terlit; a water tank, hot plate, toaster oven, bed….a self-contained sturdy stealth camper, that could be parked on the street even (Or in an industrial area…or a parking lot), and slept in without detection. An older simple one would be EMP-proof and mechanically bulletproof (Many have Chevy 350’s with TH400 trannies- plain HEI distributor ignition. They have tough tires, often with dual rears…) -And it would never depreciate, and would likely appreciate.

      Save the scratch to buy it…and outfit it little by little as you go. Yeah, time may well be of the essence, but that also means that of all times, this is NOT the time to acquire debt- even a small one.

      A camping trailer is not stealth; it is not going to take going much off of the beaten path; a good wind can blow it over….and it makes you stick out like a sore thumb just about anywhere, other than a campground…which is the LAST place you’d want to be.

      • Nunz, great point about workmanship. Except for high-end models, it’s usually pretty dismal. Our kitchen sink is stainless steel, but not very good quality. It has a rough finish that makes it impossible to keep clean. Same for the plastic shower and bathroom sink: they don’t have a nice slick finish that cleans easily. Other hardware and materials also are cheap. We don’t worry about it because for us, camping stuff doesn’t have to be pretty.
        Our appliances are great, however. Nice three-burner gas stove with oven. Gas/electric refrigerator-freezer, with separate doors for each. A lot of the cheap trailers have a refrigerator with an aluminum box inside it for a freezer, which isn’t worth a crap. I like having something that will keep ice cream treats frozen. Who wants to camp if you can’t have a Klondike bar?
        The stove and fridge have been going strong for more than 20 years with no repairs. The original microwave quit, so I replaced it with a cheap little one that I used to have in my shop.
        Another thing to keep in mind is that you might not be able to go in certain places if you’re pulling a tall-ish trailer. The Walmart near one of the state parks where we camp a lot put up bars over the entrances to their parking lot a few years ago, presumably to keep campers and large trucks out. Baffling why they would want to lose that business.

        • Hey Roland,
          You had me scratching my head there for a moment [Darn nits! 🙂 ] -till I read:

          “The stove and fridge have been going strong for more than 20 years with no repairs. “.

          That ‘splains it! They literally do not make ’em like that anymore. They don’t even make household appliances like that anymore…and RV appliances are about 10 steps below an Easy-Bake oven these days….. (Well, I shouldn’t say that- at least with an Easy-Bake oven, worst that can happen is the bulb burns out, or you get get food poisoning from the mystery cake mix!)

          I like how in the video accompanying this article, the salesman mentions that you can’t use the standard fridge while you’re going down the road (so what good is it?) but ya need the bigger, solar fridge if you want that ‘luxury’….

          \But that’s the least of it- If you’ve ever tiunkered with these things, or have seen how they’re built…. Cheesy luan and particle board stapled together by unskilled cretins at the speed of light.

          • “Cheesy luan and particle board stapled together by unskilled cretins at the speed of light.”

            I have to agree with you, Nunz. Out of the few cars that have hit my poor fence over the years was a Ford F150 toting a pull behind Gulf Stream. The truck hit the fence and the trailer (which didn’t even come into contact with the fence) flipped on its side and split into four separate pieces. Clothes, food, and appliances scattered the highway for three hours. They showed up with two tow trucks – one, for the truck (which could be saved), and the second tow truck had to be heading for the dump because Humpty Dumpty wasn’t putting that back together again.

            Might as well go big or go home. If I wanted to buy a trailer, I think I would go with the truck/trailer combo like the Winnebago motor home or one of the Minnie Winnie’s. Two for one option. I can sleep in my car. 🙂

            • Cool story, RG! HAhaha! Yes, it doesn’t take much…campers and motorhomes…just hit the least little thing, and one gets to see an instant cutaway view- they just fly apart!

              My friend/client was dealing in used RVs a while back for a while, so I got to see some interesting stuff. Mostly big motorhomes and toy haulers- didn’t matter- Southwind, Winnebago….they were all exactly the same- all junk- thin fiberglass sheathing stapled onto thin particle board….everything inside feels cheesier than a toy- and everything creaks and rattles and breaks. They get a little water in ’em from a tiny leak (And they all leak sooner or later- many even from the day they’re new) and ya get mold and rot.

              Only one I ever saw that was worth a darn was one that was built on a Gillig bus chassis…it was old, but built like a tank…but try getting mechanical parts for it! (Gotta ask my friend if he ever found an axle shaft for it…there was something unique about it- it was different than the ones commonly found on most Gilligs…and I don’t believe he ever found one, ’cause I never remember selling the “Gilligan”.).

          • Yeah, I was confused about the fridge too. Ours is propane/electric, so if you set it to Auto it will switch to gas if it doesn’t have electricity, and switch back when you plug the trailer in at the campsite. I wouldn’t want anything that won’t work in transit – that’s barely an improvement over a cooler.

        • Especially after COVID, I understand that quality is really bad. People who seem to know what they’re talking about have told me the thing to do is buy one that’s 2, 3, maybe 4 years old. Still new enough, but all the bugs and leaks etc have been sorted. I bought mine when it was 2 years old, pre covid, and the original owner showed me all the records for repairs and warranty stuff he had fixed. Holy shit. Leaks, doors that don’t close, blinds that won’t close, lights that don’t work, loose faucets, windows that won’t open, the paperwork he gave me was unbelievable. He paid 25k and then a bunch of time and money to get it up to snuff. I bought it for 14k and haven’t had a problem since. Never buy a brand new camper. Let some other sucker sort it out and then grab it when it’s 2 or 3 years old and all the problems have been fixed. And don’t forget all the additional costs. Yeah, your truck might pull it, but if you want to be comfortable, you’ll need a weight distribution hitch, probably an electric brake controller. Then there’s all the other stuff, leveling blocks, sewer hoses, water hoses, filters, electric cables and adapters, wheel chocks, on and on. Also Eric, I would be concerned about the towing capacity of your truck. Dry weight of camper is 2500 and I think the capacity of your truck is about what, 3500? Well, that doesn’t mean shit. Add up the weight of everything in your camper, cargo, back of your truck, any water that you carry, propane, however much you and your girlfriend weigh, that is the capacity of your truck. I don’t think your gen 1 frontier has the juice. And then calculate the max tongue weight, you almost certainly don’t have enough truck for that.
          Is a camper good or bad? No answer. Depends on what you are looking for. I enjoy mine, but I also know that I don’t save any money on travel. It’s just a different lifestyle. As far as going into debt for one right now? If it’s what you want, go for it. Debt? That’s how a lot of people get rich. Borrow money today and pay it back tomorrow at reduced rates. You said the payment would be about $150 a month. I’m assuming you are looking at a 10 year loan. 5 years from now, after inflation? That’ll be like the change in your couch cushion! Good luck in your decision, we all need to figure out what works for ourselves.

      • Hi Nunzio.

        I was just about to mention that. But I’d prefer a good four seasons tent. This is mainly a test. I’m having issues posting comments.

      • Hi Nunzio

        i knew someone who had an unmarked 1 ton cube van, behind the cab was his bed and a small living space, the rear remaining rear space he used for work, hauling stuff or whatever, a multipurpose van…..

        • Yes, Anon- I saw a video on Jootube a while back of a guy who did a really nice (But not extravagant or expensive) conversion to a cube van. Made everything himself, and adapted appliances he got from Home Dee-pot….it was definitely much stuirdier than any RV, and much more roomy. Looked very iunviting- like you’d just WANT to stay in it once you saw it- buit outside, it looked like any other cube van.

  15. My ex-wife was a spender, I am a saver. I still hold a grudge against her (and will never release it) for screwing up my life with debt, chaining me to a job and career I detested in the corporate world, as well as regularly having to work a second job, and having to relocate from a state that I loved (Colorado), because of her spending. The very first thing I did when I left her after far too long – saving money. I stuffed $100 in an envelope that I kept in my lockbox for “oh shit” money – you know, “Oh shit, I ran out of gas and it’s a week to payday”; or “Oh, shit, my checking account is overdrawn and I need to deposit something now!” Then I opened a savings account and made sure it had $500 in it. You know why – because something like half of the population of the US can’t come up with $500 for an emergency. Now, years later, I have more than a year’s worth of savings in the bank and little debt/low expenses. So I have “fuck you” money, and when the covid scam came along, I was able to tell my employer “fuck you” and mean it. And I won’t take on any more debt if I can help it.

    Would I go after the RV you’re looking at? Probably, but I wouldn’t be financing it. Or at the very least, I’d throw more than 50% down and finance only a smaller amount. But that’s not my decision to make, it’s yours. Just because I’m allergic to debt doesn’t mean you have to be.

  16. Eric, I suspect that other RVers will chime in, but here are a few of my thoughts. I’ll add more if I think of any.
    We still have the smallish (25’9″) fifth-wheel camper that we paid $14k cash for new in 1998. I pull it with my even more ancient ’95 Dodge Cummins. We used it a lot when our daughter was little, but now we go just a few times a year at most, and sometimes not at all. There have been several years when I drained the RV antifreeze out and sanitized the fresh-water system only to put antifreeze right back in it the next autumn after only one trip.
    – These things can deteriorate (and depreciate) rapidly if they are out in the elements all the time. We’ve always stored ours in a machinery shed on the farm, so it still looks pretty good except for the mud dauber nests and bird poop. Indoor storage is expensive if you don’t have a place for it yourself. Even small RVs tend to be fairly tall because of the air conditioner on top, so not just any little shed will do.
    – In my opinion, you shouldn’t anticipate saving much on travel expenses. You won’t have to pay a hotel, but you’ll probably have to pay for a campsite or some other place to park it. To be reasonably comfortable you’ll need electricity, water, and a place to dump the tanks. And if you don’t have a “city water” hookup, you’ll need a way to refill your fresh-water tank – often, if two people are using the shower. It will be an oven in the summertime without AC, which obviously you can’t power with a solar panel. Even in state parks, it typically costs us around $100 to camp for a weekend. Still less than a hotel, but when you consider the cost of ownership, you can pay for a lot of nights in a hotel with $18,000 (plus interest).
    – Your efficient pickup will be less so pulling a high-drag trailer.
    – You’ll have to winterize it to keep the plumbing from freezing up over the winter. Once you do that, you can’t use the fresh-water system until you drain the antifreeze out and sanitize the system with bleach. So long story short, once you winterize, the thing is useless until spring unless you are willing to do without plumbing. Some RVers winterize without antifreeze by blowing the system out with compressed air, but I’ve always been afraid that I won’t get it all out and something will freeze and break.
    – I used ours once for a business trip to Michigan, and it was a pain in the ass. I wouldn’t recommend it.
    – Having somebody riding in a trailer strikes me as a very bad idea, mainly because the person back there can’t communicate easily with the driver. I’m pretty sure it would also result in a major run-in with an AGW if you got caught.
    – You’ll have to license it, which is another hassle, albeit not a huge expense. In our state we now can get a permanent license, so that’s less bad. I insured ours for the first year or two and then decided it wasn’t worth it, but I assume that if you borrow to buy it, you’ll be forced to deal with your beloved mafia to the tune of several hundred bucks a year.
    So, especially considering your aversion to debt, I’m guessing this won’t be a good fit for you, but of course I could be wrong. When we talked to a salesman about trading ours in on a new smaller one, the trade-in he offered was insulting. I know that in normal times you can pick up used trailers for next to nothing, but needless to say we’re no longer in normal times. Have you looked for a used one? Maybe their prices have gone the way of used cars; I don’t know.

    • Hi Roland

      I bought a 26 ft RV 11 years ago for $3500, everything worked in it, it had a 440 engine so I didn’t drive it too far, very poor fuel economy, I had it 2 years and sold it for about the purchase price, I spent nothing on it, only insurance, did a couple of repairs myself, maybe I was lucky. Now the prices are higher and there is fewer for sale……

  17. “Living on the road, my friend
    Was gonna keep you free and clean
    Now you wear your skin like iron
    Your breath’s as hard as kerosene” – Townes Van Zandt, Pancho and Lefty

    Sell the Virginia property, buy the single-wide, take the trip to some new digs. Liquidate, go big, then go home someplace else on the planet. A dog is always along for the ride, head out the window, happy places out there on the road.

    “Just a bunch of rocks, Lincoln hasn’t even got an ear.” – Woody from Nebraska, the movie

    How Bruce Dern as Woody in the movie described Mount Rushmore.

    Move to Arizona, it’ll be warm all of the time. Willcox has properties for sale, the grape business in Willcox is a draw, has a local brewery and is a favorite place for people interested in the Old West. I-10 goes through Willcox, you won’t be isolated in the middle of nowhere.

    It is out of the way, only 3500 souls live there, not too expensive for some homes for sale. Land can be the right price. You’ll learn to speak some Spanish.

    My brother-in-law bought a motor home with a 150 gallon diesel fuel tank. 800 dollars to drive 1200 miles in just too much.

    He died, the motor home sits there and doesn’t move.

    Homeless people out there wandering around these days, you can tell, they smell bad.

    • ‘Move to Arizona, it’ll be warm all of the time.’ — drumphish

      Actually, you can pick a climate to your taste.

      In 2-1/2 hours on I-17, you can leave the Sonoran desert in Phoenix (1,100 ft altitude), pass not far from Prescott (5,400 ft, with some forest) and end up in Flagstaff (7,000 ft, with thick forest, a ski area, and 100 inches of snow in winter).

      Eighty percent of the state’s population resides in the desert (Phoenix and Tucson). That leaves the higher altitude areas fairly uncrowded.

      • “…The higher altitude areas fairly uncrowded.”

        That where my land rests and where I’m headed VERY soon. 🙂

        In fact, I can’t wait to acclimate to that higher altitude, which is something I haven’t been able to do all these years. Could never stay up there long enough. Difficult tasks are always a little more difficult up there.

        • Hey BaDnOn:
          I love Arizona, so pretty. Me and my late husband flew out to Vegas, drove along the South Rim, then on to Phoenix, he was with the FAA at the time, had a class he had to attend. I was four months pregnant. We rented a very small car of some kind, driving through all that lonesome country with no cell phones at the time, if something had happened to us, we would’ve been up the creek. Maybe only saw one car some days. Sedona was beautiful. I could live up in those mountains. I might be a little jealous.

  18. We’ve had a medium-sized Jayco for several years and it’s been largely reliable and fun. The Tundra pulls it up steep grades with no issues and it’s big enough for my wife and our four kids. The smaller unit you’re considering could easily be towed behind your Nissan, but go easy on steep grades with that 4-cylinder.

    The talk about RVs reminds me of the refugees fleeing the cities after the alien strike in Independence Day. I hope we’re not quite there yet, but with NATO member Lithuania deciding to cut off the Russian trains to Kaliningrad (a Russian enclave surrounded by Poland and the Lithuania), a flashpoint might be brewing that I don’t want to contemplate.

    • Hi Doc.

      I’ve been watching that. Tiny Lithuania wouldn’t have done that on its own. Its likely the Empire pulling the strings. Lets hope that Putin doesn’t take the bait. Kaliningrade can be supplied from the coast if need be. Both the Empire and the UK are actively pushing for WWIII. Neither have looked at the horrible risks involved. This isn’t some weak third world country that they are used to bullying. Russia these days is a near peer competitor, with as many nukes as the Empire has. Not to mention a major military power. Given the beating its giving the Urkies, in spite of all of the tens of billions the Empire has poured in there, you’d think that the EU wouldn’t want any part of this. But that would be expecting common sense, and a regard for their own people.

  19. Eric,
    My wife and I just bought a Retro Trailer 17-footer just for the reasons you sight. We can enjoy camping but nice to know I have a bug out rig to tow to Idaho with my armory just in case.

  20. ‘So, I am . . . hesitant.’ — eric

    The RV industry experienced an unprecedented boom during the brief recession of March-April 2020 — totally contrary to its normal behavior as an industry even more cyclical than autos.

    That was all driven by covid, of course.

    Odds are that in the next recession — probably starting or underway now — RVs will reassert their normal boom-to-bust sales collapse in hard times. High fuel prices and higher interest rates on financing only add to the pressure.

    A local dealer who set up shop three years ago thought his main business was going to be sports cars and classic vehicles. It is … but he’s doing a brisk business selling RVs too — many of them only a year or two old, in pristine condition.

    Some were bought during the covid boom by folks who now have discovered they really don’t want to spend that much time on the road.

    Plenty more will become available next year, probably at even lower prices.

    The fun is just beginning.

    • Hi Eric,

      I agree with Jim. They will be many available to you next year at even lower prices. I am sitting back and waiting. I expect great sales on second homes, luxury SUVs, boats, and RVs to only be a year or two away.

      Several people I know refinanced their homes taking cash out to buy new toys over the last two years. Hell is coming for them. I will be right behind the repo man with my checkbook in hand. If you have $100K sitting in the bank and really want one, sure go get it. If you do not and you have to finance it, no go.

      There will be people that do not agree with me and who will argue that debt is the best bet against inflation. It’s still debt though. Interest rates have increased. If you are looking at a $150/month payment on a $16K trailer you will end up financing, it for 10 years for a total cost of $20365 at an interest rate of 5%.

      Start putting aside the money for now. If you can stash $150, $300, or $500/month do it. You can come up with a pretty good nest egg that will allow you to purchase the trailer at a date in the near future. Also, cash is synonymous with that other magical word called “negotiation.”

  21. The fiat currency system rewards debt. You pay the debt with devalued “money” that’s not worth as much as the “money” you borrowed. The problem being that if the economy turns to crap, as it appears to be doing, can you come up with those devalued dollars? That aside, the main reason I avoid debt like the plague, a real one, is the obligation it entails. A regular monthly cost you cannot even mitigate, much less avoid, and keep the property involved. Another reason is that many, if not most lending contracts, including mortgages, grant the lender the right to call the note in, in its entirety, at any time. I discovered this in my own mortgage, way back when I had one, by reading the fine print. In the face of extreme inflation, why would a lender not call in that note and get their money back while it’s still worth something? Another interesting tid bit in the fine print was that I was paying $1 per month rent on the property, that the lender actually owns, but does not pay property tax on.
    In a calamity which might encourage you to flee in that camper, will you still be able to maintain that monthly payment? Or will you be constantly under threat from the repo man?
    The ongoing obligation is the worst part of debt.
    My former wife was an excellent business partner. We kept our lifestyle at a level where either one of our incomes could finance it. Hence either one of us could simply quit, after debating the reason with the other. She usually discouraged me quitting, while I usually encouraged her to. She was a shopaholic, and liked having “extra” money to save by spending it, on “sales”.

    • Good points John. But for me, the biggest reason to not have debt is because I hated watching my paycheck come in and go right back out again. Once you get on the credit it is very hard to get off. Managing payments becomes another job if you carry a balance on credit card(s). Knowing that a margin call can happen any time just adds to the worry.

  22. True. Before the interesting times, I was arranging to pay down mortgage debt ASAP to reduce amt of interest paid. Now, I am more comfortable paying just the monthly amount.

    At this point:
    • (1) the money paid back is being devalued at a greater rate than the interest on the debt.
    • (2) I can use the available money for items that are currently more important to me.

    Each individual should look into what works best for their situation.

    Reminds me of stories of people running to the stores to buy anything of value before their money is devalued to the point that it cannot buy anything of worth. (Thinking of Argentina, and Venezuela although it probably happened in other places and times before.)

    • mithrandir,
      Or, Weimar Germany, where workers were paid twice a day, and wives picked up their husband’s pay at lunchtime, and went out and spent it. The husband spent the other paycheck on the way home.

  23. https://roanoke.craigslist.org

    Most people don’t use their trailers more than a few times or they use them constantly. People retire, think they’re going to travel, then “poppy” gets sick and there goes the dream of hitting all the national parks. The trailer just sits on the pad until ol’ dad kicks the bucket and the kids don’t want it.

    Go to an RV show, preferably a big one with lots of different brands on display. You’ll quickly notice a trend -they’re all pretty much the same. Same layouts, same cabinets, same crappy upholstery. The exception being the big high-end models built on Prevost bus chassis and Airstreams, but that’s not in your budget anyway.

    • Ready,
      A couple of decades ago, I briefly worked at an RV dealer. You’re right, there isn’t much difference. Old used Airstreams would occasionally come through, and while being somewhat worn, were STILL better than new from other makers, because of their exceptional build quality, and still a bargain compared to new other brands

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