Box of 1 Million Sleeps

My effort to construct a portable and sustainable home-on-wheels capable of some serious boondocking.

Principals of Operation

Ordered roughly by importance, the following sections describe our major concerns with the properties of manufactured travel trailers, as well as some home-built RV’s and “tiny houses” that can be seen around the Interwebs. Solutions to these concerns will be revealed here, along with basic implementation details. Where necessary, as in major systems, entire pages or sections will contain further details of the construction, for my own recognizance as well as for anyone who would like to learn through my effort.


Having owned and modified a couple of manufactured RV’s in the past, I already know some pain points in the basic equipment found in your run-of-the-mill camper. Our home on wheels will be spacious, well-insulated, incorporate large windows and natural lighting throughout, and contain materials and fixtures found in normal homes. Appliances are RV- or marine-grade in general but of high quality, efficiency and utility, in contrast to the one-size-fits all accoutrements found in affordable manufactured models. The galley features a deep stainless steel basin and large countertop. Underneath, small drawers are all that is necessary for most cutlery, silverware, and cooking accessories, while a large drawer reveals the massive 100L chest-style refrigerator. No space is wasted as beneath the sink are slide-out storage racks to help use typically wasted space.


The on-board water supply dwarfs a typical RV system, with 100 gallon tank pumped to fixtures via 4.5gpm marine-grade pump. Water, interior and food are heated from a 100 pound propane tank, which should last up to a few months during winter months between refills. 600 Watts of solar panels on the roof can be tilted toward the sun and feed a bank of 645Ah lead-acid batteries via an MPPT charge controller to maximize efficiency. That power generation and storage capacity coupled with low on board power requirements shall provide continuous off-grid power to an array of 12v devices, and occasionally to 115v AC devices as required.


Well, there will be big windows. So we gotta work out some blinds. I was thinking of the home-brew variety.


I don’t wanna be working on it all the time, but I also want to take it all over and live in it! So that’s a tall order. I had better build it well! To that end, I’m using heavily braced and sheathed wall construction, hurricane straps on the roof and uplift prevention straps on all the studs and window/door headers. The exterior will be entirely sheathed, wrapped and covered in sheet metal.


The first alteration I made to the trailer was a spring flip, in order to increase the clearance.

Low Cost

My goal is to keep the total cost under $8000.
See below for the itemized list.

6/1/2016CraigsList26' Tandem Axle Trailer, no title, scrap$300.00
6/1/2016CraigsList2.5"x2.5" Angle Iron, 1/4" thick, six pieces$75.00
11/29/2017Habitat ReStoreSink basin, switches, hurricane brackets, countertop, skylight, towel bar, faux wood flooring$400.00
11/30/2017Habitat ReStore3'x6' window, 2.5'x6' window$150.00
12/12/2017Home DepotPainters Touch Flat Black$3.876$23.22
12/14/2017Amazon2 of U-bolt Kit for Mounting 3,500-lb, Round Trailer Axles - 5-1/2" Long U-bolts$16.992$33.98
12/14/2017AmazonPartsam 6" Sealed 12V Trailer LED Light kit$29.991$29.99
12/14/2017AmazonLavolta 7-Way Trailer Truck Camper Plug Cord with 7-Pole Wiring Junction Box$32.901$32.90
12/29/2017AmazonSuburban (2438ABK) Nt-16Seq Furnace with Black Grill$369.001$369.00
12/29/2017AmazonSEAFLO Pre-Pressurized Accumulator Tank$29.991$29.99
12/29/2017AmazonSet of 4 5000 lb 24" RV Trailer Stabilizer Leveling Scissor Jacks$88.981$88.98
12/29/2017AmazonBlaupunkt San Jose 120 DVD Receiver$129.991$129.99
12/29/2017AmazonTrailer Leaf Spring Shackle Bolts 9/16" -18 X 3-1/2" long with Lock Nuts$14.292$28.58
12/29/2017AmazonNewpowa 2 Piece 100W Polycrystalline Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel Module$216.793$650.37
12/29/2017AmazonMetra 44-EC18 18-Inch Antenna Extension Cable$5.991$5.99
12/29/2017AmazonGO POWER GPCEP Cable Entry Plate Solar$23.991$23.99
12/29/2017AmazonRenogy CNCT-MC4Y Branch MC4 Y connector in Pair MMF+FFM$11.253$33.75
12/29/2017AmazonSeaflo 12V WATER PRESSURE DIAPHRAGM PUMP 4.5GPM 17 L/MIN 40 PSI$69.991$69.99
12/29/2017AmazonCamplux 16L 4.22GPM Outdoor Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater$279.991$279.99
12/29/2017Amazon60A MPPT SOLAR Charge Controller DC 12V 24V 36V 48V MPPT-60F$259.001$259.00
12/29/2017AmazonAdjustable Solar Panel Mount Rack Folding Tilt Legs, (41-inch Length)$99.993$299.97
12/29/2017Amazon4 x Blaupunkt 6.5" 4-way Car audio coaxial speakers 6-1/2" 720W$49.991$49.99
1/21/2018Tank 'N BarrelPCO 100 + 2x1/2" Bulkheads + 3/4" Bulkhead$277.421$277.42
2/16/2018Sam's ClubDuracell GC2$84.526$642.51
2/16/2018Home DepotPainters Touch Flat Black$3.482$6.96
2/16/2018Home DepotRoof Cement$11.971$11.97
2/26/2018Home DepotPL Premium FastGrab 10oz$7.473$23.00
2/26/2018Home DepotPlyMetal TEKS 10x1-7/16", 100pcs$7.781$7.78
2/26/2018Home Depot23/32 OSB TG .703"x47.75"x95.75"$26.885$135.00
2/26/2018Home Depot3M High Strength 90 Spray$11.973$39.00
2/26/2018AmazonNailPro 3"x.120 Type 304 Stainless 21 Degree Ring Shank Collated Framing Nails 1000ct.$62.291$62.29
3/2/2018Home DepotPL400 SubFloor Adhesive 10oz$3.842$7.68
3/5/2018HomCoSmartbond Subfloor Adhesive$19.991$19.99
3/7/2018eBayINSIGNIA 24" LED LCD 1080p TV$129.991$129.99
3/13/2018Home Depot1.5"x5.5"-96.625" Stud$2.5040$100.00
3/13/2018Home Depot1.5"x3.5"-96.625" Stud$2.502$100.00
3/13/2018Home Depot1.5"x3.5"-96" Stud$2.504$100.00
3/14/2018Home Depot1.5"x2.5"-96" Stud$2.5010$27.24
3/16/2018Home DepotGrip-Rite #11 x 1-1/2 in. Electro-Galvanized Steel Roofing Nails$10.471$10.47
3/16/2018Home DepotEverbilt 1/2 in. - 13 tpi x 4 in. Galvanized Coarse Thread Carriage Bolt$2.0224$48.48
3/16/2018Home DepotEverbilt 1/2 in. Galvanized Lock Washer (50-Pack)$10.201$10.20
3/16/2018Home DepotEverbilt 1/2 in. Galvanized Flat Washer (25 per Bag)$7.311$7.31
3/16/2018Home Depot1.5"x5.5"-96.625" Stud$5.462$10.92
3/16/2018Home DepotEverbilt 1/2 in.-13 tpi Galvanized Hex Nut (25-Piece per Bag)$8.552$17.10
3/16/2018Home DepotSimpson 25' 16g coiled strap$30.972$61.94
3/16/2018Home Depot1.5"x2.5"-96" Stud$2.504$10.00
3/17/2018Home Depot1.5"x2.5"-96" Stud$2.5010$25.00
3/20/2018Home DepotSimpson 25' 16g coiled strap$30.972$67.48
3/22/2018Home Depot1.5"x2.5"-96" Stud$2.5016$40.00
3/22/2018Home DepotSimpson 25' 16g coiled strap$30.972$61.94
3/25/2018Home DepotSimpson 25' 16g coiled strap$30.972$61.94
3/25/2018Home DepotH1Z Hurrican Tie$0.844$3.36
3/25/2018Home DepotEverbilt 1/2 in. - 13 tpi x 4 in. Galvanized Coarse Thread Carriage Bolt$2.024$8.08
3/25/2018Home Depot7/16" OSB 4'x8' Sheathing$17.9514$251.30
3/25/2018Home Depot1.5"x2.5"-96" Stud$2.5020$50.00
3/25/2018Home Depot3/8" Plywood 4'x8'$26.831$26.83
3/25/2018Home Depot3x165 Tyvek HouseWrap$66.252$132.50
3/25/2018Home Depot2" Galvenized Ring-Shank Nails$21.46$21.46
3/25/2018Home DepotTyvek Tape$13.253$39.75
3/25/2018Home Depot4d galv roofing nails, 1lb$2.981$2.98
3/25/2018Home DepotPL400 SubFloor Adhesive 10oz$3.849$34.56
4/2/2018HomCoFW675 DuPont FlexWrap$182.991$182.99
4/2/2018HomCoPL400 SubFloor Adhesive 28oz$5.692$11.38
4/2/2018HomCoHenry BlueSkin 4x75 Water Barrier$10.992$21.98
4/4/2018Home Depot16ga 1-1/2" finish nails$9.464$37.84
4/4/2018Home DepotPL400 SubFloor Adhesive 28oz$5.632$11.26
4/4/2018Home Depot1/4" Plywood 4'x8'$26.2210$262.20