Thursday, June 9, 2016

Advanced Moochdocking Kit

Sure, there's boondocking somewhere out on BLM land, and then there's Waldocking at Walmart, but sometimes the best spot to stay for a night (or 14) is in the backyard or driveway of a close friend or remote internet acquaintance. That's what they call "moochdocking."

Over Thanksgiving of last year, we did just that, set up camp in Ann's brother's family's backyard for a while. Okay, a month. Problem was, other than plenty of space, they didn't have any of the "facilities" we'd need to keep the trailer connected to power, full of water and empty of, well, you know. This wouldn't be the usual low profile driveway surfing, this would be "Advanced Moochdocking."

As we raced across the country towards the East Coast, I started putting together a list of what we'd need to make it work, and I've included the components that we used below for anyone interested.

Our location on the property was about 100' from a septic cleanout on the back corner of the house. It was also about 2' below the level of the cleanout. While a water-powered system like the SewerSolution was tempting, we ultimately felt that a 12V macerator pump was the only thing really capable of covering the distance and elevation increase. 
While not actually spec'd to pump that far, the reviews online definitely reported people having success and suggested using as large a diameter hose as possible. The output fitting on the macerator pump was 3/4", so we decided to stay at that diameter the whole length. Note, when possible, we went with dark colors to be as discreet as possible. 
The septic cleanout was threaded 4" PVC, perfect for this angled adapter we already used for dumping. 
This adapter converted the bayonet fitting on the end of our 90 degree adapter to accept the 3/4" hose. By this point in the planning, my mind was spinning with males to females and thread sizes, but this combo was perfect. 
We also already had this clear adapter which while, okay pretty nasty, is kinda essential when dumping to get an idea of when your tanks are clean. In the case of the macerator, it was needed to prevent it from jamming and blowing a fuse when presented with a ball of toilet paper. Eventually, I realized that I could use the flush valve on the macerator to blast some water in to break up jams whenever I saw something that might cause trouble. And before you ask, we actually don't use any fancy RV TP in the trailer, just not the super thick stuff and something that says it's safe for septic systems. Using an RV TP might go a long way towards preventing fuses blowing, but we don't really like having to go in search of it all the time. 
All that being said, I did go through a number of fuses before I figured things out. Having a pack of these 20A blade fuses around was a nice way to make sure we didn't get stuck in the middle of the process. Note that they're the same used in many of the DC circuits inside the trailer as well.

Even after I figured out how to prevent a seizure that would blow a fuse, the pump would still shut itself off every 3 minutes or so - maybe 3 times total through the process - to cool down for 5 minutes. 
To get water over to the trailer, we got this 1/2" drinking water safe hose. For the flushing operation, I connected it to our 25' flush hose. Having inline on/off valves on pretty much all of our hoses definitely minimizes walking back and forth to spigots. 
And a hose reel like this or similar was nice since I tried to put everything away neat and tidy after each dump. 
To provide AC power for the trailer to charge batteries and use the household outlets, this 10 gauge 100' extension cord isn't cheap but minimized the voltage loss on the long run from the house. When connected to our on board electrical management system, I show 119V which has been plenty even with space heaters running most of the time this winter. I haven't tried to run the AC yet!
And finally, for the people who had to explain how long the trailer would be in their yard to the neighbors; opened their homes, washing machine doors and refrigerators to you and watched as box after box from Amazon Prime stacked up on their porch, it's probably a good idea to try to find a way to pay them back for their hospitality, ya dirty mooch!