Alber’s Casita: Boondocker Edition
Not only do I enjoy the Hands-On crafting and fabricating during these Casita projects, but I also enjoy the intelligent brainstorming that occurs during a build where the customer has a request, wanting or needing to meet a certain demand. Steven Albers and I interacted closely during this entire process of a long-distance Casita build. I have greatly enjoyed this challenge, and by far this has been the most unique Casita build yet!
This Casita started off with our basic build chassis upgrade. That was a given. The axle was upgraded. there was a bit of a debate between Stephen and I on the axle bearings. He was very interested in the cartridge bearing system Dexter offers. At the time I was against running these bearings because they’re not commonly stocked at the part stores. After both of us talk to an engineer from Dexter and I learned more about the sealed cartridge bearing, we agreed that a 100,000-mile warranty from Dexter says a lot about their confidence in the service life out of these bearings.
Bilstein shocks were added and aluminum wheels with Goodyear highway tires were mounted. The tongue was lengthened and a unique Australian designed tongue coupler called the #McHitch was installed. HD Drop Leg Tongue Jack, high clearance stabilizer scissor Jack’s, propane cabinet, front storage box, and this was just the start.
Alber set out to build a 4 season, sub-zero, plus 100 degrees Fahrenheit, all-weather camper! There was a post someone made on the Casita forum mentioning their shoes being frozen to the floor the next morning when they woke up. Steven and I started brainstorming. What we came up with was utilizing the space we have created under the camper with the new chassis as an area to fill with insulation. We were able to install double-layer R-19 fiberglass insulation. To hold it in place we used heavy-duty 1/8″ thick aluminum skid plate panels. A large rock or a tree limb popping up attempting to damage the bottom of the camper will be no match! The panels are easily removable in the event there’s any need to service the underneath of the trailer. Also to increase the energy efficiency, double pane glass windows were installed. I was extremely impressed and how much heat these windows block!
One of the strangest solutions to a problem I have encountered was converting the blackwater tank into a freshwater storage tank. This was done by removing the factory toilet and installing a nature’s head self-composting toilet. We blocked off the hole in the tank and eliminated the dump valve at the bottom. Where they dump valve used to be located there is now a ball valve with a 5/8 garden hose fitting used as a gravity drain. We installed a mechanical float style gauge to read the approximate water level. The factory water supply to the original toilet was routed to a diverter valve. This valve operation allows the customer to pressure fill the tank from City water hookup and then be able to redirect the flow and Supply water Tuesday faucets. There is a gravity fill port that we installed on the exterior wall of the bathroom plumbed directly to the auxiliary tank. A master disconnect valve is inline which allows him to isolate the tank in the event he needed to collect water from a stream and there is a question as to whether or not the water is safe to use.
This may sound odd too many people but when you are in a desolate area, water is a must for survival. The goal here was to increase water storage capacity and it was done in an unorthodox but very effective method. Every bit of the lighting has been converted to LED on this unit. A nice feature added to the interior what’s a custom LED light fixture to trim out the event in the center the ceiling. This light is dimmable so it provides a cozy and relaxing mood. One can simply access Eddie low soft light in the middle of the night while trying to navigate their way to the bathroom. Moving back to the house side of the camper there is a custom fabricated aluminum storage box on the front of the tongue. This is the world’s first box made to fit the contour of the front of the Casita to the best of my knowledge. If it’s well offers great storage space.