A few weeks ago, we were asked to evaluate a product called the AnimAlarm, a simple solution to a very big problem for many RV owners. The Animalarm is a little gadget that wirelessly monitors the temperature in any environment. Even better, it TEXTS you when the temperature gets too hot or too cold! Read on for our Review.
This is a classic Airstream debate with many valid opinions and arguments from both sides. This post is only my opinion. But fortunately for you readers, it also happens to be the right one. So without further delay, here’s why twins rock.
Despite looking like we have marriage problems, separate beds has some big pluses. I move a lot while I sleep and in a twin, flopping around all night doesn’t disturb my wife. Sneaking out early in the morning for a walk or staying up late reading, also part of the separate beds benefit.
The floor plan of a twin configuration is another benefit. We both like the look of the long aisle from end to end of the trailer. Access to the overhead bins is much easier. We have a large changing area between the bed instead of two thinner ones on either side. This is great for getting ready and making the beds. The aisle makes a comfy, “get out of our way” area for our dogs.
The extra storage in a twin almost seems unfair. Internally, we have two cabinets under each bed where we keep boots and shoes, linens and blankets, a fan, ski clothes, a bike (I think?). In addition, we also have wardrobes at the foot of each beds. Externally we get two extra compartments on the sides. I keep so much in those compartments I’m not sure what I would do if I only had that awkward behind-the-propane-tanks area. But that awkward area is freed up for big items like a canopy, folding chairs and such.
And for my last consideration, entertaining. A bedroom with a full size bed is always a bedroom. But with twins, the room can be a second living or entertainment area. If we are camping with a bunch of friends we’ll set up the beds as couches during the day. Put a small table between the beds and you’ve got a nice little game lair for us nerds. There have been many a time when the girls are up in the gallery area having drinks while the guys are in the back getting crazy with some chess.
Yes, to be fair there are a couple of negatives. For us they weren’t enough to sway us but they may be for you.
Having to buy two of all bedding is a drag. The price of twin bedding isn’t that much cheaper than full so you pretty much have to double your costs. My wife likes to change out our duvets often so I get to complain about this every few months.
Snuggling may be the deal breaker for some and it is missed for sure. But sneaking into a twin at night is kinda fun and when it’s cold enough, we actually both fit just fine. And then there’s that thing they say about absence, makes me better looking or something like that.
A queen or full bed makes the room look more like a real master bedroom, inviting and cozy. Twins make it look like a kids room, like we’re going to stay up all night with flashlights telling fart jokes.
For us, we’d probably be happy either way but right now, the twin configuration is amazing and we would choose it again for sure. When we full time someday in the future, I will probably revisit the idea of one big bed.
Nick Parsons of AirDriveway.com – RV Parking
People often ask what we miss most about living in a house. It turns out that our list is really small. Actually, it’s a list of just two things. For Tiff, it’s a full-size bathtub. For me, it’s a big screen TV. There’s not much room for a “big” screen TV for RV full timers, but for me, it’s difficult to look at a TV if there’s too much wall surrounding it! So here’s how and why we decided to squeeze as much TV as we could into our International 27FB Airstream.
Our Airstream came with a stock 22″ Samsung TV, which is nearly half the size of our earlier TV. That wasn’t such a hard pill to swallow for our TV show or movie watching habits. Tiff and I haven’t subscribed to cable in over 6 years. We stream most of our video over the internet where HD is hard to get and expensive. We’re happy as long as we can stream without constant buffering, so screen size is nice, but doesn’t matter as much for us for video. For other things though, small screens just won’t do the job. We’re about 6.5 feet away from the screen while sitting in our “lounge” configuration (table down forming a couch against the back wall of the Airstream). At this distance, sniping Xbox aliens requires squinting and reading email is like an eye torture test. For video gaming, web surfing, or anything else that requires you to read and interact, you really need as much size as you can get. That’s really why we decided to upgrade.
Our TV for RV Living
Choosing a New TV for RV Living – Size
As with most new purchases we bring into the Airstream, making sure a new TV would fit was our first concern. In the 27FB, there are 27 inches to of cabinet wall beside the fridge. Welcome to our first challenge. TV manufacturers offer lots of options under 24″ and over 32″, but 26″ – 30″ is a ghost town. A search of 25 to 29 inch TVs on Amazon results in tons of 26″ TVs and monitors and literally only one 29″. This is where we learned more about TV measurements. You see, a TV isn’t measured by its length or height. In fact, these measurements are often more difficult to find. The number plastered all over the TV marketing material and retail outlet shelves is the DIAGONAL screen measurement from one corner to another. When measuring for a tight space, this number doesn’t tell you much about the TV’s true width or height. It also doesn’t mention how much screen real estate you lose to the plastic casing surrounding the screen (called the Bezel). But if you dig deep enough, you can typically find the L x W x H numbers that give you the real size of the TV. In addition, you should consider a couple other measurements when trying to properly size a TV for RV living:
- Measure side walls – Airstream walls are curved – measure in multiple locations to make sure all 4 corners of the TV will fit, not just 2 or 3.
- Measure the power cord – Cord length is a problem, so be sure to know how much you need, or have extensions at the ready.
- Measure the HDMI / RCA / Cable connection needs – are all of your connections close by or will you also need to run extensions?
- Measure Depth – make sure the tv you choose isn’t so “thick” that it interferes with the mounting bracket or connections.
- Measure for VESA compliance – If you’re using a mounting bracket, it will probably be VESA compliant. This ensures the holes on the back of your new TV will match the holes on the arm. If you want to be 100% sure the TV will fit, the link above should help you figure things out.
Choosing a New TV for RV Living – Power
Now that we found the right size, we needed to decide on the power source – AC or DC. Personally, I think this is becoming less and less relevant with the rapid decrease in energy consumption on most modern TVs. Let me explain as best I can. The Vizio 29″ we chose is an AC TV that consumes 33 Watts when we have AC shore power. If we want to run the TV for RV boondocking, we will need to convert from AC to DC to run on battery. That means we’ll have to use 33 Watts PLUS an extra amount of power to convert. For us, that’s around 7 watts [ 33 Watts * (1- percentage efficiency of our inverter, which is 80-90%) ] = 6.6 Watts + 33 is a total of 40Watts. The largest, most comparative DC TV for RV and Trucking i could find is the Jensen 32″ LED TV, 12V DC Power. According to Jensen, it needs ~90Watts. Sure, there are smaller DC TVs like the NAXA 22″ or 24″ that use ~18W, but then we’re back to a smaller screen and lesser known companies. So even with the inefficiency of converting AC to DC, I don’t think there’s that much difference – but I’m not an expert on the subject – what am I missing? At the end of the day, we’re probably not boondocking anytime soon, and if we do, we’ll need to do a few solar upgrades before the few watts AC vs DC TV would matter. You’re mileage may vary.
Choosing a New TV for RV Living – Features
There are a few features that i thought i wanted when I started the TV for RV hunt. I stuck myself on 1080p resolution, for sure wanted LCD, and had to have at least 2 HDMI cables in the back. I ended up with only 1 of those. 1080p was a must have for me – until I learned that 1080p really doesn’t make that much of a difference under 46″. One Gotcha – 1080p is best for “Computers”- but I still think this assumes you’re sitting 2-3 feet from the screen, not 6-7. From our lounge, text reads well and aliens die quickly. It turns out the LCD and LED aren’t that different to our eyes – I would even edge toward LED for better picture when looking at them side by side. Also, it’s hard to argue with LED’s power consumption and price. And finally, I have 2 hdmi ports, but I really only use one. I’ve found that there’s maybe a problem on the HDMI port where the stereo in the Airstream has an older version of HDMI than this TV, so audio isn’t working through the Airstream’s stereo system. Luckily a feature I didn’t think i would need, the TV’s audio features and speakers are top-notch. The quality is slightly tinny, but overall more than acceptable, and doesn’t come down on top of our heads while sitting on the lounge like the poorly placed Airstream speakers do.
Overall, this TV fits, it’s super easy on power consumption, and the picture quality is outstanding. The only cons we’ve found so far are easy to turn positive – audio doesn’t work over HDMI (possibly a hookup problem, but we like the TV’s audio quality) and so far I’ve not been able to lock the catch on our mounting bracket (another thing I’ll have to investigate, but the weight of the TV doesn’t pull the unit away from the wall at all while travelling, so this is easy to overlook). That’s why we feel that we made a very good choice with with the VIZIO E291-A1 29-inch LED HDTV. Weaselmouth Approved!
The time change, combined with the gray fall days of the Pacific Northwest, has made it a little dark in here! As you know from reading about gadgets that didn’t work for us, I was disappointed with the round battery powered lights I tried, but I refuse to give up! Here’s our new integrated kitchen lighting solution!
My answer came from Ikea in the form of the Dioder LED battery drawer light. Here’s the cabinet, with the drawer light installed at the top, in the front (this is before I put batteries in so you could see how dark it is), and here it is after I put the batteries in.
Lots of light, and the best thing about it — it works on a sensor, so it automatically comes on and turns off when you open the cabinet. Plus, it has a super sticky backing if you dont want to put screws into the wood — super important sometimes. And at $14.99, it’s a good bargain! Let their be light!!
Redecorating an Airstream bathroom isn’t easy. There isn’t a lot you can do with a bathroom that barely allows you to dry your hair without hitting your elbows on the walls, but when we got the Airstream, I couldn’t deal with 3 white walls and the white door.
We needed to do something — and wanted to have kind of a camp-y feel, so we headed to etsy.com to look at vinyl wall decals and found these trees:
And we wanted a little nightlight, so I got the little Coleman mini lantern to keep on at night.
After a year, the trees were closing in on us and making the bathroom look (maybe) smaller than it actually is. We decided something small and unobtrusive was the answer so after a lot of thought, we decided on air plants.
We stripped the decals off the walls and ordered some air plants. After a bit of trial and error, I used clear Command hooks, wrapped a small piece of wire around the base of the plant, and hooked it to the Command hanger.
We’ll probably order a few more, but this is what the bathroom looks like with about 6.
Air plants need to be spritzed with water a few times a week, and they need indirect sunlight, which we have in the skylight right outside the bathroom door. We’ve had them about 2 months, and so far so good! Some of them will bloom, some will just stay green, but I really like them, and with the gray Seattle winter coming, the white walls with some plants might not be so bad!