Casita Book

Our 2018 (picked up January, 2019) Casita Spirit Deluxe headed home following the Texas Star Party, 2019.

Everything You Need to Know

but never knew you needed to know

About A

Casita

by

Marvin W. Huddleston, FRAS

Last Updated 8/28/2020

Please note that anywhere you read "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo" this is simply a place holder for future text.

Marvin W. Huddleston, FRAS
August, 2020
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About the Author (Bio)

Marvin W. Huddleston along with his wife Robin D. Huddleston, have a passion for Casita Travel Trailers.

A man of many interests, one of the longest of them being Astronomy. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, London, and is a member of the Texas Astronomical Society, Dallas and the Alachua County 

Comet Neowise by Marvin Huddleston July 20, 2020

Astronomy Club in Gainesville Florida. He served as program director of the Lunar Dome Survey for the Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers.

Other passions he has are Woodworking (primarily Scroll Saw Art and Woodcarving – find  him as the Woodscribe on Facebook), Coin Collecting, Fossil & Mineral Collecting, Daylilies, etc.

Another field of science he has a keen interest in is Meteorology. He served as a severe Storm Spotter many decades and today serves as a County Coordinator for the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network. He is an Amateur Radio Operator, call sign kc5lei.

Education:

Bachelor of Science Degree, Dallas Baptist University (1999) and Master of Arts Degree, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (2005).

So You Spent Your Life Savings and Bought A Casita!? Now What?

The Purpose of this website is to provide a central location people can turn to for information on owning a Casita Travel Trailer. This site will be a work in progress, never a finished product, so come back often! While the Casita is the best travel trailer available IMHO, It will not be my goal to praise everything the company does. I will honestly alert the reader to things that I see that are less than perfect. As stated in the movie, The Final Countdown

"There are always alternatives."

Martin Sheen - (Warren Lasaky) Tweet

Robin and I are “new” Casita owners, we picked our 2018 Casita Spirit Deluxe up January 2019 (25th). So I am writing from the view point of fairly new owners sharing our trials and successes as  

we go. There is also a review section on this website, and I will be reviewing modifications and products we buy and others sent to us by manufacturers for inclusion in this work.

When Robin and I started seriously talking about buying a travel trailer, we thought we wanted a 13′ Scamp because at the time we thought we could tow it with our SUV. Much research revealed that was not the case.

Once it was decided that a 13 foot trailer simply was too small and not tow-able by our Kia, we looked at 

other options, like the Escape. The options Escape offered was attractive (like more choices on trailer


Choices, choices, and more choices...

During our research, we also considered conventional trailers, like Jayco. But the quality was just not there.

We found ourselves back where the dreams started…

The time came that we might be able to see it happen.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that we may eventually go full time in our Casiita. I don't know how we will be able to afford property taxes as we grow older for one thing. So the idea of selling everything or renting out our home to one of our kids is a good possibility.

Today marks our 100th day in Florida as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We left the Dallas area for Florida intending to stay 3 weeks. If you wish to leave it all

behind and live full time in your Casita here are some insights I have learned after sleeping every night in a Casita. I think for most people it would be too small for a 

couple (and a great recipe for a divorce!).

A single person would be  more doable (one such person is Rusty76809 who has a pretty good following) on Youtube). The one thing the parties involved would have to be good at is Minimalism. There isn’t enough storage space to amount to  anything. 

That being said, I have followed couples doing it in 13 foot Casitas (no longer offered) and Scamps. How they maintain sanity is questionable!

So, what have I learned?

Storage space is minimal. Just stocking a livable pantry by itself would be difficult for full-timing. No it’s not like in Harry Potter where the tent was tiny outside

but enormous inside! Sanitary space is likewise minimal. You have 25 gallons of of fresh water (16 if you do not have the upgraded tank). 

3. Grey Water stinks, and again you are limited to a capacity of 25 gallons.  You need to experiment with managing this resource. Start by pouring things like unfinished coffee outside, not down the drain. Same obviously with soft drinks, tea, etc.

The biggest deficit in the area of resources is the Black Water. There are at this time no upgrades offered for it. When you are camping with full hook-ups that isn’t a big issue, but if you are Boon-docking or mooch-camping like we have these past 100 days it becomes a bigger issue. Pulling up stakes and having to haul the whole trailer because your black black water is a real pain.

which may or may not help in you

There are some things to help you r situation. I found a product I briefly considered which hooks up to your waste tank connections that works like a big nasty blender. You hook the thing up to a garden hose, turn it on, and hold the hose end over a toilet or waste water dump site. But god help the one on the business end of that hose. The lady in  one YouTube video I watched using this thing had trouble not loosing her breakfast or lunch in the process.

Can you spell N A S T Y? My wife is a pretty good sport, but that would never happen if I wanted any peace!

Yes, after 100 days in ours it is doable (living full time) – but bear in mind we spent a lot of time in the house, cooking, eating and showering sparing our holding tank needs down!

I will come back to this in a future update.

Robin and I celebrate 44 years of marriage, and Casita plays a big role in our retirement plans. I have been forced into semi-retirement already due to some health issues. So only time will tell the whole story.

One of the things we have kidded each other about discussing future retirement years has been traveling the country together in an RV, where the kids and grandkids back home are thinking:

 

 

I wonder where Mimi and Papa are today!

Casita

is the name of a Fiberglass Travel Trailer made right here in North Texas. In Spanish, Casita means small house. The manufacturing plant is only about 40 minutes from where we live! We wanted one since they started making them back in the early 80’s. So many times we passed the lot and saw them sitting out waiting for their owners to pick them up, and vowed, ‘someday.’

Casita gives you a great deal of freedom in a small, compact and largely ideal package. They offer over a dozen sleeping arrangements. and a bounty of layouts and amenities options. You and your family gain the freedom to travel together.

Casita Models

Standard vrs. Deluxe

THE BENEFITS OF TRAVELING WITH A
DELUXE CASITA TRAILER
  • there is no substitute for the security of having facilities on-hand when you need them
  • the toilet and shower provide indispensable comforts with nearly effortless upkeep
  • the smart design of a Casita bathroom maximizes the space so it maintains an open feeling, and preserves as much interior room inside the camper as possible
THE BENEFITS OF TRAVELING WITH A
STANDARD CASITA TRAILER
  • the extra space provided allows for the addition of bunks to accommodate 2 additional sleepers and plenty of extra gear
  • with no black water tank, there’s less work and less weight to worry about
  • great for those travelers who own portable facilities or with nearby access to permanent and campground facilities

Spirit:

This model offers two separate sleeping areas that convert into dinette tables providing comfortable seating for six, the 

Spirit model represents the classic Casita experience. 

The rear dinette can be left permanently in the double bed position, while utilizing the side dinette which is positioned at a large fully-operational screened picture window for the ultimate in dining enjoyment! One small disadvantage to this arrangement though is that the access points are under the bed and difficult to reach when the bed is in place.

Independence:

The Casita Independence travel trailer allows a couple to enjoy the convenience of two permanent twin beds for easy access to the kitchen & bathroom without
disturbing the other person. The spacious beds allow for more under bed storage with ease of access. The three large fully-operable screened picture windows provide extra cross ventilation, ample natural lighting and scenic wrap-around viewing. Sleeps: 2-4/

Heritage:

The Casita Heritage lightweight travel trailer is the perfect camper for larger families and first time family campers alike.

The deluxe model includes a bathroom/shower, sleeps four comfortably, and its back area converts into a dinette with seating for four, while the standard model can sleep up to six comfortably.

Sleeps: 4-6

Freedom:

The Freedom Deluxe lightweight travel trailer allows a couple to enjoy the convenience of a permanent double bed that converts into an extra seating/dining area for four at a moment’s notice. The spacious separate sitting and dining area
with plush upholstered swiveling chairs next to a fully-operable screened picture window provides a comfortable retreat for dining, reading, or even a mobile of office, wherever your travels take you.

Sleeps: 2-4

Liberty:

Three large fully-operable screened picture windows provide extra cross ventilation, ample natural lighting and scenic wrap-around viewing. With two dining areas that convert into a double bed, two small single beds, or a large king size bed,
the rear dinette can be left permanently made into a spacious double bed with dining and seating for two using the smaller forward table, or both dinettes can be converted into a king size bed. Sleeps: 2-4

Made in the USA!

Texas Built!

Recommended Apps

An alphabetical listing of recommended apps! Simply Click the app name in the left hand column to link to the app webpages.

RV Checklist

Air Conditioning

On those balmy, high humidity nights when you are literally dripping with sweat, you can step inside and cool off in Air Conditioned comfort inside your Casita! Or what about those cold nights where you need to get inside and warm up a little? Casita supplies their trailers with a roof mounted AC unit that offers both cooling as well as heating. In addition, there is a MaxX Fan that reverses allowing air to be pulled into or circulated out of the Casita if you have your windows open enjoying the night sounds of nature.

Our Casita Spirit Deluxe employs a Coleman Max roof mounted Air Conditioner with built in Heating strip. Why a heating strip? Because there may (or should I say, will) at times be the need to heat the trailer somehow other than with Propane.

My biggest complaint is the constant noise from the ever running fan! There is an outside vendor that performs a modification for this though. They rewire the system and replace the furnace thermostat with another one and the fan runs like you may be used to at home, only running when the compressor kicks in. I recently discovered there is a DIY solution to the fan problem, but basically it appears you replace the entire inside part of your AC. Cost is in the $200 range…

Someone (Louis Fernandez) on Casita Owners of America just stated that Casita now supplies an auto mode AC that turns the fan on and off. Now Casita, you’ve been making these trailers since the early 1980’s, and you are just now fixing this problem?

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Hard Start Capacitors ~ $300

Tammy King on the Facebook group Casita Owners of America recently wrote:

Installed Micro Air Easy Start tonight! Wow what a difference! AC starts so much smoother and no 

violent thunk on start up. Definitely happy! Honda 2000 should handle it just fine now! 

Hutch Mountain – Run AC with 1 Generator – the Microair Easy Start 364

The idea behind a hard start capacitor is that the capacitor stores an electric charge, and when your Generator tries to start the AC unit that electric charge assists the generator in the startup. It’s called Locked Rotor Amperage, and means to start the AC it requires a great boost of amperage to start the motor. The hard start capacitor eliminates the need for a more powerful generator or the need for two, allowing one 2,000 watt generator to do the job.

One of my most common mistakes is having the air conditioner on and deciding my coffee needs heating a bit or I decide to pop a bag of popcorn. So I open the microwave door and push start. Then “Oh No!” About the time I realize the air is on everything shuts down. The electrical circuit overload trips and power goes out! 

Comes with  instillation kit . The Micro-Air ASY-364-X20-IP EasyStart With Installation Kit is a one of a kind custom developed soft starter for single phase motors, allowing you to run up to 2 RV air conditioners on a single 30 amp cord. 

  • Supports 100-125VAC, 50-60Hz motors.
  • Compatible with pure or modified sine inverters.
  • The perfect solution that allows an air conditioner or refrigeration compressor to operate on a generator, inverter or limited utility power.
  • Will work for a 120V, any BTU, rooftop A/C unit.
  • Audibly quieter and smoother compressor startups.
  • Enhanced fault detection protects the compressor.
  • Integrated short-cycle prevention.
  • Employs a 4-part start ramp sequence that is self-optimizing, resulting in the lowest possible start-up current.
  • Delivers 65-75% start current reduction as compared to a compressor’s LRA (locked-rotor amperage).
  • Specialized fault checks provide further protection for your compressor.
  • Capable of supporting up to a 36000 BTU (3 ton) compressor.
  • Fully weatherproof casing (IP65), flameproof, a plastic enclosure with an integrated mounting flange, and a 40″ wire harness.
  • Mounts inside the rain shield on a rooftop unit.
  • Dimensions: 7.64″ L x 3.58″ W x 2.50″ H.
  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Includes installation kit KIT-364-RT2:
    • 250 Fast On Connector (female)
    • Closed End Splice Connector
    • Conn RCPT FLG Fast 14-16 AWG
    • .250 PiggyBack (blue)
    • Male .250″ 12-14 GA (yellow)
    • Male .250″ 14-16 GA (blue)
    • Wire 14 AWG (black)
    • Cable Tie – 8 inch (black)
    • Double Sided Foam Tape
    • Snap Bushing
    • Quick Connect Receptacle

Air Conditioner Noise

Another problem we have had these 4 months in Florida and that I I hear a lot about is the noise from the normal operation of the Air Conditioner. Not only for you, but also from others around you. Tent campers especially are bothered by the noise. If you add to that Generator noise, it becomes even worse a problem. A solution is available, read below about the Easy Start Hush Kit.

Apps Useful for RVing

See list above…

Astronomy In Your Casita

Whether you are an amateur astronomer, camper, or just curious about the night sky, the Casita is in many ways like a Starship Enterprise Shuttle Craft.

You may not want to run out and buy a telescope, but every time you take your Casita out you 

have an opportunity to see something incredible.

A simple tool for astronomy is a lawn chair. You can lay out uner the stars and learn the Constellations and/or lay back and watch for Meteors.

Next to that, the second best item you can employ in Astronomy are those bird watching Binoculars you already own!

2018 Casita Spirit Deluxe with Outside Night (and Neighbor) Friendly Lighting

The Shadow is Coming!

This photo of the Total Solar Eclipse was taken by Jason Ware, GalaxyPhoto.com during the Great American Eclipse August 21, 2017

I have waited for around 59 years for the United States to have a Total Solar Eclipse, I missed the total phase of the 2017 eclipse and helped with an Eclipse Education Event in Rockwall County.

The Lunt Sunoculars shown here are perfect for Solar Eclipses

as well as general solar observing and education. We are at Solar Minimum by all likelihood, which means now is a perfect time for buying equipment for the 2024 event, as they can be used starting now to follow the suns cycle over the next decade. Sunspot activity is almost zero, meaning it will start growing toward the next solar Max. It’s a great time to start your students learning about solar activity and it’s 11 year cycle.

April 8, 2024 seems like it is a long way away. However, NOW is the time to start making plans for the Great American Eclipse of 2024. Every camping spot anywhere under the shadow will be booked solid with waiting lists, every hotel and every restaurant will be full.

Start Planning NOW!

This time will not be like the last one in August 2017. I had to stay home and wound up sharing the partial eclipse in our area wth the public at the County of Rockwall Public Library.

In my other life, I am an Astronomer, so you didn’t really think I was going to miss the opportunity to teach you about the wonderful hobby of Astronomy, did you? I’ve been a substitute teacher for some 14 years, and I got a bit of a reputation with my students. Move over Bill Nye – I am the real Science Guy!

That reputation was well deserved, because in all my classes I found a way to get students engaged in conversation while plugging Astronomy.

So why should I be any different with you, Casita fans? The Casita Travel Trailer is a fantastic tool for getting modern folks out from in front of  the idiot box to engage nature.

I am shocked how many students I have asked over the years only to find out not only do they admit they have never seen the Milky Way, but I have found many who don’t even know what it is…

How tragic. But let me tell you something. A lot of RVers kids go home after a weekend in the State or National Parks still having never seen the Milky Way. How can that be? For the same reason they cannot see it at home – LIGHT POLLUTION!

Truly tragic when their parents take their kids out from the city in pristine nature and bring along with them their light pollution – they string all these pretty little twinkle lights all over their camper and from tree to tree and blind themselves and their family (as well as us)  such that they cannot see what is happening above their heads.

I was at Copper Breaks State Park in March 2019, which is an International Dark Sky Association dark sky preserve. I could see these blinding lights encircling these people wondering if they had any clue what they were missing. Then I spotted a very bright meteor, a classic sight. The people under their mobile light pollution modules completely missed out on a fine specimen of the night..

So please excuse me if I am less than impressed with your Casita having a ring of light surrounding your belly band or awning. One of my missions in life is to teach people to help preserve the dark night sky when we are camping. It not only ruins your view of the nighttime sky, but it ruins other campers as well…

When you feel the need, the need for light, please use red light like we Astronomers use to preserve our dark adaptation…see image of our 2018 Spirit Deluxe below.

Never Transport Optical Equipment in your Trailer!

It has been said that an RV interior experiences the equivalent of a 4.9 Magnitude Earthquake every time it is towed.

I do not recommend carrying delicate optical equipment inside your Casita. Carry all your delicate equipment (Telescopes, binoculars, cameras, computers, etc. inside your tow vehicle when towing}.

Awning

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Our Casita Spirit Deluxe set up for Astronomy at the Texas Astronomical Society Observatory site near Caney, OK. The Awning not only cools you – it also cools Telescopes !

Casita offers as an option the Fiamma F45s Awning. The cost was around $800. It’s the most expensive seldom used option we decided on when we order. I am glad we have it, but I wish it stronger and hand;ed wind and rain better..A Fiamma RAFTER is supplied to be attached to the center of the awning.

Other types of regular lot type trailers like Jayco had some very nice awnings for the same kind of money. Most were electric, you flipped a switch and out came the awing. That was kinda cool. 

The Fiamma awning, first of all, is another non-american made item. Casita, impress me and manufacture a Trailer with made in the US options and materials raw materials. We cannot even read the instruction book because it isn’t in English. Seriously?

Ther Fiamma cannot withstand high winds, so gusts over 10 mph are a concern. It also is not made to sit out under in a rain. Disappointing.

I found it handy doing Astronomy. My telescope has to cool down, and having it under the awning allows the cool down process to start much sooner that it would without the awning.

Little House Customs offer these additional Awnings:

Small side windows 298.00

Large windows $316.00

Battery

The Casita Travel Trailer comes standard with a 12V Deep Cycle Battery on all models. The option is offered for upgrade to a Maintenance Free AGM Deep Cycle Battery

Our Upgrade Battery…

The standard battery the Casita comes with is a lead acid battery. Casita offers a battery upgrade, which we bought, for an AGM Deep Cycle Battery. On the Casita Owners of America  group group membrrs wrote:

At the time of writing, I am not sure what battery was installed in our 2018 Casita Spirit Deluxe, but we do have the battery upgrade/

This is the battery I would purchase for a replacement.

"The sole reason I spent all of that extra money was so I could totally ignore it for the next 5 to 7 years with absolutely no maintenance necessary. I'm not planning to do more than look at the end of it for at least that long. I know it's a better battery. I know it can do a deeper discharge with LESS damage to it. I know it doesn't need water. I know it will last longer. Why fret it? Watch your voltage. Keep it above 40 to 50% charge, and let somebody else worry."

That was my sentiments exactly. I wanted the higher power it offered and less maintenance. I am the world’s worst at taking care of routine maintenance and didn’t want the extra worries…

Going to a State Campground, keep in mind they can lose power in storms. That happened to us and I had no way to keep an eye on our battery charge as a result.

When we returned, I had to take Stormy in for some warranty work and bought this monitor for $25.

There are others available on the market. I will come back and add the name when I find my packaging if I haven’t already thrown it away.

Photo by: Nolan Lickey

Battery Slide Out Tray

Nolan Lickey came up with this simple solution to something I was just thinking about the other day.

This will be my next DIY project!

Photo by: Nolan Lickey

Bathroom

Two Words: Command Products (like Hooks)!

Command Hooks are your best friends in the limited space one has in a Casita. We use them for all sorts of things. Hanging toiletries, brushes, Dog leashes, Colars, BBQ tools, Hats, decorations, you name it! They even have products specifically made for high humidity areas such as your bathroom.

What creative uses can you find for them?

 

  • Damage free hanging
  • Weight capacity: 1/2 pound
  • Size: Small
  • Color: White
  • Package contents: 16 hooks, 24 strips
  • INCLUDES – 6 hooks and 12 medium indoor strips; 1 hook holds 3 lbs
  • ORGANIZE DAMAGE-FREE – Say goodbye to holes, marks, or sticky residue on your walls, doors, cabinets, or closets; Command Hooks by 3M are easy to use and help keep your walls looking beautiful.
  • NO TOOLS REQUIRED- Hang hats, bags, dog leashes, scarves, and accessories where you want without nails or a hammer
  • STRONG AND VERSATILE- Command Designer Hooks hold strongly on a variety of indoor surfaces including painted walls, finished wood, glass, tile, metal, and other smooth surfaces
  • REMOVES CLEANLY- Reorganize when inspiration strikes; These wall hooks leave no sticky adhesive behind; Perfect to use inside cabinets and closets, in your college dorm, apartment, home, and office

There are a myriad of things one can do with Command Products. They offer mirrors, shelving, various adhesive strips including those specifically for use in wet areas like the Casita Restroom, etc.

Some folks have even found uses for them on the exterior of their Casita. What solutions can you find for them to fill?

Aqua-Magic RV Toilet

Toilet – Casita comes standard with the ThetFord Corporation Fresh Water Pedal toilet.

One of the things to note about the use of the toilet is use plenty of water per flush; as someone has said water is your friend! However, bear in mind that Casita only has a 15 gallon Black Water Tank.

NEVER leave the black water valve open, and always make sure it is at least 3/4 full before dumping.

If it is not full enough, before you perform a dump while still connected to city water, fill the tank. Once full or at least 3/4 full perform the dump.

I routinely empty the black water tank then fill it againwith fresh water. Depending on what I see coming out of the tank, I may fill it yet a third time. That way I get the tank as clean as possible before heading home. Close its valve then open the brown water valve to empty the Brown Water tank. This cleans the black water and any solids left in the hose out. I also refill the brown water and empty it a second time. When we head out we want the Black and Brown tanks empty.

Composting Toilet

Ventline Overhead Restroom Vent – note. Instruction sheet states “CAUTION: The fan unit has not been evaluated for suitability for installations over tub or shower — not sure why it was considered suitable for use over the Casita Shower!

115 V Motor – 8″ Diameter Rough Opening – 7″ Diameter Vertical Exhaust – Includes white grill. Made in the USA.

Bathmats

We chose the Oceanstar FM1163 Bamboo Bath Mat which we ordered through Amazon, priced at $28.93.

It features 100% .  natural Bamboo, elevated design allows water to evaporate, no assembly required. 1″ H x 23.75″ L x 17.75″ deep.

You will also need these Rubber Non-slip foot pads.

QY 12PCS Transparent Cylindrical Shape Rubber Non Slip Non Skid Feet Pad for Table Desk Chair and Sofa

Price:$7.98  & FREE Returns

Color: 

12pcs With Screws&screwdriver
 
  • Made from high quality transparent no smell rubber material.We do not authorize this ZFZDR seller to sell this items, please choose the manufacture QY seller when you place the order,
  • Easy to install.
  • Size: 20mm X 18mm X 14mm.
  • Great for desk, chair, sofa and table.
  • Package including: 12 X cylindrical shpae rubber feet pad with mounting screws and screwdriver (as images show) 

Towel Rack

Little House Customs offer a number of modifications and accessories for Casita’s. One is this innovative bathroom/closet hanging rack. We have one, but I recommend you buy two, I plan to order another soon.

https://littlehousecustoms.com/

This simply slips onto the vent pipe, and work marvelously! Highly recommended! Price d at $9.95 they are a bargain.

Bedding

The 2018 Casita Spirit Deluxe has a large dinette at the back and a small dinette on the traffic side of the trailer. Both of these can be converted to beds, the back a full and the side a twin. Some people even sell or give away the original cushions, so there is no turning back. I think that is a huge mistake. If you try and sell your Casita in the future this could hurt your resale value.

If you like a very firm mattress at home, you will love the Casita cushions, because using them as a bed would be like sleeping on a rock. They are very firm as a mattress. If you are like me, I prefer more comfort than I would get on the cushions.

Many people buy mattresses that cannot easily be removed, so their rear dinette is sacrificed by being converted into a bed permanent and that is how they stay. We wanted to be able to use the rear dinette.

The side Dinette Bed takes the 25″ mattress. I highly recommend buying the storage cases available for both sizes. They are made of durable material and work great!

Millard Tri Fold Mattress, 25 x 72 inches - (SIDE DINETTE)

Don't forget the Carrying Case!

Millard Full Bed Mattress $152
 
  • COMFORTABLE – This folding mattress is plush, soft, breathable, and super comfortable.
  • PORTABLE – This mattress folds easily for travel or storage and is perfect for small apartments and tight spaces.
  •  
  • CONVENIENT – The removable bamboo cover is machine washable for easy care.
  • DURABLE – Built to last and made of 4” thick luxe certified foam that won’t lose it’s shape.
  • SIZE – Open mattress measures 73”x52”x4”. Folded mattress measures 52”x24.5”x12”.

101 Nights

Having slept nightly on this mattress since May 16th, 2020 (today is August 25, 2020) I can tell you that it sleeps remarkably well. It’s been very comfortable and I can truly recommend it!

Don't forget the Case!

So, you’ve bought a Milliard Tri-Fold Mattress, and you can’t wait to bring it along on your next trip, but you’re worried about keeping it clean and fresh. What do you do? You could just try being really careful and brush it off now and then in the hope that it’s not too dirty when you need it. We have a better solution, though. Our Milliard Tri-Fold Carry Case is the ideal accessory for your new favorite portable mattress to keep it neat and tidy. It’s specially fitted to press your mattress into its smallest form factor, but it still slips on easily to keep your mattress sealed against dust, dirt, moisture, and airborne pollutants while you travel. The durable polyester canvas case also resists rips and tears from accidental mishandling, and convenient carry handles stitched on three sides make portability much easier if your hands are already full. The Folding Bed Storage Cover has been carefully manufactured by Millard with your comfort and utility in mind and should provide years of satisfaction with proper use.

About this item

  • Polyester 60% / Viscose 40%
  • Imported
  • The Milliard Memory Foam Tri-fold Mattress allows you to get a comfortable night’s sleep wherever you go. Simply unfold the foam bed on the floor in any room, mobile home, or tent for a comfortable night’s sleep. This bed easily accommodates all your sleeping needs then folds neatly away for storage in seconds.
  • Memory foam is known for the therapeutic qualities and comfortable support. The Milliard tri-fold mattress is ventilated for air flow to help regulate sleep temperature for maximum support and comfort.
  • The Milliard Memory Foam Tri-fold Mattress is the ideal solution to temporary sleeping accommodations. Perfect for unexpected sleep over guests, family reunion, dorm rooms, camping and traveling.
  •  
  • The Milliard 6in. tri-fold mattress is constructed of 1.5in. of 3lb luxurious memory foam over a 4.5 inch supportive foam base for a great sleep experience. Our CertiPUR-US certified premium memory foam supersedes all with superior high density construction that will not lose its shape.
  • Mattress includes removable jacquard ultra-soft cover with anti-slip bottom. Mattress in flat position measures 73in.x52in.x6in. When folded it measures 52in.x24.5in.x18in.

I had to go to Millard’s web-page to find the case for the Full Size mattress case, and discovered it to be out of stock. And a search of Amazon turned up no leads. I will add a link here when it becomes available (8/27/2020).

Owners of the Southern Mattress rave about its comfort. But I wonder about having a mattress permanently mounted about your electrical and converter panel. If we were to decided we needed a permanent mattress, this would be it. See below…

Southern Mattress offers another option. This mattress is thicker and probably more comfortable, but do not lend themselves to swapping in and out to use the Dinette. 

  •            The custom-fit Casita mattress is designed to 
            provide an excellent night’s sleep while traveling.
     
  • The Milliard Foam Tri-fold Mattress allows you to get a comfortable night’s sleep wherever you go. Simply unfold the foam bed on the floor in any room, mobile home, or tent for a comfortable night’s sleep. This bed easily accommodates all your sleeping needs then folds neatly away for storage in seconds.
  • Foam is known for the therapeutic qualities and comfortable support. The Milliard tri-fold mattress is ventilated for air flow to help regulate sleep temperature for maximum support and comfort.
  • The Milliard Foam Tri-fold Mattress is the ideal solution to temporary sleeping accommodations. Replace your air mattress and use as a camping bed, guest bed or dorm room bed.
  • The Milliard tri-fold mattress is constructed of 4in. 3lb luxurious CertiPUR-US certified Foam for a great sleep experience. Our foam supersedes all with superior high density construction that will not lose its shape.
  • Mattress includes removable jacquard ultra-soft cover with anti-slip bottom. Mattress in flat position measures 75in.x25in.x4in. When folded it measures 25in.x25in.x12in.

Boondocking

3 Categories

Overnight

You need a place to stay but just overnight and hook-ups are not needed.

Wallyworld

Similar to the above, but you stay overnight just one night in route to your destination.

Moochdocking

This example can be a hybrid type of Boondock. You may or may not have electric, water and sewer. Often you have electrical but not the others.

 

Brake Controllers

When we purchased our tow vehicle, a 2015 Ford F150, it did not have a brake controller. We decided to go with a Ford controller, which I’ve listed in the choices below.

Other brands are offered for consideration and sll of these are ones others on Social Media report they have used with success.

In the Social Media discussions, several folks raised caution using Bluetooth brake controllers whereas others remarked they have them and have had no issues. So I leave that up to you as whether or not these are good choices – they are only offered as examples of what others have used.

Budgeting Your Purchase

As I’ve said elsewhere, Robin and I have learned to live on a tight budget our entire married lives.

I can see how the Lord has groomed us for the future – starting back in my Seminary Days around 2005. I quit work back then (2001 following 9/11) and felt God calling me to go to Seminary. So we were obedient and did so.

I left a lucrative position as a Senior Operations Manager of a Super Regional Shopping Mall, and needles to say savings and other funding ran out quickly. Ever since we have lived on a fraction of what once was necessary.

That being said, we paid cash for our Casita. How you might ask? Robin cashed in Stocks, Stock Options, added bonus money, I threw in some Retirement I cashed in from the school district, a little inheritance, and we saved like heck to raise the funds.

We ordered our Casita in June of 2018 and put down the required down payment. We were due to pick it up in September, but a number of times I had to tell Casita to push up back because we were short of the needed cash.

We finally picked our Casita up on January 25, 2019! It is paid for, the tow vehicle we bought for it is not!

Bureau of Land Management

Fantastic camping opportunities are found on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) undeveloped public lands. BLM camping is a highlight for any recreation enthusiast who wants open space and solitude to pitch a tent and enjoy the great outdoors.

The mission of the BLM is “to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”

At many locations the BLM provides developed facilities for camping. Campgrounds may include a variety of facilities, such as restrooms, potable water, electrical hookups, picnic areas, garbage cans, tent pads and group shelters. However, many campgrounds do not have all of these amenities and may only have a picnic table and fire ring. Make sure to check the campground’s website or call the appropriate field office when planning your trip.

Permits, Fees and Limitations:

  • Most BLM campgrounds require a fee to use a campground. These fees help maintain the facilities. Selecting a campsite is usually on a first come first serve basis. However, some campgrounds take reservations which can be made at recreation.gov. Please obey all posted rules specific to the campground and keep the following in mind.

  • Fee sites vary in price. Please check the campground’s website or call the local field office for details.
  • Camping stay limits vary by location but are generally about two weeks within a month period.
  • Pay camp fee within 30 minutes of occupying a site.
  • A campsite is rented ONLY once it has been paid in full with the pay-stub properly completed and displayed on site and the site is occupied by campers.
  • Do not leave personal property unattended for more than 72 hours.
  • Due to adverse weather, many campgrounds are only seasonally available. Make sure to check if the campground is open before planning your trip.
Photo by: Steve Welch

Dispersed camping is allowed on public land for a period not to exceed 14 days within a 28 consecutive day period. The 28 day period begins when a camper initially occupies a specific location on public lands. The 14 day limit may be reached either through a number of separate visits or through 14 days of continuous overnight occupation during the 28 day period. After the 14th day of occupation, the camper must move outside of a 25 mile radius of the previous location until the 29th day since the initial occupation. The purpose of this special rule is to prevent damage to sensitive resources caused by continual use of any particular areas. In addition, campers must not leave any personal property unattended for more than 10 days (12 months in Alaska).

Campsite Selection

Dispersed camp sites are located along most secondary roads and may not be marked.  Popular locations can be recognized by the telltale flat disturbed area that has been used as a camp site before.  Not all flat spots are sites. If possible, please use existing sites to avoid creating new disturbances. To further protect your public lands, campers must not dispose of any refuse, hazardous materials, sewage, or in any manner pollute the surrounding area.

States may have additional requirements or restrictions for dispersed camping. Please see Regional Information before planning your trip.

Cable (For TV)

Cable TV

Cable TV interest seems to be waning, but some campgrounds still offer it. Other options include ROKU, Firestick, Chromecast, Apple TV, etc.

One of the options you can order for your Casita is an RG6 port for use with traditional Cable TV

Firestick

Cellphone Data Management

Watch Your Six!

After 4 months “on the road” the wife went back to work (working from home) yesterday. As Murphy’s law dictates, we discovered we only have 9% of 

our data left on Verizon with 14 days left in the billing period. Perfect timing, right?

So how can we have used so much data and Robin hasn’t even been working? Background Data usage. We had apps eating our minutes like they were candy.

So if you appear to be bleeding data, check all your apps and turn off background data usage for each of your apps.

Cellphone Data Boosters

There are tons of data boosters on the market. The use of these is an ever growing field, and among the many choices are boosters for use at home, boosters dfor Truck Drivers, Boosters for use in your personal automobile or pick-up truck, and any other TOW vehicle you can imagine, boosters for boats, and finally boosters optimized for RV use. The following discussion specifically concerns us Casita owners.

I intend to review other cell phone boosters available that are suitable for RV use. If you are a manufacturer I would be happy to try your product and add them to this discussion. Please contact me for details.

Marvin W. Huddleston, FRAS
kc5lei@gmail.com
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Cellphone Signal Boosters (RV}

Solid RF

SureCall

SureCall’s most powerful RV booster
  • Boosts Talk, Text, 3G and 4G Data
  • Automatic Gain Control
  • Increased uplink power for weaker signal environments
  • Lower profile outdoor antenna with stronger magnetic mount

The Solid RF RV Pro kit includes the following core components:

  • A 16” Horizon 4G OmniDirectional Antenna with 1’ RG-58 cable
  • The RV Pro Weather-Proof Booster
  • Two 15′ sections of RG-58 extension cable
  • 8” Omnidirectional Primary Inside Antenna
  • 6” Stubby Secondary Interior Antenna with 6.5’ of RG -174 cable
  • Both AC and DC power adapters
  • Roof-Mount Hardware

WeBoost Drive X RV

No more slow internet connections or long buffer times while streaming your favorite shows, movies, podcasts, or music on your cellular devices.

Built-in smart technlogy

Your booster senses changes within outside signal conditions in real time. This allows it to adapt and make quick adjustments for optimal performance.

Built-in smart technology

Your booster senses changes within outside signal conditions in real time. This allows it to adapt and make quick adjustments for optimal performance.

I am highlighting the WeBoost since that is the one we went with. Other worthy for consideration are discussed below.

I, like many RVers before me, had the opportunity (or in my case necessity) of researching Cell Phone Boosters. Covid-19  caused a 3 week trip to Florida to run into 90 days as I write this. At the time we left the Dallas area, my wife had been placed on Furloughed, and that turned into a fear that her job was not going to return.

Then she got word that her return date was coming, and we faced the problem that the internet and cell phone signal was poor where we were. So I went on the hunt watching Youtube videos and Googling to see what was the most reliable system for RV use.

One of the challenges of traveling in your Casita is poor cell coverage in remote areas. This is especially troublesome for those who are not independently wealthy and are instead required to work for a living! A cell phone signal booster cab be the difference between having zero

connectivity and having bars capable of allowing internet as well as cell phone coverage. Then there is the modern need to be able to stream not only music but TV and video as well. The need is there to take phone calls and stream music and even movies. The cell phone booster can provide all of this.

Phone and Internet connectivity are essential to her job. If you can relate to this, then this product is a must-have item. Drive X RV works and does exactly what it was designed to—boost weak cell signals. Immediately we experienced a one-bar increase in our Casita, and that happened in a heavily treed back yard. The wife and I bought it since she had to work remotely through at least until the end of 2020, and now she can work even in State Parks during weekdays when we need to get away.

Installation and set up was surprisingly easy. The hardest part was locating a secure mounting place on the roof. Temporarily I mounted it on one of the brackets securing the awning, but plan to move it to a Marine bracket I plan to obtain and install when we arrive back home (today is day 90 of a three week trip). For the time being, I plan to remove the exterior antenna when we are towing.

The marine bracket will be mounted inside one of the cabinets above the door with stainless steel hardware.

So far the only hole I’ve drilled is about a 1 inch entry hole for the exterior antenna, which was covered using the supplied PLUG. The conduent was run through the hole and routed to the booster. The PLUG was filled with a silicone caulking material.

After installation the supplied screws were set to hold the PLUG securely in place.

As in most things, there are tips and hacks to cell phone boosters. One of them is to trick your phone into seeking better reception. The simple act of turning on airplane mode for 30 seconds or so and turning it back off causes your phone to reconnect and gain signal strength.

Checklists

People who neglect consistently using a checklist soon live to regret it. Mistakes and major damage to your Casita will result eventually from your lack of checklist use.

Having a well thought out and complete pre-travel Casita checklist will improve your families safety on the road and insure you are not missing important pre-towing tasks are not forgotten. Such important tasks as raising the stabilizers, checking tire wear and inflation, wheel torq and a laundry list of other items must be checked prior to ANY trip. 

Add in your tow vehicle and the complexity continues to go up.

You can bet those RV’s you see pulling up in an RV campground with bent stabilizers were caused by owners who have failed to follow a consistent checklist.

Use of a checklist is not an option when the safety of you and your family is concerned.

Had Clark W. Griswald followed a checklist the family dog would not have met such a  horrible fate! Of course that was one checklist Clark was glad he omitted I’m sure!

Now here is a really cool item from Camco.  $14.29 and sold at such retailers as Camping World. My only complaint is they are not perfectly suitable for Casita Owners…

Camco RV Steering Wheel Check Bands

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Cleaning Wands

To the left is a Camco Hot Water Cleaning wand and to the right an item available at Walmart. Both sell for around $10

There are a number of options for cleaning wands. They are used to clean and remove sediment that collects at the bottom of RV water heaters, thus extending the life of your RV water heater.

Clam Shell

One of the frequent items you find discussed in the Casita social media pages like Facebook are the Clam Shell (screened ‘rooms).’

This is yet another an item on my wife’s and my want list!

Photo by: Michael A. Smith

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Photo by: Michael Smith

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Closet

The largest space Casita offers for storage by far is the Closet next to the bathroom.  The problem is there is as lot of wasted space in there if not properly used.

Roughly speaking, it is about 65 inches tall,  24 inches wide and 25 inches deep. The door is a miserable 13 inches wide! Try working on modifications in that  small opening

Robin and I used our Casita for about a year before I’d had enough of the closet. It was disfunctional.  It just didn’t work.

We tried the hanging dividers – and didn’t like that. You lost a LOT of space behind them, and in a 17″ Casita space is at a premium.

Here was a Simple solution I made for our Casita. I first found the tubs and built this frame to accomodate them. But as simple as this is, it was hard work I never want to do again. Dispite being a woodworker, I am no Carpenter. There is no room to work, and that 24 inch door doesn’t help any!

A much more talented carpenter than me, by the name of Glen n Wallin, had this solution. He put my efforts to shame!

I absolutely LOVE this!  Outstanding job Glenn! I am so jealous!

I think the key is to remain creative and be willing to try out many options. After the back breaking work that my closet remodel required I think mine 

will have to stay a while. For an older guy like ,me this is back breaking work requiring a contortionist to work in that closet!

Yet another better carpenter than me came up with these shelves for the closet. This was from Donna Hines, who reports her hubby created this excellent storage solution.

Caution – remember you have to be able to reach the electrical and plumbing inside this closet!

Coffee Makers

There are any number of things people do for coffee (and tea) in a Casita. I’ve seen folks suggest Espresso machines, etc.

We love our Keurig! Take some thought about the footprint of whatever road you decide to take in this area, because in your Casita space is at a premium!

We started out using a larger Keurig multiple cup Coffee Maker, but switched to a single cup coffee maker due to size. The single cup is more Casita size, with about half the footprint.

Keurig Mini
Keurig Full Size

Communications

Robin and I are both Amateur Radio Operators, kc5vks and kc5lei. We now use Yaesu FT70DR dual band radios to communicate. This is handy when parking and setting up, and communications around a campground.

Radios requiring no license are available such as the Midlands pictured.

Decorating

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Personally I have yet to find an RV door lock that satisfies me as a security device. As popular as RVing has become, you’d think someone would realize how faulty these locks are as an owner in the area of security.

FIC Travel Trailer Lock (with Keyed Deadbolt)*includes 2 FIC keys and component parts for installation. Approximately 3.47″ x 4.28″
Available in Chrome, Black, or White – Part Number: 43610
$26.60

When I inquired about any ‘high security’ lock offerings, I found they do not offer anything that is pick resistant like a Medico lock.

The ‘keyless’ lock to the left is a type some Casita owners are using. 

This unit is the AP Products 013-509 RV Deadbolt Door Lock., and retails for around $150.

 

It does not offer any added security, as someone with the knowhow and experience can pick these using the keyholes for the lock and deadbolt. They are more for convenience than anything else.

The convenience would be nice and I may give it a try one of these days.

3500lb Electric A-Frame Jack

Model # FIC-3500-2 with a lift capacity of 3500lbs

Electrical Outlets

The Casita Spirit Deluxe we own has four interior outlets. Yes, you read that right. Only four.

One is located on the ceiling area where the Television is mounted. Another is located on the side of the stove /sink area, one is behind the microwave, one is located under the closet door, and the final one is below the side dinette/bed area.

On the outside, Casita comes standard with one outlet on the Awning side of the trailer. There is another one on the same side where the access ports to the Refrigerator is located, and it is primarily intended for feeding the fridge.

In this age of cell phones, digital cameras, computers, tablets, etc. Casita needs to up their game by adding more outlets.

If you think this is bad, it also feeds a power strip with another 6 outlets. Most are very small in power consumption!
This strip is mounted behind the stove area.
Photo by: Luke Wallace

A fairly common mod folks do is remove the lower outlet near the door and raise it above the closet door. I am planning something similar but plan to keep both outlets – there can never be too many at least as long as you are careful about managing your loads!

Electric Braking System

The Casita Standard package includes Electrical Brakes. Tow Vehicles should have appropriate Trailer Brake Controllers.

Electrical System

This is a picture illustrating a very dangerous and unacceptable wiring we encountered at a dude ranch. I was there a full week, reported the safety issue which was never dealt with. I suspect it remains in this condition to this day.

OSHA should shut this entire camp down until this is fixed IMHO. This is unacceptable. 

It does go to show you some of the things you may encounter in your travels. If you encounter such a shabby electrical  arrangement, take all the necessary steps necessary to remain safe. This arrangement could easily kill someone.

In the situation pictured, bare wiring was visible through the electrical tape, and the post was metal and contained the electric and plumping on the one metal post.

Do not assume the camp you are camping in follows the National Electrical Code. That assumption may cost you your life.

Extension Cords

We’ve bought 3 extension cords while in Florida. One 25 foot and another 50 foot 10 gauge and 1 10 foot 12 gauge. Primarily we were concerned with powering the AC and Fridge, and this arrangement has worked well. I’ve regularly checked the  temperature on the connections, and all are fine. I may buy a 50 foot in the future to eliminate some of the connection points.

Fuses

Little House offers a Fuse kit for all Casitas for $16.95

The kit will replace all 12VDC fuses, and are easy to interpret because a blown fuse lights up an inside LED, taking guess work out of the equation. 

The kits fit “average” Casita’s according to Little house. It contains two 30A, seven 15A, and one 10A fuses.

They stock individual replacement fuses for $2 each.

Our Shore Power Cord Fiasco!

...---... ...---... ...---... ...---...

Standard Disclaimer. Hire a qualified electrician to perform this repair...that said, now you cannot sue me if you electrocute yourself or fry your Casita electrical system!

Casita’s Shore Power

Trust me, if this happens to you you too will be sending out SOS in morse code! Ok, so at the end of a weekend at a campground near one of Florida’s many springs, I got the bright idea to relocate out Casita, and in the process I got careless and pulled the cord plum out of

the Breaker box. After an initial panic and loss of composure, I started taking stock of my Facilities electrical experience and realized first of all I had to remove the panel box from the wall under the Casita bed. After some trial and error I found the right screws and bolts to take out (and this wasn’t easy given that they use these dang special head on the screws.

The Casita Shore Power Cord efficiently removed from the Panel Box

Yep, there lies the shore power cord for our Casita. That line is live with 120V power by the way…

1st Order of Business – return the shore power cord to the panel box

This step requires one to remove the panel box, loosen the retaining rind, reinsert the cord and tighten it down.

You can see there is a BLACK line wire (HOT) leg. White Neutral wire and BLUE ground. Why an RV has a Blue ground is beyond me…they are always green in house wiring.

Notice Discrepancy in 2018 Model Casita and Older Casita.

Our 2018 Casita Spirit Deluxe has a 30A/20A Dual pole breaker whereas Tom Griebe’s Casita has a 30A/15A. I offer this

Photo by: Marvin Huddleston
Photo by: Tom Griebe
Photo by: Tom Griebe

because it may cause you some confusion, it did me. Your shore power cord has 3 color wires, Black, White and Lite blue (at least our 2018 SD has the blue ground). Also note that the 

The Black (hot – 120V) feeds the Casita with 30 amps of shore power.

The white (neutral) connects to the b]neutral bus bar where you may notice all the other white wires likewise connect, and the blue ground wire connects to the Ground bus inside your power panel.

Also notice in Tom Griebe’s photo the neutral bus is horizontally mounted whereas in our 2018 it is vertically mounted.

Casita Panel rewired and secured back in its place. Photo by: Marvin Huddleston

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

In this discussion on Casita Owners of America Tom Griebe offered this modification he says is one of his favorites. I think I just found another mod to add to my list when we return home!

What a great idea Tom!

30 Amp three prong twist lock, male and female. Be sure to put the female end on the long cord.

Tom Griede, Casita Owners of America on Facebook Tweet

Entertainment System

Video Entertainment Package

This wall-mounted Full HD TV (1080p) can play DVDs and digital media files so you can play your slide shows and family photos. It features HDMI, VGA, component, and composite inputs, and coaxial digital audio, and headphone outputs. Includes remote control.

Television is mounted using a LCD-CM Under Cabinet / Ceiling Mount rated for a max. 23″ Television and 17.6lbs max.

If I had to fo it over, I would not have bought the TV, I’d only had them install everything for a TV and bought a better unit, and it would probably been less expensive.

The speaker on the TV is horrible. I’ve never seen a TV with a worse speaker.

Exterior Water Outlet (Shower)

I encourage potential Casita purchasers to buy the exterior “shower.” I use that term very loosely however. The water pressure is horribly weak. It is useful for washing dishes, removing sand from your feet, bathing your dog, etc.

Pictured here is a newer item offered by Casita, which should be an improvement over the older models.

Fiberglass

Casita recommends washing the Casita once every month using warm water and mild detergent. Take care not to spray water into the refrigerator or furnace vents, and remove any tree limbs, leaves, etc as soon as possible to avoid staining the finish.

Wax the fiberglass surface at least once a year using standard liquid or paste wax.Wash and Wax the Casita out of the hot direct sun when the surfaces are cool.

When possible store the Casita out of direct sunlight whenever possible.

Get any damage to the fiberglass repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the interior of the Casita. Temporary repairs should be made using plastic sealing the edges with tape until proper repairs can be made.

The shell of your Fiberglass Trailer must be dutifully maintained. A fiberglass gel resin should be applied as a coat. These wax coats are durable, but subject to fading as they weather, especially if stored in direct, harsh sunlight. UV light from the sun along with extremes in the weather (sun, heat, and moisture) are tough on your fiberglass trailer. Combined, these result in oxidizing the fiberglass. Waxes, polishes, etc. may revive some of the shine, but they may not last more than a month or so. Oxidation causes microscopic

pits to form in the gel coat.

Waxing  forms a protective layer between the elements of nature that have caused the oxidation. However, after a period of time, wax will wear off and the coat is again exposed to the elements. When this happens, you must again remove the oxidation and reapply a wax coat.

Wash your Casita once a month, taking caution not to use any caustic, alkaline or ammonia-based cleansers. They have a tendency to darken white gel-based coats.

Polishes comprised of abrasive substances are a better option as they rub off embedded dirt and oxidation, also removing scratches, stains and severely weathered paint. Apply polishes by hand, or  or use buffers (I use my 18V Ryobi buffer). Polishes do not offer protection though, and you need apply a layer of wax to protect it. Waxes and polishes only work for fiberglass RV exteriors with either none or moderate oxidation.

To clean heavily oxidized fiberglass, nothing less than elbow grease and a  good polishing compound (or any other liquid abrasive) can do the job. Basically, you must rub the oxidized layer with polishing compound or AN oxidation remover. Let IT dry, then peel off to reveal the clean shiny layer from beneath. Top it off with a layer or two of wax to protect the fiberglass surface from the environmental elements and to enhance the gloss.

Extreme Fiberglass Oxidation

After fiberglass on your Casita ages, it becomes subject to more extreme damage, becomes more dull, and even professional products cannot replenish its luster and shine.

A wet sanding process becomes necessary in to deal with extensive surface  damage. Wet sanding is a laborious and tedious process requiring great perseverance. The person performing this work has to have an eye and attention to detail. Remove blemishes, Sanding

within a range of 400 to 2,000 grit sandpaper which has been soaked for 24 hours.

If that sounds extreme, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Work progresses to the point in extreme cases that the fiberglass

strands start to show, and must be meticulously removed with tweezers. Sometimes erosion can occur. My best advice is to take your trailer in to a fiberglass body shop for professional help in a nutshell for anything worse than polishing and wax jobs.

Fiberglass RV’s get to the point where oxidation turns chalky, when it starts absorbing dust and grime. You notice it begins to get harder and harder to wash and wax with decent results using most ordinary products. You need to then apply a degreasing agent on the wet surfaces of the fiberglass, rubbing it in quite laboriously. Such heavy-duty cleaners are necessary to help get rid of the black oil drip strains.

You can prevent much of this by simply washing your Casita every month to protect it from irreparable damage Find a cleaner with a wax additive to give it a clean finish making dirt and road grime harder to settle. You need to wax your Casita at least once a year with a liquid or paste wax.

If you have bought a used Casita that has begun to show signs of aging, use fiberglass restorer to finish off the shine, realizing this is not a permanent fix.

Natures elements, harsh sunlight, air pollution, moisture, and even something I am worried about after parking under pine trees these past 100 days can have serious repercussions for Casitas. Best if you can park in a garage or under an RV canopy, if not possibly consider buying an RV cover.

I’m an amateur astronomer, and I love the sun. My Casita, however, does not! sun,  The UV rays will dull the gel coating. Just a small and inconspicuous area of the fiberglass is damaged, cover can become damaged (i.e. by those green pine cones the squirrels keep bombing us with)! Do temporary repairs to prevent leaks! If Duck Tape cannot fix it nothing can! In all seriousness, it is a great temporary sealant until you can affect more extensive repairs.

Fiberglass Stress Cracks

Older fiberglass tends to acquire thick coats of gel coat over time. It thus becomes susceptible to cracking. Over time, these cracks become larger, in this case the structure can delaminate.

To date we have not run into this issue, but I would think that using s sealant when these are 1st noticed is desirable.

Photo by: Jeb Lipson

Captain Tolley’s Crack Cure Sealant

I searched for products to help with this problem, and this so far is the only one I have found that can be used on fiberglass. I will return to this in the future and offer more if they are found.

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Flooring

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Free Camping

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Fresh Water Filter

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Friction Anti-Sway Control

Optional on all models.

Full-Timing in Casita (Truly Calling it Home!)

Furnace

The Casita Furnace (Propane)

 

Generators

  • This popular model can operate a wide variety of appliances, making it perfect for portable use at home, camping, on the job site, or much more. Reliable Power is now at your fingertips with Honda’s Inverted Generators.
  • So quiet, your neighbors will thank you. The EU2200i operates at 48 to 57 dBA, which is less noise
  • than a normal conversation. This makes it ideal for camping, supplemental RV power and any other activity that requires quiet operation.
  • Add a second EU2200i for additional power. Two identical models can be paralleled with an optional cable or cord for up to 4400 watts of power, or time-consuming applications.
  •  Thanks to our exclusive Eco-Throttle System, the EU2200i offers great fuel efficiency. 
  • Runs 4.0 to 9.6 hours on a single tank, depending on the load. This makes it the ideal choice for overnight power, or long-time applications.
  • Honda’s inverter technology means stable, clean power in a smaller, lighter package. The precision of Honda’s inverter technology ensures our inverter generators produce power that is as reliable as the power you get from your outlets at home.

Westinghouse iGen 2500

The Westinghouse iGen2500 is a 98cc Recoil Start Inverter generator. Uses include camping, tailgating and household use. It features Advanced Inverter Technology providing less than 5% Total Harmonic providing clean, safe power for sensitive electronics. 

98cc Westinghouse OHV 4-cycle engine  is designed for easy start and fuel efficiency. It features a low oil shutdown and low oil light LED light., helping prevent engine damage. There is an LED data center displaying fuel level, power output percentage, run time and lifetime run hours. It has overload protection with push reset. Efficiency mode adjusts RPM based on generator load, reducing fuel consumption. Rated to run over 6.1 hours @ 50% load and 7.7 Hours at 25% load.

  • 2200 Rated Watts and 2500 Peak Watts at Less Than 3% THD – Weighs Only 48 Lbs. – Gas Powered – Two 120V 20 Amp Outlets, Two USB Outlets
  • Great Choice for Home Use as an Emergency Backup in a Power Outage – Strong Enough to Run All Your Home Essentials
  • Extremely Quiet, Extremely Fuel Efficient: As Low As 52 dBA Noise Output and Up to 10 Hours of Run Time on a 1. 0 Gallon Gas Tank – Features “Economy Mode” for Maximum Fuel Efficiency
  • Led Data Center: Rotating Digital Display Shows Fuel Level, Power Output, Remaining Run Time, and Voltage Output
  • All Westinghouse Portable Generators are Functionally Tested in the Factory and May Contain Minimum Residual Oil and/or Fuel Odor; EPA, USFS, and CARB Compliant; Backed by 3-Year Limited Service, Labor, and Parts Coverage with Nationwide Customer Service and Support Network at 1-855-944-3571 or service@wpowereq

Generator Noise

Generator noise is one reason not to rely on a non-inverter generators for power to your RV. Inverter generators are quite and portable. Even then, most state and national parks do not allow even the inverter generators to be used during certain “quite periods” like at night.

Proximity control is the first option. Under load, all generators produce noise that may be objectionable not only to you but also to other campers. One way to deal with this is to locate the generator .further from your trailer and other campers trailers as well. We bought a 25 foot extension cord after I realized how loud our Westinghouse iGen 2500 was, especially under load.

Noise Dampening Box

This topic will be discussed here at a later time…

Trailer Trays (for mounting Generator/toolboxes)

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Here is the one that I plan to add in the future. Right now we have the Westinghouse iGen 2500 generator, but so far I have not found a matching lockdown kit for that model. Hoping they add one to their line soon.

Good Sam

Robin and I live on a very tight budget, and this is a no-brainer. When we were first starting out, money was tight (as it is now), and we didn’t have it to throw around. We purchased a Good Sam Membership from Camping 

World for only a year for $29. Our first purchase it paid for itself.

Next time when the membership has to be renewed we will buy a 3 year membership.

After buying our membership, our first purchase we saved $25 for having joined. A two year membership comes with a $25 Merchandise credit, and a 3 year membership comes with a $50 merchandise credit. Membership is highly recommended. That being said, I often find the sale items with Good Sam memberships at similar pricing on Amazon!

Now the downside. I do not think I would ever buy an RV from Camping World after our experience before we put down a deposit on our Casita.

We briefly considered a Jayco, and just to see what options we might have we filled out a credit app on one.

Let me just say I was unimpressed and leave it at that. I found the sales department to be dishonest and high pressure. No thank you. Had we bought anything other than a Fiberglass Trailer such as the Casita I’d hate myself right now!

GPS Tracking for Theft Prevention

Harden the Target!

As a former Facilities professional, I had become a Locksmith and for a while I served as the Key Control Supervisor for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. I supervised 6 locksmiths and we over saw over 33 buildings, maintaining tens of thousands of keys and hundreds and hundreds of locks.

I offer advice from this expertise as a former Physical Plant security expert.

My approach to security for the Casita Travel Trailer is multi-fold.

First, you need to visibly harden the target (in this case your travel trailer).  By far the most common vehicle break-in and theft is opportunistic. Give the thief the opportunity and they WILL steal your property. Now, in the case of a large item like a travel trailer, the thief’s goal is a quick, easy buck. Most of time crimes involvement theft is drug motivated. The potential thief needs a quick fix, so they target anything that is quick and easy, and where there is low chance of being caught.

Then you have the professional thief, and some of their motivations are comparable to the drug addict. They again want a quick, easy target with little chance of their being caught. These are the criminals who might drive around looking for easy targets like unlocked cars, unsecured travel trailers, etc.

If a thief wants your Casita bad enough, they will succeed in stealing it. You cannot stop them. They are crafty and professional. Auto thefts are a good example. Auto manufacturers engineer theft prevention devices into their products. They put guards inside your vehicle doors to prevent a thief from using a Slim Jim, and what does the thief do? They learn to defeat this device. There were cases when I was in the Locksmithing community where some autos were being accessed by using the very theft prevention device, these guards themselves, to defeat the lock. They learned they could bend a device and slide it into the door, make contact with the guard, and yank it up hard enough that it bumped the linkage and opened the lock!

Your goal in hardening your Casita as a theft target is to make it as inconvenient as possible, so your measures need to advertise themselves! You want the potential thief to see you have hardened the target enough that the danger to the thief is heightened that they may get caught in the act. Most professional thieves will pass hardened targets and go on down the road and find an easy mark.

Active Security

The use of a wheel lock, hitch lock, etc. are examples of active security. You want a would-be thief to see that the Proven Industries lock you have on your 

hitch ball is not going to be easily defeated, and that it will take them some time to defeat the locking mechanism and even cause noise that may result in them being caught.

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Passive Security

The use of GPS tracking is an example of Passive Security. In this case you do not want the device itself to be visible, you want it hidden to help prevent or lengthen the time a would-be thief finding it. You may want the thief to know the asset is GPS tracked, but you want it not easily found and defeated.

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Grills (BBQ)

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High Lift

Dexter High Lift Axle

• Precision machined steel spindles and integral cast iron hub/drums. Has 10″ x 1 1/2″ and 10″ x 2 1/4″ CSA approved electric brakes, CSA approved uni-servo and free backing 

hydraulic brakes. Electric and hydraulic brakes are available with and without parking feature. Standard grease lubrication; E-Z LUBE® option. Has Inner wiring system for easier installation and protection of brake wiring. The High lift axle is totally rubber-cushioned for smooth, quiet, independent ride. 

Easy installation with less maintenance. Rubber cords compounded for maximum dependability and durability. The high lift axle comes with a 10 year limited warranty on suspension system. Has a Low profile for maximum road clearance and Rubber cushioning to eliminate metal-to-metal contact.

Holding Tanks

 

Hose Storage

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Allan, of Youtube’s RV Adventurers has a great DIY solution.

He used a PVC fence post and caps to make this excellent hose carrying extra bumper.

Hot Water

I’ve seen the question asked about installing tankless water heaters. New Casita owners let me save you a lot of money, our hot water heater on Propane provides hot water very quickly. And you can turn it on or off as needed.

Humidity

One problem you need to consider especially if you live in an area with high humidity is some type of Dehumidifier. We bought a ProBreeze from Amazon, which seems to remove a good amount of moisture.

 

$81.58

Insurance

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Vinyl Lettering & Graphics

We had our Lettering done by DIY Lettering (click for link) for our Casita. They are very nice people and have a generous replacement promise. If you mess up installing, they will replace them free. Our Casita name was done in large type and RamblingObserever.com for both the trailer and even the Telescope tube!

They provide full instructions, but one thing I learned was to install the lettering, leaving them in place at least 24 hours before removing the top tape leaving the lettering in place. The vinyl needs to set.

Take your time! Remove tape after 24 hours VERY SLOWLY for best results.

I paid extra for ours to get them done in reflective tape.

Here is an example of someone else’s simple but effective graphic…

Graphics personalize your Casita in unique ways.

Latches

Latch Failures

I common complaint I have read in the Social Media Groups have been that the latches commonly fail. The result has been illustrated as in this photo.

Photo by: Sheree Adams

Beetlefreak

They offer solutions for this latch problem. Just click to be taken to their site.

I ordered 15 Bezels from them and will review them after they are installed!

Leveling

Anderson Camper Leveler 

BAL Tire Leveler ~ $65

The photo to the right is the BAL Tire Leveler, Model 28050 (link is for Home Depot – available on Amazon too) which we purchased and simply love. I need an impact wrench one of these days as with my health limitations is occasionally hard 

to crank up if the trailer site is quite off level.

But it seems to work wonderfully and a bargain at the price.

There are a myriad of other options for your use in leveling your Casita. Little Home on the Road offers an upgrade you might want to consider.

The Casita supplied stabilizers are not capable of leveling your trailer. They are only designed to stabilize your trailer, not to level it in any way. Little Home can remove the stabilizer jacks and replace them with four 7500 pound jacks that are capable to stabilizing the Casita. But so far my leveling system has proven effective and very easy to do.

You can use an impact wrench like I mentioned which is on my want list but the supplied Tire Lug wrench supplied with your Casita works fine.

Google Trailer Levelers and you will find many choices.

The Anderson Company offers the center leveling set #3605 for $39.99.

  • Level your trailer on the first try!
  • Precise leveling at any increment between 1/2 inch and 4 inches
  • Lifts up to 4 inches
  • Works great on trailers up to 30,000 lbs
  • Made in the USA

With the innovative Camper Leveler you can level your RV or trailer on the FIRST try – every single time! No more guesswork! No more hassle! Simply drive up until you are level and then chock – it’s that simple. The Andersen Camper Leveler provides ‘dead-on’ leveling at any increment from 1/2 inches to 4 inches – no other leveler is this precise – or this easy to use!

Light Pollution

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One of my goals when RVing is to educate the public in  Astronomy including matters such as Light Pollution. Though new to the RV life, I have already noticed how many campers are oblivious to the problem and bring it with them. Blinding themselves from viewing the glory of the night sky they never realize their loss or even how they are ruining the views of other campern.

Camping in State Parks, I’ve noticed an alarming trend. People go camping in RV’s mostly to get out into nature. There is a desire to escape the hussel and bussel of normal everyday life. Families wish to get their children outside to learn to enjoy nature and wildlife.

But I notice a curious thing. You look out across campgrounds and many, many RVers have brought something with them they should leave home. Light pollution.

So lets define what I mean by light pollution. Google it and you will find such as this:

 
“NOUN – brightening of the night sky caused by street lights and other man-made sources, which has a disruptive effect on natural cycles and inhibits the observation of stars and planets. ‘for many astronomers light pollution has been a disaster'”
 
Light Pollution has many sources. Streetlights, signage, population centers, Casinos, your neighbors mercury vapor lights, city street lights, Oilfield torches, etc. Attending the Texas Star Party 2019 near Ft. Davis Texas and McDonald Observatory. I had not attended this starparty for 15 years, and what I saw was shocking. TSP is held on the Prude Ranch, which has some of the darkest, most pristine night skies in Texas. The north sky was illuminated with a sky glow dome coming from the oil fields. Last time I had been there, you had black, un-polluted sky all the way around the horizon down to the horizon. The light pollution from these oil fields was shocking.
 
We Astronomers travel hours from home to dark sky sites. As I write this I am over two hours from my home at a dark sky site owned by The Texas Astronomical Society. I have us a ;personal lease spot at this location with a 16 foot by 20 foot concrete pad I have my Casita parked on. This site is strictly devoted to Astronomy. White lights are taboo and violate the site use rules. We come here to be able to see the night sky like our ancestors did before the invention of electricity.Trying to enjoy the night sky in the city is frustrating at the very least. Only the brightest stars are visible.
 
Chances are, your children have never seen, and possibly do not even know about, the Milky Way Galaxy. Most have never seen a ‘shooting star.’
 
So families venture out to introduce their children with nature. They set up their campsites, set up their awnings, then string all these pretty little lights all around the Camp Sight and RV.
 
Pretty, right? Wrong. If they would shut off all those lights and sit back with their children on lawn chairs and look at the dark, night sky they would be amazed what they’ve been missing. They would see the Milky Way Galaxy, their home in this vast universe. They would see the constellations, meteors, and a myriad of other sights. Instead, they light up their campsites like Las Vegas and never even know what they and their families are missing. Not only do they rob their families of a mystical, fantastic experience, but they ruin it for other campers as well. Their lighting pollutes the sky. That is exactly why I travel over two hours to see the sky with minimal light pollution.
 
We’ve camped at several campgrounds and experienced this intrusion into our experience by other campers light pollution.
We astronomers use red light to preserve our dark adaptation. Even red light can be a bad thing. As always, too much of a good thing is bad for you, and red lighting is no exception. I have about half our interior lights changed from white to red lights. If I come in to read a star chart or get a snack, when I return outside even the red light has destroyed my dark adaptation, and it takes at least a half hour for it to return. I am completely blinded from the night sky, even mighty Jupiter is invisible to me. Do yourself and your family a favor (and all the rest of us) and cut out the outside night lighting. Leave it home PLEASE!

The State of Texas has had six of its camps designated as Dark Sky sanctuaries. Personally, I wish they would restrict all outdoor lighting just like they do generators. Outside lighting should be prohibited from 10 pm until dawn. For more information, visit Texas Parks & Wildlife Stargazing page (click it its an embedded link).   
 

Amateur Astronomers have a passion for the dark nighttime sky.  We drive hundreds of miles seeking dark skies, taking every opportunkity to excape the light domes common to City lights.

The location where our Casita sits under SQM-L skies of 21+ (home commonly has SQM-L readings of 16 or 17.

The enemy of Astronomy is light pollution. which accounts for hundreds of high school students I’ve surveyed who report never seeing the Milky Way, our home galaxy.

All we ask is for you to help us enjoy and preserve the dark skie locations left.

Insurance

INSURANCE! IMPORTANT MUST READ!! A consistent question that comes up on the FaceBook pages on the Casita. Every now and then someone asks about insurance. Almost always, people start quoting their costs for their Casita, usually saying nothing about their trailer nor their personal life circumstances. Rates are frequently too good to be true (and you know the saying I hope – yes, if it is too good to be true it probably is).

As new Casita owners, we quickly ran into this subject and dilemma. One person almost always comes along and will quote they are paying $50 a year for the insurance on their Casita. Others come along and quote other rates, such as monthly costs they incur in their coverage.

So let me start by making a disclaimer here. No one can advise you concerning what it will cost you to cover your trailer other than an insurance professional. And that professional needs to have some understanding of the field of insuring an RV.

Common sense should tell you you cannot purchase a brand new $25,000 Fiberglass Casita  and insure it for $50 a year. That’s just pure common sense. Nor can anyone compare your rate with theirs. Why? Because your circumstances are most likely not exactly the same. Insurance companies have to produce profit to stay in business. How could a company shell out replacement cost of a brand new RV of any type for a $50 a year premium?

To compare insurance policies, you must sit down with the two policies, and compare them side-by-side, like by line. What are the replacement costs covered? What personal injury coverage is provided? Does the coverage cover weather, lightening strikes, accidental electrical surge coverage?

Other folks use coverage provided by their automobile policies of the automobile used to tow the trailer. So what happens when your trailer is detached from your trailer while you run into town and upon your return the whole trailer and everything in it is gone?

I can assure you all these different folks have little to no idea what they really have in their coverage. The tragic thing is they may not understand their insurance until after tragedy strikes.That’s a bad time to realize your trailer came loose, broke away from the tow vehicle, crossed a median and killed a driver going the opposite direction. Bad time to wonder if you are covered when you are sued by their heirs for the death of their loved ones…

Lighting

Our 2018 Casita Spirit Deluxe came with LED lighting. Inside, there are a total of nine fixtures. Three encircle the large rear dinette/bed area, One is over the sink, one in the vent hood, one at the door entry, one in the Restroom, and one in the Restroom.

Astronomers use red lighting to assist in preserving their night vision. However, even red 

lighting that is bright causes a loss of your night vision. The item pictured was purchased on Amazon (follow link). I am looking for  LEDS with better fit, these are very tight

LP Gas Detector

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Lug Wrench

Ryobi R18IW3-120S 18V ONE+ Cordless 3 Speed Impact Wrench Starter Kit (1 x 2.0Ah)

Supplied as a Standard Accessory on all Models.

Impact Wrench Recommended – I like the Ryobi cordless model.

Jack Block

See Trailer Jack Block

MaxXFan

MaxXFan – 

KeyPad Control Operation

Remote Control Operation

Microwave Oven

Our 2018 Casita Spirit Deluxe came equipped with a Contoure Space Saver, 1CF Built-in Model #RV-980B 120V 900W Microwave Oven which has a normal operating voltage of 4.0KV. It features an EasyClean interior.

Medications

While less a concern for the increasingly growing younger RV crowd, medication management is an important consideration for jus older RVers.  

On a recent trip, I had to plan ahead and arrange for my mail order medications to be shipped to another state while we were on vacation.

Plan well ahead, and take into consideration any unexpected delays. I recommend you have an additional week of meds during any trips you plan.

Naming Your Casita!

Now here is a place where you can have some fun. What should you name your Casita?

My wife and I were in High School together (High School Sweethearts). Our School, Mesquite High School’s Mascot was Stormy – a Mosquito. Kid you not!

So we decided to name our Casita Stormy. That works great, because I am also a 

Weather Geek! The lettering was custom made by DIYLettering (click for link).

The directions supplied with the lettering are clear and easy to understand, but one thins is omitted that I discovered. After you apply the lettering, leave them in place for 24 hours before you attempt to remove the backing.

If you screw up, don’t panic! DIY Lettering will replace your lettering in the event that happens. Great company to deal with!

National Parks

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Network Boosters (Cell Phone)

See my full discussion under Cellphone Boosters.

Organization

There is an old saying,

A place for everything and everything in its place.

If you do not follow this old proverb in your Casita, you will not like this lifestyle. How I can lose so much in a space some 14 foot long is amazing. I brought the charger for my fitbit – I know I did. But I have not been able to find it for 5 days now…and that aspirin, has anyone seen the aspirin?

We have 7 upper cabinets, one drawer, one closet and 4 lower cabinets. Plus there are two compartments in the bathroom. One is dry where you can store your toilet paper, towels, rags, etc. The other is not guaranteed to stay dry and is on the side facing the toilet.

If you want to maintain any form of sanity, you must establish a strict storage routine. . Once you’ve had your Casita a while and started to figure out what works best, decide a permanent place for almost everything. Have one compartment for tools, hardware and such. 

Nato Mounts

Great for phone, they now even offer them with wireless charging. I use many at home, in the vehicle, and or course in the Casita!

When you get a screwdriver out, put it back in the exact same location EVERY TIME it’s used. Keep your cereal in a certain space, and always put it back. Medications? Keep them in the same place all the time. If you do not establish such a routine, you will drive yourself mad. You will always be looking for something. Label your cabinets!

Right now I am wondering where I put my drill driver; when I arrived at the campsite and wanted to watch a DVD on a cloudy day or night, but it took me forever to find it. and I need it to raise my stabilizers. It’s hot outside and I do not want to have to crank them up physically. 

A very useful thing I use everywhere are Nato Mounts. They hold your phone and many other devices, using a plate on the back of each item and a magnet.

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Pandinic

Covid 19

During the Coronavirus Pandemic, my wife and I headed east after things had cooled down enough. Not wanting to be exposed to anyone carrying the disease, we stopped only for gas, used our own restroom and ate in our Casita.

So if you are trying to justify a Casita, here is one example.

Earlier on, before my wife was furloughed, she used the Casita as her office at home. That was a great solution to her needing privacy and to be able to teach classes to her clients uninterupted.

Pest Control

Snakes

Snakes can be beautiful creatures, and have a definite role in any ecosystem. It’s always wise to keep your eyes open and be very aware of your surroundings.

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Average size is about four feet, largest specimens have been found that were 7 feet. A bite from this guy will ruin your day and quickly end a camping trip. Highly Venomous

Eastern Coral Snake.  Average size is 20 – 30 inches. Extremely Venomous.

Appliance Insect Screens

For starters, you need to invest in two screen products pictured above. You can get these from a number of sources, including Little House Customs. The item on the right they sell for $18.95 and on the left $25.95

These keep the Dirt Dobbers out as well as such things as Wasps. The item below offered by Little House and is called Shore Power Bug Guard and costs $12.95. I am not sure if it has any effectiveness other than insect – Rodents may be another issue which I will discuss under this section as well.

Concerning Rodents, the first measure we have taken is to stuff Steel Wool which we place in a zip-lock bag into the area around the power cord. It does double duty keeping out the insects. I do intend to order Little House’s Guard but it’s lower priority at the moment.

Photo by: Marvin W. Huddleston, FRAS

Banana Spider, Female, counting legs 3 1/2 inches

I am a fan of most Spiders. For the most part they are harmless, and great for helping control things like Mosquito’s. Where we live, there are only two venomous spiders to worry about, the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. In Florida where I am as I write this, there are 4. They have the Southern Black Widow, the Brown Widow,  the Red Widow, and the Brown Recluse.

A large Female Banana Spider, shown above, is a normally harmless and beneficial. It will bite if threatened. It’s bite is said to be less than a bee sting. I am not sure about you, but this guy is welcome to hang around the outside of our Casita, but her coming into the trailer isn’t a welcome sight. And if she is gaining access, are there any of the poisonous spiders getting inside yours?

Photo by: Robin D. Huddleston

Dasymutilla Occidentalis, or Red Velvet ‘Ant”, sometimes called the Cow Killer or Scarlet Ant. A species of parasitoid wasp with an excruciating sting.

You don’t want this guy (or gal – the female is wingless) getting into your bed! That would ruin your night!

Photo by: Marvin W. Huddleston

Pets

Never, Never Never leave your four footed friends and family members locked up in a hot car or truck when traveling. And don’t assume its not hot enough for them. If the sun is shining – your pet can die from the built up heat inside your Tow Vehicle. Make appropriate preparations 

to care for and protect your pets before you leave on a trip. That includes having them secure in their seats just as you do your kids!

Have travel food and water bowls available, keep your pet well hydrated! Bring along papers and medications.

Don’t forget their wooby!

PROPANE Detector

I hear a lot about folks having trouble with the Propane Detector alarm going off. If you are having this issue, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

It is good housekeeping to include the Propane Detector. Vacuuming the cover can help prevent false alarms, as the sensors can get dusty causing false alarms.

An all too common occurrence I read about are people disconnecting it when it becomes a problem. If you are considering that, DON’T! The propane sensor is ther for a reason. 

You do not want to disconnect a propane or carbon monixide alarm any more than you would want to disconnect a smoke detector.

Doing so can lead to DEATH! If the detector is alarming – fix the problem. That may not be an immediate or easy fix. I would end a camping trip before I would want to put my family at risk. Troubleshoot the problem and find a solution. DO NOT DISCONNECT THE DETECTOR!

Replace it if necessary…

Pick-up day has arrived!

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Refrigerator

The Casita comes with the Dometic Brand Absorption Cooling System 4cf Fridge featuring Automatic Energy Selector System.

Operating Fridge at High Altitude:

All gas appliances experience lowered efficiency (or rating) at high altitude. This is a direct result of lower atmospheric pressure and oxygen levels, and not a defect in the refrigerator.

Reduced cooling performance and burner outage may occur at altitudes higher than 5500 feet above sea level (while operating on LP gas). Always operate refrigerator on electric power at altitudes higher than 5500 feet.

If not operated for an extended period of time turn it off.

Automatic energy selector system: The user turns the refrigerator on, then the refrigerator automatically selects the most suitable source available, either 120V AC, LP gas only (AUTO mode is off).

On 3-way models, the control system can manually be set to DC mode (DC operation). The DC mode overrides all other operating modes.

The Refrigerator controls will work down to 9.6 VDC 

FRIDGE BUTTON GUARD

One of the most common problems I read people have is accidentally cutting off the refrigerator. It has happened to us several times.

I just ordered this product from Little House Customs and will review it under my Reviews tab on this website.

Ingenious product, prevents the accidental push on the buttons resulting in the fridge being shut off, which is an all too common problem. 

It appears to be frequent not only for us but many others as the subject comes off all the time in the forums.

When I installed this I was skeptical of the method of adherence, but it has held now for several days. Great modification everyone needs to do on their Casita.

Well worth the $11 cost and easy to install.

The most common problem with the fridge is accidentally hitting the button and shutting it off. Little House sells a guard to prevent this and others have made their own.

So lets look at the fridge for example. We were getting ready to head out for our second trip with the Casita. I walked out heading into the house and heard a crash. The wife calls from inside exclaiming we had a problem. The door to the fridge FELL OFF! Dometic manufactured that fridge with a cheap PLASTIC hinge holding the door onto the fridge…what a sorry, stupid, cheap piece of crap. There is a company called Little House Customs that sells a replacement repair/prevention part for this. I am getting this week to repairing ours finally. The door is held on right now by duck take.

Dometic…there is no excuse for such cheap nonesense. This should not happen, ever, They should manufacture their fridges with quality parts and anticipate such a problem. This is all too common from what I read with the Dometic fridge, no matter what manufacturer you order your trailer from. And knowing this is a problem, Casita should replace that hinge on all new trailers – Casita there is no excuse for you not selling a quality product. If you do not do what would be right and repair these when you install them, then at the very lease alert a new buyer of the problem and how and where to buy the part to prevent this. I was very disappointed with Casita over this, but in all fairness I’ve read about this happening with other trailers using the Dometic fridge in their units. If I were a manufacturer of a travel trailer, IK would INSIST they rethink their manufacturing program and fix this during the manufacture of their fridges. If they won’t do it, then dump them and find a quality prodict.

Little Home on the Road install the repair kit for the fridge door. They state:

Dometic Refrigerator Hinge Replacement Unobtrusive laser cut stainless steel brackets prevent (or fix) the problem of broken refrigerator door hinges. To put it bluntly: Dometic hinges are made from a brittle plastic that just doesn’t hold up. If you have a Casita, at some point, you’ll be faced with a door that won’t close. Reinforcing or replacing the mechanism is, from what we’ve seen and heard, the most common repair.

Fridge Temperature Monitor

Acurite 00986 Refrigerator Thermometer with 2 Wireless Temp Sensors  ~ $29.99

It is a good idea to have a digital fridge temp monitor, and the one we chose is pictured to the right.

Remotes

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Rivets

A Rivet kit is an essential item for a Casita. I am always hearing of people who find popped rivets in their trailer. Little House offers a set of Rivents for $7.95

Little House offers, along with the Rivets, a package of 100 Snap Caps and 15 bases, also priced at $7.95

Safety

Safety Egress Window – standard on all models.. Located over the back Dinette/Bed (side window).

Smoke Detector – standard on all models

LP Gas Detector – standard on all models.

Safety Fire Extinguisher – Standard on all models.

Safety Breakaway Switch -Standard on all Models.

Safety Chains – Standard on all models

Dead Bolt Door Lock – Not Applicable on 16 foot models, standard accessory on 17 foot models.

GFI Electrical Circuit – Standard on all models.

Reflective Belly Band Tape

One of my towing concerns has been someone rear-ending our trailer. I’ve looked for some sort of flashing light, etc.

I found this solution and ordered the rear only tape (I want the full Belly Band)!

After spending $40 for a complete belly band, I found this solution with plenty to spare! 

Casita Roof

Casita owners are hesitant to mount anything requiring holes on the roof of their unit, and for good cause – leaks.

I would like to see Casita provide some factory installed mounting plates for cell phone boosters etc…

Safety Chains

Safety Chains are supplied standard on all models, and are required by law.

Seasonal

The Casita Travel Trailer is called a seasonal trailer, it is not manufactured to withstand 4 seasons of use anywhere in the United States. This is a disadvantage if you plan to travel

North for example in the winter. They are not insulated at all for such travel needs. One thing Casita could do a better job at is insulating their trailers, especially when speaking of the water lines and holding tanks.

We live near the Casita Factory, and let me tell you we have weather extremes. But this past decade if you like cold weather and snow, central Texas is not the place for you. Nor is the Casita Travel Trailer the trailer for you if you wish to winter in extreme winter conditions!

Casita has Competitors, loosely called, that are made for such conditions; the Oliver for example. They are manufactured for four season travel, and feature a Fiberglass double hull design.

Security

See also GPS Tracking Systems.

Be sure and read the disclaimer below the Argus2 Amazon Link before ordering these cameras!

Reolink Cameras for Home Security, Argus2 with Solar Panel Bundle, Pack of 2

Please note. My source for these was the full-time RV couple Fate Unbound. In an updated review it was reported that these cameras have an issue with dropping the connections. As a result I for one will not be purchasing them! and cannot recommend them. Perhaps the issue has been fixed with the Argus 3 camera due out around the end of August?

I offered Reolink the opportunity for me to review the new Reolink Argus 3 cameras, but as of writing they have not expressed any interest in my doing so. My suspicion is that the Argus 3 suffers from the same problem as the Argus 2.

Sewer Hose

Casita supplies every new unit with a cheap sewer hose stored in the rear bumper.

I stepped on ours and needed a replacement, so we invested in the strongest hose we could find. A nice bonus was that it was composed of 2 10 foot sections. Now I usually only use one of them, the other is stored.

Sewer Hose Storage

 

Valterra EZ Hose Carrier

Available in Black (A04-5094BK) or White (A04-5094).

Note that this carrier will only hold 1 Viper 10′ hose in its 50″  (Casita size) configuration.

Screen Door

We purchased this Screen Door Push Bar for our Casita from Little House Customs (click for link). I feared someone was going to put their fist through the screen trying to open the screen.

It installed easily, and cost was very reasonable for $19.95

About the Screen Door Push Bar, Little House Writes:

We like this bar for several reasons. First, it looks good on our trailers. It’s brushed aluminum with heavy duty black ends. It really stiffens the door, it gives us something else to hang onto when we open the door on windy days and we can hang a towel on it to dry in the breeze. Installed high, it could be a curtain rod or just a second towel bar. We take it out of its package and throw the complex cutting instructions away, cut it to fit our Casitas and assemble it all back together. All you have to do is drill four ⅛” holes in your door and install the mounting screws. It’s that easy.

I am not sure of the model I installed in our 2018 Casita, but here is a similar product found on Amazon.

Shocks

Shocks are not necessary and may actually cause some [problems. Orbital Machine Works has been the source many have used for them but reports are that folks have ordered them never receiving the product.

Showers

Interior Restroom

The interior supplied shower on the Casita I’d read while planning our purchase had very little water pressure. So the 1st modification that I did was to install a 

new Shower head. We have been completely satisfied with our choice. We installed an Oxygenics RV Shower head. 

Exterior Option

The exterior shower was an option that we are glad we ordered. We do not use it to shower and there is little water pressure, but it is a great addition that we highly recommend. It is perfect for washing dishes, dogs, feet, hands, sand from the beach, etc.

Casita addressed the horrible exterior shower by making a new option available, pictured above.

The Comfort/Quality Ratio

I’ve been cruising Fiberglass RV Facebook sites for several years now. I’ve seen the age old questions such as can a 6’3″ husband be comfortable in a Casita?

I started thinking about cost ratios. An entry level Jayco costs around $12,000. A Fiberglass Casita runs around twice that. Then about twice the cost of a Casita you are in the Oliver territory. Each step up in comfort/quality runs about twice the cost of the next step up or

down.

Quality of a Jayco product might be 3.25 on a scale of 10 stars, quality increase between the Jayco and Casita is in the 6.50 star range, and between a Casita and Oliver is in the 9.8 range.

So what does this mean? Well the resale value of a Jayco after 5 years probably follows that same scale. A $12,000 Jayco resale value drops to 25%. 30% of the resale value is lost in just the first 3 years alone!

Lets say the resale value of a Casita stays 80% of sticker price. I’m wondering where the resale value of an Oliver falls? Would 90% of the original sticker price be reasonable?

SMOKE ALARM

The smoke alarm  is a standard item and supplied on all new Casitas. There is no brand name I could find on ours. The warning label reads “Test smoke alarm operation after vehicle has been in storage, before each trip, and at least per week during use. Failure to do so can result in death or serious injury.

Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Myspace, Linkedin, Google+, Snapchat, etc. etc. etc.

Click on the groups below to be redirected to the appropriate Facebook Pages.

I have a love/hate relationship with Social Media. I regularly use Facebook and Twitter, and am starting to play around with Instagram. They are great ways to keep in touch with distant families and share with others in areas of common interest, such as the Casita.

The first rule of Social Media is Don’t be Stupid! Anything you post can and is seen by everyone. So if you post you are away for the next 6 weeks RVing you just targeted yourself for thieves to break into your home.

Also, be aware you are sharing every detail of your lives posting on Social Media. What are your likes, organizations you belong to, political and religious views, pet and childrens names, you name it.

The internet can be a grand thing, it also can be a nightmare if one isn’t careful.

Thieves used to collect your trash and go through it to learn all they can about you for the express purpose of scamming you in different ways. This is for the most part unnecessary these day’s because we share much more than we used to throw in the trash..

Another caution is that the internet is full of jerks! I had a person block me from a Casita related Facebook kingdom because I said the word “Lord.”

I was scolded by this nasty atheist and ordered to remove the statement. I refused and invited them to remove it if they so desired. Instead they blocked me, like she has blocked dozens

 of other people from all related pages because I chose to use my Freedom of Speech. Why would anyone support that attitude and conduct?

The funny thing is a person like her banning people who questioned Casita quality and other issues. Is she unaware Casita is a Christian  owned company?

I’ve been scolded by people on Facebook groups more than once. One lady informed me I should’t have bought a Casita because it seemed to her I couldn’t afford it, after I stated I didn’t have the money for such-in-such modification or product.

Another example here was a photo I posted on facebook in one of the Casita Groups. We were new owners and had yet to take ours out, and the point was a table I was trying and when I posted a pic of it I got slammed. We were just setting the trailer up and had things all over the place, no one apparently noticed the table or commented on it they were too busy expressing their shock everything wasn’t picture perfect.

People have little respect for other posters. It is strange the things we will say to someone we’d never say in person (and I have to confess I have been guilty a number of times myself).

Solar Power

Let me encourage you to order a new Casita and invest the $89 they charge to make your Casita wired for solar. In the long run you will not be sorry; you may not plan to add solar now but eventually you very well may. And having it wired for solar helps sell your trailer should you ever decide to sell it.

We decided to add a Go Power 120 Watt Solar unit. It was quite cheaper than the Zamp brand, which early on I’d planned to add. To my surprise, adding the unit was easier than I expected. I spent a good hour trying to figure out why an adapter wasn’t reversing the polarity (I’d been told Zamp was opposite other brands in polarity)

As it turns out, Go Power must be wired exactly like Zamp, because the unit just plugged in.  The necessary adapters were included in the Panel I believe, or I may have ordered an adapter kit – I cannot remember!

Stealth Mode Camping

Ever have to hide from that nosey neighbor? Ever want to stop for the night where maybe you aren’t supposed to be camping? Possibly camp in a backyard and you want to remain unseen?

Mooch camping these past 102 days in an HOA neighborhood, I can attest that there are times you do not wish to be seen. You have to sleep in your Casita, but do not want noisy neighbors to complain to the city of HOA. In those times, you need a way to black out your trailer so no one knows you are in there with all the lights blaring, or the TV on, etc.

There is a company, BlackoutEZ.com, that has a solution for you.

When I took this photo, the inside of the Casita was fully lit up, every light was on as well as the  the TV. Our BlackoutEZ window covers were doing their job, as the trailer seemed to be unoccupied.

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Stress Cracks (Fiberglass)

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Smoke Detector

Casita supplies a Battery Operated Smoke Alarm. Ours is BRK Model FG2500RV

State, National Parks, and BLM Land

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Storage

Here is a genius item for the Casita. I tried to order one today but they were sold out. As soon as they are available, I will be ordering this great shelf for over the small side dinette! Little House Customs, $29.95

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Stove Cooktop

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Spare Tire

The appropriate Spare is provided with standard cover.

One of the recommended modifications is the addition of spacers against the trailer body to prevent a ring developing on the trailer body.

Suspension

Torsion Rubber Ride Suspension is standard equipment, with High Lift Axle offered as an optional accessory.

Two welded Stabilizer Jacks are provided on the back section of the trailer. Many owners pay to have additional stabilizer jacks welded to the front section. Others report they use similar jacks manually without having them welded in place.

Surge Protection

The first accessory you buy for your Casita, preferably before you pick one up, is a good Surge Suppressor. It is by far your most important accessory.

Surge Guard Surge Protection ~$370

This is one of those areas you do not want to go cheap on. We bought this before we had our Casita even home.

And guess what, our very first time out we were at a state park and there was a problem with the electrical connection. This Surge Guard alerted us and we 

contacted the Ranger. They came by and said had we connected to the p