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Old 02-03-2016, 01:46 PM   #1
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I finally found the best boondocking trailer: 2016 185RB BAJA

Hello friends-

If you have any questions about boon docking in a Jayco Baja Edition trailer, then I am the person to ask. I have been living in a 2016 Jayco 185RB for 6 months now, and have taken it out to remote places with little issues.

First off, I have owned trailers before and have made all the mistakes (and still make them) in using them.... but I have finally found the best trailer for living off-grid, or boon docking: The 2016 Baja 185RB.

If you are going to use this trailer for off-road use, or boondock off-road, then I probably have a lot of good information.

1) The underbelly of this trailer is nearly 2 feet high. I have a lifted 4x4 F-150 King Ranch and the hitch is still not high enough. I have to flip my drop hitch downside up- to match it to the trailer. That's 28 inches high! (stock). So if you get one of these trailers, be ready for that type of height.

2) The Baja gives you the height to go over most driveways unlike most trailers. Regular trailers scrape (damage) when pulling into/out of gas stations or driveways. Just ask the attendant "how many he has seen damaged leaving....". This height is also needed OFF-ROAD.

3) The Baja is 7 feet wide instead of the standard 8'. That is crucial when traveling down forest or logging roads that tend to be ONE lane.

4) The water tank is 30 gallons, and 6 for the water heater (skip ever counting that-it is a neutral 6 gallons). 30 gallons is enough for me for 7 days. That is 5 showers, toilet, dishes etc. 7 days. I have tested that thoroughly. (3-4 gallon showers - low flow nozzle mandatory).

5) The propane (7.1 gallons) will be empty in 7 days in the coldest weather 25-35 degrees....but last 4-6 weeks in the summer. The fridge and storage holds about a week worth of food too. SO I HAVE TO RETURN TO TOWN EVERY 7 DAYS APPROX.

6) The A/C uses about 700W of electricity. It is your biggest load, everything else is very economical (led lights), small furnace etc... I HAVE A 2100W REMOTE START GENERATOR that I run 2-4 hrs a day and it provides me 100% of my energy needs. It sits in the back of the truck out of sight.

7) I can go anywhere my truck can fit and I can make a U-turn. That makes all public land open to being my "campground" leaving me thousands of more options than being on the RV "system" (rv parks ect).

8) I can collect, filter and treat rain/creek water too if needed.

Feel free to ask anything you might think of. I have plenty of experience off-road boondocking to answer most of them.

Cheers!
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Old 02-03-2016, 01:48 PM   #2
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Well welcome aboard the JOF train! May have to throw some ??'s at ya later!
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Old 02-03-2016, 01:58 PM   #3
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Welcome to JOF. There are several here who camp that lifestyle and I am sure more who have questions.

Join in.
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Old 02-03-2016, 02:02 PM   #4
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It would be nice to meet a few that enjoy this lifestyle too! I retired early (computer engineer) and just love all the math and engineering that goes into living efficiently, and without services. I do own 2 houses, but they are rented out....hehe.
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Old 02-03-2016, 02:40 PM   #5
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9) For off road boondocking, you will need a truck that can tow DOUBLE the weight of the trailer. No less. My truck is rated for 8000lbs (and is a 4x4). The trailer (fully loaded) is about 3600lbs. I have knarly tires to dig in the dirt and mud when towing UPHILL. Let me tell you this - even a 4% grade on a wet mountainside is enough to overtake regular truck tires towing a trailer of 3600lbs. I spin going uphill (in mud) even with all this setup.
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Old 02-03-2016, 03:46 PM   #6
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Welcome to the JOF. Glad you found a trailer that meets your (very rustic) needs.

Our boondocking is usually off the main roads, too, but at a friendly winery.
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdekeyser1 View Post
Hello friends-

If you have any questions about boon docking in a Jayco Baja Edition trailer, then I am the person to ask. I have been living in a 2016 Jayco 185RB for 6 months now, and have taken it out to remote places with little issues.
...snip...
6) The A/C uses about 700W of electricity. It is your biggest load, everything else is very economical (led lights), small furnace etc... I HAVE A 2100W REMOTE START GENERATOR that I run 2-4 hrs a day and it provides me 100% of my energy needs. It sits in the back of the truck out of sight.
...snip...
Feel free to ask anything you might think of. I have plenty of experience off-road boondocking to answer most of them.

Cheers!
Hello, tdekeyser1.

Roughly a couple of decades ago, DW and I boondocked in vans and our class B (Sportsmobile - non-4wd) in out-of-the-way places and had a great time. Older now, we are pleased with more creature comforts and not-so-out-of-the-way places.

This summer we will be camp hosting at a CG in the National Forest. They will provide water and sewer, but no electric. Like you, we will have a remote start inverter/generator and plan to keep it out of sight in the truck bed (exhaust pointed toward the tailgate).

Rather than assume... Do you run the generator in the truck bed? If you have it covered in the truck bed when running, have you noticed a problem with the generator overheating?

We have a tonneau cover on our truck. If it rains, and we need to run the generator, I plan to leave the tailgate open with the tonneau cover over the generator. I believe all will be well doing that, but I'd rather hear from someone who's been there, done that.

Thanks,
Sherm
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:34 PM   #8
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Sherm,

Yes, I run my generator in the bed of the truck. There are several reasons to do so, and it is the safest from theft (In my opinion).

I keep mine covered and locked in the bed of the truck. I also have a Tonneau-like cover, and run the genny straight from the bed. My genny is about the same size/dimensions as a EU2000i, so it fits nicely in the space on the right (closest to the tailgate). This gives the genny basically the entire right side of the bed to operate and move air through its little gills. In cold weather I keep the tailgate closed and only open a quarter panel on the cover near the cab. The exhaust fumes have a straight exit to outside. This mostly-enclosed setup still has plenty of air in the bed of a truck for a small genny. In hot weather, I open the same panel, but put down the tailgate. This setup is as open as being outside, so I never worry about it over-heating. Besides, I wouldn't mind seeing if this Chinese piece of junk can take some heat...HAHAHA! I think it has a high-temp shut off....

When traveling, I just pull out the power cord and plug in at rest stops. Hit the remote-start...and bam. I have power at home. 5 min or less. (you can see in my pic above I am at a rest stop running a power cord)

When boondocking, I will disconnect the truck, park it 25-50 feet away and run a power cord to the camper. Works beautifully! It can rain all it wants! Remote start is a MUST. It makes boondocking just like being in a hotel room...hehehehe...

Lastly, I would say it is fairly safe to keep/run the genny in the bed of the truck. The only challenge is filling it with gas while it is back there. You will need to get "above" it to see into the filler cap. That is why I have mine near the tailgate with the exhaust pointing toward the cab. That way I can get to the filler cap (even in the dark) just by opening the tailgate (and using the tailgate as my platform to stand on while I re-fill the genny) - make sure the truck has been OFF for a while. There are hot exhaust pipes below your re-filling operation...lol.
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:21 AM   #9
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Thanks for the great post! I am in the process of deciding between a 145RB and 154BH Baja. I really like the 174BH but that seems like a lot of trailer for a single axle at 21'7". I have a couple questions for you. Do you use a WD hitch? My TV is a 2004 Ford Excursion with the V10. Also, what battery setup do you use? I think they come with a single 12 volt, but I was wondering about doing two 6 volt or two 12 volt. I know I need to watch weight with the single axle so I don't want to go crazy with add ons.
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:58 AM   #10
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BoostN2,

Great questions!

I agree with you that the 174 is to much for a single axle trailer. I always wonder how far I can "roll" to safe spot if I had a blowout on the freeway. You don't have much time (or space) to get off the road. With dual axle, you can at least make it to the next exit.

No, I do not use a WD hitch...I have in the past on other setups, so I know how great they are. But I have a truck that is towing less than 1/2 its limit, payload is only 1/4 of it's limit, and I have rear air bags and stronger tires installed. PLUS backing up with a sway control (steep downhill lets say) in reverse can be a serious issue. I specifically designed this setup not to need WD or sway control for boondocking reasons. I spend a good amount of time on dangerous mountain (dirt) roads, and need 100% maneuverability.

Your Excursion will do just fine as a TV. I would invest in rear air bags ($250) if the trailer (and loaded truck) start to sag the rear. Stock shocks are fine, but you have to take in account for the entire spectrum of things that the TV & trailer will be subjected to. A pothole or dip in the road can cause the TV and trailer to take a jolt. Ok, no problem, but you just bottomed out the stock shocks on that last bump. That's not a good feeling. I'd rather have way too much "beefiness" to cover all the imperfections of the road and traveling. YES, THEY ARE REAL. Have you ever tried to travel through Oklahoma City? All my sodas in the fridge were shaken up so badly, they exploded! LOL.

Batteries are another great point. I am still using the deep cycle batt that came with the trailer. It is wimpy, and can barely run the furnace and 1 light for the entire night (10 hrs). I was thinking of getting 2 6V golf cart batteries, but you really don't need all that. 1 BIG deep cycle marine battery should be more than enough. Most of the 12v things on these trailers are very economical. The fan on the furnace is the biggest load for the battery. Its not much. Now, if you want to run an inverter to power 120V stuff....then ask me about that. There are limits to using the 8W lighter plug in the trailer, pure sine, vs modified sine inverters etc. If you have a heating blanket for example...it wont work.

I would finalize in saying that you should "over-beef up" the TV. Even though some people say you can go to 80% of capacity...I have found that if you limit it to 50% TV capacity....you have a LOT LESS stress during your travels...and you can enjoy the reason you got the trailer in the first place.
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