Questions From TinyFest Midwest - Part 1
Our first tiny house festival was just a few weekends ago and it was such a blast! I got to talk with so many wonderful people and got to tour through the skoolie of Luke and Rachel of Midwest Wanderers. I got to meet another solo female builder Hilary of Tiny Hell on Wheels and of course all the wonderful volunteers with TinyFest.
I got asked a ton of questions about the build but there were some that got asked quite a bit. I answered them, of course, but I thought I would do a blog post on the questions!
What do you do for showers?
We have a portable camp shower that tucks away in the back but usually there are shower houses available to us at RV parks. This was intentional so that we could really maximize the space in the bus and not have to worry about all the waterproofing and the additional water requirements for tanks.
Our camp shower doesn't give us a luxurious shower but it will help us rinse off as we need. We don't actually shower daily. This helps us to keep our water consumption in control but unless we are actually dirty, we don't need to shower. It helps to keep the beneficial oils on our skinand since soaps can be quite hard on the skin, it keeps our skin healthier. Even organic soaps can be too drying because it strips natural oils away. In the summer, when getting to enjoy the sun and the vitamin D...you actually want to keep that oil on your skin for a few days. If all else fails, we get to go hang out in the river!
How do you do the laundry?
We have a camp washer. This can wash quite a bit of laundry at at time. We have used ECOS soap and Tide Free and Clear but I am working on making a concentrate from soap nuts to keep it super natural and biodegradable. It is easy enough to use that our children can turn the handle too. I do two cycles...one with soap and one with rinse water and white vinegar.
After wringing out the water, I use the retractable clothesline that is attached to the side of Viggo. This extends out to 40 feet, giving me plenty of hanging space. In the colder months, my plan is to run one inside (out of the way).
In addition, many RV parks have laundry facilities. I tend to avoid them unless absolutely necessary because soaps from other users can remain and get onto our clothes.
What kind of toilet is "that" and what do you do with the stuff in it?
Its a composting toilet. Handbuilt by yours truly. Inside the wooden box is a 5 gallon food grade plastic bucket. We chose food grade since the humanure will be tossed into compost piles at times and we are trying to keep as much of the phlalates and plastic toxins out of the pile.
The compost material is a blend of SunMar Compost Sure, available on Amazon (its available for a cheaper price of their website but shipping is more expensive than free shipping with Prime). Its not 100% peat moss free but we also blend in coconut coir for extra absorbancy and to make it last a little longer. The harvesting of peat moss is causing a lot of destruction in bogs, so we try to avoid it when possible.
We use 1 scoop of solids and 2 scoops for liquid. We empty it about once a week now because when we are parked at places with toilets, we try to use them.
Dumping the bucket is a gray area because you can try to do it only legally or you can just dump it when you can. You can dig and bury it (probably the best if you don't have a compost pile) or jump take it out to the woods and dump it. My request for those using a composting toilet is that you consider an organic diet, with plenty of plants, and trying to got off pharmaceuticals. Toxins are present in your waste (thats the whole point of your digestive system and poop) so lets be mindful. Pharmaceuticals take a while to break down. If you are needing help with managing your care with plants, don't forget you can do a long term care consult with me.
Do you need a special license to drive the bus?
It depends on your state and your specific bus. Sometimes its based off weight. Sometimes its based off commercial versus personal. Then there is air brakes and how many it "seats." Then there is even the vehicle title...is it a bus or an RV? You really need to check out your state. We will eventually get Viggo titled as an RV but right now its titled as a bus.
Do you have or need seatbelts for the children?
Again this is an issue by state. The general feeling is that you SHOULD have seatbelts but I am not sure if its full mandated in buses or RVs. Some skoolie owners with children will have RV couches that have seats belts or add in seatbelts (attaching to the metal of the bus) for carseats.
We do not have seatbelts in the bus, other than the driver. While the girls are allowed to get up and move around while we are on the road, it is similar to an airplane. Sit down unless you have to get up. The girls tend to be in their bunks or on the queen bed enjoying a movie. When we are in town, there is no exception...they must be sitting. Because of the stop and go nature of being in town, its safer for everyone to sit. We do have the option of attaching seat belts to the piece of the frame that runs the length of the bus, but it is not in our plans at the moment.
Come back next week for the second set of questions we were asked at TinyFest Midwest, including a video on how I make the bed in the bus (which was a question I was asked). We will cover how I cook in the bus, what our electrical set up it, and more.
Even if you weren't at TinyFest Midwest, I would love to be able to answer your questions. If you have any questions about skoolie conversions, or living in a skoolie...let me know in the comments and I will try to answer them either in the comment or in a post!