One Couple, Two Dogs, One Cat, a Travel Trailer, and a Berkey

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

Sue and Paul, known as SPWEXCURSIONS on Instagram, bought their Highland Ridge Silverstar, a 34ft travel trailer (model ST275RLS) in July 2018. It was their third travel trailer and they aptly named her Sally Sliverstar. It took them three tries to get just the right sized travel trailer.

“Our first TT was a Puma and we sold her when we purchased a house in TX. Then we downsized for vacationing to a Springdale but it did not have any slides and soon decided it would not fit our needs so we traded it in to our current one which fits us perfectly! We feel like the story of the 3 bears with finding the perfect fit! We sold our house in TX and are currently living in our TT full time; it will be one year in June! We are staying full time until we can decide on where we want to set up a domicile.”

Just 34 ft living space for full time with two adults and three fur babies seems like a tight squeeze, but Paul and Sue love it. “It’s crazy at times but if I’m honest, it has actually brought the three of them closer. Guess they had no other choice! They certainly miss the backyard running space and taking the dogs out in bad weather is never enjoyable or convenient but thankfully they are small and we can bathe them in the kitchen sink! They still love to do ‘zoomies’ even though we have such a small space - crazy pups! The cat, Sadie, just jumps up high when she no longer wants to be bothered by the crazy duo!”

Full time living in a tiny space can be challenging for anyone, but when space is prime, things like bottled water can make it even more so. Recently, the couple invested in a Berkey water filter and it changed their lives for the better.

“Before we left Texas we would go to a water refill station for filtered water which was really inconvenient as it was 20 minutes away but they had the best tasting water so in my opinion, well worth it. I drink a gallon of water a day and did not want to buy gallons of water; I would rather recycle a few jugs and refill them at fraction of the cost. We have tried in the past a Britta but depending where you are in the country, the water can easily destroy the filters. I am the picky one when it comes to the taste of the water; hubby is definitely not as picky but doesn’t drink as much either. The Berkey has made it possible not to travel around looking for water and saves us a lot of time! The water taste is ON POINT and my only regret is why didn’t we buy it sooner! It will take a while to pay for itself, however, the convenience is priceless!”

As tiny trailer owners, we know how premium space is and filtered water is a must in most areas, but Berkeys are certainly not cheap. I asked Sue if she thought it was really worth it seeing as it takes so long for it to pay for itself.

“It is most definitely worth every penny we spent on it!” She says enthusiastically. She then added, “Not having to worry about where we will refill our water jugs to not knowing how the water quality is, most certainly is a game changer! Especially since this pandemic when water refill stations were closed and grocery stores didn’t even carry water!”

That’s a very good point. Recent events have shown us very clearly how important it can be to ensure access to good water. It wasn’t just toilet paper the shops were running out of.

However, the Berkey, despite being space saving, is large and, when filled, quite heavy. I wondered how it was best secured on a travel trailer. I’d seen them often in most sedentary tiny houses, sure, but in a travel trailer?

Sue was quick to answer. “We have not traveled with it yet as we just bought it since being in PA stuck here due to the pandemic but plan on just making sure it is empty for travel days; having a few jugs filled up in case we boondock. I will put it either under the dinette or lay it on one of the chairs for transport.”

That’s a good idea. I wonder for a moment where I would put a Berkey in my 13ft Happier Camper, but then, I think I already know the perfect place for it. I notice on Amazon, you can also add Fluoride filters. Fluoride is still added to most county water supplies in the US and many people prefer to filter it out for health reasons.

Paul and Sue may have only just found their perfect drinking water solution, but they have been living the full time RV life for nearly a year. I asked they what it was like to transition from ‘sticks and bricks’ to RV living.

“It was hard!” says Sue. “This was supposed to be temporary (2-3 months) and is now coming up to a year! One thing I can honestly say is you really do realize you can live with less and not miss those ‘things’ you thought you needed in your life.”

I asked Sue what she would have done differently. “To know ahead of time the length of time we would be living in it so I would have kept certain things in the TT [travel trailer] with me (aka. Immersion Blender!) lol. And we probably would have went straight to a 5th wheel had we realized we would be living in it so long.”

Great advice for someone who hasn’t yet decided on their RV! As for any other tips for families starting their RV adventure, she says, “…plan out how long you will be doing this for and really think of what you use in your everyday life. Start there. That’s what you bring with you. Get rid of everything else! And start way ahead of time because it takes a long time to get rid of your stuff!! Try hard NOT to have a storage unit if you plan to live f/t for a long time!”

Storage units. I shudder. I remember having one of those. It was handy at the time, yes, and I needed it before I had my next home settled, but the fees racked up quickly and for some, it just ends up being long term storage for items they don’t ever get to use again.

Sue goes on to then tell me about her most epic places to explore (she must have seen me shudder over the storage units). Their top place to travel, where they keep going back to again and again is Arizona. “We love it there and still have so much yet to explore there. Another great area is CO; we love the area and love exploring that state just as much - tons of hiking and walking trails!”

What’s next for Sue, Paul and their fur babies?

“After this pandemic ends, we are going to check out a few states that we are considering to set up domicile and see where we like the most to (hopefully) build a small house and then continue to travel to states we haven't been to yet.”

I smile. I’m pretty sure the Berkey will be with them in their new small house too.

Want to follow Paul, Sue and the fur babies on their adventures? Be sure to check them out on Instagram HERE!

All photos above credited to SPWEXCURSIONS

All writing Copyrighted to Fern the Camper

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