You've obviously never gone camping in a tent Brian
. Manual foot pumps, low energy systems, and windvanes do not make the boat less comfortable, and certainly have nothing to do with camping. If the end result is to make the boat -- your home -- easier to maintain to a high level, then wouldn't that suggest it is more comfortable?
I grew up backpacking and camping out (mostly deep woods backpacking). That was my life before sailing. Probably still would be but my wife hates heights.
First of all, I carry a backup waterpump. I cannot remember in nearly twenty years of owning fixed keel boats losing a pump. We also have a handpump plumbed in for emergencies, but don't use it. And how do you handle the hot water? Tweo different pumps? Or do you not use hot water? Those little black bags are not my cup of tea.
Air conditioning down here is not absolutely mandatory, but close. It is not unusual for highs to be in the low 100s (in texas was even hihger) and the lows in the 90s and 80s. THat is the lows! Add that together with almost no wind, and you got one hot, miserable night on the boat. If you open the boat wide open, then you will get no-seeums which can fit through most mosquito screens. ANd mostquitos still find a way in. If you get no-seeum screen, then the win can barely make it in and once again the boat is smoking hot.
A foot pump for salt water is a good idea... but I got a better one: Just buy a 5 gallon bucket. That is what we use. Works better too because you don't have to worry about what goes into the drain. It is also a LOT bigger than most sinks. Plus, one person can be up washing dishes in the cockpit while the other is down below doing the second wash (soap and fresh water).
Composting head? Well, I guarantee yousomething can go wrong with every head. But better try living with one of those stinky things first. Now, in all fairness, the one I saw may not have been kept up well, but there is no reason not to use a good manual, salt water fed head. You can carry a rebuild kit for them that runs around $70 (and it is not hard to rebuild, I have rebuilt both Jabsco and Raritans). Plus the head is not expensive. Sometimes, the cost of the whole head is not much more than the rebuild kit!!!
Manual Windlass? I have mixed feelings. First, you are NOT going to be using your windlass enough that it is going to be a worrisome power draw. And many windlass have a backup that you can use manual if you have to. There is something to say about the big manual windlass, but the ability to easily weigh a 50 pound anchor and also the chain in a timely manner without killing yourself is worth a lot. Plus, with a little thouht, that same electric windlass can be used to run someone up the mast. My Windlass', on every boat I have owned, has been maintenance and worry free (knock on wood... prob the dumbest thing I can say now it will break).
Watermaker? Depends. I am fully plumbed and pulled all electrical for it, but I have not had a need for it very often. Water is easy to get and in many places we stay, I would not make water in teh bays anyways (grosse). Now in the Bahamas, that may be a compeletly different story (.45/galllon), but the watermaker would be on the bottom of my list.
Solar charging. I agree solar is awesome. We have a very large array (780 watts and a dedicated solar arch), but solar is not cheap either (I have $7500ish invested in mine... $3750 for arch, $700ish/panel, $600 ish charge controller, plus cabelling, watertight connections, etc). I do not suggest you have to have a 780 watt array like me, but a solar set up that will keep you pretty power neutral is likely to run well into the thousands of dollars. And unfortunately, mother nature does not always participate... even down here. Contrast that to a smaller solar arrar/wind and a Honda generator for $1000-1300, and that may be the cheaper way to go. Reality is that as a new cruiser, I suspect you will be spending more time at marinas than you suspect and will be plugged in anyways.
LED Lighting: Yep. We are pretty much all led now. But truth is that the ligthing was never our biggest problem. Fans (on pretty much 24x7) and refrigeration probably get us more than anything. Plus, good LED lighting that has a good frequency to read by is not cheap (many times the cost of a halogen bulb).
160 amp house is not even 2-4ds. Refrigeration alone is a solid 50 amps down here. 160 ah is 80 useable with a 50% soc. That will be tough on a boat with four people, two being kids.
Refrigeration. Some can do without it, but we are back to the camping out business. I don't see that lasting for very long. Kids like milk. Butter. What about keeping your meats? PB and J? Nah, I don't see that working very easily. I wouldn'[t do it. Before anyone embarks off to go without refrigeration, I suggest they try it in their home for a few weeks/months. And you CANNOT run to the grocery store everyday. Stock up and go for at least a week, with more a lot better. See how long that works before you have a mutiny.
RIB - Well, disagree again. It all depends on what cruising is for you, I guess, but we spend a lot of time on the hook or at moorings when we can. THat equals a lot of provisioning via tender. For those that have never done it, it can be quite challenging (esp in any seas). We also do a lot of fishing via the tender. The tender will be your car and there are times that you will want to haul a lot of stuff (water is a good example) or food items. Sometimes these trips are fairly long. The idea of rowing everywhere, esp with two small children and a boat full of food that can go bad in the heat of the day, sounds like misery to me. Not only would I say get a good RIB, but I would also tell you to invest in a engine that allows you to go fast and plane out. .