Tips for Camping Without Hookups
The purpose of adding solar to an RV is to recharge your battery bank, not to power your RV. Taking long showers and letting the water faucet run while washing dishes or brushing your teeth are sacrifices you will have to make in order to preserve water. Learn More 30 Lb. Your batteries will be charging even while you are away from your RV. In order to become more self sufficient, the burden is on you the RV owner to outfit your RV appropriately. Here is a video showing how I wired my Amp Hour battery bank using 4 x 6 volt deep cycle batteries. Of course, you could always do the snowbird thing and head south to warmer climate.
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Whenever the sun is shining your solar panels will be generating power. Chances are, your newly purchased RV is only equipped with a light weight deep-cycle battery that is inadequate for off-grid use. Learn More 30 Lb. Cell phone and mobile data coverage is often weak or non-existent in remote areas. So it is natural to think the giant battery will power your RV for days? Without getting too scientific about it, I can tell you that you are typically going to end up something close to one of these battery bank configurations:.
The See-Level capacitive sending unit mounts on the outside of the tank. Close-up of the pump and accumulator. The accumulator stores pressure from when the pump runs and then extends the time in between when the pump has to run again. It is not uncommon to be able to fill 5 cups of water without the pump coming on. The original was melted from a short circuit, so I rechromed the plate, and installed a new indicator lens and LED bulb, rocker switch and outlet all from ebay.
The rechromed potable water gravity fill port. The patch covers the location where the old filler was, and demonstrates the increased capacity of the new tanks.
These nameplates are dead ringers for the originals. Learn More 30 Lb. Available with gauges, too. Treat yourself to a new vent. When used with a good multi-stage battery charger or on-board RV converter charger unit, a generator is a reliable option.
The downside is that generators are noisy and need a steady supply of gasoline. Many RV owners typically fire up their onboard watt Onan multiple times per day for power and battery charging. So they will never get close to a full state of charge that way. Many seasoned RVers use a smaller and quieter portable generator that can run for hours on a gallon of gas. They will use it to power a multi-stage battery charger to recharge their batteries.
This is also a great backup option for those of us with solar. On rainy or very cloudy days our solar charging capabilities mayt be limited. A common misconception may have about solar is that it will power your RV when dry camping. This is simply not the role of solar in an RV.
Your primary power source is your battery bank. The purpose of adding solar to an RV is to recharge your battery bank, not to power your RV. So how do you know if solar is right for you?
If you plan to do a lot of remote camping, then a solar charging system is something you should consider. Powered by the sun, a solar charging system can recharge your batteries indefinitely. Whenever the sun is shining your solar panels will be generating power.
Your batteries will be charging even while you are away from your RV. Most RVs though do not come with solar charging components installed.
Some RVs are marketted as Solar Ready which simply indicates that some pre-wiring may have been done. So what is the best way to get started with solar? The least expensive way to get started with solar is to purchase a portable solar panel kit. No costly installation is required. Water from showering, dish washing, and hand washing will typically cause your RV gray water tank to fill up before your black tank. So keep an eye out for that.
Also keep in mind that your waste water gray water tank is probably larger than your fresh water tank. So it will generally not get full unless you are adding more fresh water. For shorter stays, an overflowing waste water tank is not a major concern. If you plan to replentish your water supply during longer stays, you will have to monitor your waste water capacity.
How full is too full? Keep and eye on the shower drain typically the lowest point. In colder climates, staying comfortable can be a challenge with limited electrical power. Electric heaters use way too much power, so the best option is to use propane heat.
If you have sufficient battery capacity, using the onboard propane furnace periodically is an option. Be aware that the blower fan on your propane furnace draws a bit of DC power while heating. When possible, consider heating only a portion of the RV. They are safe to operate indoors and use disposable propane canisters. They can also be connected to a larger propane tank using a direct connect hose kit. At bedtime, the best way to stay warm is to use a small electric blanket to warm up your bed before climbing in.
I use one of these inexpensive blankets on a regular basis. Of course, you could always do the snowbird thing and head south to warmer climate. Staying cool in hot climates can be difficult and costly in terms of electrical consumption. Running a power generator and air conditioner for prolonged periods is simply not a sustainable option when dry camping. This is especially true if running off of solar. Experienced desert boondockers use these strategies to keep the RV from overheating in moderately warm areas.
Cooling a hot RV down can be very difficult. Therefore, the goal is to prevent the RV from getting hot in the first place by creating shade, repositioning the RV, and creating sufficient ventellation. Even by following these tips , you may still find the heat or humidity too uncomfortable. When that happens, consider moving to a higher elevation or a full-hookup site. Cell phone and mobile data coverage is often weak or non-existent in remote areas.
For that reason, we use a mobile 4G signal booster to ensure we have the strongest possible signal. Even if you enjoy being unplugged while remote camping, it is still good to have access to the outside world in case of emergency. There are several booster options available from manufacturers like WeBoost. Having this option has allowed us to camp longer in beautiful remote locations and still stay connected.
Lastly, being properly prepared for your remote dry camping experience is extremely important and will give you peace of mind as you enjoy the great outdoors. Having good working knowlege of your RV systems will come in handy should something fail to work properly. If prepared, you might be able to come up with a suitable workaround or even repair a minor problem. Also you should have some way to contact someone for help if you need it.
Here is my boondocking checklist. Hopefully, these skills, suggestions and tips will help guide you towards achieving self-sufficiency in your own RV. Like many things, it takes practice and preparation. Do you have any questions, comments or tips of your own? Please leave them below. Skip to main content. Would you like to be self-sufficient in your RV?
I hope all of this information is helpful. You should be able to answer these questions: What is the capacity of your water tank? What is the capacity of your black and grey water tank? What is the capacity of your battery bank? How do you plan to recharge your battery bank? Take note of the following: How much water did you use per day?
Imsges: airstream water hookup
The rechromed potable water gravity fill port.
The original was melted from a short circuit, so I rechromed the plate, and installed a new indicator lens and LED bulb, rocker switch and outlet all from ebay. Hopefully, these skills, suggestions and tips will help guide you towards achieving self-sufficiency in your own RV.
Developing smart water conservation habits will go a long way to prolonging your water supply. Learn More 30 Lb. You should be able airstrem answer these questions:. Modifications may still be needed depending upon the level of self-sufficiency you are looking for. How much battery power did you use per day? The rechromed potable water gravity fill port. Your primary airstream water hookup source is your battery bank.
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