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Old 03-13-2019, 11:30 PM   #1
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Greetings from a newbie. I guess newbies a good title because the last time I had a travel trailer was 50 years ago and it didn't even have a bathroom or kitchen in it. Sometime next month I'll be taking delivery of a new Forest River Salem FSX 181 RT. I will be using it some this summer as much as possible but my big trip will be in July-August when I take in the Sturgis Rally. The last few times I took a tent with me, but this time I'm going to go in style. What I'm trying to figure out is do I dry camp with a generator in lieu of full hookups, or pay the $462 for a full hookup for the 10 days. The cost is about the same. If I do the full hookup the monies gone, however, if I do the dry camping then I will have the generator afterward. The camper has 38 gallons fresh, and 30 each for the gray and black. I will have to hook up to the camper, drive it over to the dump station, empty out and refill the fresh tank periodically. I have no idea how often I'm going to do this. I'll be the only one in the camper so that should help. If it's not going to be a trip spoiler I'll go with the generator. Any advice from you guys?
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:32 AM   #2
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For 10 days I'd go full hookups (and that's from somebody who has used FH *once*). There are two issues: Unless you are way out in the boonies by yourself there typically are limits on when you can run the generator so you don't have 120V all the time. Moving the trailer to dump and get water is a bit of pain, and with the tank sizes mentioned you probably have to do that at least twice in 10 days.
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CorkyF View Post
Greetings from a newbie. I guess newbies a good title because the last time I had a travel trailer was 50 years ago and it didn't even have a bathroom or kitchen in it. Sometime next month I'll be taking delivery of a new Forest River Salem FSX 181 RT. I will be using it some this summer as much as possible but my big trip will be in July-August when I take in the Sturgis Rally. The last few times I took a tent with me, but this time I'm going to go in style. What I'm trying to figure out is do I dry camp with a generator in lieu of full hookups, or pay the $462 for a full hookup for the 10 days. The cost is about the same. If I do the full hookup the monies gone, however, if I do the dry camping then I will have the generator afterward. The camper has 38 gallons fresh, and 30 each for the gray and black. I will have to hook up to the camper, drive it over to the dump station, empty out and refill the fresh tank periodically. I have no idea how often I'm going to do this. I'll be the only one in the camper so that should help. If it's not going to be a trip spoiler I'll go with the generator. Any advice from you guys?
My suggestion is to dry camp several times with hook ups or where you can dump easily so you know how quickly you fill tanks. I would do this both with and without showers. Grey fills faster this way. You will be hard pressed to shower and not have to dump several times over 10 days. This is where you figure out if a tote is worth it fornyou as well.

Water is easy to refill 5gal at a time if you have gravity fill port and easier if you move to dump.

Power wise you may have to run everything in the driveway to make sure you have it all working well with the generator. If there are generator hours where you are headed run the furnace at night unplugged once or twice to see how well your batteries do. You may find you need another one if there are generator hours. If you don't need the heat then just unplug and check the batteries after your usage in the morning.

Its all about how YOU use power and water to know how things work for you.

Personally I wanted the generator so I bought it for our first boondock trip and we had no options. With 3 of us we needed to dump after 3 days with SHORT showers. Could have gone a little longer on the black tank but why. Water in the tank was not an issue before filling the black tank for us. Everyone is different.

Good luck and enjoy the new toy!
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:26 AM   #4
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Just having the convenience if fhu would be worth the roughly $46/day to me. You won't have to worry about anything on your visit except to enjoy yourself. If you were to move your trailer to go dump it what is the chance that your spot will still be open when you return? Will all those folks looking for a dump station you might end up sitting in a long line waiting......
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Old 03-14-2019, 01:55 AM   #5
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As has been pointed out, the showering is going to drive this decision as the gray tank is likely the only thing you will fill. Are their campground showers available and would you be okay using them if there are, if it saved you from having to hook and go dump until you left?

Your tanks are about the same size as what mine were on my old camper and while I never camped by myself for 10 days, I did camp for 5 days with two and three people a few times. If we didn't take showers in the camper and used the campground facilities, we could go 5 days without filling the gray tank or black tank, no problem. I'd always haul a couple of blue 7 gal totes of water so I could refill if needed.

Something else that would drive my decision is to see if there will be a dump truck available. Meaning a truck with a tank that comes around and hooks to your black/gray tank valve and sucks everything out of your tanks once you release the handles. That's well worth the not having to hook up, drive to the dump station, wait in line, back in and setup again. I've paid between $20-$40 to have that service provided, depending on the demand at the campground. They are often available at large camping gatherings in fields as it's a great, captive audience for them to make a boatload of money.

If you decide to forgo the FH and go the genny route and there are no showers or dump trucks, the dump tote would be the second thing I bought after the genny. Much easier to dump and tow that rather than put the awning in, raise the stab jacks, hook up, pack everything up and go wait in the line to dump and then have to come back and setup again. I've got one, only used it about 5-6 times in 4 years but it was worth every penny after about two trips. That 20-30 minutes tear down and setup each time I had to dump at my hourly rate when I'm supposed to be relaxing and having fun made it a no brainer.
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Old 03-14-2019, 03:37 AM   #6
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As an avid dry camper, we have a Honda 2000i, a 6 gallon FW water jug, a 15 gallon tote tank for gray water and an inverter for tv watching.
If dry camping is of interest to you, then get a generator and the other stuff.
If not, pay for the full hookups.
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:55 PM   #7
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Thanks!

Thanks guys, you been really helpful, I appreciate the info.
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:08 PM   #8
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I haven't attended a Sturgis rally but I hear that the area gets rather crowded.

If you don't have reservations for a full hookup site the decision may already be made for you. Campgrounds with hookups may well be booked already. May also be the case for places to dry camp within a reasonable distance.

If it were me and the $$ is available I'd want to have a generator regardless. I use mine regularly even if just stopping at a highway rest stop. A/C if weather is HOT and microwave for meal prep if I need. Also gives me a level of independence I've come to enjoy. Not forced to stay in a campground with hookups.
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