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Old 04-15-2011, 01:17 AM   #1
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Camping with No Hook up

Didn't plan on doing much camping this summer without hook ups but it appears I missed all the spots in Yellowstone that have hook ups. Our trailer is a 2012 Wildwood 26BH X-lite. How long should I be able to run on just the one battery? Should I just hook it up to the TV every night and let it run for 20 minutes to charge the battery back up. Looks like we will be there for 4 nights. For water and waste water I can always transport it. This would mean no AC or microwave. Any ideas and thoughts would help.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:19 AM   #2
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When we visited Yellowstone Park we stay outside near the west entrance. We found this to be a great base camp for our Yellowstone days.
RedRock RV Park Home Page for Motorhome and Fifth-wheel travelers
We stayed here with a travel trailer. It has full hookups and was roomy enough for us and our 2 teenage girls.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:12 AM   #3
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First you need to know that most of us have found that
simply running the tow vehicle does not charge the trailer
battery much.
Unless you know from experience that this is not true in
your case, you shouldn't count on that happening either.

The reason is your tow vehicle has a battery right there
close to the alternator. The trailer battery is way downstream
with under sized wire running to it.
The engine alternator voltage regulator sees the engine battery as full and drops
the output voltage accordingly. This doesn't send a high
enough voltage all the way back to the trailer to do much
charging there.

We dry camp on occasion. Example, last Fall we went to
Cumberland Gap national historical park.
Weather was awesome!! The CG is about half with electric
and half without. The electric sites were mostly taken so
we grabbed a nice big flat site without and our nearest
neighbor was 50 yards away.
We have 2 basic 12v batteries and used the furnace a
little at night and also watched a couple DVD movies.
We camped 5 or 6 nites on one charge.
We have a maxxair fan over our bed that gives us a nice
breeze in warm weather when we don't want or can't run
the roof AC unit.

You have a "self contained" trailer. Get another battery
and go camping!! You don't always need hookups!
Plan those few meals where you don't have hookups to
not use the microwave.
We use a little cheap cigarette socket inverter to run our
LCD tv once in a while.

IF you're careful you can go 4 days on one battery in
the summer. The LP furnace is a battery hog so if you're
planning to use that, plan on 1 or 2 days per battery.
This is with minimum furnace usage.

The thing to keep in mind is Yellowstone is HUGE.
It can take 2 hours to drive from point A where you camp
to point B where you want to sight see.
Camping outside is OK as long as you only want to see
the stuff on that side of the park.

I'd choose a more central located CG and then plan on
driving to each of the 4 corners of the park one each day.

See yellowstone discussions on this site.
Just put yellowstone in the google search box at the
top of any page and hit the search button.

Happy Camping!
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:33 AM   #4
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Another way you can get by with just one battery in
your trailer is to plug your tow vehicle into the trailer
when you're in camp.

2 caveats- 1st Some tow vehicles have a relay that disconnects
the battery lead that goes to your trailer plug when the
tow engine is off.
You would need to check your
tow at the plug with the engine off to know whether
yours does this or not.
Mine does not do this so I occasionally plug in at night
to extend my dry camping without need of a
generator.

2nd you could -possibly- run down your engine battery
but I think this is highly unlikely since you will be driving
every day and not using your furnace at night.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandkm View Post
Didn't plan on doing much camping this summer without hook ups but it appears I missed all the spots in Yellowstone that have hook ups. Our trailer is a 2012 Wildwood 26BH X-lite. How long should I be able to run on just the one battery? Should I just hook it up to the TV every night and let it run for 20 minutes to charge the battery back up. Looks like we will be there for 4 nights. For water and waste water I can always transport it. This would mean no AC or microwave. Any ideas and thoughts would help.
Since you have apparently never dry camped, welcome to the world outside resort camping.
For that long, your first issue will be power, or rather lack of. Get a second deep cycle battery. And be prepared to use everything that consumes power sparingly. Lights, water pump, all consume power. If you are very careful you might get away with three days on two batteries. If the weather is cool and you try to run the furnace, consider a battery a day minimum.
As for your water? If you start with a full water tank and again are very careful, you depending on the tank size and number of people, might get away with one tank full. Go get one of the 5 gallon plastic water jugs. there is always water available in NF camp grounds, so you simply fill it and dump the water into the tank. Did that for years. As for the waste. the black tank should not be an issue if you keep the flushes to a minimum. Again there is generally a place to dump the gray water, so one of the gray water totes is the simplest way to drain and dispose of the gray water.
My routine when dry camping, get up in the morning, after breakfast while the DW is doing the dishes, is run the generator if needed, dump the gray water and fill the fresh water tank. Takes me maybe fifteen minutes.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donn View Post
If you are very careful you might get away with three days on two batteries. If the weather is cool and you try to run the furnace, consider a battery a day minimum.
We have camped 6 days with power to spare with just
2 basic 12v batteries. This is warm weather camping
without the furnace. One night per battery using
the furnace is reasonable. We use our maxxair
fan on low a few hours per night.
I think you can get 4 nights out of one battery if you're
careful.
We use the campground facilities for "flush-able" heavy
stuff and thus never get close to filling the black tank.
This also saves fresh water.
Grey water can be kept to a minimum by washing
dishes every other day and using paper products some.
You can dry camp for a week with only minimal "inconvenience" if you are careful.

If your kids leave the water running while they brush teeth
or wash hands all bets are off on water usage and gray
tank capacity

I agree with Don, get a 5 gallon collapsible water tote
also found in the camping isle of your favorite store if you
want to save space or get a blue water tote that doesn't
collapse but are easier to use and just sit it on your
picnic table (in the shade if possible).

Remember that those 2 bulb over head lights are battery
hogs too. We have LED bulbs in the bathroom
and also one over the sofa. These are enough light when
we're dry camping, allowing us to use the incandescent
fixtures a minimal amount.
At the very least you can remove one bulb from the
lights you need.

If you like morning coffee you'll need a stove top coffee
percolator. You can find these in the camping isle of
Wally World or most any big box dept store that has a
camping/sporting goods dept.

Have Fun!
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:22 AM   #7
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How long the battery will last defends on several variables: capacity of the battery, condition of the battery and the amount of power you consume. Trying to charge from your tow vehicle is pretty well useless.

If you want hook-ups, the selection in Yellowstone is quite limited and as you have found, fill up quickly. Although staying in Yellowstone itself certainly adds to the experience, if hook-ups are important to you, you might consider the private campgrounds outside of the park. We stayed at Flagg Ranch Flagg Ranch Resort - Home Page which is between Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

What is the AH rating for your current battery? If you are going to dry camp, one option is adding a second battery. Another option is to rent a generator for the time you will be camping. Obviously purchasing a generator is another option, but unless you think you will have continued use for it, renting would be more economical. Make sure the campground will permit generator use and consider the hours of use. Remember, you will most likely spend most of the day in the park and will need to run the generator in the morning before you leave or in the evening when you return.

Good luck and have a great trip!
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:49 AM   #8
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If you do run out of battery power while boondocking, will the tt brake system still work when you hook up to return home?

What are other consequences, besides the inconvenience of having no power to run your systems, of running out of battery power?

I plan to spend four nights with two friends in a remote campground at Penns Creek in Central PA over Memorial Day weekend. I plan on using minimal electricty, but it looks like I will need a second 12V battery based on what I'm reading.
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gkconfer View Post
If you do run out of battery power while boondocking, will the tt brake system still work when you hook up to return home?

What are other consequences, besides the inconvenience of having no power to run your systems, of running out of battery power?
No matter what anyone says, you will not believe it until you have experienced it. While it is possible to dry camp a few days without serious thought about what is involved, the third day will be a real trial.

The one thing you will not have to worry about (with a flat battery) is brakes on the way home as the truck should provide all the power you need to work them. (if you need emergency brakes; that might be a different story - break away situation).

Once the battery is flat:

No lights at night
No heat at night - Fan Blower required to fire heat
No fridge all day - 12 volts required to run the propane
no water (unless in jugs)
No potty (need water pressure to flush)
Manual EVERYTHING! -
Slides (have you tried that yet?)
Awning (if you have power now - how do you close it?)

Buy a generator. A Honda Ei2000 would be perfect for you.
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gkconfer View Post
If you do run out of battery power while boondocking...What are other consequences, besides the inconvenience of having no power to run your systems, of running out of battery power?
If you completely discharge a 12V RV/Marine you can expect to replace it fairly soon. My experience has been that once used until the lights are dim and the CO detector is chirping, the battery is on borrowed time. 6V true deep cycles are a little more resilient, but still do not like to be compltely discharged.

You need to stop using the battery before you reach that point.
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