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Old 07-30-2016, 01:12 AM   #1
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First time extended dry camp

We are heading up to Sebago State Park in 2 weeks. We much prefer the sites that don't have any hookups and will be dry camping for 1 week. Here is my current set up. I just upgraded the batteries to 2 6v Trojan t105's wired in series. I also purchased a Zamp solar 160 watt portable solar charger. My main draw on the power I believe will be running the propane fridge and lighting at night. We might watch a movie or 2 while there to keep the grandkids entertained. Coffee ( a must have ) will be made on the coleman stove using a percolator as will most of the cooking.
So what do some of you more experienced folks say. Am I safe leaving the generator home? I hate using the thing even though its a run quiet model. Any other suggestions or tips?
Thanks,
Gary
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Old 07-30-2016, 01:42 AM   #2
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You're not going to run the furnace?
That's the biggest battery drainer.

The fridge uses very little battery power.

If no furnace usage, I think you can make it.
We have with our dual 12v batteries.
But not sure the grandkids won't use up excess power.

Personally I prefer to have my Honda 2000i along, just in case.
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Old 07-30-2016, 02:54 AM   #3
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Thanks Dan. Don't see using the furnace as temps should be well above freezing for this time of year up in Maine. Might be more likely to need the AC! But if the nights are cold we will have plenty of blankets along.
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Old 07-30-2016, 08:43 AM   #4
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We dry camp almost %100 of the time. Your 160 watt portable will most likely be more than adequate based on your mentioned use as long as you are dedicated to moving it and keeping it pointed in good sun. I would factor in some additional usage for water pump for showers and other water needs and furnace though. Even up here just North of the boarder we have had plenty of warm nights and with two medium sized dogs the heat generated from us in the trailer keeps it warm but I believe I keep the thermostat set around 68. It will kick on once or twice.

Where you run into a problem is if you have two or more days of rain/cloud. Take a look at your power usage and use one of the many online calculators to get an idea of your daily power use. Remember a day is a 24 hour period and you will want to gain back those amp hours used every day.

We do not spend time at our trailer during the day, so a portable system doesn't work for us. Our 2000watt inver/gen rarely gets used but we have had it run on extended trips when we run into those rainy periods just in case the sun didn't come out the 3rd day.

Also, do not rely upon the TT's built in battery led battery display. If anything get yourself a cheap multimeter, or even a 12V cigarette led display that plugs into your cigarette adapter if you have one and use a battery chart to give you an indication of your state of charge. It isn't ideal but much better than the built in display. A dedicated Battery monitor would be best but if you rarely dry camp its overkill for one trip.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:06 AM   #5
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Take the Gen and Enjoy Everything that is Elect.that You paid for! Ex fans,water pump,Refer,water heater,lights,CO Detector,and the TV for the Kids! They all need Power be it 12V or 120V! Take the Gen and Sleep well and enjoy! Youroo!!
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youroo View Post
Take the Gen and Enjoy Everything that is Elect.that You paid for! Ex fans,water pump,Refer,water heater,lights,CO Detector,and the TV for the Kids! They all need Power be it 12V or 120V! Take the Gen and Sleep well and enjoy! Youroo!!
Like many things in this world, I'd rather have it and not need it vs. needing it and not having it.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:38 AM   #7
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X3 on taking generator. Insurance . If you have a few days of rain you will have limited recharging and kids will likely use more capacity.
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Old 07-30-2016, 10:03 AM   #8
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We dry camp most of the time also. I find our daily exploration trips in the truck (leaving the trailer at camp) charges up the TV batteries (2) then when we get back we plug back into the trailer and good for another day. That said on longer stays I would definitely bring the generator but avoid using it so as not to bother the neighbors.
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Old 07-30-2016, 01:14 PM   #9
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We dry camp all the time and have even gone out for three weeks using two 12 volt batteries and a 100 watt renology suitcase solar panel. We secure it using a pull chain that is very robust and can be seen from the road so no one messes with it. In reality if someone wanted the panel it would take five minutes or less to unscrew the legs and take the chain off but the chain serves two purposes, one for solar panel security and I always keep it in the back of my truck to pull people out when they get stuck. I also use 6 normal garden solar spot lights from Harbor Freight and remove the stake and use them in the trailer at night. I stand them on the solar panel in the trailer and shine them up. It works great and eases my energy use. With this setup I never have to use my generator unless we need the A/C. With your 160 watt panel you will be just fine. Even on cloudy days between my garden lights and my solar panel I never have any issues and we are not crazy energy misers. Good luck.
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Old 07-30-2016, 01:59 PM   #10
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Flybob x2
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