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Old 02-18-2015, 04:52 PM   #1
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Occassional Dry camping

I will be dry camping for 3-4 day every couple of years at National Parks with my Roo 19. Other than that I will have electricity. The next time and the first for this camper will be 3 day at the Great Smoky National park in June. I am looking at different options for power and trying to weight which is best.

I can get a pretty good deal on Trojan 6 volt T105 batteries right now which for extensive dry camping seems to be the way to go. My concern is that I will be adding 75lbs. to the tongue weight of my camper (if they will fit), in addition to the power jack I just added, that I will be hauling for the 90% of the time that I will not be dry camping.

I have a Group 24 battery that is probably good for 80 amp hours which may last a day or two based on power consumption. I have thought about a generator or a Group 27 and a generator. After I retire in 5 years, I plan on upgrading to a small 5er and spending more time on the road and in the National Parks. The generator would be of use when this happens.

Anyway I am curious of opinions as to which way to go. I am heading out in June so I have plenty of time to obsess about this!
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Old 02-18-2015, 04:59 PM   #2
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If the cost isn't an issue - go with an inverter generator. You'll have it when you upgrade, plus if the power goes out at home, it gives you some limited backup there too. The extra batteries are un-needed weight to haul if you mostly camp with electric.
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Old 02-18-2015, 05:01 PM   #3
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Archicamper. I think you answered your own question, stay with a 12 battery and get a generator. If you plan on a fiver don't invest in extra weight for regular camping.
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Old 02-18-2015, 05:43 PM   #4
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Your probably right. It's a matter of bucking up for the cost of the generator. My thinking is to get the Honda because I know it will work 5 years from now!

The only other option have thought of is stopping by my local golf course and borrowing a couple of golf cart batteries for two weeks! I know the guys there pretty good. I could throw them in the back of the truck until needed!
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:07 PM   #5
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If you get something like a Honda or Yamaha 2000W generator it will recharge your battery during the day and run most stuff ( except AC). If you need AC down the road, you can add another 2000W in parallel and run one AC. Check Speedwaysales.com.
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:09 PM   #6
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I know I advocate dry camping and self sufficiency pretty hard, but in this case, I would have to agree. Your pennies would be better spent on a Honda/Yamaha 2000watt'r and stick with your 12v for the time being. Not even considering the weight factor, you just can't justify the cost of the T105's for such minimal use.. and like you said.. at least with a decent genny you'll still have it 5 or 10 years down the road where your T105's will have already given up the ghost.
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:38 PM   #7
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I agree, no 2nd battery. You need to boondock a lot for that to pay for itself.

I would wait on the generator. For a few days a year use the "poor man's generator" and hook up your TV's battery to the camper batter with good jumper cables. You only need to do it every other day, running the TV for 30-60 minutes. It will be a waste of fuel to do it every day due to how lead acid batteries charge.

Get the inverter genset after you've upgraded your camper so you get one big enough to run it. Having a backup genset for home is great - I have 3 - so getting a genset for that use is a different issue in the near-term.
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:02 AM   #8
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I agree, no 2nd battery. You need to boondock a lot for that to pay for itself.

I would wait on the generator. For a few days a year use the "poor man's generator" and hook up your TV's battery to the camper batter with good jumper cables. You only need to do it every other day, running the TV for 30-60 minutes. It will be a waste of fuel to do it every day due to how lead acid batteries charge.

Get the inverter genset after you've upgraded your camper so you get one big enough to run it. Having a backup genset for home is great - I have 3 - so getting a genset for that use is a different issue in the near-term.
I'm not sure why the arguments against the 2nd battery.

In fitting out our A122 (smaller electric loads), my goal was to be able to dry camp for a long weekend (3-4 nights) in the Colorado mountains (3 seasons - I don't intentionally camp in the snow). Interior lights were already LED, and the smaller fridges have no DC draw when running on propane. Big draw was/is the heater fan which draws 3-4 amps when heater is running. There are some parasitic loads like the propane/CO dectector and stereo.

By far the cheapest, lightest, and simplest way to get to the goal was to add a second Group 24 12V battery. Cost me $120 added on the camper purchase, including installation, battery box, and the equal length cabling. A downstream mod is to add a marine-style dual battery switch which allows easy disconnecting of one or both batteries ($35).

The result is no generator to carry, fuel, or maintain, and no solar panels to be tended in the wind or to find sunny spots for. Even a dual Group 27 of Marine Diehards or equivalent is going to cost much less than the generator or solar. Remember, you don't need true deep-discharge batteries if you don't discharge below 60%, and only get that low once or twice a year.

Keeping things simple so I camp more.
Fred W
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:34 AM   #9
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The reason I was considering batteries is that there is a place near me that is selling Deka golf cart batteries for about $79 and the Trojan T105 for $120. The prices include a $25 core trade in.
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:45 AM   #10
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I'm not sure why the arguments against the 2nd battery.
...
By far the cheapest, lightest, and simplest way to get to the goal was to add a second Group 24 12V battery. ...
My 3 reasons why are due to the length of time the OP needs to dry camp (3-4 days):

1. Using the TV is the cheapest method. It will run for 30-60 minutes, twice. That translates to 1-2 gallons of gas for cost. Buying a 2nd battery, as I mentioned, does not pay off unless you dry camp most of the time.

2. Using the TV is the lightest. Why haul around an extra 75 pounds all the time for 3-4 days of use each year?

3. It is the simplest, too. No 2nd battery box, additional 10 gauge wiring, additional maintenance (adding water, keeping 2 batteries charged).
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