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Old 03-26-2015, 12:07 AM   #1
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Dry camping 101

I've had a 195bh for about 8 months now and used it for 6-7 trips, always in a campground with hookups. I want to start using for short dry camping trips but don't have a clue what's going to work and for how long. My first dry camp will be a short 2 day / 1 night stay over. Is there somewhere I can learn the basics?
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Old 03-26-2015, 02:22 AM   #2
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First thing is to get two 12v deep cycle or 6v golf cart batteries.
The next step would be an inverter generator or a solar setup.
If longer than two days, a blue tote tank for gray water and something to transport fresh water in.

Don't know of any book.
Some RV forums have a boondocking/dry camping section to read threads about It.
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Old 03-29-2015, 02:42 AM   #3
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What exactly is an inverted for, and how much wattage is needed?
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Old 03-29-2015, 04:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfnbike13 View Post
What exactly is an inverted for, and how much wattage is needed?
i think you mean "inverter".
all RV's have a converter, to convert 110v AC power to 12v DC power.

but only some RV's come with an inverter, does the opposite, inverts 12v DC power to 110v AC power. usually only some motorhomes come with them.
most RV owners have to add one to their RV.

i added a 400w inverter to run the tv/dvd and also recharge electronic devices.
but i have two 12v deep cycle batteries and a Honda 2000 for recharging the depleted batteries.

the Honda is an "inverter" generator, meaning it will idle at the lowest speed until a demand is put on it.
non-inverter generators, like open-frame cheap ones, will only run full speed and therefore much louder.
inverter generators are usually much quieter because of this feature, but usually will cost more.
Honda and Yamaha are the gold standard for inverter generators. but there have been other brands in the past few years that are putting out good ones at lower prices.
Champion is one example.

as to how much wattage is needed, it depends on what you want to run.
for anything BUT the a/c, 2000w generator will do everything else.
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:59 AM   #5
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Dry camping means if you want it you have to bring it. That's water, propane, a generator if you feel you will need it to charge your battery/batteries, run your AC, TV, etc. You can get enough solar to keep your battery/batteries charged as there will be a parasite drainage from your propane detector, fridge, hot water heater light on the panel etc. It all depends on how long you will be dry camping. For a weekend you might get away with 1 battery not being charged by a gen set or solar depending on what you use that requires power from the battery. I've always had 2 batteries on my TTs & 5ers along with a gen set & solar. We dry camp for at least 10 days at a stretch and we're completely self sufficient. Last summer we dry camped for 3 weeks in the Rockies. For that length of time there are a lot more things to consider like sewage, potable water, etc. I have a meter on my batteries to tell me what the voltage is. I don't depend on the lights on the panel. If you trailer is in your driveway or close by, try camping in it without the comforts of plugging in and hooking up the water. Get out there and try it.
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Old 03-29-2015, 07:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfnbike13 View Post
I've had a 195bh for about 8 months now and used it for 6-7 trips, always in a campground with hookups. I want to start using for short dry camping trips but don't have a clue what's going to work and for how long. My first dry camp will be a short 2 day / 1 night stay over. Is there somewhere I can learn the basics?
During your first trip, you'll have to figure out what is a necessity. Lights? Heat? Water? 120vac for the microwave or tv?

My suggestion for your first dry camp since its overnight is to just go.

Power: One night, one good battery, you should be ok. If not, then consider a new battery for the next trip. Turn off all battery draw like the fridge condensate heater. You'll have to be conservative with lights..only turn on the ones you'll need when you need them...especially if you don't have LEDs. The furnace is a power hog, if needed, keep the temp very low after you go to bed, and off when not at camp.

Water: Be very conservative with the water...showers are out unless you bring a bunch of water jugs. Make due with wash cloth baths..especially since your trip is only one night. Wash your dishes by using a small bowl with soapy water instead of filling the sink with water. One night shouldn't be too bad.

Keep the fridge and water heater on propane. Make coffee over the oven using a perculator coffee maker (cheap one work great)

Don't forget about dumping your tanks...where are you going to do that? Are you able to find a park that will let you dumo for a fee? Can you dump at home? You'll have to figure that out!

Personally, don't spend any money on serious upgrades like batteries or solar yet. Go in baby steps...conserve your resources first (like turn off lights), then buy stuff that'll help conserve those resources (like LED lights), finally upgrade to extending more of those resources (batteries and solar). Of course if you know something is bad..such as your battery, then go ahead and replace or upgrade it.

Good luck
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Old 03-29-2015, 09:00 AM   #7
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Dry camping 101

You always have your TV to charge the battery for you test night away. ^^^ radsp is right on.
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Old 03-29-2015, 12:12 PM   #8
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Like they said above, you need to figure out how you'll live when dry camping. If possible, camp driveway to the rescue!

Fill the fresh tank, then, camp in the yard. Make dinner, entertain the kids, etc, spend the night out there, then get ready in the morning as you normally would. Keep tabs on battery power, etc.

Depending on weather and if you needed the furnace you'll likely find the battery down 30% or so. If the furnace was needed then you'll probably find it at the 50% or less mark, try not to cross 50% state of charge (12.06V is considered 50%) as that's rough on the battery.

For a single night you should be fine, most 12V deep cycle batteries should be ok. For longer then I'd recommend adding another 12V battery or upgrading to two (Or four) 6V batteries. They typically have more amp hours and are considered more durable than 12V batteries.

Here's what I do for dry camping.
Four 6V batteries in a split pair arrangement with a switch. That way if one battery fails I can turn that side off. Currently I have 460ah at my disposal.

1200w inverter to run my 120V only cpap machine, and I've run the tv off it too.

Two Honda EU2000i generators. You only need one until it's time for air conditioning.

Four six gallon potable water jugs, soon to be six. I will be able to carry 36 extra gallons with me or go get 36 gallons at a time.

I've got a tote and store, but thankfully in 13 years I've never needed it. I'll check and see if I can let my gray drain in the trees, so far everywhere I've been has been cool with that.

I camped in 19* weather, the furnace set to 55* (Blankets are your friend) and watching one movie plus running my cpap all night my batteries would be down about 25-30% or 12.35-12.45V.

One other thing, paper plates. You go through an insane amount of water washing dishes. Use paper plates, be sparing with washing pans.
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Old 03-29-2015, 01:03 PM   #9
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Lots of great information, thanks for everything but. Couple other thoughts.
1. My fridge is just the 120v kind so I'm assuming it will not function, so I should plan to use a cooler?
2. Is the water pump ran off battery. I've always been hooked to a water supply so I haven't even used the holding tank and pump yet.
3. I have a new deep cycle 12v battery so I'm assuming I should make it through one night.
4. So I should assume none of the power outlets will work unless I install an inverter?
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Old 03-29-2015, 02:59 PM   #10
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Answer:
#1. Right. Unless you get an inverter and increase your capacity (more battery) you can't use your fridge.
#2 yes, its 12v.
#3 depends. If you're conservative with lights and heat, you should be fine.
#4 that's correct. No inverter, no 120v outlets.
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