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Old 09-08-2016, 05:53 AM   #11
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Eastern GTA, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,461
Charger, I understand that they're not cheap but it's about respecting your neighbors if you're in a campground. I can't afford one either (a Honda 2000W inverter gen costs $1200 up here plus 13% tax!) so I only camp at electric sites. As I said, if you camp in the boonies with no neighbors to disturb, it's not a problem.

2011 Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8293SS, 12K Equal-i-zer
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:34 AM   #12
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 40
It really does depend on where you camp. If you boondock, or frequent sites that are farther apart then a standard "contractor generator" is fine. We camp in places where the sites are around 100 feet apart, and no one has ever complained about my 7000 watt champion (it plays triple duty as a home backup and for my contracting business as well). However, I only run it for a couple hours at most in the middle of the day to recharge the batteries and cool the pup down with AC. We have camped in some areas where the sites are tighter, and this trick has never failed me:
I'll set the genny on the power side of the trailer and offer a cord for my neighbors to use while it runs. My big unit (not saying you should go big, but if you get a frame genny go a bit bigger so you have room) has plenty of power for two sites, and the neighbors are happy to have a couple hours of free power.

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Old 09-09-2016, 10:43 AM   #13
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 836
For the OP, we can put you in the right ball park. But we can't give you an engineered solution without a lot more information.

In our particular case, we had previous PUP experience camping at Lake Tahoe for 10 days at a time. PUP did not have A/C. But battery would always run dead by the end due to heater use. And I hated being the light police (we had incandescent bulbs which drew 2.2A when on).

So when we went to get our present A-frame, I looked at our camping style a little more carefully. 10 day trips aren't going to happen very often, and we are very unlikely to spend all 10 days at the same site. Most importantly, we spend most days away from the campsite - hiking, at the beach or lake, sight-seeing, etc.

I can't go severe off-roading with a minivan and an unlifted small A-frame, so the remote boondocking isn't going to happen with the A-frame. Besides, DW strongly prefers showers and flush toilets be available.

The A-frame comes standard with A/C, so if we are going to camp when/where A/C is really wanted, then we need an electric site. In Colorado, A/C is only needed during the summer, and even then only below 7,000ft. The rest of the time, heater use is the primary electric draw, especially since the A-frame came standard with LED interior lights.

With the quick setup and take-down of the A-frame, and usually being gone from the campsite during the day, I really didn't want to bother with the expense, size, weight, and care of a generator (or solar) - care being the biggest issue. So the battery bank was sized to run the heater fan for 4 nights in the high 20s (50% heater on, thermostat at 55) without going below 50% charge. I have 2 232AH 6V Interstate golf cart batteries which will meet my specs plus a little reserve. The second battery fits nicely on the tongue, where it is out of the way and doesn't take any storage space. It does add 60lbs of tongue weight.

I can run the A/C OR the microwave PLUS DC loads on a 15A circuit at home. But A-frame air conditioners are much smaller than PUP air conditioners. You will need at least a 2K generator output to run a PUP air conditioner - and then only at low altitudes. Generator capacity falls off pretty sharply as you get above 3-4K ft. If you don't need the A/C to be powered by the generator, the microwave is the next big power hog, needing about 1500 watts to start. For just battery charging and/or CPAP (should use CPAP on DC anyway), 800-900 watt generator is sufficient.

Our battery-only solution won't work for different camping styles, but it works very well as a no-muss, no-fuss solution camping Colorado on long and short weekends.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
previous 2000 Coleman Westlake Pop-up
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time
last trip: Waco and Palo Duro State Park, Texas
next trip: Mt Rushmore and Custer State Park, South Dakota
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Old 09-10-2016, 02:12 PM   #14
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Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 7
Consider Solar if no AC is involved...

We just got back from 5 weeks camping in the Pacific NW and Canada. Prior to the trip, we installed a 100 watt solar panel and controller. The total cost for the system was a bit less than $300 and took a few hours to install. We used industrial strength velcro to attach the thin solar cell to the roof.

Even during moderately overcast weather, and amongst the tree, our single Costco/Interstate series 27 battery stayed fully charged. We were only running an electric water pump, gas heater/fan and LED lights. I understand the need for a generator when AC is needed, but it does really negatively impact the outdoor experience in most campsites.
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Old 09-11-2016, 03:51 PM   #15
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 51
We have a hw296 which is basically the same pup as you. We have a champion 3100 inverter. Runs everything with no issues except you can't use A/C and microwave at the same time.

Hope this helps you. And don't be afraid to ask questions.
2016 HW296
2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Nights Camped
2015 -- 4

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Old 09-11-2016, 06:39 PM   #16
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Big brown desert
Posts: 2,190
I think that the champions (inverter style) are a great value and I am seeing more of them pop up at dry camping sites and their owners really like them. But check to see if there is a repair place in your town. It's no longer a good value if you have to ship it if there is a problem.

Side story: so camping last weekend at a dry campground and at 6:01 am,a camper fired up his contractor style (4000 I think) generator. The generator was 20 feet away from a tent camper who WAS sleeping! A hot conversation went on for about 10 minutes- children were crying, spouses yelling- fun times. The tent camper packed up and left soon after and camp host talked with rv'er and he held his line of "generator use between 6am and 10pm so I'm using it!"

Just don't be that guy.

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Old 09-11-2016, 09:26 PM   #17
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 40
That generator rule is dumb. We just got back from a camp trip where the overnight low was 28 degrees. People in tents were sleeping in their cars. Our heater ran pretty much all night and just about drained the battery. So around 11am I fired up the genny next to a tree, and ran it for about 3-4 hours. Remember I have a regular genny and the sites are about 150 feet apart. You'd have to have a big solar set up to take care of the battery like that, but that's all our battery needed. I can't understand rules that say you can fire up a unit at 6am and run it until 10pm. That's just crazy. Let people sleep for crying out loud. I think 9am to 6pm would be better. People expect mornings and evenings to be relatively quiet while camping.
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:16 PM   #18
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 40
One bit of information that may help you is proper de-rating of generators. A gas to propane conversion nets a 10% loss in rating, and typical de-rating of gas engines figures a loss of 3.5% for every 1000 of elevation above sea level.
You'll need around 3500 starting watts to run the AC, but you'll need 4000 starting watts to run it at 6000 feet.

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