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Old 10-05-2019, 02:56 PM   #1
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First Time Boondocking

Have been RVing for about 10 years but for the first time I will be staying in a campground with no hookups of any kind. (Water is available but not at individual site). I don't have a generator so I will be relying on battery power only. I understand that I will not be able to use the high amp draw items like A/C and microwave but what about coffee pot, hairdryers,etc. Will I be able to use water heater and Fridge on propane? Should I fire up the truck a couple times a day to charge the battery? Or should I just go into tent camping mode and rough it a little? Will only be 2 nights. Any helpful hints and or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:05 PM   #2
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You're not going to be able to go for very long on just battery power, especially if you're using your lights, water heater, water pump, etc.

I'd suggest buying a generator.
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:13 PM   #3
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Water heater and fridge need a battery in order to operate the igniter for the propane. You'd have to run that truck for a period of time to charge the battery.

If you can, go into tent camping mode. If you don't operate the lights or anything else but your refrigerator you should be ok. You might be able to operate the water heater and pump if you don't use it often.
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Old 10-05-2019, 06:15 PM   #4
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Have been RVing for about 10 years but for the first time I will be staying in a campground with no hookups of any kind. (Water is available but not at individual site). I don't have a generator so I will be relying on battery power only. I understand that I will not be able to use the high amp draw items like A/C and microwave but what about coffee pot, hairdryers,etc. Will I be able to use water heater and Fridge on propane? Should I fire up the truck a couple times a day to charge the battery? Or should I just go into tent camping mode and rough it a little? Will only be 2 nights. Any helpful hints and or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
First, a/c and microwave don't run on battery power, only shore power or generator power. Coffee pit and hair dryer also will NOT run on battery power, unless you have a 1000w inverter and at least 2 6v golf cart batteries. Suggest you go to "the 12 Volt Side of Life" website so you can understand how the two different electrical systems work in your RV.
Second, as for the WH and fridge, you should be able to run it on propane. But without knowing make and model numbers or what make and model of RV you have, can't say for sure. You don't have that info listed in your profile.
Third, you haven't provided any info about your battery setup.
Fourth, using the truck to recharge the battery is the most inefficient way to do it.
Fifth, are you going to use the furnace? If so, you won't make it more than one night, if you only have a single battery.
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Old 10-05-2019, 06:39 PM   #5
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Unless you're in your camper running the radio, 12v television, and burning all the lights with standard bulbs non-stop, you are not going to have any problem camping out for a mere 2 nights.

As mentioned in other posts, unless you have an inverter, you won't be running small electric appliances anyway. But if you do have an inverter, switch it on only to do what you need and turn it back off when you're done.

Not knowing your make/model of camper - but "most" RV water heaters and refrigerators have the option to run them on propane.

A majority of our trips are no hook-ups what-so-ever, and last one to two weeks. We've never had an issue with a dead battery, we don't use generators, and not all of our campers were outfitted with solar. Our current camper came with LED light fixtures, but in our previous campers we switched out standard bulbs for LEDs, so I'm sure it helped.

But again, two nights, don't sweat it. You'll be fine.
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:17 PM   #6
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Boondocking Part2

Thx! I have a 2016 Rockwood Mini 2502KS..
We are camping in the desert outside Phoenix so don’t think we’ll need furnace.
Can get by without water heater or water pump. Already purchased a stove top coffee maker. So talking a couple hours a day of overhead lights. Pretty much tent camp mode.
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Old 10-05-2019, 07:40 PM   #7
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Can get by without water heater or water pump.
The hot water heater ignites on milivolt, so that shouldn't be an issue for you. And casual water use shouldn't make water pump operation a big draw.

Enjoy your camp out!
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:12 PM   #8
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we do not dry camp/boondock .... we do have a Predator 3500 for one main reason ... when we take longer trips we will sleep over at a rest area or Loves to break up the drive ... we live in Florida and it is so hot we need to AC to get any rest ... I have a fold down rack on rear of camper that carries it .... for 2 days maybe just start the truck to keep battery charged ... best of luck
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:13 PM   #9
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The hot water heater ignites on milivolt, so that shouldn't be an issue for you. And casual water use shouldn't make water pump operation a big draw.

Enjoy your camp out!
Thanks Oldbears. I was reluctant to post this question because I dreaded the lectures that come with any posts simply asking for advice. I realize that I still need to educate myself on the operations of my TT and I’m getting there but we are all not electricians and engineers. Happy camping friend!
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:29 AM   #10
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We almost never have hookups. We use a coleman range top coffee maker. No hair dryers. Furnace for a limited time in the morning as needed, cooking breakfast and heating the coffee warms the place up pretty good. We sold our generator, never used it, use a 100 watt portable solar panel and make sure we get a campsite with some sun. We did use the truck as a generator one time when it was snowing. Just be very mindful of power usage, led's don't draw much.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:25 PM   #11
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Have been RVing for about 10 years but for the first time I will be staying in a campground with no hookups of any kind. (Water is available but not at individual site). I don't have a generator so I will be relying on battery power only. I understand that I will not be able to use the high amp draw items like A/C and microwave but what about coffee pot, hairdryers,etc. Will I be able to use water heater and Fridge on propane? Should I fire up the truck a couple times a day to charge the battery? Or should I just go into tent camping mode and rough it a little? Will only be 2 nights. Any helpful hints and or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

If only two nights and not using the furnace you will have more than enough battery even if it's a "puny" group 24. Lights only, occasional water pump use, and the background draw from LPG/CO detector, refrigerator, and water heater if DSI (No standing pilot flame) will only draw minimal current. Furnace use will draw a small battery down short order, especially if it has to run frequently during the night.

Extra blanket or sleeping bag and the furnace could be left off. Doubt you'll need to charge at all during your stay.

Years ago I used to camp in my trailer using "tent mode". A single Marine Type 12 volt battery would last me a full week if I left furnace turned off.

Added:

A tip if you do feel you need to charge the battery by running the truck. Rather than just plugging in the electrical cord that provides trailer brake, lights, and battery charge, pull the truck up to the trailer so the front is close to the trailer tongue. Lift hood, connect a pair of jumper cables from trailer battery(s) to engine starting battery (make connections with engine off). After connected start engine.

The wiring that goes from truck battery to the trailer connector is small and voltage drop while charging is significant. This results in a painfully slow charge.

The heavier gauge jumper cables will carry more current and the battery will receive more charge, quicker. Less engine running time but plan on a good hour to make any significant contribution to the trailer battery.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:48 PM   #12
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If you have a Dometic fridge, it very likely has a door heater that pulls 0.5 amps 24/7.
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