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Old 05-19-2022, 06:56 PM   #1
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The future of Boondocking

Here’s our scenario,

Two GeoPro 20BHS to choose from. One with the 12v fridge, one with duel fuel. We’re dry camping 99% of the time. One dealer says duel fuel is old technology they aren’t making them any more. Other dealer says good luck going longer than 5 days with an added solar panel and two lithium batteries, AND don’t forget your generator.

Ok so we’re leaning towards the duel fuel so we can camp longer. We camp in the spring and fall and mostly under trees.

So my question is, what will the future be for dry camping if RVs aren’t going to have a duel fuel option? Will we be forced to purchase the 9k power package and hope we make it 7 days? I’m so confused…
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:03 PM   #2
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Here’s our scenario,

Two GeoPro 20BHS to choose from. One with the 12v fridge, one with duel fuel. We’re dry camping 99% of the time. One dealer says duel fuel is old technology they aren’t making them any more. Other dealer says good luck going longer than 5 days with an added solar panel and two lithium batteries, AND don’t forget your generator.

Ok so we’re leaning towards the duel fuel so we can camp longer. We camp in the spring and fall and mostly under trees.

So my question is, what will the future be for dry camping if RVs aren’t going to have a duel fuel option? Will we be forced to purchase the 9k power package and hope we make it 7 days? I’m so confused…
First dealer is full of it he just wants to sell the 12 rv fridge in the rv he has on the lot . Dealer 2 is much closer to reality . GAS ABSORPTION fridges are not going anywhere and were the first fridges on the market before compressors fridges .
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:05 PM   #3
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I called the manufacturer and they even said they won’t be around in 5 years. That seems crazy.
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:07 PM   #4
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I called the manufacturer and they even said they won’t be around in 5 years. That seems crazy.

I call BS on that .
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:08 PM   #5
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I also don’t understand why the 12V gets a nicer fridge? The duel fuel is an extra $1000 yet it looks like a plastic old bar fridge. What’s with that?
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:15 PM   #6
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Sorry but there’s only one model available in the Geo Pro 20BHS. And yes of course I’d want a bigger more spacious fridge. I definitely have that figured out. And the number of posts did not decide that but thank you for your input.
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:23 PM   #7
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12 V FRIDGES ARE cheaper to make, have a larger interior space, require NO hole in the roof to vent and are cheaper alternative to put into a new camper... with adequate solar power/battery they make a good alternative...
however you said earlier you camp in the trees and for that reason you are better off with the propane powered fridge and the 12V needs of that fridge will sip off your battery instead of GULP power that the 12V only model will require

I have a propane/110VAC (duel fuel) fridge that is literally ON 24/7/365 for the last 8 years and it has never skipped a beat...
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:34 PM   #8
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You know how you can tell a dealer is lying?
.
.
.
Their lips are moving.


A lot of this call has to deal with the sort of camping conditions you're going to face. How hot/cold will it be, and how will you use the energy sources/fuel you have available to you in order to be comfortable.

I sweated this same decision, but ultimately went 12v and a significant solar farm with LiFePo battery bank. I'm here in the midwest, and camp north to south, as well as east to west. Tree cover isn't a real issue for us, nor is sun angle.

For the times we will be boondocking and NOT going to have some kind of power umbilical, we've got more than enough electrons to make us comfortable. While this setup was a big investment, it absolutely works for us. WERE I TO DO IT AGAIN, I'd still get the 12v and wouldn't look back.

However, this decision isn't for everyone. If all you want is a fridge, and the microwave/AC/other electrical amenities (outside of the lights and water pump) aren't of any value to you, then a two-way fridge is hard to beat from an economic standpoint.

Blasphemy: I'd cross shop another manufacturer, and take a real hard look at the Winnebago Micro Minnie TT's, made by Grand Design. A lot of the same subsystems, yes, but some really good design choices, and a pretty solid choice for boondocking.

Let us know what you decide! Either way, happy camping!
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Old 05-19-2022, 07:49 PM   #9
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12v only fridges have been getting more common, since the pandemic.
They are cheaper, easier to get, have more room and simpler to install. But there has been significant growing pains with them. The problems with Furrion 12v only fridges were so bad, FR stopped doing business with them.
For us, we prefer the 2-way fridge and they are big enough for the two of us. We don't care to spend all the money and hassle for a solar system and LiPo batteries. We've been perfectly fine for the past 20 years with a 2-way fridge.

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Old 05-19-2022, 07:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Erica.Nadene View Post
So my question is, what will the future be for dry camping if RVs aren’t going to have a duel fuel option? Will we be forced to purchase the 9k power package and hope we make it 7 days? I’m so confused…
I think in the future, we will have more efficient solar panels and batteries so that we can boondock with 12v refrigerators.

For right now, I'd choose the dual fuel refrigerator. You still need a battery for the electric ignition, but that's very little energy compared to a 12v refrigerator.
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Old 05-20-2022, 09:01 AM   #11
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Well, of course

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I have a propane/110VAC (duel fuel) fridge that is literally ON 24/7/365 for the last 8 years and it has never skipped a beat...
Well, of course it has lasted. There are no moving parts to wear out. You heat the fluid refrigerant and it compresses to liquid. The fluid flows through the evaporator and expands back to a gas, absorbing heat (a cooling effect, just like spray deodorant).

In fact, some people say it's better to run them 24/7.

As long as Erica.Nadene is aware of the limitations of the dual fuel unit (sometimes called an absorption refrigerator), she should get it. These limitations are:
  • Slow to cool down from ambient temperature (Need to start cooling 24 hours before use. Best to load with goods pre-cooled in home refrigerator. Fill empty space with water jugs/bottles, not air.)
  • Adjustment to get both freezer temperature and refrigerator temperature right can be fussy. (Some people put a battery operated fan inside the refrigerator to even out warm and cold spots.)
  • Successful operation relies on being able to get out the heat produced by the compression phase (behind the refrigerator: air flows in the wall, out a vent in the roof) A lot of people will put a few efficient 12 volt computer fans in this channel to move more air. They don't use much battery power.
  • Pay attention to trailer orientation. The refrigerator operates better if it's not on the sunny side of the trailer.
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Old 05-20-2022, 09:18 AM   #12
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Boondocking

The only place our camper is plugged in is in the driveway. With a 110 watt solar panel and a single lead acid battery, we are getting along just fine. So say no to a 12v fridge! Propane fridges use very little fuel, are very reliable and trouble free.

Green new deal will eliminate them because they can someday, l have been using piston engines to incinerate dinosaurs for a long time...how come they cost so much now??
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Old 05-20-2022, 09:26 AM   #13
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I'm in agreement with the OP, absorption works for us. I think boondocking is the deciding factor. All the solar in the world doesn't help me in the trees boondocking. Lacking solar, I need to run the generator to recharge. I should qualify my statements by adding that I'm in NW WA, so we have trees and cloudy weather.
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Old 05-20-2022, 09:33 AM   #14
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Other dealer says good luck going longer than 5 days with an added solar panel and two lithium batteries, AND don’t forget your generator.
I'm assuming you actually have a generator and camp somewhere where you're allowed to use it. From my own testing and experience with my GE 12V fridge and single 100 Ah lithium battery, I'd say you'll be fine with something like that, power-wise, as long as you can run the genny periodically to top off the battery. And as long as you don't need AC.

See this thread for more on that testing and experience:

https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ng-236327.html

I was at Shenandoah National Park last week, where none of the campgrounds have hookups. Generator hours are 8am-10am and 4pm-7pm. Between shade and clouds, the (measly 50W) solar panel was of no help. But running the generator an hour or two during those hours was more than enough for my battery. The highest overnight drain was 45 Ah over 14 hours. That included running the furnace fan periodically (it draws about 2A); it was a little chilly overnight.

That furnace fan will presumably be a bigger factor for you. I see from your profile that you're in Canada. Assuming your Spring and Fall camping is also in Canada, you'll likely be using the furnace a lot more than I did. Still, with the fan's 2 amps and a higher duty cycle in colder weather, I should have been in good shape in any temperature environment where I'm likely to be camping (i.e., above freezing).

I recommend a meter of some sort to quantify your actual power usage so you're not just guessing ... or having to trust the dealer's claims. I use a Victron SmartShunt.
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Old 05-20-2022, 09:42 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by bikendan View Post
12v only fridges have been getting more common, since the pandemic.
They are cheaper, easier to get, have more room and simpler to install. But there has been significant growing pains with them. The problems with Furrion 12v only fridges were so bad, FR stopped doing business with them.
For us, we prefer the 2-way fridge and they are big enough for the two of us. We don't care to spend all the money and hassle for a solar system and LiPo batteries. We've been perfectly fine for the past 20 years with a 2-way fridge.

X-2 to ALL the above^^^^ I could not have said it better myself Dan!
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Old 05-20-2022, 09:43 AM   #16
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Cheaper????????

I love the thought process that 12 volt reefers are "Cheaper". They may be initially, but it takes an extra purchase of batteries, solar panels etc to make them even usable in an RV environment. Add that into the cost and it is ridiculous notion that they are "cheaper". Of course a dealer will tell you what you want to hear, same as the discussion of ,"will my half ton tow this"! People that rarely boondock do not need to worry much about power usage, (as in the use of "residential" fridges, and 12 volt fridges, but take it off grid, and you'll find it's a fight to stay for anything more than a couple of days without a large dumping of cash to support it. IMHO
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Old 05-20-2022, 01:27 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Erica.Nadene View Post
I called the manufacturer and they even said they won’t be around in 5 years. That seems crazy.
I am not sure that will be the case, but if true, better reason to get one ASAP. That technology is where refrigerator first came from. Tree huggers might drive it out of existence but it remains the best. My 12 cuft four door frig was 17 yrs old and only died because of a bad reinstall after it was pulled out for a fan replacement.

I expect the new one to out live me and maybe my children.

The real driving factor now is compressor units are lighter, CHEAPER and available from many more sources. Even on the west coast of sunny SoCal we found, that for Adequate long term boondocking we needed 300 watt of solar and two good group 27 batteries to support a new Furion 2 door 12 vdc frig and other more moderate daily used on my friend's brand new coach..
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Old 05-20-2022, 03:24 PM   #18
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For the here and now, if you are a dedicated boondocker, the 120 volt/propane absorption fridge is the way to go.

A 12 volt compressor fridge consumes about 35 amp hours (AH) per day...all day, every day.

You need a pretty good solar array and battery bank to sustain the fridge AND handle all the other routine loads, which also inhale 35+ AH per day. Making 70 AH per day with solar can be done, but it takes quite a bit of solar, sunny skies, and little shade...and no rain. Makeing 70 AH per day with a generator takes a VERY long time due to how converter/chargers work...tapering off the charge rate very soon after plugging in.

The day will come, soon, when the absorption fridge is truly obsolete. Better solar and much bettery batteries at affordable prices are just around the corner. Gone are the days of spending a kilobuck on a Battleborn 100 AH LiFePo4. You can get a Chinese version with similar capabilities for $400 or less. 400 watts of solar with an MPPT charge controller can be had for less than $700.

But the fact is that RV manufacturers do NOT send them out the door that way. All that solar/battery capacity must be added after the sale. The day they start selling NoBos with 400 watts of solar and 200 AH of lithium batteries will be the day a 12 volt compressor fridge comes into its own. Until then, it's just so much huxterism and wishful thinking that buyers need to fix once they learn the facts of life.

I boondock exclusively. 400 watts of solar on the roof and two big golf cart batteries in series....and an absorption fridge. I refused to buy the other.

Today is today. Get the absorption fridge. It's NOT nearly as good of a fridge, but it's a VASTLY SUPERIOR RV fridge for boondocking.
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Old 05-20-2022, 08:25 PM   #19
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Great post, Jim.

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Old 05-20-2022, 09:16 PM   #20
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" Get the absorption fridge. It's NOT nearly as good of a fridge, but it's a VASTLY SUPERIOR RV fridge for boondocking."

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