my thoughts on this article. from a vandweller’s point of view. Some of my objections are technical, some are financial.
> With many campgrounds closed, full-time RVers that aren’t prepared to dry camp or boondock might find themselves in a pickle.
Agreed. Luckily for me, I never had the budget to become dependent on rv campgrounds.
> Generator – You don’t NEED solar. A generator will get the job done!
Depends on “the job”.
What could one do with $1000 of generator (Honda eu1000i, 1000w ) or $1000 of solar (800w)?
- large (IMO unnecessary) loads like microwaves and electric coffee makers
- charging lithium, or Bulk-charging lead
- medium loads
- fully charging lead (Pb) batteries to avoid battery murder
- optimal mix for Pb
- generator in the morning while you make coffee
- shut off generator when Vabs is reached, allow solar finish the full charge
> Batteries – Where can you put additional batteries? You might lose a storage bin to these.
Adding solar does not require adding batteries, since additional loads during the day can be run off the panels. I would recommend onlookers keep the existing battery bank until it proves insufficient for needs.
> Some people might be perfectly comfortable running a generator for an hour or so each night to top up their batteries.
Great solution for lithium. Recipe for battery murder with lead. Absorption takes hours.
> There has been a tendency for RV manufacturers to move towards all-electric rigs. Some people are afraid to have propane on board. It probably also simplifies the build for them. An all-electric coach is not a deal-breaker for boondocking
To quote Sternwake: “fear of propane will be expensive”.
Other issues with all-electric:
- they are typically designed for pedestal power, and have no incentive to be efficient
- they tend to run appliances on 110v, requiring additional inverter losses off-grid
> We both work and have our internet router and computers going all day long. We like to be able to get up in the morning and make a pot of coffee without being concerned about running out of power. With 1360 watts of solar panels on the roof and 600 amp hours of lithium batteries
Problem: need coffee in the morning
- spend (I’m guessing here) $8000 on panel and a ton of lithium to run Mr. Coffee machine; or
- use a $20 propane burner and a percolator, pour-over, or press. My Melitta pour-over was 50 cents on clearance at a supermarket, and I bought many bodum presses for $2 at thrift stores over the years.
Admittedly the first option is more fun, especially if it can be written off as a biz expense, etc.
> we have only had to run the generator a few times when we’ve had rain for multiple days in a row or poor sun exposure.
Sounds like a successful setup. I’d encourage onlookers with that much solar to reduce power consumption in poor insolation rather than spending another $1000+ on a generator.
At first glance, you might think that an Instant Pot would be too power hungry for boondocking. But once it gets to pressure, it only uses a bit of power to keep it at pressure for the cook time. And because it cooks faster than most other methods and doesn’t heat up the house, we consider it a boondocking essential.
A stovetop pressure cooker is $40 new ($5 at thrift stores) and uses 0 watts on propane.
> If you have an electric only fridge, it will figure heavily into your power usage calculations.
My 12v compressor fridge uses 12A/day.
while I agree with much of the content, it leans heavily on the most expensive solutions for each problem.