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First Boondocking Trip

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  • First Boondocking Trip

    In two weeks, we will be back on the road with Ruby for a total of five nights, starting at Lemelo Lake and moving on to Crescent Lake. This is our first dry camping excursion with a trailer.

    We know that while tent camping, we use a total of 5-10 gallons of water over that period depending on how hot the the weather is, so Ruby's stated capacity (original Nash literature that came with her) of 34 gallons should be ample. I need to check that number on her door because that doesn't seem right and there are two brochures for that year on this site, with conflicting numbers.

    We know after 5 nights of hook-ups and generous water usage (but no showers), that we won't fill the black or grey tanks, so no problem there.

    We will have to figure out where we can add water to the fresh water tank closer to our destination so we aren't pulling down our gas mileage.

    What is an unknown for us is our power usage. We have two 6-volt golf cart batteries, but no generator, solar panels, or inverter. The plan is to take our usual camping lanterns and use them when needed. We have changed out all of Ruby's interior lighting to LED and by the trip, her porch light and any other exterior lights should all be LED. There are three strategically placed LED puck lights courtesy of the previous owner for the interior.

    I think the biggest issue we'll have is keeping Bill's CPAP powered. He has a battery -pack that will last two nights before needing to be recharged. The only other power "want" is a fan, primarily to drown out the sound of the CPAP.

    Will this arrangement work for five nights? Our EMS read-out is in the trailer, under the kitchen sink, which is great because we actually have a bit of fun seeing what the draw is on each item. We plan to log all of that on this trip.

    Any tips you have would be great.

    We really enjoyed the rally and our two nights at the Wallowa State Campground, but a day-trip through the Lostine Corridor reminded us of how much we liked tent camping in out-of-the-way places and that the primary reason we bought Ruby was still to do that, but to be a lot drier.
    Lisa and Bill (first-time trailer and truck owners, but long-time campers)

    2004 Nash 19B - Progressive EMS-HW30C, Maxxis tires (LT)
    2011 Ram 1500 - Hemi with 5.7

  • #2
    Without a way to charge your batteries, your going to be pushing it in my opinion. How do you plan to recharge the battery pack for the CPAP? Donít forget the fridge may need constant battery power to operate, at least the one in my Nash does. Do you have a slide or a tongue jack that needs 12v power to operate? I know if my batteries die Iíll be moving my slide by hand, no fun there.

    Iím getting stressed thinking about all this (lol), glad I have solar. Good luck and let us know how everything works out!
    Scott & Marci
    2019 Nash 24M
    2017 Ford F-150 Ecoboost

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    • #3
      Get this...and you can use it as backup power at home.

      https://www.costco.com/Champion-2800...100284958.html

      2015 AF 27-5L, 2016 F-250 Super Cab, 6.7 Diesel, SB, 4x4, Off Road and 10,000lb Payload Package,

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by scott534 View Post
        Without a way to charge your batteries, your going to be pushing it in my opinion. How do you plan to recharge the battery pack for the CPAP? Donít forget the fridge may need constant battery power to operate, at least the one in my Nash does. Do you have a slide or a tongue jack that needs 12v power to operate? I know if my batteries die Iíll be moving my slide by hand, no fun there.

        Iím getting stressed thinking about all this (lol), glad I have solar. Good luck and let us know how everything works out!
        I suspect our adventures with Ruby have stressed out a few people besides ourselves!

        She's is just under 20 feet and doesn't have any slides. In the three months that we've owned her, we've rebuilt her front-end, bought five new tires, two new propane tanks, and two new 6-volt batteries, as well as adding a hard-wired EMS.

        A generator and TPMS were slated for the next spending go-round, but it sounds like we may have to reconsider how soon we add a generator.

        The tongue jack can run off of the truck battery in a pinch.
        Lisa and Bill (first-time trailer and truck owners, but long-time campers)

        2004 Nash 19B - Progressive EMS-HW30C, Maxxis tires (LT)
        2011 Ram 1500 - Hemi with 5.7

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TangoChuck View Post
          Get this...and you can use it as backup power at home.

          https://www.costco.com/Champion-2800...100284958.html
          Yikes on that price, but does that mean when we add solar, we don't need a separate inverter? That is definitely something to think about.

          If I remember right from the wonderful impromptu lecture on solar at the West coast NROA rally, we'll need an inverter, a controller, and the panels. We will need the generator as an interim power source before solar installation and for emergencies, correct?

          The research definitely never end when it comes to RV ownership.

          I probably need to start another thread devoted to our energy needs.

          ETA: Now that I've researched generators a little more, I see this price is right in line. We'll need to up the budget a bit.
          Last edited by AdventureGirl 55; 06-29-2019, 09:46 AM.
          Lisa and Bill (first-time trailer and truck owners, but long-time campers)

          2004 Nash 19B - Progressive EMS-HW30C, Maxxis tires (LT)
          2011 Ram 1500 - Hemi with 5.7

          Comment


          • #6
            This one may look a little more into your price range. https://www.harborfreight.com/2000-w...tor-62523.html

            Check into their flyers and you will prob find even lower pricing. If you don't see one, every flyer has a 20% off coupon.
            BPofMD - Bud & Penny / Actively Retired Navy Vet
            2005 F250 6.0 - TorqLift Upper Overloads
            2007 Silver Fox 29-E 5th Wheel / Anderson Ultimate Hitch
            2015 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

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            • #7
              On a four day dry camping trip to Mazama Village at Crater Lake a few years back we used our solar to keep batteries topped off. Our system is 480 wats of panels on the roof and 440ah combined in 4 AGM golf cart batteries. We really didnít work at conserving power too much as I wanted to give it a good Test with a Honda 2000 Genny along as a back up. Temps outside would reach 85-90 so the Fantastic Fans ran in the afternoon and early evening, we had the fridge and water heater on propane, I use a CPAP about 7 hours a night. The lowest the batteries discharged was 9%. Most days we were fully charged by Noon.

              Our kids have a tent trailer with one 12v marine/deep cycle battery, no solar and should they have needed it would have used our Genny to recharge. He picked up a solar suitcase portable panel from Harbor Freight for under $100. Moving it into the sun as it changed recharged his single battery nicely each day

              It was wonderful when walking around the campground hearing the hum of Gennys knowing we were quietly charging ours with solar.

              For the small needs our kids have, the portable unit they purchased certainly served them well.
              Rolland & Judie, 2 Shelties, Cozmo & Brinkley

              2016 AF 27-5L, 4 pt Leveling, Dual Pane Windows, 10 Cu Ft Fridge, 15K AC, Central Vac, Progressive Dynamics hard wired EMS, Slide Toppers, 2 Fantastic Vents & Covers, TST507s, 480 Watts Solar Charger, 440AH AGM Battery Bank, Titan Disc Brakes, MorRyde SRE4000

              2005 Chevy Silverado 3500, Duramax/Allison, Crew Cab LB 4x4 B&W Companion

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              • #8
                All most all of our camping is boondocking. We have 2 - 6v batteries and we make it just fine for a week. Just make sure the trailer is plugged in for a week or so before you leave so the batteries are at a full charge (we leave ours plugged in all the time). We DON'T run the furnace, we have a portable propane heater. We keep the fridge running on propane. Lights are all LED, but use flashlights if we need to read at night. We plug our phones and small electronics into the truck during the day to charge. We never turn on the porch light, we have a few of the cheap 7 dollar Walmart solar outside lights we put next to the steps, chairs and mat. Think about what takes power, and use alternative solutions. We have a generator for backup if we ever need it but we pay attention and don't use things we don't absolutely need and we do fine.
                2006 Chevy HD2500 DuramaxLBZ-Allison ExCab Longbed LT3 4x4
                Line-X, A.R.E. CX Shell, KargoMaster Rack, Prodigy
                2005 Arctic Fox 22H, Yamaha EF3000iSEB
                Celia's Gourmet Foods
                Gourmet Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegars & Infused Olive Oils

                Comment


                • #9
                  Can't beat solar.... Once installed, it just keeps going like the Energizer bunny! We have 150 watts of solar, with no inverter of any kind. We just keep the batteries charged with it and run off the rv 12 volt system. The only exception is the A/C which we power with a Honda EU2200 when we feel the need. We converted the generator to a tri-fuel system, and it suits our needs so far. Good Luck and glad to hear that Ruby is back on the road!
                  2017 Wolf Creek 850
                  BoondockersWelcome Host

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The Harbor Freight generator was mentioned in an earlier post somewhere. It doesn't last and apparently can't be serviced. You purchase an extend warranty and HF just replaced the generator. You could get by with a smaller generator just to charge batteries and run the few electrical things you have on the trailer--not appliances like toaster. You will need AC, not trailer batter DC power, to recharge the battery pack for the CPAP. With a DC adapter (specifically from Phillips Resperonics for his Dream Machine) you can plug the CPAP into the trailer's DC plug. We had to get a heavy-duty extension cord to reach Dave's CPAP--regular ones WILL NOT work. If you are planning to go solar a small generator would work--1000 watt inverter generator NOT from Harbor Freight. The nice Champion generator listed above would be plenty to run your AC--our 2400 watt one is supposed to be able to do so but we haven't needed it. Check Craig's list for a used one since you are planning on solar. I thought the small portable package suggestion is good--we have several friends who use just one of those and it will keep their batteries going for a week or so that they are out--but no CPAP requirement. Only problem is rainy weather--no sun, no charging, no CPAP!
                    Linda & Dave (retired US Army) and Magic, the Yellow Lab Duck Dog
                    2002 Arctic Fox 25R, Yamaha 2400i, Les Schwab 105 6-volt batteries, Maxxis Tires, Torque Lift Steps
                    2017 RAM 2500 Bighorn Crew Cab 4x4, CTD, 8' Bed, Granite Crystal, new 7/1/17
                    2018 Prius IV, new December 2018

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                    • #11
                      We have 2 6 volt batteries and 300 amps of solar panels and I would be nervous going two cloudy days boondocking. I don't like to drain the batteries if we don't have to. I can't speak for you, but I would not try boondocking with your current setup for more than 2 days unless I completely disconnected the batteries and only connected them when absolutely necessary. That means no fridge.

                      We are different with an auto leveling system and slides to worry about when we pack up and leave.
                      2016 Arctic Fox 32-5M, 300 watt Zamp Solar Kit, 30 Amp controller, 2 T105 Trojan 6 volts, 5.5 Onan LP Generator, 6pt leveling system, 2nd 13.5k A/C, Slide Toppers, Fireplace, King Bed, Central Vac. Hardwired Surge Guard Model 34560, rear view camera, clear entry door window,

                      2016 Ford F-450 Lariat. B&W Companion Hitch. Remax Bed Roll Cover, Bed Carpet.

                      Winter in Florida, traveling during the other seasons.

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                      • #12
                        I am guessing that you can come closer to making it with your batteries than most of us. With tent camping you are used to using small amounts of energy. The cpap machine is what will probably limit you. I really know nothing about the energy usage of a cpap machine. For your fan needs possibly a self contained battery unit for now or there are usb powered person fans that use minimal electricity. You can estimate your needs by writing down all the appliances you will use and the hours they will run. You should be able to find the amps they draw on 12 volt multiplied by time and that gives you amp hours. Your batteries are rated in amp hours and at a 50% draw down you will know how much power you have available. Running the refrigerator on propane means you are only power the control board with electricity so there is minimal usage.
                        Good luck
                        Steve
                        Steve & Brenda and Our Cocker Spaniel Bella
                        2017 RAM Diesel Laramie 4x4
                        2017 Arctic Fox 25Y, Hensley Arrow

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                        • #13
                          We have dry camped with our Arctic Fox 25p for about four days prior to needing outside energy source. We used battery lanterns the only need for electricity beyond that was the panel on refrig. We did have a Honda 2000, but did not use it until our batteries were out of juice. Push come to shove canít you just hook up to your tow vehicle and run it to get by? At least you would know how long your batteries would last!
                          Judy and Mike and Shiloh (BC border collie)

                          2019 Arctic Fox 27-5L, pulled by a 2010 Ford F250 4 x 4 6.2L V-8 Diesel 5 spd auto trans. Lariat contected by Andersen hitch and powered by a Honda generator EU2000I.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Rolland View Post
                            On a four day dry camping trip to Mazama Village at Crater Lake a few years back we used our solar to keep batteries topped off. Our system is 480 wats of panels on the roof and 440ah combined in 4 AGM golf cart batteries. We really didnít work at conserving power too much as I wanted to give it a good Test with a Honda 2000 Genny along as a back up. Temps outside would reach 85-90 so the Fantastic Fans ran in the afternoon and early evening, we had the fridge and water heater on propane, I use a CPAP about 7 hours a night. The lowest the batteries discharged was 9%. Most days we were fully charged by Noon.

                            Our kids have a tent trailer with one 12v marine/deep cycle battery, no solar and should they have needed it would have used our Genny to recharge. He picked up a solar suitcase portable panel from Harbor Freight for under $100. Moving it into the sun as it changed recharged his single battery nicely each day

                            It was wonderful when walking around the campground hearing the hum of Gennys knowing we were quietly charging ours with solar.

                            For the small needs our kids have, the portable unit they purchased certainly served them well.
                            Thank you for giving me a scenario with numbers. It helps me as a starting point to figure out what we need.

                            Lisa and Bill (first-time trailer and truck owners, but long-time campers)

                            2004 Nash 19B - Progressive EMS-HW30C, Maxxis tires (LT)
                            2011 Ram 1500 - Hemi with 5.7

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              AdventureGirl 55 glad what I posted was helpful. Good luck with your trip.
                              Rolland & Judie, 2 Shelties, Cozmo & Brinkley

                              2016 AF 27-5L, 4 pt Leveling, Dual Pane Windows, 10 Cu Ft Fridge, 15K AC, Central Vac, Progressive Dynamics hard wired EMS, Slide Toppers, 2 Fantastic Vents & Covers, TST507s, 480 Watts Solar Charger, 440AH AGM Battery Bank, Titan Disc Brakes, MorRyde SRE4000

                              2005 Chevy Silverado 3500, Duramax/Allison, Crew Cab LB 4x4 B&W Companion

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