One battery won't cut it when you're dry camping unless you turn off everything but the water pump. I ran mine down most nights, without running the furnace. Two 6-volt golf cart batteries in series or two 12-volt batteries in parallel are the minimum to dry camp extensively, and a solar charger wouldn't hurt, either.
2002 Keystone Cougar 286, 8,400lbs loaded, pulled with a 2004 F150 Supercrew, 5.4, 3.73 gears. Retired and enjoying life
we were just at a seminar on RVing/boondocking, and batteries were one topic. When you use a generator, we were told it will take 2 days to fully charge each battery, longer if you are also using the gen power for running the camper at the same time. (He was using a 12v 200 amp/hour flooded acid battery as his example, as he said this is what is usually found in campers. I believe he said it was a 24 or 27 series) The genny cuts back more on the amount of charge it puts into the battery, the closer the battery gets to full, that is why it takes so long. Solar panels do a better job, so if you are going to do this regularly, consider a solar panel or two, as it will charge the battery directly. It will also put out power even if it is cloudy or shaded, but nowhere near as much as a bright sunny day. (IT is cheaper than running the genny too, once you have it) The costs sure have come down on the kits, saw them for $600 for an 80 amp solar kit in Canada! US is probably cheaper than that!
As said by others, you will need at least two batteries and learn conservation to drydock successfully. 30 gal of water a day? Wow!!
* This post was
edited 05/03/12 08:07am by Robin'n'Marian *
Right now we are in the same boat. We have one grp 27 battery with 95 ah but so far we have never discharged it past the 50% level.
The last night of boondocking last year we set the furnace at 65 and even left a light on all night and after taking showers, cooking etc, the battery was still at 60% at noon the next day.
Now we are use to conserving the battery and water because we have been dry camping for 25 years. Some may not feel it is their cup of tea though.
Our usual routine is as follows.
The house battery is for running the control panel on the fridge and propane detector first and foremost.
We take GI showers every other day so when I get up I turn on the hot water heater and once we are done showering I turn it back off so we are not running it's control board needlessly. The water will stay hot for hours.
Water for washing up and dishes is heated by a solar cooker.
The house lights as they are use a lot of battery as we don't have LEDs yet, so we use rechargeable florescent or led lamps that are recharged off of the trucks battery,
The water pump is turned off unless needed. Once pressured up we can flush the toilet once or get a bit of water for coffee etc without turning it on.
We use a water cooler style base to hold 5 gal bottle water jugs for small amounts of water. That way the pump doesn't run and i don't wake the other half at dawn when I need water for coffee.
We keep a few ice packs in the freezer and when it's below freezing out side I put those in the fridge part and shut off the fridge till morning.
The furnace is only used when it's going to be below freezing at night and then only set at 50. We use Glad press and seal on the windows to create a double pane and then towels over that. Sometime the furnace only runs once or twice a night. (it wakes me up)
Tv, radio, netbooks, phones and a portable DVD player are all rechargeable off the trucks 12v. If we use them longer than their charge holds out, we have a small 35 ah deep cycle that we use to run them. It also serves as a emergency back up if the main battery fails so the fridge stays running until I can get a replacement.
We wash dishes once a day and rarely use more than a coffee pot of water doing it. we place the largest pan in the bottom of the wash tub and then the next largest in that. all the way up to the dishes and cups. Then we put the utensils in a cup with a few drops of soap, put enough water in it to wash them, then the cup and pour the water into the next cup. Wash the next cup and pour the water into the next, rinse the first and pour the rinse water into the one you just washed. It goes like that until we get to the pot on the bottom and there is plenty of water to wash it already there. That dish water is used to flush the toilet or put the fire out at bedtime.
Using things like tinfoil on the grill or paper plates that you dont have to wash can really cut down your water usage.
It all sounds kind of extreme but after dry camping out of the back of a van, a primitive TT or a tent for so long it is what we are use too.
I do think you need to check the battery. Make sure the water is up and that it will take a full charge before you go on a trip. It is possible that running it down too far has damaged it and it isn't taking a good charge now.
2011 GulfStream Amerilite 25BH
2007/2003 Ford Expedition
Nights camped in 2011 21
Nights camped in 2012 16
A lot of posts regarding conservation. I truly wish campers would listen and learn how to make battery conservation work. Most of the time dry camping I see campers taking the easy way out and just turn on the generator - with no battery conservation at all. And it disappoints me that we can very seldom visit a dry campground without generator noise permeating throughout the park. FWIW and IMHO.
as others have posted, get a 2nd battery - we keep the furnace at 68 at night - I have a health issue with being cold (another blanket doesn't help). We have only used the batteries up once when it was very cold outside (20's).
We turn everything off at night (no use being on) and when we get up in the morning, turn on the genny to make coffee anyway, so it recharges the batteries.
Thanks guys. I have no idea what converter we have. Where would I find that info? For what it's worth, we have the Honda 2000 genny. The genny, battery and trailer are all brand new being bought brand new in the fall.
cm1159ps..you have received a bunch of info, and all good. And all valuable if you are going to be doing this a lot. There a couple things touched that bear repeating...water. It is amazing how much we consume if we are not paying really close attention. Dry campers have to be very very strict on usage if they are out for more than a couple days.
A navy shower is..you get in the shower stall, get wet, turn off water, soap up all the places you need to get to...then rinse. Quickly and efficiently. 3 people ain't going to get more than one day if all are showering. Do dishes once a day, at night. Try using a pot to wash in..filling that big sink is a killer. Dont run the rinsing water. Use a pot or cup...do the small stuff first (dip dip) then finish off the bigger.
There is a truism about RVing. You need power and you get it one of 3 ways..you plug in, you have a genny or you have solar.
The battery is an interesting issue. Not everyone carries a fancy meter nor knows the ins and outs of power consumption. Most of us just close our eyes and hope for the best! You need to know that a low or dead battery requires at least a 24hr charge on a home charger or a 14 hour drive. No kidding, eh. And that letting a standard battery go dead is damaging it. Most RV folks get deep cycles, 2 6 volts or a 12 volt. They can be discharged and recharged ad nauseum.
More is always better, so if you can find a spot for two batteries, that is a great start. But..you still need to be aware of what you are using. If you leave the furnace on all night, that will run down the available charge and it cannot get back up on a short generator charge. This is where solar comes into its own, but again...big bux.
Unless you are going to become disciples of drycamping, forget the solar route. Big bux, there.
Drycamping or boondocking is pretty cool stuff. It allows people to camp almost anywhere they happen to be. It does take some work and figuring out, but most of see it as a challenge with great benefits.
Note...just because the battery is dead...no furnace...no need to freeze, eh...open up the oven door and fire it up.
I have a Blog..about stuff, some of which is RV'ing.