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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > Practicality of non-propane Camper

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DiploStrat

Arlington VA

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Posted: 05/06/22 12:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fair question of semantics.

Perhaps a better title might be "non-propane?" But some of my friends have gone to electric refrigerators (with or without gasoline/diesel heat) specifically to get their propane to last for months.

I have a 12v air conditioner, but for the reasons you noted, I tend to argue that a 110/220v air conditioner is a better, more practical answer.

If it is really THAT hot, then you are probably going to find a camp site (most of who won't give you a discount for not using shore power) or, as you noted, carrying one of the new, small inverter/generators.

In my world there is a premium attached to not having propane, both for the difficulty of finding the right fitting, and for the complications of shipping. (Specifically the requirement for a certification that there is no propane left on board.)

In the end, do what works best for you.

In my case, the limitation is recharge. I can get a steady 25A the hour in good sun.



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rk911

DuPage County

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Posted: 05/06/22 01:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

i wouldn't have one. i'm a plan B kind of guy. we keep the fresh water tank full even when hooked up to water. and we don't let the LP tank get much lower than half a tank even though we use electric heat when we have hook-ups. nope, not interested in an all-eelctric RV or a "solar generator".


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valhalla360

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Posted: 05/06/22 02:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sure you don't need propane if you run the generator (or engine alternator) to make up the difference in what can be covered by solar/battery.

If you stick strictly to areas that don't require air/con or heat, it's certainly possible to run the house loads off a solar/battery system.

But as you indicated, when you need air/con and/or heat, it comes with a lot of compromises really quick.

But it completely misses the point to swap out diesel power for propane power and claim you are "all electric".


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DiploStrat

Arlington VA

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Posted: 05/06/22 02:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Please see my first post.

I think the point is that it is very possible to build an off-grid camper that is comfortable from below 0F to whatever heat you can stand without using propane or a generator.

When used for cabin heat and hot water, propane is not as effective as gasoline or diesel. And I would certainly never try to heat a camper electrically, although I have seen a lot of folks using heat strips or pumps.

Expedition campers, as opposed to RV's, try to avoid propane as it is low energy for weight/volume, can be difficult to fill outside of the US (need adapters), and it can be difficult/expensive to get a certificate that it has been removed before shipment. (To be fair, a good friend of mine carries a lot of adapters and, because he uses propane only for cooking, and, with a 30 gallon tank, he has around 90 days, he argues that if you can't find propane in 30 days, you aren't trying. That said, the last we chatted, he was considering going to an induction cooktop. (FWIW - most of us who have used diesel cooktops don't like them. But that is another discussion.)

Air conditioning without shore power or a generator is a challenge - less for the cooling and more for the recharge. I can easily do 12 hours; absent a long drive and a lot of sun, I may not be able to do it three days in a row. [emoticon]



Grit dog

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Posted: 05/06/22 03:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So you have a camper with some decent battery storage, a good inverter presumably and some solar panels.
And you have to time how long you take to cook and can’t stay cool in the summer or warm in the winter without using fossil fuels to supplement.

Thanks for sharing.
PS if your friends switched away from LP capable absorption refrigerators to save on total propane consumption , or however you put it, a word of advice ….Don’t take their advice, the fridge sips propane.

* This post was edited 05/06/22 07:24pm by Grit dog *


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rk911

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Posted: 05/06/22 03:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

we we travel we tend to purposely avoid temps below freezing but when we do our rooftop heat pumps, the small electric space heaters and our heated mattress pad keep us nice and warm. but we consistently find ourselves in daytime temps that require air cond. maybe technology will, someday, enable an RV to not need electrical hookups in favor on an onboard power source (fuel cells, dilithium crystals, etc) but it's not gonna happen before we give up our keys. so until then we will, unashamedly, hook up to power, run the genny and burn propane as needed.

Lantley

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Posted: 05/06/22 03:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't see any difference between a diesel engine and a genset.
Both are relatively loud and burn fossil fuels.
Surviving on renewable energy alone is a real achievment.
Existing on fossil fuels is no real accompishment.


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theoldwizard1

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Posted: 05/06/22 07:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My next RV will not have propane.

• I don't camp in cold weather or I just use extra blankets. A knitted hat makes a big difference.

• Most of the time I am plugged in. If I as going to do any boondocking, I would have a generator in addition to solar. LiFePO4 batteries are a must !

• No black tank ! Cassette or composting.

toedtoes

California

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Posted: 05/06/22 08:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sure, there are all electric RVs out there. People buy them and enjoy them. People remove their non electric appliances and replace them with electric.

But at the same time, many people choose to do without electrical as much as possible.

You do what works for you and accept that not everyone wants to camp the same way.


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pianotuna

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Posted: 05/06/22 09:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:

I’m kinda slow, and yes I understand both sides of the coin. But I just don’t understand some folks aversion to propane…


Hi Grit dog,

I'm not adverse to propane--but I have a fixed tank. That means small towns can't sell me propane. So I run my RV almost 100% electrically, and only use propane to run the fridge while trundling down the road.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

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