December 20, 2015 at 9:30 am #20615michael suchinskiParticipant
I have been a camper for over 20 years and all ways desired to go full time. I retired 3years ago and last year paid for a 19′ travel trailer by IDEA. I started looking on line for advice but found that all the topics were on larger trailers and none on small campers. so I have decided to start a topic on dry camping in a small trailer. I have started by camping with it close to home to find out exactly how long I would last with the gray and black water tanks. these would last me about three days just by using them as if I was at a camp grounds. power draw would be worse since the lights dim when I turn on all of them and the converter struggles with the demand. there’s a lot to talk about so if anyone who owns a small camper would like to join in, please do so so I and anyone else can learn on how to dry camp with a small trailer. I have a lot of work to do to the camper in order for me to dry camp effectively. for one thing, I have room for only one battery so I decided to go with a lithium battery, they are very expensive ($3,499) for an 100AH but the power draw is steady and they do not drop in power fast but have a steady draw and power drop.December 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm #20972michael suchinskiParticipant
found a cheaper lithium battery, 100ah instead of the 300ah, $1,300. just bought the LED bulbs for the interior lights and outside light, $116. will be going to Virginia were the camper is stored next month and install them. will have to save for the battery.March 31, 2016 at 10:28 am #26827
My wife and I have been campers off and on for the last 40 years. For the most part we were tent campers but we spent about year living in an old class A. This past fall, with retirement on the horizon, we bought an old (1984) Fleetwood Prowler 18′ fifth wheel with lots of water damage as a winter project with plans of setting out this spring for places as yet unseen. I retired at the end of Oct. and have spent endless hours disassembling, replacing rotted wood, and reassembling this little camper. There is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. New paneling is going up, new vinyl flooring is here as is the new laminate for the counter top. I will be installing a small but built to be expandable solar system (150 watts with 2 6volt 225 AH batteries) very soon. The sc2030 and tm 2030-rv are on hand as is the 8 gage drop wire. The plan now is to make a big loop seeing all those places we haven’t seen yet at a comfortable pace ( no more truck driver schedule) and end up in Tucson to see my mother and sister. We have small tanks so I know some provisions will have to be made for extended dry camping. I am sure there will be a lot of things I haven’t thought of and look forward to learning experience.April 24, 2016 at 8:41 am #28097
Well the walls are all painted (thanks the wife, Clara) and the new vinyl floor is installed. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
LynnMay 16, 2016 at 2:39 pm #29211
Got the new counter top built and installed last week. Today I finished rebuilding the rear end wall. The siding will go back on in the next day or so. I decided to go with 2 160 watt solar panels and they should be here tomorrow. I also ordered 2 Crown CR260 batteries and they should be here tomorrow as well. With luck (good) , we will take the shake down trip by the end of the month.June 11, 2016 at 6:55 am #30248
Off to the boondocks for systems trial. We are on the way to AEP ReCreation LandJune 12, 2016 at 5:39 am #30283LolaandRushParticipant
Have you ever stayed there before? can you describe the area a little more plz. Was reading website info and sounds interesting with all the trails.June 15, 2016 at 4:43 pm #30396
It has been a number years, but yes we have been there before. The area is rural, wooded and hilly. The campgrounds are very well kept now. Better than I remember. The Buckeye Trail runs through 2 of the campgrounds.ke
We stayed at Bicentennial (camp K) which is the northern most camp, and one that the Buckeye Trail goes through. It is a very nice campground sitting right nest to a small lake. I will post some pics when I get back home. The down side, there is no cell service at this or any of the other campgrounds except Hook Lake (campground A) where I had 3 and 4 g on Verizon. You would also be hard pressed to get a large rig into K camp although the southern loop of Hook Lake looked to be big rig friendly. All the campgrounds have hand pumped water and pit toilets. The closest dump site is in Caldwell, about 30 miles away.
I hope this answered your questions, If not let me know. We are driveway camping for a couple of days ( read wifi available).
LynnJune 17, 2016 at 3:59 am #30467
We stayed in our dry camping location for 4 nights and I am generally pleased with the systems performance. The propane fridge and cooktop worked flawlessly. With the exception of a leak under pressure, the water system functioned well. The solar system also work well enough for this trip.
Our campsite was surrounded by trees with a opening that allowed for 5 hours of sun starting at 9 am. The daily/ nightly power consumption used approx. 20% of the 260 amp hour battery capacity. This consumption was due in large part to a 4 amp parasitic load from, I assume, gas refrigerator electronics. Maybe some of you old boondocking hands can tell me if this seems about right, seemed high to me. Even the 15 amp peak panel output (2 160 watt panels around 19 amp max.) did not bring the batteries back to 100%. That said, they came up to 94% the 1st day and this was the shakedown so all was well. This trend continued and with the cloudy 4th day the batteries were down to 62% the 5th morning. All in all I was pleased, we had enough power to do what we needed and the battery bank did not drop to 50%. That said, we did use any more than the bare essentials which leads me to believe the system is slightly undersized.
The takeaway from this short trip. Fixing the water leak and adding some water carrying capacity is priority 1. I have ordered a 3rd 160 watt panel and will most likely add batteries down the road. Other than those things, we are please with what we have done to the little 5er over the last 8 months. My 4.3 liter v6 pulls it well and the trailer itself pulls very well.
Comments and input will be appreciated.
LynnSeptember 7, 2016 at 9:36 am #33400
We left Ohio June 28th and have been on the road since. The solar system is performing very well, providing all our electrical needs without the aid of a generator. Of corse, we do not have air conditioning or a microwave so our needs are pretty small. We have been dry camping or boondocking exclusively since July 17th. I know this is no record, but I am happy that we can pull that off.
We are presently driveway camping in Tucson Az. and plan to be in Az. through the winter. This is to be the first of our snowbirding winters.September 8, 2016 at 10:56 pm #33449Paul BoyleParticipant
Gas refrigerator, Entertainment Center, antenna booster, and inverter electronics and LP, CO, and smoke detectors and any computer plugged in will eat on your batteries. Does seem a bit high. I believe I read that your solar panels at night can draw some current if you don’t have a blocking diode. Disconnect the panels for a night and see if it makes a difference.September 8, 2016 at 11:14 pm #33451
Paul, I assume you are referring the parasitic load I mentioned in the July 17th post. I am sorry that I did not update that. I had pulled the emergency brake cable on the trailer while unhooking at our camp. This locked the trailer brakes and created the load. Thank you for your input and please accept my apology for leaving out that update.
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