You must have seen some people flexing on their social media stories about camping in the wood and those beautiful landscapes. While you must have adored the eye-catching sceneries and the fun behind these activities, you must be wondering, how did they make it without any supplies?
Boondocking, or as they say, scattered off-the-grid camping, is an activity where one spends a few days camping in different locations. Mostly, there is no supply of water or a source of electricity, so the question asks itself? How long does RV battery last? How many batteries does it take to boondock comfortably? And how can you charge a dead RV battery? Let’s reflect upon all these queries with our detailed answers.
How many Batteries does Boondocking take?
Before setting your camping plan into action you must be wondering, how many batteries does Boondocking take? Well, the answer to that question is not definite and depends on you. What type of batteries is your RV equipped with? How long are you planning to stay out there? and what appliances would you be running?
Most of the time, RVs have 2 12volt batteries that are good enough to charge your devices, power the RV refrigerator, and beef up the sound system for 2 days. But it also depends on what extra accessories you plan to carry and for how long. If the trip is longer than a weekend, do not expect those 2 batteries to stand up to the task, or in case you’re planning to run heaters, portable fridges, TVs, or Big LED lights.
Remember that you probably would be off-grid while Boondocking, so pack wisely and don’t be overexcited about taking everything. Additionally, your RV appliances run on DC power, while the A/C, heater, or a coffee maker requires an AC supply. So you’d need to convert DC to AC via an adapter or nothing will work.
Hence, a bare-bone Boondocking trip would go just fine with your RV’s 2 12V batteries, but a longer trip with extra appliances would require some extra juice. It is advisable that you calculate your power consumption before leaving the town, so you pack enough power backup and carry only the required accessories.
How to Calculate Your Daily RV Power Usage?
Before you set out on your Boondocking journey, it is important that you do some math and precisely calculate your daily RV power consumption. This is crucial so that you don’t run out of power and remain stranded out there.
You should enlist all the gadgets that you’re going to use on your trip, and the duration of usage as well. Let’s take an example to help you understand how to calculate your daily RV power usage:
A bulb consumes 1.5 amperes of energy per hour, so if you’re using 3 bulbs for 6 hours, that comes out to be 27 amps. Your typical 12v batteries are rated at 100AH (ampere-hours), so by this logic, 1 battery would be able to power these 3 bulbs for 24 hours or both batteries for 48 hours approximately.
Similarly, you can judge how quickly your batteries would drain by calculating the usage of power by other appliances. This includes the fridge, lights, TV, or sound system. Any other extra accessories would require you to add more batteries to your setup or get solar.
How Long Will a Battery Last Boondocking or Dry Camping?
Now that we have understood how much power some appliances consume, we can have an idea about how long a battery will last Boondocking or dry camping.
Normally, your battery on a boondocking trip will last 2-3 days if it’s in good health and fully charged. This can be extended if you do not need any heat or lighting.
How long will a battery last Dry Camping? Under normal use conditions, i.e., LEDs, fridge, propane, charging gadgets, and running a water pump, a typical 12v battery will last 2-3 days. It is ideal to carry portable solar panels with you, so you never run out of power and you can also extend your battery’s life by smartly planning your usage. Use a tablet instead of the laptop, read during the day instead of the night, and keep the appliances in sleep mode when not in use. It would also be great if you could use your power bank to charge the phone, instead of RV’s battery.
How to Charge RV Battery When Boondocking?
If you need to beef up the batteries on your boondocking trip, there are several ways you could do it without any hassle, let’s understand how.
PORTABLE SOLAR SETUP
There are so many quality portable solar panels that you could take along when boondocking. Get a generous (100 or 200 Watt) setup and place the panels on your roof, and let the solar station do its job. This doesn’t take up your space, create any noise or pollution, and seamlessly charges the batteries as well.
A propane generator with a 20 lb tank could easily charge your batteries, run extra appliances, and act as a power bank for up to 60 hours.
A dead RV battery can be charged by different methods.
- Using your RV to jump-start them and let them charge while you run your RV.
- Using a generator (gas or propane)
- Portable solar panels.
- Using a portable charger that comes with jump-starter cables.
Yes! the RV generator charges the batteries so you can use them for different purposes and run various appliances on the go.
Two well-maintained, fully charged RV batteries can easily last up to 4-5 days if used generously while boondocking. In terms of life, 2 RV batteries can last 4-5 years if used sparingly and not abused.
The amount of time an RV refrigerator can run on battery power depends on the battery capacity and the type of refrigerator you have. The absorption fridge typically runs for up to 3-5 hours on a single charge. This type of fridge typically uses between 1-2 amps per hour when running on propane or electric power. Larger fridges with compressors may use more power, so their time span will be shorter. It is important to check your specific model’s specifications before assuming how long it will run on a single charge. A residential RV fridge will last for about 10-15 hours on a single charge. Make sure you check with the manufacturer for exact specifications.
The amount of time an RV furnace can run on battery power is determined by the battery capacity and the type of heater you have. Generally, a gas-fired furnace will use between 1-3 amps per hour when running on propane or electric power, so it will depend on how big your battery is and how many amp hours it has. If you have a high quality deep cycle battery, then it should last around 8 hours in moderate conditions. However, if you are using a lighter duty battery then its life span will be shorter. It is important to check the specifications of your model before assuming how long it will last.
Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by travel. I inherited this passion from my parents. Since my college years and to this day, I have had a passion for traveling in a motorhome. I am here to share my experiences with you.