The battery life of your car is an important consideration when camping in the woods. It’s not just about how much gas you have to put in your tank, it’s also about how long your headlights will last and whether or not you can power up a phone or laptop so that you can get online and find help if needed.
Anyone thinking of camping in the wilderness has to deal with one major concern: how long will battery last dry camping? Electricity is required to operate lights, refrigeration, running water, air conditioning, or heating. When the RV isn’t plugged in, it needs to rely on its batteries to provide the necessary energy.
Definition Of Boondocking
Boondocking may be defined as the act of RVing without the use of any connections. When you arrive at a full-service RV park, you’ll be able to power your RV, dump your waste, and wash your dishes right away.
In a boondock, you have no access to anything – except breathtaking sights! Imagine snoozing beneath a blanket of stars in the middle of nowhere, all alone. You have total control over your life and can rely on no one but yourself. You must always bring everything you need, and you must always take everything you leave with you.
There are several benefits to boondocking, including the fact that you may save a lot of money camping this way. Boondocking is a favorite pastime for many people, and this article explains why and how to go about it, as well as a few safety and success suggestions.
Camping in a recreational vehicle without electricity or water is known as “dry camping” or “boondocking.” The camper is responsible for providing all essential services. The camper must thus be able to produce and store power for its own needs. Batteries provide energy storage and are used to provide power generation in the form of solar or generator electricity.
At the very least, the manufacturer will provide a battery in the majority of RVs. Even while small batteries are suitable for short overnight car trips or weekend camping trips, they are often insufficient for longer stays If you’re planning on doing a lot of boondocking, it’s time for a battery update.
Different Types Of RV Batteries
Lead-acid batteries are often used in recreational vehicles (RVs). In comparison to other varieties, they are less costly and more dependable if properly cared for. Lead-acid batteries inside an RV may be used in two distinct ways, and you should be informed of both.
The first is the battery that powers your engine, and the second is the one that powers your 12-volt electrical system when you’re not connected to the grid. It’s important to note that each of these systems is unique and requires a distinct battery type.
Different batteries are required for the 12-volt power system to function properly. For a longer length of time, a smaller quantity of power is provided by these batteries. They are drained to a depth of roughly 50%, then recharged. This is a never-ending circle.
The charge/discharge cycle might occur every day if you are boondocking. Because of the extensive discharging, this battery is referred described as a “deep cycle battery.”
You ought to know how much power you use daily to choose the right battery solution for your setup. Using a little arithmetic, you can figure out how many amp-hours you’ll need.
The “Amp Hours (AH)” designation is used for deep cycle batteries. A constant number of amps will result in a constant quantity of amp hours.
If your setup continuously consumes 5 amps and your battery is rated at 100AH, you should expect to get 20 hours of use out of it. You should be able to get 10 hours of use out of the battery before recharging because you can only use half of it safely.
Depending on the power requirements of the coach, several batteries may be linked in “parallel” to provide more amp hours and survive for a longer time.
When RVing, a popular move is to switch from 12v to 6v batteries. Golf carts use 6v Deep Cycle batteries. These batteries are designed to last a long time and have a larger amp hour capacity than standard 12-volt batteries. They’re ideal for usage in an RV because of their portability.
Simply “series” wire the 6-volt batteries together in pairs. By connecting two wires in series, the voltage is effectively doubled, resulting in 12v batteries with increased amp hours.
The sort of battery known as a “chassis” is often seen in automobiles and motorhomes that may be driven. To start the engine, they collect energy and release it in a burst. In addition, these batteries are not intended to be discharged often or to be discharged very far.
As a result of their low cost, RV builders often integrate them into the RV’s 12-volt electrical supply. If you’re just going to be using the battery for a few hours, this is great.
How Long Will Battery Last Dry Camping?
A 12-volt battery may survive for two to three days under regular usage settings, such as running lights, a propane refrigerator, charging phones, and a water pump. Adjusting power use, saving water (not using the pump), switching off lights as often as possible, or just updating or adding more batteries may lengthen this period.
How To Charge RV Batteries
To power the 12-volt system and recharge the batteries, most RVs have some form of converter/charger built-in. 3 step battery chargers are the best for RV batteries. Generators and solar panels are the most common sources of power for charging devices.
Three-stage chargers charge the battery in three stages: in a Bulk stage at high voltage, then in an Absorption stage at a slower rate, and finally in a Float stage that maintains the battery’s full charge.
Chargers with three stages are intended to change the voltage and current to maximize battery life and efficiency. The longer they live, the more they are taxed.
In most cases, you’ll use either a generator or solar electricity to charge the battery.
You’ll need a source of power to run this charger. Portable generators are the most common means of recharging a vehicle’s battery bank while traveling. They come in a wide variety of sizes, so no matter what your setup is, you could always find the correct generator.
For most people, if you’re using 20 amps, a 2,000-watt generator should be plenty. Look for 3,000 watts if your equipment draws 30 amps. If you persist in operating two large appliances at the same time while using a 50-amp setup, search for a power supply with 5000 watts of output.
You can utilize a generator that provides 30 amps of electricity with 50 amp equipment and installs a reduction on the power connection. The only time you’d want additional power is if you wanted to operate the A/C and microwave simultaneously.
There are a wide variety of generators available, ranging from the most costly “Onan” type generators to the more common, but louder and more expensive, inverter variants.
RV Solar 101
People are increasingly turning to solar electricity for their RVs as the price of solar power continues to fall.
As per Energy Sage, if you want to create and utilize solar electricity for your RV, you’ll need the following:
- Solar panels
- Preventing your storage system from being overcharged using a charge controller
- Lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries are two of the most prevalent solutions for storing solar energy.
- An inverter that converts DC power to AC electricity.
Because of the growing number of prefabricated solar power packages available for RVs, charging your battery bank has never been easier.
So, how long will your battery last dry camping? It depends on several factors, but if you follow the tips and tricks we’ve outlined in this article, you should be able to make it through a weekend or even a week without any issues. Of course, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case of emergencies, but that’s true for any camping trip, not just dry camping.