We have found that while boondocking off the grid, there are a few things that definitely make the experience more pleasurable. A big one of those things would have to be access to electric. Of course there are different levels of this, depending on what you need, but it is possible to get electric out there in the middle of no where. Here are some boondocking electricity options.
Your RV’s Battery
Your RV typically has some sort of battery. These batteries charge and remain full when you are hooked up to a type of power source. If you just have the standard 12-volt battery system that most RV’s come with, this will give you some power for a short period when disconnected from a power source. A couple days at best. You will have access to your electric outlets, and other items that run on low electric. Your water pump and inside lights for example. Do not expect to run your AC, or microwave on just your battery’s power. It won’t work, and if it does, it might damage your battery.
Tips about your RV’s Battery for Boondocking electricity options
I do not suggest letting your battery’s power get below about half for a couple of reasons. First, it is not good for the battery to completely drain it. It can and usually does damage it. Second, if you have electric pop outs, or an electric awning, and you have them out, and your battery dies, there is no way to get them back in. Turning off the main breaker when you are not using the electric will help preserve the battery. If for some reason you do run out of juice and need to recharge, you can reconnect to your vehicle and it will recharge from that.
Your Car/Truck Battery
Just like the RV’s battery, you can also utilize your cars battery. As I stated in the last paragraph, you can use your vehicle’s battery to recharge your RV battery. You just need to hook your vehicle’s electric back up to your RV, just like you would if you were going to move the RV. This will charge your battery, but be aware that you are going to be using gas while doing this, because the vehicle needs to be on. And then of course you can also use your vehicle’s battery to charge your cell phone, laptop etc. Just be aware that if you use the battery for a long time without turning the car on, you run the risk of your battery dying.
Accessories that will help your RV or Vehicle’s Battery
If you do choose to use your RV or your vehicle’s battery there are accessories available that will help keep it alive and/or recharge it. Some of these accessories are simply for when your battery has died. We have and keep on board the NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter. This is a good options because it can jump your battery if it does go dead, but it also holds an electric charge that you can tap in to with a USB plug. This way you can charge your phone, or a small appliance. We always try to keep a charge on it, and keep it available, in case our battery does die.
If you want to keep your battery charged while off the grid, in my opinion, solar is the way to go. The price of solar continues to drop as the technology gets better. There are several different solar options but I like the Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit. Once you mount this kit on your RV, the solar power will trickle charge your battery so it will stay alive. With this option, you are running electric off of your RV battery, but the solar panel will continuously provide a small charge. Again, there are tons of solar options, so if solar is the way you want to go, do your research. But the Renogy keeps our battery alive when we are boondocking off the grid.
Probably the best way to keep total power, would be a gas generator. There are several options when it comes to this. Some generators will simply allow you to run your smaller items like your water pump and electrical outlets, and others will run anything that you would want in you rig. All generators are not created equal. Be cautious when you are shopping for a generator. Most of the time, you get what you pay for.
Smaller Gas Generators
Typically if you are just looking to run your basic items, power outlets, water pump etc, a good option is a 2000 or more watt generator. In the past I have been a big fan of the Honda 2200, but recently there have been a few recalls, and I have found there are other options out there that do equally as good of a job for significantly less money. I really like the PAXCESS 2300 Watts Super Quiet Inverter Generator. This generator is fairly quiet comparatively. It is lightweight and portable, and smaller in size. I have found that you can run your basics on this one for about 12 hours off of a full tank of gas.
Smaller with the Option of Bigger
Another great way to generate power while boondocking off the grid is this Atima Inverter Generator 2000 .
This generator is very similar to the one above. It is quiet, and will provide you with enough power for your smaller stuff for about 12 hrs. It is a little more expensive, but overall a little better quality.
Boondocking Electricity Options
My favorite thing about this generator is that you can buy 2 of them, connect them with this adapter , and then you have twice the power. In doing this, you will be able to run pretty much anything in your RV. Your AC, refrigerator, etc.
Boondocking electricity options
The downside is that now you have 2 generators, but I like this option because this way you can choose how much energy that you need. If you do not need to run your AC and fridge, then just run the one, and use less gas. Or if it’s hot, maybe you want to run the AC. This way you have the option.
A Large Generator for Longer Boondocking Camping Trips
This option is will also allow you to run full energy. Depending on what you are trying to run, 3500 watts might do, but if you want to be sure to power it all, I suggest something over 4000 watts. My choice would have to be the Champion 4000-Watt RV Ready DH Series Open Frame Inverter. This unit is one of the more quiet ones, and I would have to say average size. But all in all, I feel that it is the best deal when you are looking for something that will power your entire RV while boondocking off the grid. They also last a little longer at about 17 hrs per tank full. They are big, but if you are looking for full power, this might be a good option for you.
Small, Cheap, and Temporary Solutions
If you are just planning on being without electric for a day or two, or just don’t have access to your vehicle, RV or generator, there are a couple of options for you.
These are the type of things that will get you by. I really like this Aeiusny Generator Portable Solar Generator 288Wh 500W UPS Power Station . The perfect little power station! I love this thing. It will give you just a bit of power to recharge your light or your phone or maybe a laptop. It also has an optional solar panel to charge it. A bit less expensive option would be the right hand power generator.
At the end of the day, it really is just about what you are needing. If you want to power your entire RV, you will need to spend a lot more money. Most times, you don’t need to be that extreme to enjoy nature. There are also lots of solar options out there, and these are great options but can get very expensive. Whatever way you choose for Boondocking electricity options have fun and Happy Boondocking!!