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RVing message boards => Boondocking => Topic started by: SilvrT on November 29, 2016, 04:57:52 PM

Title: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on November 29, 2016, 04:57:52 PM
I know very little about RVing and at this time don't even have an RV.

That said, we are planning buying a 5th wheel next summer and taking an extended trip (appx 8 months) across Canada and the USA.

We do plan to do some boondocking / dry-camping during that time.

Aside from what normally comes as standard equipment in a 5th wheel, what other equipment would a person require for 1 - 2 weeks at a time off the grid (or is 2 weeks not feasible)?

We'll of course need power so I assume a portable generator/inverter ??
- I'm planning to have some sort of solar system but I know that's only good for keeping the batteries charged to some degree.

We'll also need to have internet connectivity. I have done some research on this and I think I've got that sorted out.

What else would be recommended?
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: robertusa123 on November 29, 2016, 10:03:24 PM
2:weeks at a clip Is a long time to.stretch your water supply
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on November 30, 2016, 07:03:56 AM
2:weeks at a clip Is a long time to.stretch your water supply

ya, I was thinking that too ... so I'm considering getting a 35 gal water tank and mounting it in the back of the truck ... IF I have enough room LOL
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on November 30, 2016, 08:20:15 AM
You don't have enough fresh water, waste tank space, or battery power for a continuous 1-2 weeks off-grid. Even being very conservative. You will need to plan for battery charging (and maybe additional battery capacity), dumping waste water, and additional fresh water. Whether that is easy or difficult depends on where you travel and camp. Some "unimproved" campsites will have a waste dump and/or a fresh water tap somewhere in the area. And some stop-over places may offer that service, either free or fee. Sometimes small towns allow waste dumping at their sewage treatment plant and water fills at their municipal water facility. You can often find such places with online searches.

Here is an example: http://www.rvdumps.com/
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: Lou Schneider on November 30, 2016, 11:23:37 AM
While stretching your time boondocking is great, there's also nothing wrong with staying out until you run low on supplies (4-5 days?  A week?)  then pull into a full hookup park for a night.

While you're there and connected to the utilities, fill your water tank, dump your holding tanks.  Let the park's electricity fully charge your batteries.  Recharge all of your portable electronics.  Run the vacuum cleaner and get the dust out of the carpets.

Take advantage of the park's laundromat to catch up on laundry.

Then head out for another boondocking stint.
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: AStravelers on November 30, 2016, 06:15:36 PM
Here is a list of great places to learn about RV electric systems, solar, batteries, generators, etc.

Probably several hours of reading here. 

http://www.rv-dreams.com/rv-electrical.html
http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm
http://www.jackdanmayer.com/Batteries_and_charging.html
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm
http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volta.htm
http://www.wholesalesolar.com/deep-cycle-battery-info.html
http://www.batteryfaq.org/
http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on December 01, 2016, 06:53:59 AM
Here is a list of great places to learn about RV electric systems, solar, batteries, generators, etc.


Great stuff..... thanks!
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: dave54 on December 01, 2016, 11:12:02 AM
Do you plan on staying in your boondocking spot for two straight weeks, never leaving in your tow vehicle?  If you ever head out, to go a fishing spot, seeing a nearby sight, town run, et al, take a five gal jug with you.  Fill it at the first potable water spigot you encountered.  Dump it into your fresh tank upon your return to camp.  This will stretch your fresh water quite a bit, if you do this every time you are out and about.
Most people find the grey tank is the limiting factor.  So plan meals to use as few pots as possible, minimizing washing.  As short a shower as you can.  If on your day excursions you ever pass a public restroom use it instead of holding it in until you return to camp.
A basic solar system will keep the batteries charged if you are energy frugal.  We have a 120 watt and it keeps our twin 6 volts topped off fine.  But we do not run anything  off an inverter.   We have gennies but only need to use them occasionally for the microwave or AC.
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on December 01, 2016, 12:09:24 PM
Do you plan on staying in your boondocking spot for two straight weeks, never leaving in your tow vehicle?  If you ever head out, to go a fishing spot, seeing a nearby sight, town run, et al, take a five gal jug with you.  Fill it at the first potable water spigot you encountered.  Dump it into your fresh tank upon your return to camp.  This will stretch your fresh water quite a bit, if you do this every time you are out and about.
Most people find the grey tank is the limiting factor.  So plan meals to use as few pots as possible, minimizing washing.  As short a shower as you can.  If on your day excursions you ever pass a public restroom use it instead of holding it in until you return to camp.
A basic solar system will keep the batteries charged if you are energy frugal.  We have a 120 watt and it keeps our twin 6 volts topped off fine.  But we do not run anything  off an inverter.   We have gennies but only need to use them occasionally for the microwave or AC.

Good info ... thanks!
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: denmarc on December 04, 2016, 01:53:32 PM
I love your way of thinking about boondocking. However, the length of stay you mentioned brings about special concerns. Many have already been mentioned. I boondock 100%. I can tell you that you need to think this through and prepare for it. Do your research before diving into it. Going to a campground and plugging into utilities is one thing. Going somewhere without utilities for an extended period of time is a whole different animal. A lot of the expense depends on if you want to give your money to campground, or put it into your 5er to camp off grid for a couple weeks at a time. 

Don't want to scare you off. What you ask is entirely doable! You just need to be aware of what you are dealing with.
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on December 04, 2016, 07:12:36 PM
I love your way of thinking about boondocking. However, the length of stay you mentioned brings about special concerns. Many have already been mentioned. I boondock 100%. I can tell you that you need to think this through and prepare for it. Do your research before diving into it. Going to a campground and plugging into utilities is one thing. Going somewhere without utilities for an extended period of time is a whole different animal. A lot of the expense depends on if you want to give your money to campground, or put it into your 5er to camp off grid for a couple weeks at a time. 

Don't want to scare you off. What you ask is entirely doable! You just need to be aware of what you are dealing with.

Exactly why I popped the question.

I am spending a LOT of time researching on the 'net and am gleaning a fair amount of info. That said, the more "opinions" and suggestions about a given topic, the better I can make decisions. 

I might be a bit "optimistic" about 2 weeks but at least 1 week. Maybe a week off the grid, then hit an RV park for a couple days to replentish things, then back to the boonies for a week ... maybe a different spot would be more realistic.


Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on December 05, 2016, 08:36:33 AM
The point is that your RV's basically has power for a single day/night (if not too extravaganza in consumption), fresh water for 4-7 days, and waste water holding for 2-8 days, depending on your water use habits. RV newbies are often shocked to find they run out of battery power in less than a day and water on the second day because a lifetime of having unlimited power and water has not prepared them to be at all conservative. You probably don't even realize when you are "wasting' power and water.

You WILL need to replenish your battery power daily, especially with  the small battery bank typically supplied with any trailer. You will want both a larger battery bank and a means of regular recharging, solar, genset, or both. Plus the largest fresh and waste water tanks you can get.
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on December 05, 2016, 10:38:14 AM
The point is that your RV's basically has power for a single day/night (if not too extravaganza in consumption), fresh water for 4-7 days, and waste water holding for 2-8 days, depending on your water use habits. RV newbies are often shocked to find they run out of battery power in less than a day and water on the second day because a lifetime of having unlimited power and water has not prepared them to be at all conservative. You probably don't even realize when you are "wasting' power and water.

You WILL need to replenish your battery power daily, especially with  the small battery bank typically supplied with any trailer. You will want both a larger battery bank and a means of regular recharging, solar, genset, or both. Plus the largest fresh and waste water tanks you can get.

Thanks Gary. I plan on purchasing a 3000w (or larger) portable generator as well as having solar banks installed. The 5th wheel I am considering to buy already is pre-wired for solar. I'm also looking at replacing the factory converter with a better one ... one that will fully charge the batteries and have 14.2 output with a safety. This is based on info I have found both in the forum as well as on line info by many others with much experience in these areas. The "process" of doing this is not totally clear to me yet but I'm getting there.

As for tank capacities, the 5th wheel we're considering (and a bit limited to due to our towing capacity) will probably be a 31 or 33 ft unit. From the various units out there I've looked at, most seem to have tank sizes somewhere between 50 and 95 gallons or so.

For example, one unit we're considering is the Forest River Wildcat MAXX 295RSX
Fresh - 81 gal
Gray - 94 gal
Black - 64 gal



As for the water, I'm mounting an aux 35 gal water tank in the back of my truck with either a hand or electric pump.
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: prfcdoc on December 05, 2016, 01:26:21 PM
Just remember that 81 gallons of water weighs 677 pounds (307 Kg) which could, depending on where the tank is placed, add 20% of that to your pin weight and the 35 gallons in your bed is another 292 pounds or 133 Kg. Those weights could substantially reduce the weight of any 5th wheel you could tow with your truck. It can get pretty complicated when trying to figure out what you can safely do.
Bob
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on December 05, 2016, 02:04:34 PM
Just remember that 81 gallons of water weighs 677 pounds (307 Kg) which could, depending on where the tank is placed, add 20% of that to your pin weight and the 35 gallons in your bed is another 292 pounds or 133 Kg. Those weights could substantially reduce the weight of any 5th wheel you could tow with your truck. It can get pretty complicated when trying to figure out what you can safely do.
Bob

From the info I've found so far I'm good to 4060 lbs payload on my truck.

Spec from one of the 5th wheels I'm looking at shows dry weight on hitch of 1670 lbs with payload of 2223 lbs (20% of that = 445) so that comes out at 2115 max on the hitch leaving 1945 left (4060-2115).  I think I'll be ok even without taking into consideration other things packed into the trailer and the truck.

Would you concur or am I missing something?

Good points Bob ... one really has to think this stuff through, that's for sure!

Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: prfcdoc on December 07, 2016, 06:30:54 PM
That's a large payload. One ton dually?
Bob
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on December 07, 2016, 09:24:50 PM
That's a large payload. One ton dually?
Bob

Single

Been doing some more digging on that payload.

From Fleet.Ford.com 
" Load rating represents maximum allowable weight of people, cargo and body equipment and is reduced by optional equipment
weight"

Their chart shows 4060 lbs

I did see somewhere else a figure of 3893 but I guess the best way to get an accurate figure is to get it weighed and then subtract that from the GVWR which is 9900 lbs.
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: kdbgoat on December 08, 2016, 05:42:16 AM
I did see somewhere else a figure of 3893 but I guess the best way to get an accurate figure is to get it weighed and then subtract that from the GVWR which is 9900 lbs.


That is the best way, but in the U.S., there is a yellow sticker on the B pillar, driver's side that states what the actual payload is for that individual truck. I don't know if Canadian trucks that have that or not. It will be close, but scales (certified) don't lie.
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on December 08, 2016, 06:25:40 AM
That is the best way, but in the U.S., there is a yellow sticker on the B pillar, driver's side that states what the actual payload is for that individual truck. I don't know if Canadian trucks that have that or not. It will be close, but scales (certified) don't lie.

Some idjit ripped mine off before I bought it.
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: prfcdoc on December 08, 2016, 06:58:09 PM

......the best way to get an accurate figure is to get it weighed and then subtract that from the GVWR which is 9900 lbs.

Yup
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: AStravelers on December 09, 2016, 07:04:35 AM
From the info I've found so far I'm good to 4060 lbs payload on my truck.

Spec from one of the 5th wheels I'm looking at shows dry weight on hitch of 1670 lbs with payload of 2223 lbs (20% of that = 445) so that comes out at 2115 max on the hitch leaving 1945 left (4060-2115).  I think I'll be ok even without taking into consideration other things packed into the trailer and the truck.

Would you concur or am I missing something?

Good points Bob ... one really has to think this stuff through, that's for sure!
What you are missing, is that
1. You don't want to go over the GVWR of the trailer
2.  you will be loading at least 2000 pounds of cargo in your trailer just to live in it.  That is clothes, pots & pans, tools, food, blankets, etc, etc, etc. 
3.  Taking the 2000# of stuff, add 800# of water, add the gray water & black water and you may be way over GVWR of the trailer.

Almost no full time travelers load less than 2000 pounds of stuff.  Many load in 3000 pounds of stuff. 

I know you are not fulltimeing, but being in the the trailer full time for 8 months is pretty much full time. 

 
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on December 09, 2016, 10:13:49 AM
What you are missing, is that
1. You don't want to go over the GVWR of the trailer
2.  you will be loading at least 2000 pounds of cargo in your trailer just to live in it.  That is clothes, pots & pans, tools, food, blankets, etc, etc, etc. 
3.  Taking the 2000# of stuff, add 800# of water, add the gray water & black water and you may be way over GVWR of the trailer.

Almost no full time travelers load less than 2000 pounds of stuff.  Many load in 3000 pounds of stuff. 

I know you are not fulltimeing, but being in the the trailer full time for 8 months is pretty much full time.

Appreciate the info and I will certainly be taking all that into account. Wasn't actually "missing" it though; however, I did not have a realistic idea of the weight of the cargo ... now I do. Things like tools will be in the tool box in the back of the truck.

This is all good info and will be of great help when the time comes to purchase an RV.
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: denmarc on December 11, 2016, 03:18:27 PM
I plan on purchasing a 3000w (or larger) portable generator as well as having solar banks installed.
As for the water, I'm mounting an aux 35 gal water tank in the back of my truck with either a hand or electric pump.

Don't forget about gas for the genny. Unless you plan on camping near a gas station and making a trip every other day.
The sun doesn't shine each and every day.
Title: Re: What Equipment Do I Need?
Post by: SilvrT on December 11, 2016, 10:18:57 PM
Don't forget about gas for the genny. Unless you plan on camping near a gas station and making a trip every other day.
The sun doesn't shine each and every day.

Gas?  ??? ... they use gas?    :o