Newbie boondocking question regarding toilet

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Bugford

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Sep 15, 2018
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Hamilton Ohio
When my wife and I buy our travel trailer, our main interest will be state and national parks.  I see that there are some places like Yosemite, that have no hookups, and generator hours are limited.  I know that the refridgerator and heat can run on propane, but will the battery run some lights?  What about the water pump for toilet use?
 

Gizmo100

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Sep 28, 2018
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Welcome to the forum

The battery will run the lights, water pump and it also provides power to the refrigerator(circuit board) and the heater(fan and circuit board).  You will need to make sure you get a true deep cycle battery and be prepared to run the generator as allowed.

You may want to spend a night or two in the TT while at home to figure out not only how long the battery will last but also work out any issues. I often recommend that new owners stay out in the TT and make use of everything you would expect to use when out on the road.
 

BruceR

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Jan 16, 2016
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You might want to look into getting a solar panel to recharge your battery. A portable panel would let you test out how well the battery level can be maintained without going to the expense of a roof installation. My meager 75 watt panel manages to keep my house batteries charged but I don't have any big current draws. I have a generator on board but, after two years of never having to use it, I wonder why I carry the thing around.
 

SpencerPJ

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Nov 1, 2017
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Midwest
Yes,  many lights work off the battery of the travel trailer.  Yes the water pump works off the 12 volt battery, hence you can flush a toilet.

The bigger question is, since you are a Newbie, what are you considering to buy? size? and what do you plan to pull it with.

We can give all sorts of advise, but we don't know if you plan to stay in a 18-25' trailer you pull with your F150, or a 26-33' trailer you pull with a F250 (or equivalent). 

The BEST advise I can offer is, educate yourself, as you have started to do.  Learn about trailers, ask questions on a site like this one, many experienced people.  And look at trailers.  Caution:  Trailer Sales People have a terrible reputation (lower than a used car salesman) as far as knowledge, and telling you things that are not true, especially that your ABC car/truck can pull DEF trailer with no problem at all.  You say Yosemite, I've been there.  Awesome.  I pull a 20' Travel Trailer with a 2005 Yukon XL, and would find it marginally acceptable out in the mountains and long inclines.

 

AStravelers

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Nov 14, 2016
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San Antonio, TX
In addition to asking questions on the forum, the forum is a great place to do a bunch of reading of earlier topics with info which will help you learn about RV'ing.

Click on the "Home" button at the top left of all the pages in this forum.  Once on the home page, scroll down to Newcomers' Corner, General Discussion, and Travel Trailers and 5th wheels. Browse though each of these sections looking for topics which interest you.  There is a huge amount of info available here.
 

kportra

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Jun 12, 2017
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Montana
For reference, here is our power usage situation.  It's just my husband and I.  We have a 18' trailer (floor plan).  It's 23' exterior length.  Hubby uses a CPAP at night that pulls from the 12 volt batteries.  We don't really ration our electric usage during the day, but are usually outside anyway.  We nearly always camp with no electric.

We have two deep cycle 12 volt batteries.  If I remember right, they are rated for a total of 140 amp hours.  You've probably read that only half of that is usable and you should use more like 1/4 to make sure your batteries last.  I'm sure someone has exact figures on that.

We can go one day and overnight easily without a problem.  We've never tried more before charging since we want to preserve battery life.  We can reach a nearly full charge again during the day running the generator for about 3-4 hours, or using our 100 W "suitcase" portable solar panel if we have good sun. 

Our biggest electric usage by far is the CPAP.  When we had kids at home and no CPAP usage, we could go around 4-5 days without charging but we were careful on our usage to get that far.
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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Camp Verde, AZ
kportra said:
For reference, here is our power usage situation.  It's just my husband and I.  We have a 18' trailer (floor plan).  It's 23' exterior length.  Hubby uses a CPAP at night that pulls from the 12 volt batteries.  We don't really ration our electric usage during the day, but are usually outside anyway.  We nearly always camp with no electric.

We have two deep cycle 12 volt batteries.  If I remember right, they are rated for a total of 140 amp hours.  You've probably read that only half of that is usable and you should use more like 1/4 to make sure your batteries last.  I'm sure someone has exact figures on that.

We can go one day and overnight easily without a problem.  We've never tried more before charging since we want to preserve battery life.  We can reach a nearly full charge again during the day running the generator for about 3-4 hours, or using our 100 W "suitcase" portable solar panel if we have good sun. 

Our biggest electric usage by far is the CPAP.  When we had kids at home and no CPAP usage, we could go around 4-5 days without charging but we were careful on our usage to get that far.

Agree with everything above except they didn't mention running a furnace if you get into cooler weather. Then your batteries will last 1 day if you're lucky.

Someone else also mentioned a trial "camping trip" in your driveway. I would spend at least 2 days camping like you would in a park. Don't plug in and you will see how long your batteries last. This will also let you find out what other items you forgot to put in your trailer and it won't be many miles back home to get them.  ;D
 

NMDriver

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Dec 3, 2018
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106
Another factor that limits how long you can stay without full hookups is your water usage and storage. Daily showers and washing dishes can fill a grey tank fast but sponge baths and paper plates can keep you out for a while. Most fed/state parks will have a dump station but moving the whole unit is more of a hassle than having a "blue boy". 

As mentioned using the heater in cold weather can use a lot of battery and propane so it is best to follow the advice about checking your comfort level and usage while in your driveway. 
 

wmtired

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Oct 27, 2018
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Please study this weblink called 12 volt side of life:  http://marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm  It explains what is powered by what and is invaluable in helping you understand your RV electrical systems and  will better enable you to manage your power and decide your course of action, e.g. a larger battery bank, inverter?, generator or so$ar.

Also agree, find a camper that has larger than industry normal fresh, grey, and black water tanks.  When I camp in the mountains, I use the same facilities as the wildlife to preserve capacity for the DW (dear wife).  We generate very little grey water as we use disposable paper plates and burn them in our campfire.  Shower grey water is disinfected with odoban and is used to rinse our ATVs or used as flush water for our toilet. 




Take care and good luck!


 

tanglemoose

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May 14, 2013
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BruceR said:
You might want to look into getting a solar panel to recharge your battery. A portable panel would let you test out how well the battery level can be maintained without going to the expense of a roof installation. My meager 75 watt panel manages to keep my house batteries charged but I don't have any big current draws. I have a generator on board but, after two years of never having to use it, I wonder why I carry the thing around.

Yes, we have 150 watts of solar on roof, and a small inverter. We don't care about microwave, use propane coffee pot, and we are just fine... for weeks on end... that being said. We always carry our generator, not on board, in back of pickup.. Never used one time in three years UNTIL OUR NEW RV had a propane regulator go out.. No Coffee, no stove top, no fridge, no furnace. not a good thing, we were sure glad generator was in the truck, until we got a new regulator!
 

BruceR

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Jan 16, 2016
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Excellent -- you had a backup. I'm not willing to forgo my morning coffee either so I keep my backpacking stove at the ready.
 

packnrat

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Feb 13, 2018
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about what others have said about how to get juice.
but i need to throw this in.

stay off some roads in the yosemite area. grades. tight corners, narrow pavement.
know the exact hight of your rv. branches, rock over hangs, bridges, tunnels.

but post up questons, no matter how dumb it sounds, everyone here started at your point.
 

Frank B

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Calgary, Alberta
Good suggestions thus far. I have nothing to add of a general nature, but specific to Yosemite: Take a campground out of the park, and take a shuttle in. Saves a lot of hassle.
 

Old_Crow

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Nov 20, 2016
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Tom's Place, California
We spent the month of November dry camped at Pines campground near Groveland.  It's around 15 miles from the gate of Yosemite, and 40 miles from the Valley.  Some nights we were the only rig in the campground and I ran the genny as much as I wanted to.  Lots of dirt back roads to explore if you're a Jeep kinda person.  Turkey and deer wandering through the campground in broad daylight. 
There's a commercial RV park about 5 miles away where you can dump your tanks and get fresh water and propane.  They also have full hookup sites, vintage travel trailers, yurts, and covered wagons that you can rent nightly, too.
 

packnrat

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Feb 13, 2018
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i believe all has been said here that can help you.
use your camper at home for three days, no in house for anything.
get 4, 6 volt deep cycle batt. wire it proper, have a gen for use during ok hrs. (solar if you want) full propane when you leave home. fresh water full. grey and black cleaned out before going off.

then get to camp.... and relax.
 

Rene T

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May 20, 2011
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Farmington NH
One other thing not mentioned, get LED light bulbs and only use them as needed. When you leave one part of the RV, shut off your lights and then turn on the lights when you get to the other end of the RV.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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West Palm Beach, FL
Bugford hasn't come around here since January, 2019.  It's not unusual for folks to "drive by" with a question, get some input and then disappear.  Nor is it unusual that we were still talking about the subject long after the OP was gone.
 

Frank B

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Calgary, Alberta
Gary:


>Nor is it unusual that we were still talking about the subject long after the OP was gone.<


Hahahaha!!  ;D ;D
 
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