Want to learn boondocking

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TMWolf

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Nov 8, 2021
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Haven't gone boondocking but want to. I don't have alot of knowledge about electricity. When not connected to shore power the only thing that works is a few of the lights. None of the plugs work. I need a plug for my cpap at night. Solution options?
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Another option is a CPAP unit that runs on 12V. The fewer voltage conversion steps you have the more efficient the operation, which translates to longer run time from a given size battery bank.

Having a battery monitor in the camper goes a long way towards knowing how much energy is being used by various devices and estimating how long one can go between charging.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Alontheway

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Sep 12, 2021
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Alageorgia
Do a search for Cpap on the forum. Better to read what people have already posted. You will need to spend some money or run the generator. Without running generator you will need sufficient batteries and solar or other source of power to charge the batteries during the day.
Boondocking requires adjustments. Though u cannot adjust the cpap you can for everything else. Do not use AC current otherwise. All your power should be from DC (battery) power. Use the propane for cooking, not electrical cooking appliances. If you can't cook without electricity then do not cook that item, cook what you can using propane, again, adjust.
LED lights use much less power than incandescent bulbs, and there is a big list of ways to reduce your power consumption and save the battery power.
The common route is 200-400 watts of solar on the roof, an MPPT charge controller and at minimum two 6 volt golf cart batteries (or there are better batteries for a bit more money). Toss out the Marine battery, it is not ideal for boondocking.
Know that running the furnace will use a lot of battery power as the fan/blower is power hungry and adding a cpap to the load might be too much depending on your battery supply.
If you want air conditioning then you have to have generator, but everything else can be run off batteries.
Look into the Jackery lithium battery packs/generators (not to be confused with gas engine generators) as these, tho more expensive, are a little more versatile.
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
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Welcome,
Boondocking is really a lifestyle.
For your CPAP you will either need a battery pack or an INVERTER large enough to run it. Next, or actually first is batteries and for more than 1 night a method of recharging the batteries. With no 120VAC hookups none of your 120V items will work, that's right. No microwave, no ceiling fan, etc. And depending on refer model no refer. If you have a 2/3 way refer it will run on gas and 12VDC just fine.
Next on the list is power conservation. You need to understand how to save power, this may include converting to LED lights etc.
Again depending on which CPAP you have it may or may not have a heater? Can you turn the heater off?
Of course water and waste are important too. How big are your tanks? For more than a night 30 gallons fresh, 30 gallons black and 40 gallons Grey would be advisable as minimum.
Come back and let us know what you have and ask more questions
 

Domo

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Nov 8, 2018
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383
Location
Fort Myers, FL
Haven't gone boondocking but want to. I don't have alot of knowledge about electricity. When not connected to shore power the only thing that works is a few of the lights. None of the plugs work. I need a plug for my cpap at night. Solution options?
My CPAP plugs into a wall transformer. That transformer puts out 12 VDC. Therefore, I installed a cigarette lighter plug near my bed, bought a standard 12 VDC power plug (the round end is standard for 12 VDC from what I've found) and all I do is plug it into the lighter jack. Easy and much cheaper than buying an inverter...

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Mark_K5LXP

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Albuquerque, NM
Not yet mentioned in this thread but will offer to anyone that questions their boondocking skills to do some driveway camping. Might seem a bit corny to spend a night or two camped outside your house but it will quickly reveal anything you've forgotten, or didn't know you needed. Much better to discover issues where you're in a position to resolve them than struggling through the first time out, or worse having to bail out and come back home.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Lou Schneider

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Mar 14, 2005
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A good way to gain confidence is to go to a full hookup site but don't connect to the utilities. Bingo, you're boondocking! Go about your normal activities and when you run out of water or the batteries run down or the waste tanks fill up you can connect and replenish. Then figure out what you need to make whatever ran out first last longer.

If you're in the Southwest come to our Quartzsite rally. It's a week long boondocking experience with lots of friendly people to guide you.

Quartzsite Rally 2022 Info
 

Rob&Deryl

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Mar 27, 2017
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On the road from mid NH
A good way to gain confidence is to go to a full hookup site but don't connect to the utilities. Bingo, you're boondocking! Go about your normal activities and when you run out of water or the batteries run down or the waste tanks fill up you can connect and replenish. Then figure out what you need to make whatever ran out first last longer.

If you're in the Southwest come to our Quartzsite rally. It's a week long boondocking experience with lots of friendly people to guide you.

Quartzsite Rally 2022 Info
We did a water & electric for a week. I put a water meter on the inlet to see how much we used - 42 gal (have 60 gal fresh tank). Then at another site we turned off the converter for 2 days (after installing a “smart shunt”) to see what our 12v usage was.
At another time, at a FHS, we left all the waste valves closed until the galley sink didn’t drain, & the shower didn’t drain to count days. In each test case, we didn’t try and skimp on anything. As a result, we feel Q will be fun and comfortable.
 

Larry N.

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Westminster, Colorado
There's a LOT of good information above, especially from Mark and Lou, but from others also -- things to learn from.

Boondocking is really a lifestyle.
It CAN be but it doesn't HAVE to be. We boondock on occasion, but not often. A bit more frequently we have electric only. The main thing is, once you have enough battery to last overnight, is to learn to conserve and to get an idea of how long you can go without external power, without external water, and or/without having sewage outlet handy. Then you'll have an idea of how much more, if any more, you'll need of each of the three.

So we know we can comfortably make it overnight without electric (but run the genny a couple of times a day to recharge), and we can go four to six days with only on board water and sewer, depending on how carefully we conserve, and this includes furnace, hot water, cooking (mostly while running the genny), a residential refrigerator, TV as desired, etc. but keeping in mind that we DO also run the diesel burner as needed for furnace and hot water, since we have a hydronic system (Oasis, Aqua Hot).

But how YOU do depends on how your RV is equipped, how good you are at conserving water, etc., whether you have adequate battery/generator/solar for the time you're unplugged, and your other needs.

Boondocking isn't difficult, but it does take a bit of knowledge and care and understanding of the limitations of your RV and of yourselves.
 

Ex-Calif

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May 15, 2020
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There are two main considerations in boondocking. Water conservation and power management.

Good advice to driveway camp for about 4 days. This will give you an idea about both systems.

There are a lot of tricks. For water we take sponge baths and we "rinse" our dishes with paper towels. We'll take a sailor shower about every 3-4 days. We let the yellow mellow and flush down the brown.

We also find that we fill up the grey faster than the black tank so we will dump dishwashing water outside mostly.

Power conservation first of all is switching all bulbs to LED. We have a 400W inverter that runs the TV and chargers. We stream using the cell phone but if we know we will be too far away for cell we will pre-download some stuff from Netflix.

But even then we don't watch much. Boondocking is about a campfire and good conversations...

We've gone up to 6 days boondocking.
 

Utclmjmpr

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Cedar City, UT
We spend most years during the winter months in Az. between Quartzsite and Yuma,, this means we need to dump and get fresh water,( and maybe propane ) in two week intervals,( or a little more ) With a large battery bank,, 400 watts of solar,,, large waste tanks,,, large water tank,,, and a capable generator ( 7500 watt diesel ) we are well positioned to spend several months in a boondocking environment and enjoy the lifestyle with comfort.. This will be our 25th consecutive year doing this..>>>Dan
 

CharlesinGA

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Oct 6, 2017
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670
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50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
Some people with 120v AC only CPAP units use a lithium rechargeable battery pack to run it. Its nothing more than lithium batteries, a charger and an inverter built into a compact housing. There are many brands on the market.

Bluetti and Jackery are two very common brands. NOT CHEAP however, but they will do a lot for you,

Charles
 
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