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Old 04-09-2014, 07:14 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Tacoma, WA
Posts: 101
Boondocking success - and a few product reviews!

We survived!

We always go big, so for our first ever boondocking outing, we went for 6 nights at 3 different locations. I have such a list of good potential spots compiled, we wanted to try a few different ones so we could see which ones are the best.

My research and the advice from this site paid off big-time! We didn't have any problems to speak of and everything worked great for us. I think the 29QBH went a few places it wasn't quite intended to, but nothing too rough. About 20-30 miles of mostly decent gravel roads between the 3 spots for access from the highway. All of the spots were awesome. I really enjoyed the freedom of parking the trailer wherever we wanted in each spot to maximize the views/access.

We've seriously considered downsizing our trailer for more boondocking, but now that we pulled it off on this trip we're excited to have our "mobile cabin." I figure we'd need a truck camper or very small trailer to make much difference anyways.

Here are the mods/products I've added for boondocking:

Honda EU1000 Generator:
Awesome product, charged the trailer fine and runs the TV/DVD (until I get an inverter) but not much else. Kind of minimalist, but no frills and always starts on the first pull.

Mr. Buddy Big Buddy:
Love this thing. Ran it all night every night (mostly on low-medium). It was in the 30's at night. I was nervous using the propane heater inside at first, but no problems and we kept plenty of ventilation open. Had the heater on the kitchen table at night (didn't need it during the day). You want a hunk of wood under the heater - it gets hot right underneath the front. Also, a bulk tank is a must - I bought the 12' hose and filter.

Costco 6v batts:
Very impressed! We aren't using much but the lights, but plenty of power. I never saw less than 12.3v the whole trip with about 2hrs total gen time a day (ended up using it for kids movies during "quiet time" a couple of days, so they never got lower).

LED lights:
Also a great mod. I used 2 different styles. The flat panels work great, but the 3M sticky didn't hold them up so I'll have to do something else. Most of them are just sitting on the inside of the lense, but seem to work OK that way as well. The 'corncob' style lights I got were too dim for general lighting, but nice for the above the bed lights and bunk lights that were way too bright for their intended purpose before. All were cheap ebay lights with a total investment of about $30 (need some more to finish the conversion).

Water tank overflow line caps:
I've read before that many water tank overflow lines will spill out a huge amount of water when the tank is full. I wonder if it actually creates a siphon effect, because my tank would be 1/2 empty before. I put on some threaded fittings with hose clamps and capped them. I'll replace the caps with valves when I find some that will work.

Great camping toy if you like being around the water. We got this for a good deal on Craigslist and had a blast. We have a 4 HP Suzuki motor that runs like a champ. The kids all caught fish and we had fun just exploring some lakes. The boat folds up and stows on some Thule racks I put on my truck canopy. I cleared out one of the trailer's rear compartments for the seats and transom (along with extra fishing gear etc). Nice to not have it in the back of the truck, and actually my storage is now better organized after I went through everything.

Sorry for being long-winded...

All of our spots on this trip were on state land you can access in WA with a Discover Pass for $30 a year! You pretty much need one if you live here anyways, so we're really camping for free.

2012 Jay Flight 29QBH
2003 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins H.O. 48RE
Equalizer 4-pt sway control hitch
Prodigy P2 brake controller
Honda EU1000i
12' Porta-bote
2006 Jayfeather 29Y (past Jayco :))
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:17 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: SF Bay
Posts: 97
Sounds like a great trip!

One question: Why did you not want to use the furnace in the trailer?

2013 Starcraft 266RKS
1999 Ford E350 V10 Chateau (6.8L, 4.11 LS)
2005 Cedar Creek 31LBHS
2001 Sprinter 303BHS
1997 Mallard 33Z
1990 Starcraft Starmaster
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Old 04-10-2014, 02:03 AM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 6,968
Great write-up on your boondocking experience!

At least 50% of my camping season is boondocking around Michigan, nothing else like it


2016 GM 2500HD 6.0L/4.10
2005 Jayco Eagle 278FBS
Reese HP Dual Cam
Putnam Class V
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:22 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 716
Sounds like a good set up and fun time. We have a porta bote and enjoy it nearly every time we camp near water. I will be doing the led swap this summer. On the buddy heater, do you use the both sides or just one? I was wondering if I should get the big buddy or just the regular. Thanks.
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:24 PM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Tacoma, WA
Posts: 101
Bluestreak: It seems that the onboard furnace is one of the major drains on the batteries when you don't have hookups. I also found it to be pretty heavy on propane usage - especially during the shoulder seasons when it's colder at night. The Big Buddy used way less propane (I had it hooked up to a bulk tank) and worked well. Now that I know my batteries supply more than enough power for our needs I may experiment with supplementing the Buddy with the furnace for colder trips to help keep the tanks warm.

Dewey: For my sized trailer, you would want the Big Buddy for sure. It warms up quickly on high for sure! We were ok with medium and even low overnight but it was nice to be able to crank it up for a little bit in the morning. The regular buddy would probably be sufficient for smaller trailers/truck campers etc.
2012 Jay Flight 29QBH
2003 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins H.O. 48RE
Equalizer 4-pt sway control hitch
Prodigy P2 brake controller
Honda EU1000i
12' Porta-bote
2006 Jayfeather 29Y (past Jayco :))
KachFam is offline   Reply With Quote

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