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Old 08-02-2017, 03:42 PM   #1
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Dry Camping Question

I know this has been asked a million times on here in just about every way possible....and I also realize that there's no definitive answer due to all the variables.....but

We are doing our first dry camping trip at Elkmont CG (GSNM) in October and I wanted a sanity check.

Our little Hummingbird has one Interstate Group 24, 12V deep cycle battery that's basically new.

The plan is to only use the water pump when absolutely necessary, we only use the toilet for liquid use, so we'll be using the bathhouse for everything else.

We have LED's inside, all but one are controlled from a master switch, but can also be turned on/off individually. Our plan is to only use the one LED puck light over the dinette for interior lighting purposes. No TV or radio usage.

No heat usage of any type and maybe minimal ventilation fan usage (Vortex 2 - 0.8 to 1.4 amp draw and 2.2 amp motor) for that time of year. We'll run the refrigerator on gas and all of our cooking is always on gas outdoors, so only control voltage for the fridge (I'll turn the ARP cooling fans off).

Might roll the awning out/in. Will run the slide out/in while still hooked to our TV.

I'm sure there's some small parasitic draws that I'm not accounting for.

Camping for two nights. Most of that will be spent outdoors, mostly just sleeping in the TT.

Think we'll be able to stretch the single battery for two nights if we're really conservative on power usage?

I'm trying to avoid hauling our Honda 3000w generator along if possible, so another idea I had would be to either purchase a spare 12v or two Trojan 6v batteries and throw them in the bed of the truck for a swap out if needed. We can't afford to change permanently to two 6V batteries due to GVWR limitations on our TT.

Thanks.
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Old 08-02-2017, 03:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01tundra View Post
I know this has been asked a million times on here in just about every way possible....and I also realize that there's no definitive answer due to all the variables.....but

We are doing our first dry camping trip at Elkmont CG (GSNM) in October and I wanted a sanity check.

Our little Hummingbird has one Interstate Group 24, 12V deep cycle battery that's basically new.

The plan is to only use the water pump when absolutely necessary, we only use the toilet for liquid use, so we'll be using the bathhouse for everything else.

We have LED's inside, all but one are controlled from a master switch, but can also be turned on/off individually. Our plan is to only use the one LED puck light over the dinette for interior lighting purposes. No TV or radio usage.

No heat usage of any type and maybe minimal ventilation fan usage (Vortex 2 - 0.8 to 1.4 amp draw and 2.2 amp motor) for that time of year. We'll run the refrigerator on gas and all of our cooking is always on gas outdoors, so only control voltage for the fridge (I'll turn the ARP cooling fans off).

Might roll the awning out/in. Will run the slide out/in while still hooked to our TV.

I'm sure there's some small parasitic draws that I'm not accounting for.

Camping for two nights. Most of that will be spent outdoors, mostly just sleeping in the TT.

Think we'll be able to stretch the single battery for two nights if we're really conservative on power usage?

I'm trying to avoid hauling our Honda 3000w generator along if possible, so another idea I had would be to either purchase a spare 12v or two Trojan 6v batteries and throw them in the bed of the truck for a swap out if needed. We can't afford to change permanently to two 6V batteries due to GVWR limitations on our TT.

Thanks.
You said that your group 24 was virtually new. How new? If it is only a month or two old and you have room, why not add a second battery in parallel?? That would clearly give you ample power for a couple nights.
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Old 08-02-2017, 03:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ela1948 View Post
You said that your group 24 was virtually new. How new? If it is only a month or two old and you have room, why not add a second battery in parallel?? That would clearly give you ample power for a couple nights.
Purchased new in November of last year when we picked up our TT....so I guess it's really not that "new" anymore

The TT stays plugged into shore power at all times, except when in transit.

We are within 10 lbs. of our GVWR on a good day, no room for additional batteries. And no physical space for two 24's on the tongue.

Now that I think of it, scratch the ventilation fan usage. And if need be, we can go without using the refrigerator also since we always bring along our coolers.
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:02 PM   #4
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Might be close all those idiot lights smoke detectors ect. ect.Awnings a big draw to.We have full Solar and still take the generator.Guess its just habit!
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:02 PM   #5
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Obviously you can't predict the weather but we carry a 100 watt solar suitcase that works very well to recharge your battery. That could be carried in your truck bed which wouldn't effect your GVW. A second battery could also be used carried in the truck bed. If you are at gross GVW already, you are limited on options.
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:08 PM   #6
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I can ditch the awning usage as well.

The CG we're going to be in is extremely wooded. We drove through a few weeks ago and it was really dark, I don't think solar would do much of anything there. I have been looking for a good excuse to buy a Go Power! 80W portable folding solar kit but I'm afraid it wouldn't do much for us on this particular trip.

I can always load the generator since it's allowed from 8:00 AM-8:00 PM, it's just so tall that I can't roll my bed cover closed.....

Think I'd really rather just pick up a spare Group 24 and swap it out on the 2nd day if needed?

So now I'm down to very, very light usage on the water pump for flushing the toilet at night (which I can totally ditch that as well if need be and use a bottle of water like we do in the winter), one LED puck light for maybe an hour each night max and whatever parasitic draws are present.

During the day I could even throw the battery disconnect switch and kill power entirely to the TT, I guess that wouldn't hurt anything?

Since we have plenty of time, I guess I could always kill the shore power while it's in the driveway and let it sit for two days and see how bad the unknown draws are, maybe even turn the puck light on for an hour each evening and then see where I'm at?
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:12 PM   #7
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No worries we still remember the tent camping days! Enjoy
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01tundra View Post
I can ditch the awning usage as well.

The CG we're going to be in is extremely wooded. We drove through a few weeks ago and it was really dark, I don't think solar would do much of anything there. I have been looking for a good excuse to buy a Go Power! 80W portable folding solar kit but I'm afraid it wouldn't do much for us on this particular trip.

I can always load the generator since it's allowed from 8:00 AM-8:00 PM, it's just so tall that I can't roll my bed cover closed.....

Think I'd really rather just pick up a spare Group 24 and swap it out on the 2nd day if needed?

So now I'm down to very, very light usage on the water pump for flushing the toilet at night (which I can totally ditch that as well if need be), one LED puck light for maybe an hour each night max and whatever parasitic draws are present.

During the day I could even throw the battery disconnect switch and kill power entirely to the TT, I guess that wouldn't hurt anything?
If you disconnect your battery, your refrigerator will not function. It requires DC power for its electronics.
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:18 PM   #9
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We regularly dry camp in our 19H with a fair bit more usage than that and have no problem doing a cloudy 3 day weekend (no solar recharging). We use the radio a bit, and DW insists on a bunk fan at night (she is at the incendiary stage). It is less worrisome with sunshine and our 40W panel recharging, but we still get by just fine.

I have a multimeter in the TT and never get dangerously low on the voltage level during a weekend, 3rd day it does start to dip a bit.
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:18 PM   #10
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If you disconnect your battery, your refrigerator will not function. It requires DC power for its electronics.
Good point.....I knew I was forgetting something.

We could survive using the Yeti cooler in the back of the truck all weekend, we always take it anyways. Another option could be to throw our 34 Qt. Engel refrigerator/freezer in the bed of the truck and use it instead.
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