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Old 03-22-2016, 03:11 PM   #1
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Travel "boon docking" in a fifth wheel

Looking to buy our first fifth wheel. I originally gravitated toward toy haulers because they have onboard generators. However, they push the limits of my tow vehicle, and some of the jayco bunk houses are too hard to ignore with a family (with two smaller children).

My question - without an onboard generator, how do trailer owners boon dock in walmart parking lots, eat lunch during travel (in the trailer), etc without needing the AC? I live in Texas, so sleeping in a trailer with no AC would be a nightmare. Also, with small kids, I imagine we will be stopping quiet a bit to let them run around and stretch legs.

I said something similar to this and the sales guy said generators could be added to trailers for about 8k.. I can't find any install examples and have never heard this before.

If I buy a stand alone generator, how can it reasonably be used? Mount it to a rack on the back? truck bed? Can they run from those positions without needing to drag them onto the ground and away from the trailer (thus making them a risk for theft and turning me into the guy that looks like he is moving into a walmart parking lot)?

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-22-2016, 03:24 PM   #2
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Interesting scenario. First off I wouldn't mount anything to the back of any TT or 5'er rear bumper. Countless forum examples of people getting to their destination and finding their bumper tore off the frame...

If you have a long enough cord, you could conceivably run a small generator right from the back of your truck. Worst case you pop it on the ground and then throw it back in the truck or in the 5'er basement (if there's room) when you are ready to travel.

I have a Champion 3100W generator (this one), pushes 30Amp so plenty to run a single A/C unit. It's pretty small, weighs ~80 lbs, it's quiet, and you'll get near 6 hrs out of a tank, perhaps a bit less w/ the AC. Just chain it off to your hitch or bumper or whatever you end up running it.

There are a few recent forum posts about this same generator being on sale for < $800 (I paid closer to $900 for it 2 years ago)

I'm sure you'll get other ideas from other members, but that's how I'd run it considering I already have a generator
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Old 03-22-2016, 03:43 PM   #3
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Most trailer owner have a small portable generator that they run when they need full AC power. You just start up the generator and plug the trail into it, just like at home.

That Champion 3100 that Force was talking about is a nice one. Costco had it on sale a week or two ago for $699. Not sure if it is still on sale or not.

Most of the 2000 watt generators are not quite up to running an air conditioner, so if that were important to you, I would go with the Champion.

There are also open frame generators, often call contractor generators, that are a couple of hundred $$ less. However, they tend to be very loud and not neighbor friendly.
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Old 03-22-2016, 03:53 PM   #4
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Well....generally your water, lights, furnace, fans and maybe some/all of your entertainment systems run off of the battery. As well, of course, as slides, landing gear, etc. Stove and Refrig run off of propane. (Fridge can also switch to AC when you have it). That leaves the big deals - microwave and Air that normally only run off of AC. Without those two (or the furnace), I can go about 3 days without a charge, and being careful on the use. So many boondockers just go without. They may use a gen or solar to recharge the batteries.
Others can advise on the best way to add on a generator, but note that many places put restrictions on when they can be run - and generally overnight is a big "no-no", so you have to be aware. Wal-Mart may not care. If you have any neighbors at a campsite, they probably will care an awful lot.
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Old 03-22-2016, 03:58 PM   #5
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I carry a 3100 Champion on the rear carrier of our fifth wheel. It will run the AC just fine. I have it mounted and chained down on the rear carrier. Altho our unit is 50 amp, we use a 30 amp adapter with a 30 amp cable most of the time. There is a light vibration that you can feel in the camper when it is running. Any generator that is mounted is going to give you a light vibration. We have used that setup with multiple trips to Florida and twice on trips to the West. Has worked well. I personally would not use that if I was spending the night at Walmart. We have run it at Walmart to cool our dog while we were shopping. The carrier we have is the factory installed unit that is attached to both frame rails. i only slide it out as far as needed to hold the generator and lock it in place with additional straps around the frame.
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Old 03-22-2016, 05:24 PM   #6
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I have a Yamaha 2400 invertor generator that I have used exactly the way you are posing your question. That's exactly the reason we bought it. It could charge the batteries, run the microwave and even the air conditioner (not in all trailers, but it ran my air conditioner reliably) but not at the same time. Only time we run air is when it is miserably hot outside, especially at night after a long day driving. I consider the Yamaha quite enough that I'm not worried about it in a Wal-Mart parking lot next to an idling semi.

When we go out west, we push hard driving to get there quickly. This means overnighting at Wal-Mart's, etc. The generator is my safety net to allow me to sleep when it's 90 degrees at midnight. Usually when we arrive, we are at National Parks with no hook ups, so not much different. The parks usually have restrictions on generators allowing a couple hours of run time in the morning and evening. I'll be going solar so I won't have to plan my day around a generator runtime schedule.

I have done multiple things with the generator: in truck bed, in front compartment and considered rack on rear of 5th.

When in the truck bed, I'd leave it there and run a cord to it, being careful that the exhaust was clear and pointed towards the opposite side of the bed to avoid cooking anything. I got a contractor grade, heavy gauge 50' extension cord, cut the female end off and put a 30 amp twist lock female connector on it. It connects to the camper without having the lock ring. It's a much more manageable cord that didn't need adapters. This worked ok until I put a till chest box in the bed.

Next was in the front compartment. Obviously, I would have to lift it out to run it. It was a pain and don't like it. It's ok if it is just transportation to the destination or one night for air conditioning. But I wouldn't lift it out to run the microwave for 30 seconds.

With the New Jayco with a factory receiver, considering hitch rack and running from the rack out back.

Another thing to consider is more batteries and an inverter, and possibly solar. Many people do good on two batteries and it seems like 4 batteries runs everything but the air conditioner (generally speaking). Microwaves use a lot of power, however, if you aren't going to run it for long periods, it's very feasible to run it off batteries.

Add solar to the roof and you can keep a large battery bank full. I've read many people that upgrade to 4 batteries and enough solar to keep it charged and sell their generator for good. But if you need air conditioning, you need a generator, so solar may not make sense for you.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:29 PM   #7
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Welcome to the JOF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by datx View Post
Looking to buy our first fifth wheel. I originally gravitated toward toy haulers because they have onboard generators. However, they push the limits of my tow vehicle, and some of the jayco bunk houses are too hard to ignore with a family (with two smaller children).

My question - without an onboard generator, how do trailer owners boon dock in walmart parking lots, eat lunch during travel (in the trailer), etc without needing the AC? I live in Texas, so sleeping in a trailer with no AC would be a nightmare. Also, with small kids, I imagine we will be stopping quiet a bit to let them run around and stretch legs.

I said something similar to this and the sales guy said generators could be added to trailers for about 8k.. I can't find any install examples and have never heard this before. As at least one other person has posted, Jayco offers a hitch receiver at the rear of some trailers as an inexpensive option. That receiver is strong enough to hold a generator. Trailer bumpers are NOT strong enough for that.

If I buy a stand alone generator, how can it reasonably be used? Mount it to a rack on the back? truck bed? Can they run from those positions without needing to drag them onto the ground and away from the trailer (thus making them a risk for theft and turning me into the guy that looks like he is moving into a walmart parking lot)? I have a Champion 3100 that I plan to carry, and run, in the rear corner of my pickup bed.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdash View Post
I have a Yamaha 2400 invertor generator that I have used exactly the way you are posing your question. That's exactly the reason we bought it. It could charge the batteries, run the microwave and even the air conditioner (not in all trailers, but it ran my air conditioner reliably) but not at the same time.....snip
X2

Datx,

I have the same Yamaha 2400 genny and it runs my 13K A/C just fine. I don't run the A/C all night, but just long enough to cool the TT down in the early evening then let a small/quiet DC box fan move the air around the remainder of the night. For the most part the genny stays locked in the front corner of my TV box (can use from that location), but will on occasion move it to the tailgate for use at the campsite (while I'm in the same area).

Yamaha EF 2400iSHC: https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/ge...ter-ef2400ishc

Endless Breeze DC Box Fan: Fan-Tastic Vent's Retail Stand Alone Fans

Bob
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ela1948 View Post
I carry a 3100 Champion on the rear carrier of our fifth wheel. It will run the AC just fine. I have it mounted and chained down on the rear carrier. Altho our unit is 50 amp, we use a 30 amp adapter with a 30 amp cable most of the time. There is a light vibration that you can feel in the camper when it is running. Any generator that is mounted is going to give you a light vibration. We have used that setup with multiple trips to Florida and twice on trips to the West. Has worked well. I personally would not use that if I was spending the night at Walmart. We have run it at Walmart to cool our dog while we were shopping. The carrier we have is the factory installed unit that is attached to both frame rails. i only slide it out as far as needed to hold the generator and lock it in place with additional straps around the frame.
Are you running a 15K ac or a 13.5K ac ?
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:38 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies! I have hope I can survive the trip without melting my face off now!
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