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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:47 pm
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Post Boondocking
by: Bob Matsen

If you are going to be boondocking you will need to adjust the way you use and stretch the use of water and the best way to extend the use of you black and gray water tanks. You will have to conserve and stretch the use of the power will staying in a partial hook up site or no hook up sites.

Boondocking is normally a free site with no hook ups or a very small fee that is charged for the use of the site or land you will be staying on. BLM land or meeting at fairs or even a parking lot like Walmart or other large areas that allow camping over night or a few days. Most large store parking lots will cost far more than a campsite as we all head into the mall to shop and by more junk to fill are rigs with.

Sooner or later all of us park in the parking lots of one of the mega stores. If you are tired of driving it can be a safe place to park for the night. Having boondocked with no idea of what is involved can be very frustrating. If you can go with some one that has experience that can help you get started in this new adventure it will be a lot more fun. You will gain more experience the more often you boondock. Learn the tricks of other and ask questions. We can all use some advice so don’t be afraid to talk with other boondockers.

Power is the most confusing for most people. What size of inverter is needed? How much power will my electrical appliances use? Remember if you take power out of the battery it will have to be replaced.

Water heaters, air conditioners and refrigerators should not be on the inverter. The draw on the battery from the above units will kill even the largest bank of batteries. Be sure to get the inverter as close to the load you will be drawing as they are more efficient than a smaller one that is always running at full power under a small load. If at all possible you would be better of with two inverters – a smaller one and a larger inverter.

You should run all computer components on a protected inverter circuit even when hook to power in a RV park. This way you will protect your computer, printer and monitor. More computers have been damaged by surges in the power than you can imagine. Even if the inverter is not in use be sure to turn it off as it draws power even when not in use. Be sure the inverter has a large enough battery charger built in so it can charge the batteries off the generator as well.

Never discharge the batteries below 50 % or 12.2 volts if you do this on a regular basis you will damage the batteries. Always use deep cycle batteries as they can be discharged many more times than a regular starting battery.

If checking the battery with a volt meter let them rest for at least two hours with no draw to get a proper reading. Be sure to check the batteries each month. If the water levels drop below normal the battery will not last as long as it is suppose to. Good maintenance will help extend the life of the batteries, sometimes even beyond the manufactures expected life.

Always use an amp meter to determine the draw on the batteries. Make a list of all power the coach will be using. The labels on the appliances will be useful in telling you what draw they use. Remember some of the units will use power even they are turned off. Phantom power draws will delete you batteries and can be hard to trace. If you are still showing a draw on the meter start unplugging things until you find the unit that is causing the draw.

My draw was found to be a step down power unit on my back up camera the unit was hidden up under the dash so do not over look any thing.

If your like a little adventure, some peace and quiet, and your tired of staying in RV Parks, why not try boondocking?

Ranger Bob

About The Author

Bob Matsen

Ranger Bob has been having fun camping for years and wants to share all his knowledge with you so be sure to visit him at © Copyright Bob Matsen, All Rights Reserved – You may republish this article with an active link to our site.

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Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:09 pm
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