Part of our mobile lifestyle involves completely off grid living, or “boondocking,” as RVers call it. Of course, we have our onboard propane tank and water and waste tanks, but how do we manage the electricity?
When we are visiting family or have “full hook-ups,” meaning we can plug in to their outlets, hook up to their water and sewer, and live pretty much as we do in our stick-built home, known as “stix and brix.” When we are out without hook-ups, we can still use our propane, water and toilet with little difference, except we need the water pump, which runs on electricity. In the RV, the coach batteries, which charge off the engine when it’s running, will last several days running the lights, water pump and heater. They do not run the electrical outlets, microwave or refrigerator, however. The refrigerator can be run on propane, so that is not a problem. The batteries last even longer if we don’t need the heater.
If the air-conditioner is necessary and to charge our phones, run our computers and charge our other gadgets, we still need a power source. In the RV we have a gas generator (yes, the bane of tent campers everywhere!) and also solar panels on the roof. The solar panels run through a charge controller to two huge gel batteries that are hooked to a large inverter. We usually plug the fridge and a power strip into this, and run an extension cord to the microwave if we need it (rarely). This also gives us a charging station for our tech gadgets.
If we are out more than a few days, we dump the sewer at an RV park or truck stop with a dump, refill the water, then park back at our site, pull out the generator and charge everything up. The generator will also charge the solar batteries if the sun is being uncooperative, which was the case most of this summer. We spent the summer in the high country of Wyoming and Colorado, under trees and storm clouds.
In the coming months, I will be doing quite a bit of traveling in my 14-foot vintage “MeToo” trailer, which is still in the process of being rehabbed. In my next few posts, I hope to share how I’m getting it ready for off-grid living and all the other modifications I’ve made to my tiny home on wheels.