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Old 03-11-2016, 07:49 AM   #1
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Boondocking info?

I am interested in boondocking in a small class C. Does anyone have any experience doing this? I am interested in how much LP you use running your fridge off gas, running your heater, etc. Any info or leads will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2016, 08:14 AM   #2
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It depends on how warm you need to be. We boondocked at the Indy 500 for 4 days and use very little LP during that time. Running the Refer, Water Heater, and furnace uses very little. I fill our tank once a year. The furnace uses the most gas.
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Old 03-11-2016, 08:31 AM   #3
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Sorry, there's no easy answer... just search in the boondocking forums and you will see some do great work to get ready and some just go 'tenting' in an rv !

How many people, how many days, how many air conditioners, how many showers

To get the correct answers will require an energy use audit -
what are you running, how many amps, how many batteries... etc... generator use or solar for recharging batteries ?

in our case holding tanks would probably be the limiting factor, my wife has never been in the navy to learn a navy shower
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:08 AM   #4
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Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

Sorry I can't help with your questions! Keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:23 AM   #5
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First thing first

Quote:
Originally Posted by sageman View Post
I am interested in boondocking in a small class C. Does anyone have any experience doing this? I am interested in how much LP you use running your fridge off gas, running your heater, etc. Any info or leads will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
FRESH water, 12VDC Electricity(power), Propane, waste tank capacity, staying warm/cool.

What to bring? do I have sufficient weight carry capacity? First Aid experience/knowledge?

So, how long have you 'dry camped' in your driveway? If you can't do it without 'external support', modify your needs/desires.

Using 'freeze' dry foods to save weight (just add proper temp fresh water) and easier to 'store'... fresh food requires refrigeration in many cases... canned veggies are an option.. but 'meat' will need to be in a fridge or canned....

Food and water will be key... you can do without electricity ... but not long with out the other 2.

Will family come along? Load them up in the driveway... How do you expect monitor kids if they are an option?

Out on the Airforums.com there a whole forum dedicated to boon docking and the requirements/needs/techniques such as making a 'stash' if you have a long term location.
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Old 03-11-2016, 11:32 AM   #6
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Glad to have you here with us.

There are a lot of variables to boondocking. Unless you're going to gone for a long time propane will not be an issue.
You need to tell us a little bit more about your RV does it have a generator etc. If not what is your battery set up.
Remember boondocking is more about solitude and being in places that are fun to visit. Pack as you would for any other trip.

Best of luck and Happy Trails!!!
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Old 03-11-2016, 12:28 PM   #7
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I'm with those who advise for the largest fresh water/holding possible. Also that the furnace/heater will be the largest user of propane if it is used much, followed by the water heater if left on continually, and the refrigerator which will use very little. If the furnace/heater has a blower it will also use a considerable amount of 12 volt power. I think most or the newer refrigerators also require a continuous contact with 12 volts to ignite the propane each time cooling is required and will not operate if the batteries are discharged.

IMHO, many of the improvements in RVs has not benefited boondockers, most notably in the necessity of 12 volt power for refrigerators and furnace/heaters to operate. They are, however, more convenient and efficient if power is available. A way to recharge batteries is another necessity in order to boondock for any length of time.

Best of luck.

Steve
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Old 03-11-2016, 12:42 PM   #8
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Howdy and welcome to the group sageman!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sageman View Post
I am interested in boondocking in a small class C. Does anyone have any experience doing this? I am interested in how much LP you use running your fridge off gas, running your heater, etc.
I am a fulltimer and spend most of my time boondocking but I have a large Class A so not directly applicable.

As previously noted, the refrigerator uses very little propane. So little that I am unable to get a number for my rig.

The coldest weather I have experienced was a three week stretch of 45 degree day/25 degree night (approx) temps. I used 8 gallons of propane during this period. I do keep the rig pretty cool at night and not exactly an oven during the day.

If you are able to conserve a bit and not in truly cold temperatures, I have found that propane is not much of a factor in regards to cost or length of stay.
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Old 03-11-2016, 12:50 PM   #9
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If you start with a fairly full propane tank that will be the least of your worries. Even using the furnace at night in 30 degree weather the use will be minimal. Set the thermostat low and use plenty of blankets, and remember you are still camping. The fridge and cooking needs will use so little propane you won't even see the level change. We used to Desert camp twice a month during the winter months and I would only fill my propane every other year.

When we had our Camper, we were able to last about 6 days on 40 gals of water and an 18 gallon black tank and a 20 gallon grey tank. We bought a Honda 1000 watt generator which is really quiet, and would use that during the day to charge up the battery, and also run it for a couple of hours just prior to going to sleep, so that worked great for us.

I disagree with the previous poster who said RV improvements over they years have not benefited Boondockers, as depending on what year Class C you have it most likely has an onboard generator, and larger holding capacities for water and holding tanks. Although ours in much bigger than the Camper we had, we can boondock quite comfortably for a week or more without worrying about dumping the tanks, and electrical or propane needs and that is with at least two of us showering each day. It's really all about knowing what your capacities are and then adjusting to it depending on your needs, and you will only know that once you experiment over a few trips. The worst case scenario is you run out of something, holding capacity ect and have to come home a little early or go dump, fill up and try again with some adjustments.
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Old 03-11-2016, 12:59 PM   #10
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When I am boondocking (which is most of my camping so far), how much propane I use depends on how cold it is outside. If I am in a warmer climate and don't need heat, two forty pound tanks of propane can last for months. In cold climates, I might need a bottle filled every two weeks or so.

I also do things like shut off the water heater if I'm not using it and have an actual real thermometer in the fridge so I know how hard it really needs to work.

For example, I am now camping in Southern Arizona, and got a propane bottle filled when I got here, and I really don't know how much propane was in the other bottle at that time. I always keep one full or nearly full bottle on board at all times. I've been here for almost two weeks. I still have plenty of propane, mainly because I have the heat set to come on at 55 degrees, the low end of my comfort level. I cook breakfast and make coffee every morning using propane. The amount of propane I use is not a problem.

My "problem", if you want to call it that, is fresh water. That will probably be your "problem", too.

As for electricity, I have solar for the coach and my laptop computer and ham radio. Needless to say that works great in Southern Arizona. No problem there.

I have 60 gallon black and gray tanks. Usually not a problem, as I run out of water before they get full.

There is a boondocking section of the forum: http://www.irv2.com/forums/f93

Good luck and have fun!!!
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:09 PM   #11
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Propane is not the issue compared to electric and tank size.

If you get into the habit of running the generator through breakfast and cleanup then again for dinner prep and dinner. A couple of hours for each session gives one AC power for the microwave and HW tank while topping off the battery bulk charge well enough to coast during the rest of the day. If it's hot the worst time in the afternoon so one can get some A/C to cool down for dinner. You will not achieve 100% charge but you will do well enough if you have a pair of batteries. I might be a problem.

If the house batttery gets to low to start the genset then start the main engine and let it fast idle for a few minutes to put a bit of charge in the battery plus top of the engine battery. After an arbitrary 10 minutes use whatever they call your Boost switch that connects the two battery banks together to connect them and start the generator. Once that is running good shut down the main engine. If your house charger does not do the engine battery then think about adding a charger to top off the engine battery while the house is charging. The idea is to always have a workable plan B.

FWIW if your C is on a Ford chassis with the battery under the steps check and you may find the tray is long enough for two batteries with a bit of wiggling to get them both in. The second battery is a common upgrade.
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Old 03-11-2016, 05:18 PM   #12
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We boondock quite often with our class-c, it will last from May-Oct on a single tank using fridge, water heater & stove/oven. We've never used it consistently enough in cold weather to know how long it last with furnace use, but it goes fast.....
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Old 03-11-2016, 05:27 PM   #13
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35 years of boondocking experience. Average 1 gallon of propane per day.
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Old 03-11-2016, 05:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike and Cha View Post
If you start with a fairly full propane tank that will be the least of your worries. Even using the furnace at night in 30 degree weather the use will be minimal. Set the thermostat low and use plenty of blankets, and remember you are still camping. The fridge and cooking needs will use so little propane you won't even see the level change. We used to Desert camp twice a month during the winter months and I would only fill my propane every other year.

When we had our Camper, we were able to last about 6 days on 40 gals of water and an 18 gallon black tank and a 20 gallon grey tank. We bought a Honda 1000 watt generator which is really quiet, and would use that during the day to charge up the battery, and also run it for a couple of hours just prior to going to sleep, so that worked great for us.

I disagree with the previous poster who said RV improvements over they years have not benefited Boondockers, as depending on what year Class C you have it most likely has an onboard generator, and larger holding capacities for water and holding tanks. Although ours in much bigger than the Camper we had, we can boondock quite comfortably for a week or more without worrying about dumping the tanks, and electrical or propane needs and that is with at least two of us showering each day. It's really all about knowing what your capacities are and then adjusting to it depending on your needs, and you will only know that once you experiment over a few trips. The worst case scenario is you run out of something, holding capacity ect and have to come home a little early or go dump, fill up and try again with some adjustments.
I honestly don't think there is any disagreement because I would agree with all that is said above. I will try to explain what I meant.

We had our first camper in '78, a '72 Security which was lacking many of the improvements listed above. However, it did have a refrigerator, heater, and water heater that all operated without electricity. I much preferred that for boondocking.

When we got our next camper in '93, a '92 Caribou, the refrigerator, heater, and water heater all required 12 volts to operate. If the battery goes down, so do they. Thankfully, it also has a built in 2kw generator. I installed a catalytic heater after coming back from hunting in freezing weather and finding the furnace inoperative until 12 volt current was restored. Nothing froze, but it could have. The nice part is that even in pouring rain everything works from inside.

For the first camper 12 volt power was a luxury, for the second it was a necessity. That was the reason for my comment about improvements and boondocking.

Another thing I did was to install a third gate valve on the dump system that allowed me to store some grey water in the black water tank. The grey tank always filled first. It allowed about one more shower and a few more days time. With 40 gal. fresh water our holding tanks are full after about a week using the black tank to store some grey when showering every 2nd or 3rd night and just washing the other nights.

The "new to us" Flair has 70 gal. of fresh water which should be even better, if it can get to the places we like to go.

I realize the RV in question is a class C, but IMHO boondocking is boondocking.

Have fun!

Steve
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