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Old 09-17-2019, 11:24 AM   #1
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Elk Camp with TT

Hello all, complete noob here, please be gentle.We just purchased our first TT (Outdoors RV 21DBS) and are taking it on a few weekend trips to dial it in before I take it Elk hunting for a week.

Were trying to figure out if Ill need a generator or not for the week of boondocking in the woods.

The weather could be as cold as 20* F, so Ill need to run the heater off our propane (but have been told the fan can kill batteries quickly?). Ill take a cooler and not need the fridge. Im not too worried about having lights as weve got lanterns and pretty much go to bed when it gets dark due to the early mornings.

Weve got a 170 watt solar panel roof mounted, but cant count on much sun.

Would you recommend a generator, or just tons of propane? If we need a generator Id love to hear suggestions on how large and what brands. Im pretty handy, but know nothing about electricity (watts, amps, volts, oh my!).

Thanks so much!
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:49 AM   #2
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Of course, weather and temps will be the final factors affecting battery life. In good sunny weather, without a lot of trees around, 170W could keep things going fairly well. More would better, but if it is cloudy, rainy, snow, then?? Well, you know!! What do you have for batteries??

Why are you not going to use the frig?? It doesn't use much 12V power, small amount of propane. Go with full LP tanks, and bring an extra 20# one for any "emergency". Bet that your camp buddies will have one or two!! "Tons" of propane won't be of much use if the batteries go dead in poor sun conditions. I would think about (and have already done!!) eliminating the 12V power draws that are always there that you probably won't be using. CO detector (get a battery one from Costco!!), TV and antenna amp, radio (bring portable). These are constantly on, and take a small but significant amount of amps out of the batteries. Either remove related fuses while in the camp, or add switches to shut down when you don't want one. Been very few dispersed places in OR and WA where TV and even AM radio reception is useable!!

We have a Champion 2000 genny that we usually carry along at all times. Good unit, pretty quiet (won't get into that argument!!) and easy to handle and fuel efficient. Actually any genny in the 2-2.2K range will do what you need after a cold night!! To me, price is more a factor than "supposed" noise for a boonie/hunting camp item that doesn't get used every time you go camping!!
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Old 09-17-2019, 12:06 PM   #3
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Bring a generator. The batteries will not last more than a couple nights of running the furnace. You will need to recharge them.

Since you're recharging, feel free to use what you want, and recharge the batteries using an external charger, not by plugging in the trailer to the shore power cord, because the converter/chargers built in don't doo a good job of charging the batteries properly. Read more here:
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)

You'll be glad you did, especially if you have a nice little gennie that just quietly purrs while it's running. If all you want to do is charge the batteries then you don't need more than 1,000 watts. If you want to run the microwave, then you will do very well with 2,000 watts. If you go 2,000 watts, get one that you can parallel with another matching gennie in the future so you can run the air conditioner in the summer (not an issue at elk camp!)
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Old 09-17-2019, 02:05 PM   #4
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Definitely need a generator. And two batteries if not already equipped. Bring extra blankets and set the thermostat low but two 20# tanks full of propane should be enough for a week.

My friends have champion, firman, Yamaha generators. I love my Westinghouse igen4500 for the extra oomph and fuel capacity... Remote start is a great feature.
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Old 09-17-2019, 06:54 PM   #5
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I, too am in the bring a genny camp, but would caution you as to the size. We carry a 3500 watt Predator with us and have found that at 7000' it will not carry the load of the AC. Under 7K, we have no issues and our genny will carry anything we want to throw at it. I understand that you will not be running the AC during elk season, but other loads can add up quickly.

I would suggest you realistically add up your AMP draw for lights, TV, water pump, furnace, battery charger, etc and then take a hard look at how much power loss you will have at the elevation you will be hunting at.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:12 PM   #6
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That is a nice RV. Planning ahead like you are and doing practice runs is very proactive. I think you could treat yourself better by using the preexisting lighting in the rig vs. lanterns. A Petzl headlamp would work great for hands-free outside activity.

Consider upgrading the battery bank and buying a generator that will recharge the batteries and run the A/C at high elevation plus all your other loads.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:52 PM   #7
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Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies. Sounds like were getting a generator!

Any opinions on this particular one?

WEN 56225i Super Quiet 2250-Watt Portable Inverter Generator with Fuel Shut-Off https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MN11GV8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_tFAGDbVAE3YC0
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:58 PM   #8
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Pretty sure if the temps are going to be 20 degrees, they wont be needing A/C. You might want to bring a small electric heater. When we hunt, we run the generator first thing in the morning for an hour or two, while we prepare breakfast and get ready. This way we can boil the kettle or use the coffee maker. We run it again at supper time for at least three hours. This gives the batteries a good chance to charge up for the furnace to run all night. If you don't have two batteries, it would be worth getting a second one. My rv with run almost two nights of lights and furnace off two batteries. While you have the genny running, use the electric heater to save on propane. A 2000 watt genny would probably be the most efficient. Bigger of course uses more gas, but will run more.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:26 AM   #9
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You want the furnace to run some during the night to keep some heat down to your tanks. This assumes you will be using your fresh, grey and black tanks. If you winterize then you don't have to worry about the freezing weather.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:38 AM   #10
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DO NOT DISCONNECT CO MONITOR !!!!!
IT IS ALSO A PROPANE SENSOR !!!!!!
Wouldn't want anything to go BOOM !!!
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:23 AM   #11
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We've been doing that in the Coast Range near Coos Bay and the Tokatee area since the very early '80's with a TC and later a MH. I'm with the generator folks also.

After the first TC without a gen or AC, we had determined that the next would have both. On the second TC with a built in gen, I installed a propane catalytic heater that worked without electric power. With it we would still have to run the gen, but not as often. Something like that could be an option for you to consider.

We were bow hunters so it was generally in Aug-Sept, but occasionally during the Dec late hunt. We always kept a little heat in the RV if temps were much below freezing and enjoyed the benefit of an occasional shower and running water.

Best of luck hunting.

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Old 09-18-2019, 12:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrapperjohn View Post
DO NOT DISCONNECT CO MONITOR !!!!!
IT IS ALSO A PROPANE SENSOR !!!!!!
Wouldn't want anything to go BOOM !!!
CO monitor is preferably installed higher on wall; Propane monitor at the floor. Two different things.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:12 PM   #13
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:03 AM   #14
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We hunt two weeks in late November in eastern Montana. The generator is a lifesaver. We use a 2000 watt Yamaha and it does everything we need. We run it in the morning and every evening so the furnace can run all night. Two 30 pound LP tanks last about a week and weve yet to burn the 15 gallons of gas we bring.
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