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Old 11-29-2012, 11:12 AM   #1
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Question How long can a Class A boondock?

I have not purchased a RV yet, just learning and looking for the right Class A.
I own a place that is out in the boondocks and one of my many reasons for buying a Class A is to stay out there whenever I (my wife and I) want to enjoy absolute peace and quiet (which could be quite often, lol).
I know this is a question with a lot of variables but with a average 35 to 40 ft coach, how many days can one expect to stay in the boondocks? I live in the southeast so summer temps are from 80 to 100 degrees and winter temps are 30's to 70's with a few mornings of teens.
I will someday have power out there and a well punched but for now......

Thanks!
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
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How long you can boondock is limited to tank size more than anything else. Once your tanks are done you need to find a place to refill (fresh water and propane) and dump (black/grey tanks) so that will be your primary limitation. Different rigs have different size tanks.

In terms of water/grey/black tanks our class A has 100 gallons of fresh water, 60 gallon grey and 40 gallon black. Our black tank will easily last 3 weeks, but our grey usually fills up in 2 weeks. How fast you fill it is entirely linked to how good you are at water management. We are very careful with our water...never let the taps run, reuse dish water in the loo, take navy showers or sponge baths. We can stretch it to 3 weeks when needed.

The other limitation you'll have is propane. We have a 40 gallon propane tank which will easily last us 4-6 months if we're just using it for cooking and the fridge. If you decide to run the furnace during cold temps however that changes everything. With the furnace running on a really cold day we can suck that tank dry in 4-5 days! So we carry an external heater (Mr.Buddy) which we can hookup to external propane and use that instead. You'll still end up using a bunch of propane, but we find it easier to carry and fill an external tank rather than having to move the RV to fill the main tank.

For electricity as long as you have a generator and supply it with fuel you can go forever. Run the generator once per day for a few hours to recharge your batteries and you're good to go. We have solar power so that maintains us indefinitely, but a generator is an easy place to start.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:49 AM   #3
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We can go for 10 to 14 days without dumping the holding tanks or filling the water tank. We have 405 watts of solar power and could run the lights and TVs and satellite receiver without any generator time. You will need to run a generator for AC on the hot summer days. Figure on 1/2 to 1 gallon of fuel per hour. With a Honda or Yamaha 3,000 watt generator you could cut the fuel consumption considerably. If you don't have solar you will have to run the generator a couple of hours a day to charge the batteries. You will need an inverter for AC power from the batteries.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:02 PM   #4
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If you don't pee, cook, shower, or use any heat or lights, you can boondock pretty much indefinitely - OTHERWISE, without any real info as to your expected living habits, this all becomes simply a huge and meaningless guessing game...

MUCH on the order of "how far is UP"...
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:20 PM   #5
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buckstand--- you said you own some boondocking land. have you thought about installing a well and run it off solar power ?? and installing a septic system, and as long as you'll have a leach field, plant some fruit trees. also adding solar panels to your roof could take care of you electrical needs. possible a swamp cooler for cooling. then propane could be your only problem. for long term refrigeration check out living off the grid (articles), chest freezer for refigeration, conversion. solar water heater (possible a roll of soft cooper or two, placed in a insulated box with a glass lid) could take care for you hot water needs, thus stretching your propane. another idea if you use well water, install an elevated tank (gravity feed to mh), inside the tank place a pvc piping to blow air thru mh for cooling.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:57 PM   #6
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderer1 View Post
buckstand--- you said you own some boondocking land. have you thought about installing a well and run it off solar power ?? and installing a septic system, and as long as you'll have a leach field, plant some fruit trees. also adding solar panels to your roof could take care of you electrical needs. possible a swamp cooler for cooling. then propane could be your only problem. for long term refrigeration check out living off the grid (articles), chest freezer for refigeration, conversion. solar water heater (possible a roll of soft cooper or two, placed in a insulated box with a glass lid) could take care for you hot water needs, thus stretching your propane. another idea if you use well water, install an elevated tank (gravity feed to mh), inside the tank place a pvc piping to blow air thru mh for cooling.
The only bit I question is related to PVC piping in tank blowing cold air through Moho. Please explain, techno terms are okay by me. Cheers.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:48 PM   #8
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With two small kids we are able to make our tanks last 6 to 7 days. Examples: We boondocked in the Ski Beech parking lot for a week thru some great skiing weather (and some not so great - high of 17 degrees with 30 MPH winds), did not run out of anything including propane, of course we ate out and used the ski area facilities some. In the summer, we'd high-tail it up to the mountains to avoid the heat, avoiding the need for A/C. We do use solar for power to keep the batteries charged.

I like wonderer1's and vsheetz's ideas regarding improving your land for boondocking use. With the right preparation (septic/composting toilet, solar, rainwater catch, etc) you could live indefinitely there. Unfortunately, swamp coolers don't work terribly well in the southeast due to the high humidity so you may have to live with the heat in the summer.
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:19 PM   #9
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The only bit I question is related to PVC piping in tank blowing cold air through Moho. Please explain, techno terms are okay by me. Cheers.
when you have enough water, ie large tank. you can install a conduit blowing or sucking air thru for heat transfer. that way your power requirement is only a fan. heat of the day turn on your cold water. how cool is it? and that's only with 50-100 gallons of water. (passive solar heating/cooling)
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Luv2go View Post
With two small kids we are able to make our tanks last 6 to 7 days. Examples: We boondocked in the Ski Beech parking lot for a week thru some great skiing weather (and some not so great - high of 17 degrees with 30 MPH winds), did not run out of anything including propane, of course we ate out and used the ski area facilities some. In the summer, we'd high-tail it up to the mountains to avoid the heat, avoiding the need for A/C. We do use solar for power to keep the batteries charged.

I like wonderer1's and vsheetz's ideas regarding improving your land for boondocking use. With the right preparation (septic/composting toilet, solar, rainwater catch, etc) you could live indefinitely there. Unfortunately, swamp coolers don't work terribly well in the southeast due to the high humidity so you may have to live with the heat in the summer.
YUP - we have been out boondocking for a couple of weeks at a time, and with what water we had left and condition of holding thanks, could have easily gone another week or more...

BUT, we use solar panels for maintaining batteries, a Honda generator for the occasional larger power demands, microwave, etc., and dump the grey water out in the woods to save on the grey water tank capacity. We have a yard type shower head that REALLY conserves water consumption, and if there are toilets available - often the case in the dry camp areas we use - we use those as much as possible to save on black water tank capacity.

PLUS, we're "fair weather RVers", and usually don't need the AC or heater.

We aren't by any means fanatics where conservation is concerned, just using common sense, and I'm often amazed at folks with larger and fancier rigs than ours, that simply can't seem to be away from full hookups for more than a weekend. Sure, if an "RVer" insists on using the same excesses out in the woods as they do at home - looooong hot showers, have ALL the lights on at the first hint of darkness, running the generator constantly for trivial uses - THEN, the "boondocking" CAN get very short before expending all available resources.

And THAT'S why it's difficult for ONE group of RVers to competently advise another with any degree of accuracy, as to how "long" they can stay out at a time in the RV boondocking - way too many variables in lifestyles, and willingness to reasonably conserve resources - and SOME simply won't, can't, or are unwilling to recognize and separate the differences in what is reasonably acceptable - and necessary - for extended stays away from the hookups...

What *I* consider reasonable and acceptable in MY situation, certainly is NOT what others might consider reasonable or acceptable in THEIRS...
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:42 PM   #11
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With 400 watts of solar, that is properly installed,why would anyone need a generator??? I boondock for months at a time and have no generator. I use my microwave, vacuum cleaner, stereo, computer, conventional lights (12 volt) not LEDs and power tools whenever I want to or need to. I have power to spare too.

I cart in water and cart out sewage.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:08 PM   #12
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With 400 watts of solar, that is properly installed,why would anyone need a generator??? I boondock for months at a time and have no generator. I use my microwave, vacuum cleaner, stereo, computer, conventional lights (12 volt) not LEDs and power tools whenever I want to or need to. I have power to spare too.
I cart in water and cart out sewage.
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:46 PM   #13
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Solar is great, I love mine! However, you need the generator to run the AC.
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:56 PM   #14
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Solar is great, I love mine! However, you need the generator to run the AC.
And we do occasionally camp in spots with trees and shade, especially in the heat of summer. Our solar powers us 100% through winter in the SW desert, but the generator comes in handy during summer and rain.
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