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Old 05-04-2016, 07:25 AM   #1
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Newbie question on costs of boondocking

Hi, I'm new to this...am giving serious thought to boondocking. I'm in Georgia, and work full time. I would be boondocking locally, with two cats. I'm trying to get an idea of how much it costs to keep a Class C cool in the Georgia summer heat (and warm in the winter). I think I would feel the most comfortable driving a Class C. If summer heat (and winter cold) got too extreme, we'd be staying in a hotel for awhile. But I'd like to be as self-sufficient as possible.

So if you've boondocked in Georgia before, with pets, could you let me know about how much $$ we're talking about (in solar, batteries, generator) to keep a/c running through each day? Are Class C's easier too keep cool than a bigger, class-A rig?

If there are ways to better insulate an RV I'd be interested to know how too. For right now I'm just trying to get an idea of the costs involved to see if I could really afford this, and if an RV could be kept sufficiently cool in summer and warm in winter with pets on board.

Thanks
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:12 AM   #2
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Heating and cooling costs will depend greatly on if you are in the southern part of the stat or the mountains in the north. At a minimum, you will spend $5 to $8 per day for propane and gasoline (for generator) to keep warm in the winter. I have no feel for how much keeping cool will cost.

Have you considered where you expect to be camping? The national forests offer free "dispersed" camping at some locations. Other than that, there are few, if any, places where you can camp free for any significant length of time.

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Old 05-04-2016, 08:30 AM   #3
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During mild temp months...you could use solar for ventilation. I'm not sure it will pay off in Georgia. Winter...you will go thru a lot of propane. Many people have large LP tanks delivered to thier site and use an extend-a-stay connector to connect to the rv.

Summer months...you'll want to be in the shade of trees...placing a canopy over the rig will help. Running A/C all the time off the Generator probably isn't a great way to go. You can add an AGS system (automatic gen start)...and set it up to run during the peak heat hrs...at night...having the windows open and fantastic fan running would be a good thing. Fantastic Fan makes models that allow you to adjust speed...and even run on a thermostat to modulate bringing in fresh cool air.

Just some ideas. I'm not a boondockers per se...I spent lots of time camping in tents growing up in Georgia. You'll meet other boondockers that will have come up with ingenious methods I'm sure.

Oh...and don't discount the temperature effects of elevation. It's cooler in the Mountains for sure.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:31 AM   #4
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Looking at a study someone did with a very fuel efficient Honda EU2000i generator,
at max load it will burn about 1/2 gallon of gas per hour.

It has to be a pretty small AC unit to run on a 1600 watt generator.

You might end up needing a 3000 watt generator with a corresponding increase in fuel.

For a 12 hour run time of air conditioning that would roughly be 6 gallons of gas at a current cost of $12 per day. You would need to change the oil in the generator every 4 days at this rate.

Larger diesel generators can sometimes be more economical to run, and the oil service intervals are extended to 150 hours.....but at a much greater up front purchase price.
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:57 AM   #5
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It would probably be to your benefit to stay in a campground. Most (not all) federal/state land has stay limits of 14 days or less and what happens to your pets in the hot Georgia summer if the generator stops working and your pets are stuck in the hot RV while you are at work. If using a portable generator, how will you keep it secure and running while you are away? (They are easy to steal). If the power goes out in a campground, you can have a auto start installed for your onboard generator (if that is what you have) so it will come on when shore power goers out. You can find some reasonable monthly campground fees that may not be much more than what you would spend on fuel to keep cool in summer and warm in winter.
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Beachgirl99 View Post
Hi, I'm new to this...am giving serious thought to boondocking. I'm in Georgia, and work full time. I would be boondocking locally, with two cats. I'm trying to get an idea of how much it costs to keep a Class C cool in the Georgia summer heat (and warm in the winter). I think I would feel the most comfortable driving a Class C. If summer heat (and winter cold) got too extreme, we'd be staying in a hotel for awhile. But I'd like to be as self-sufficient as possible.

So if you've boondocked in Georgia before, with pets, could you let me know about how much $$ we're talking about (in solar, batteries, generator) to keep a/c running through each day? Are Class C's easier too keep cool than a bigger, class-A rig?

If there are ways to better insulate an RV I'd be interested to know how too. For right now I'm just trying to get an idea of the costs involved to see if I could really afford this, and if an RV could be kept sufficiently cool in summer and warm in winter with pets on board.

Thanks
I don't know. Am I totally off base in my thoughts here?
Boondocking-Full time work-Local-with pets- in GA

So, if I understand correctly you want to boondock (which basically means living off grid), full time, with a full time job and also have pets, in GA all year round. If temps get extreme (what is extreme? Over 90? Lower than 40?) you will go to a hotel.

I wouldn't want to do that. But hey there are different strokes for different folks. Besides the fact it is going to be difficult if not impossible to find a spot for that where it is not too far from where you work (or do you work full time out of your RV?). Typically there are many more places to boondock out west than the East coast.

I think for more valuable and relevant information from the group we would need more info.
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:58 PM   #7
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Straight boondocking with pets: Expen$ive, when you consider the fuel costs, and add in wear and tear on the things you need to be safe and happy. Add in hotels when the weather gets too much, and it isn't something I would consider myself.

Look into an RV park or see if you know someone that has some acreage you could stay on and run an extension cord to your rig. If your AC is small enough, it might run using the extension cord and a 15 or 20 amp outlet, and could also run a small heater that would be good in colder weather instead of propane. On the hottest days, you could run a gennie to power the A/C if needed. The problem would be that for 8-? hours/day, the pets would be locked up in the rig with a gennie running, and there are possible dangers with that scenario if you aren't careful.

Don't limit yourself to just the one option you presented. There are other ways to try to get close enough to your goal and still be happy if you can find some flexibility in your plans.
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Old 05-04-2016, 03:45 PM   #8
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Keep in mind, too, that older RVs will not keep cool no matter how hard you run the A/C. Our 1994 Fleetwood Flair can't much tolerate weather above 85-90 degrees, so we move on. You won't have that luxury if you're staying put.
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:38 PM   #9
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Are Class C's easier too keep cool than a bigger, class-A rig?

Not usually. The high quality class A rigs ( like Newmar, Travel Supreme, Tiffin, etc) are very well insulated compared to other rigs. The class A does have a larger windshield which should be covered from the outside to block heat or cold.

Park in the shade in hot months really helps....out in the sun adds lots of heat.
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:51 PM   #10
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Keep in mind, too, that older RVs will not keep cool no matter how hard you run the A/C. Our 1994 Fleetwood Flair can't much tolerate weather above 85-90 degrees, so we move on. You won't have that luxury if you're staying put.
Our '02 Dutch Star would stay cool only running on 13.5 heat pump in Yuma in 90+ weather. But it had dual pane windows and an (at that time) optional roof insulation package.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:04 PM   #11
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I think for more valuable and relevant information from the group we would need more info.
I am in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, on the edge of more rural areas, and the mountains aren't that far away. Parking in the shade at my work is a possibility, as well as taking breaks and lunch to go out and check on things. I might be able to keep the cats inside at work, only in cages. I work in animal care

I need to have a place OF MY OWN but don't have a great deal of money to play with. Rent for apartments and homes here is quite high. I've rented rooms/had roommates but that hasn't proven to be a good way to live. There are those who rent their rooms out of financial need rather than really wanting to, and will show you their asses about it every chance they get. Such folks tend to wait too long to rent out rooms until it's too late to make any real impact on their finances. The result? They get evicted, and me with them. I've rented from psychos too...I could go on, but it'll suffice to say it's not working.

I am attracted to the freedom an RV would represent too. I could take my cats with me to my home state of Florida, and go on a quest for the finest beach in Florida.

I am saving while I research different options. I thought about tiny houses, though I would need property for that, etc. They also seem to occupy a legal gray area. I'd hate to sink cash into one, only to be told I can't live there. I'd like to look into work that could be done on the road, via computer, and I've read of people who hire out as camp hosts at RV campgrounds for part of the year.

It sounds like the class A's have better climate control/insulation, then...?

Also, I've read different things about getting a used RV. It seems some "age" better than others. What brand names last longer...?

Thanks
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:41 PM   #12
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Sounds like you have a number of questions to resolve before you decide on a life or Rving and even boondocking.

When I think boondocking I think more of moving from region to region and state to state due to restrictions in place for legal boondocking. Not moving around a "home base" work location where you pick up every day and go to work. That's just my opinion. Others will surely disagree

Take a look here for others who have gone down the path before yourself.
Younger Full Time RVers - Non-Retired & Working Remotely | Technomadia
Interstellar Orchard | Lessons on the full-time RVing journey

Those 2 sites will keep you busy for a while.

I personally don't think moving to an RV to try and save money is a good solution. That's just my opinion and certainly could be totally wrong for your situation.

You reference workkamping. As a single person it is more difficult to find this type of work. And to find a paying position with a free camp site is even more rare. Check Becky's site from above. She is young and single and doing it successfully.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. We'll help if we can. Don't get discouraged. If it is something you really want you have to believe you can do it. Anything can be possible.
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:44 PM   #13
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Thank you for the encouragement! I had thought of trying to finance the RV; any thoughts on what the best company is for that? And, any companies to *avoid*?
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:34 AM   #14
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And, any companies to *avoid*?
Yeah, "finance" companies.
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