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Old 09-14-2022, 12:21 PM   #15
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I’m also wondering why you would stay at KOA if you’re budget minded. There are plenty of CGs with water and power hookups, and dump station for less than $35.00. We always prefer boondocking when we can get to it, but only stay at KOA, or similar when there’s nowhere else within 100 miles. We actually prefer Cracker Barrel to KOA. We’ve got a compressor fridge, so we also use the trick of taking gel packs from the freezer and putting them in the fridge at night to keep the compressor from running; then re-freeze them the next day. I wouldn’t say we’re budget driven. We just prefer the spaciousness of free BLM, or low cost NP, NF, SP, County, Military, and COE campgrounds.
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Old 09-15-2022, 08:08 AM   #16
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Pint vs gallon. A gallon of ice will stay frozen longer than the same gallon divided into little bottles due to less surface area.
32 degree ice will keep contents cold longer than 32 degree water, believe it or not.
Unless you already have a Yeti cooler, then be sure to insulate your cooler, most are not. The spray foam injected into the walls (from the outside) and the lid will turn it into a Yeti and contents will stay cold a lot longer.
Doing this on ice, living on ice sucks, you will have soggy bread and ruined food.
Living without battery power sucks.
IF you are this poor then I guess you are lucky to have any sort of vehicle I guess.
Get battery, even if it is one true deep cycle battery.
Get a solar panel of 200 watts and a charge controller (u can get these dirt cheap for $20 n ebay) and have power for things, phone, light... and yes, fan.
Best is to get more battery, 200 amp hours, but 100 will work, and the solar of 200 minimum up to 400 watts and then an expensive DC chest fridge which start out at $300 or more for a tiny one and $800 or so far one you can live out and have fridge/freezer combo.
A proper battery/solar/fridge setup is worth its weight in gold.
This, simply, is the heart of living in a modern world and boondocking.
Food needs refrigeration. You need electricity.
Otherwise you will be constantly on the lookout for an outlet to plug into, or a place to stay that has outlets and going boondocking means melted ice, soggy bread, vile meats in your cooler, hot nights, dead phones....
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Old 09-15-2022, 08:27 AM   #17
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The direct question is "can you" freeze water and put it in the fridge. Of course you can, and it will absolutely extend the period of time before things in the fridge start to warm up. The question then becomes the practicality of doing so. If this is an absorption fridge then it could take a while to freeze a gallon jug of water. It might work out better to use pint bottles. Then it comes down to how long you need to go without power, how warm it is and how often you open the fridge. My take on it would be to try it, you've got nothing to lose. Put in say, 6 frozen bottles, shut it off and watch an interior thermometer. You'll get an idea then how many bottles it takes to last a given amount of time with your specific situation.

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Old 09-15-2022, 08:59 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by HenryH001 View Post
I could have put this in boondocking but decided to put it here because the budget is the main reason for the post.

So far I’ve booked KOA campgrounds for four nights and then boondock for three and then repeat the four and three night schedule. My definition for boondocking is to be without power and water and I’ll be staying at rest stops and truck stops so it’s not like I’m out in the middle of nowhere. I’m doing this so I can keep moving and save money.

My question is when I have shore power can I freeze several one gallon jugs of water and then put them in the refrigerator and use it like an ice chest when I don’t have shore power. Has anyone tried this? Is this practical or am I way off base?

Any and all tips and suggestions is appreciated.
The elephant in the room is: Why are you paying for a campsite 4 nights out of 7, if you’re on a tight budget?

Just a few weeks of 3 nights boondocking, 1 night with hook ups, rinse and repeat, could free up enough cash to enhance the boondocking capabilities of your RV, so that you won’t have to resort to primitive tactics such as freezing bottles of water.
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Old 09-17-2022, 06:01 PM   #19
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I will insulate my cooler with spray foam, good idea. I am not doing this out of poverty. I own a regular house with a pool, and my ride is a 2017 Ford Transit discreet conversion. During the week I live in my house, with a regular fridge, and can freeze water or ice packs. Then in the weekend I drive away in my van/RV. Sometimes I hit the road for about a week, dry camping. I am not ready to tackle an electric system for a van used that little. I want to wait and use lithium batteries. I had a little portable fridge I don’t use anymore because it doesn’t keep perishables cool enough. Power for lights, fans and phones is not a problem since I can charge all batteries on shore power and again from the engine. The temp in Florida, summer, is the big deal, to keep food from spoiling.
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Old 09-18-2022, 09:30 AM   #20
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Yep, for just two days at a time then freezing jugs of water will do when used with an insulated cooler. I used to use old laundry detergent bottles, thicker than milk jugs. It is fine for a couple days out, but not for weeks at a time.
In FL when it is hot then nothing other than air conditioning will do.
IDK what fridge you had but obviously was not a DC compressor fridge. These work, always.
There are boondockers that will be parked in a spot for 5 days, weeks or more at a time, this is boondocking. They need ways to have power, keep fridge cold, store water. You going out for a day is not boondocking. You get power when driving, or just have plenty from being fully charged at home, will not use enough water to worry about, general living necessities can be put on hold for that one night, your ice jugs will not melt until your trip is over.
You might as well buy hiking boots to wear walking from the house to your car, you just do not have the boondocking needs yet...
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Old 09-27-2022, 04:31 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Danny Salas View Post
I will insulate my cooler with spray foam, good idea. I am not doing this out of poverty. I own a regular house with a pool, and my ride is a 2017 Ford Transit discreet conversion. During the week I live in my house, with a regular fridge, and can freeze water or ice packs. Then in the weekend I drive away in my van/RV. Sometimes I hit the road for about a week, dry camping. I am not ready to tackle an electric system for a van used that little. I want to wait and use lithium batteries. I had a little portable fridge I don’t use anymore because it doesn’t keep perishables cool enough. Power for lights, fans and phones is not a problem since I can charge all batteries on shore power and again from the engine. The temp in Florida, summer, is the big deal, to keep food from spoiling.
I did the expanding foam in an old ice chest years ago. Made a big improvement in the chests ability to keep ice. Just have to keep the lid closed. I have saved some heavier plastic water bottles and added salt when refilling the water. Depending on the salt concentration, the salt water freezez solid at a lower temperature.
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