By Chuck Woodbury
I’m headed out to the Oregon Coast later this month, November, and it will be, I’m sure, cold and damp (as usual). My RV is wired for 50 amps, but I very often find myself in campsites with only 30 amps available. Even with 30 amps, if I stagger my use of power devices, I can usually run a portable space heater. In the winter, these are a godsend for keeping my living space cozy without burning through propane on my coach’s heater.
I cannot tell you how many times through the years my 30-amp extension cord has saved the day. I bought it for my Winnebago View, which was wired for 30 amps, and held onto it when I bought my new 50-amp motorhome.
Most campground power hookups are within easy range of an RV’s built-in power cord. But any RVer who has been around awhile knows that there are times when the power source is not close by at all and sometimes is even on the wrong side of the RV. My 25-foot, 30-amp cord has saved the day for me many such times. I carry a shorter, 15-foot 50-amp cord, too, but it sometimes does not reach far enough to reach the power pedestal. Using both the 15-foot, 50-amp cord and the 25-foot, 30-amp cord, I pick up an extra 40 feet. I’ve needed both a couple of times, in one instance at an RV rally when I was parked out by the cows in a pasture (just kidding about the cows, but I was in a pasture).
And, so, this is a reminder that you may want to consider carrying one of these 30-amp extension cords in your RV. You’ll find them at Camping World and even Lowe’s and Home Depot stores, but Amazon has good prices. This link will take you to the 30-amp cord at Amazon. It’s through our affiliate program so we get a tiny commission if you buy it through us. But that’s not a big deal. The important thing is that you get one to keep your coach powered up when you might be stuck without power when you really do need it.
I would not encourage the use of a 30 amp extension cord for long runs with a 50 amp RV. First off, in order to use the 30 amp cord you must attach a conversion plug that will only utilize one leg of the 50 amp or join the two legs for one run…then, if you connect another extension cord on the other end, which is a 50 amp short extension cord, to plug into a 50 amp service, you may be drawing way more than 30 amps through the 30 amp cord in between. Furthermore, if you are running 40 feet, you are going to have a voltage drop and create heat in the multiple cords and connections. Keep it simple and right…if you have a 50 amp RV, only use 50 amp extension cords and try not to make the runs too long.
Our primary 50amp power cord is 35′ on an electric reel. I also carry four 50′ extensions and two 6′ extensions for those times when I need just a few extra feet. I don’t need that 250′ very often but I’m sure glad I have it available when it is needed. I also carry 300′ of potable water hose.
You may want to re-evaluate where you’re camping. Lol
At that distance I hope you run no more than the converter and … not much else, for the voltage drop will be ridiculous at the end, maybe even damaging to sensitive equipment.
Our power cord is about 20 feet in length and we carry a 20-foot 50-amp extension cord in the electric bay. We also carry a 50-to-30 amp dogbone and a plug that has a 30-amp female side and 20-amp male side.
We have a 50 amp fiver and, in 12 years of full-timing, we’ve had to use it (and a 50-to-30 dogbone) several times, mostly when we’ve been in local parks. Right now, however, we’re in a park that has 50 amps so the 30 amp is providing power to my “quick-get-away” popup!
I bought a 50 amp extension cord before our first trip. Good thing, we needed it our first night in-route. It saved us from disconnecting our toad. I don’t think we have used it since then, but it is comforting to know it is there when we need it.
The only time you will need it is when you leave it at home.
Ain’t that the truth!
Better to have it and not need it, then needing it and not having it.