Tuesday, June 6, 2023


Full-timers: How long can you go comfortably without plugging into electricity?

Do you travel all year with your RV? If so, are you a boondocker-kinda person, where your RV is outfitted with solar panels, maybe a windmill, and a giant bank of lithium batteries so you can go days, even weeks on and off the grid?

Or do you need to keep hooked up most of the time to keep that residential fridge of yours working?

We’re curious to know. Please take this quick poll. Check back later if you’re curious to see how the tally is going.

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodburyhttps://rvtravel.com
I'm the founder and publisher of RVtravel.com. I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


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Raymond Shaw
3 years ago

We often travel with some of our grandchildren, they want TV, open the fridge and look for what they want, forget to turn lights off, etc.

D. McKee
3 years ago

We could live for ever without hooking up. We rely on solar for all our electricity and have not hooked into a power source for 4 years of being on the road. other than black water we do not need any service.

M. Will
3 years ago

The question was about how long you can go without plugging in to electricity not how long you can go without emptying any holding tanks. I don’t need to plug into electricity anywhere that I usually go. Trailer is setup with solar system and it works just fine.

4 years ago

In our diesel pusher, with our solar panels and an 8K generator we can go indefinitely. Have to remind myself to run the generator once a month for exercise. Our achilles heel is the black tank….being diligent we can go 28 days.

4 years ago

Using a Blue Boy and three 7 gal water containers we dry-camped 6 weeks in one spot in the BLM lands around Quartzsite AZ. We had solar and a 2KW inverter powered by six 6-Volt golf cart batteries wired to supply 12-Volts. We ran the generator one hour each evening while watching TV. I slept with a CPAP every night and my wife, Darlene, baked bread while the generator was running. A weekly water/dump journey was enough to keep us ahead of any fresh/grey/black water problems.

jane shure
4 years ago

My limitation is the holding tanks and the fresh water tank. I have a big enough system I can run anything I need except the air conditioner. Usually in the winter months air is not needed. Most of the time my generator is sitting around not being used. I do start it from time to time to make sure it still works. I try to mostly boon dock where I can. I have found if I am frugal I can go 2-3 weeks with the water I have on board. By that time I am usually ready to move on. The longest I have stayed at any one place is 2 months at the slabs in Ca. I did have to move 3 times to dump and fill.

Dave J
4 years ago

With the amount of solar on the roof, and given AZ wx, we can go just fine UNLESS I want to run the popcorn air-popper. It’s not the lack of battery power, it’s the size of our inverter that makes me go fire up the little 2K when I want the popper running

4 years ago

All I’ve ever done is boondock–no pay campgrounds. My first RV (a Class C Toyota camper) had neither a generator nor solar panels. When my batteries were low, I just took a ride to recharge them. I had a small inverter for the few times when I needed AC electricity. Did this for 17 years! I eventually bought an RV with a 135-watt solar panel and thought I was in heaven! Because I never watch TV and don’t need a microwave oven, I’m a frugal energy user, except for excessive use of the internet. I don’t understand why people need so much power.

Also, there are loads of places to dump and get water for FREE, so campgrounds aren’t needed for that, either.

4 years ago

When we boondock, the generator runs twice a day, about 2 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening. One of these days we’ll get solar panels.

John T
4 years ago
Reply to  Dan

That’s the way to annoy your neighbors. People boondock to get away from noise.

4 years ago
Reply to  John T

Feel free to move if you don’t like my generator. I’m not inconsiderate of my neighbors and have as much right to run it as you do not to run yours.

1 year ago
Reply to  KT

And these comments are exactly the reason we decided to not buy a camper. Poorly built products, over cramped campsites, very limited availability. Recently retired and our plan was to travel to see the US. After crunching the numbers for the cost of vehicle to pull, and a camper, decided it was just cheaper to stay at hotels. My math shows we can stay in a $150 per night hotel for over 500 nights for about the same cost. I’m sure many people will disagree, however there are just too many negatives to this industry.

4 years ago

I didn’t vote due to the fact that we are either connected to shore power or on the road….as we never boon dock. You didn’t provide for this possibility.

4 years ago

For me, the issue isn’t the power. 300 watts solar with 170 lithium is plenty for my needs. The issue is the small black tank. I can go 8 or nine days before dumping.

Tommy Molnar
4 years ago

I didn’t respond to the poll because we’re not full-timers. But, we can go on indefinitely without power. Our restricting factor is the black tank – which we are VERY conservative with. With our 700 watts of solar, LED lights, golf cart batteries, and an inverter that we rarely use, power is a non-issue.

4 years ago

I originally sized my battery bank to my black tank — charge should last as long boondocking as the black tank lasts. I was just about to add a *serious* solar array when a failed charger destroyed my batteries. Once I rebuild my battery bank, and add solar (and maybe even more batteries, but we’re getting heavy!), I should be only dependant on pumping out. Ah, plans… never work out realtime!

4 years ago

We could go indefinitely without plugging with 1000W of solar panels, 6 oversize AGM batteries, 2000W inverter, 10,000 W generator IF my husband liked boon docking. Next year….

4 years ago
Reply to  Nanci

Never trust “next year” — every time I’ve made plans, something huge has thrown them off a cliff. Live anytime you can, immediately.

Tommy Molnar
4 years ago
Reply to  Wolfe

You are SO right Wolfe. I’ve learned about this in the past year. Tomorrow is never promised.

Tony King
4 years ago

I grew up Camping as a kid in the 60’s playing all over the So Cal Deserts. We learned how to conserve our all of our resources and didn’t think twice about it. Now with Solar/Batteries and low wattage devices it’s still a piece of cake for us unless it’s hot requiring AC I’ll pick dry Camping over the Parking and plugging in any day of the week. Both my Class A & Class B I added Solar and extra Batteries and can Camp indefinitely basically.

4 years ago

Our coach has an on-board 75K Watt Onan Generator so it can produce its own power indefinitely providing we keep the diesel fuel tank supplied with diesel. A better question is how many days can one live in your RV without dumping waste tanks or filling fresh water tank or LPG and fuel tanks. For us it would be about 2 weeks before needing to dump our smallest waste tank, the black water.

4 years ago
Reply to  Dr4Film

I think you mean a 7.5K watt generator. A 75,000 watt generator would be about as big as your motorhome.

4 years ago
Reply to  Ron

Would be a small motorhome then…

Stay cool

4 years ago

We could live forever in our last two 5th-wheel coaches that Jim equipped with 480 watts of solar power + inverter, batteries, generator but as we got older (late 60s), we preferred sites with partial or full hookups because of the convenience and better internet service in those places.

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