Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking.
My wife and I have boondocked a couple of times and like it, but it seems that we run out of power too soon. What are the best ways for boondockers to increase their available power supply without breaking the bank buying an expensive solar system? —Walt and Betty
Hi Walt and Betty,
Most boondockers do not jump into boondocking with both feet but do it incrementally, with each step building toward longer boondocking periods.
The first step is to hone your skills at conserving power. Practice ways to use less power: turn off lights, go to sleep and rise with the sun, read more books, watch less TV, and organize your uses of power-hungry appliances (water pump for showers and washing dishes, running any 120v appliance, etc.) when you can run your generator for short periods to supply the power. Doing this will preserve the power in your house battery.
The second step is to add another house battery or switch to 6-volt golf cart batteries that offer a better power supply.
And the third step (you may have guessed) is to install a “starter” solar system. You can do this without much capital outlay by starting small, even with a portable panel wired directly to the house battery. One panel that is charging your house battery(ies) all day long under a bright sun can supply a lot of amps to plump up those batteries. Even if it is not large enough of a system to meet all your power needs, it will provide quite a relief to your demand.
Have your solar installer set up your system so adding another panel later will be a piece of cake. If you are a newbie do-it-yourselfer, you can still do the installation yourself with minimal help – and help is always freely available from other boondockers.
Once you find how effective a solar system can be in supplying your power needs, and how it operates at no cost with no moving parts, and a simple wash off every few months is all the maintenance needed, you will soon be saving up for your next panel.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .