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Tips to Conserve Power While Boondocking

It's All Fun And Games 'Til The Lights Go Out

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How long can you stay in a boondocking location? Conserve power in your batteries to extend your stay by following a few simple tips.

  1. Find alternatives to electrical appliances. Old fashioned tools such as a manual coffee grinder, stove-top coffee perk, hand-turned egg-beater, and wind-up alarm clock are good examples.
  2. Mount a few battery LED touch lights (dollar store item) in strategic positions – inside the entrance door, over the bed, over the sink, and in the bathroom, for all the tasks where you only need a little bit of light. Use rechargeable batteries in the LED lights.
  3. Replace incandescent with florescent bulbs. Some RVers have tried replacement with LED bulbs but we find that they just don't provide enough light to work by.
  4. Do your reading and activities that require more light in daylight hours. Save activities that can be done by candlelight (i.e. knitting) for later. Sit by the campfire or go to bed when it gets dark and get up when the sun rises.
  5. Turn the pump switch on and off as you need it because it still uses a small amount of power when left on. Unless flushing solids, don't turn it on for toilet use. Instead, flush without the pump (no water) and clean the bowl with a toilet brush and a disinfectant once or twice daily.
  6. To use regular household appliances in the RV, you'll need an inverter (sometimes comes with the RV) to convert to 12 volt service. To conserve power, turn the inverter off when not in use and unplug appliances when not in use. Like the pump, many of them draw a small amount of power even when not being used.
  7. Your furnace fan is a big draw. Dress warmly, use extra blankets and wear a sleeping hat and wool socks to bed. If your head and feet are warm, you will be too. If needed, turn the furnace on only for a few minutes in the morning while you wash and get dressed. A small space warms up fast.
  8. Install a catalytic heater (runs on propane without a fan) but follow all safety instructions and don't forget to open a window just a touch when you use it.
  9. Unless you have a generator, you won't be running an air conditioner. An inexpensive 12 volt fan mounted over the bed is great for hot nights. Mount the fan's control switch within reach so you can turn it on and off as needed.
  10. With reasonable conservation, expect to get 2 to 4 days from your house battery before it needs to recharge. Never let it drain below 50%. If your needs are greater, and you have the space, increase your batteries, number, size, and capacity.
  11. If you have a separate exploring vehicle (toad or truck), every time you drive, take along and charge your spare house battery
  12. Charge cell phone, camera, and other small rechargeable batteries in the car while you're driving.
  13. Park in the sun in cold weather and in the shade on hot days. Use your awnings to help shade your RV from the sun.
  14. Conserve power by opening the windows to get a breeze instead of always turning on the roof vent fan.
  15. Since you won't likely be using your microwave,- it's a great storage place for non refrigerated fruits and vegetables – the tight seal keeps fruit flies out too.

How long have you stayed in one boondocking location?

And how did you conserve power to do it?

Have some great power-conserving tips to share?

The above list was compiled from our own experience plus suggestioins from other RVers. Do you know of other unique ways to conserve power while boondocking? If so, we'd love it if you shared them with us.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

the boondocking chizeler 
I have got my showers down to 1.5 letres and put in a 1 gpm water pump.you be supprized at how little water it takes to take a navy shower ...added a …

LED lights 
LEDs have changed and gotten much better. We replaced all our major-use 18W incandescents with 4W LEDs and now have more light rather than less. Main …

Add 2nd Battery to Truck 
If you add a second battery to your truck (aux), you can run your RV directly from that battery. Every time you drive, you are recharging your battery. …

Keeping Warm or Cool. 
We've found that the portable propane heaters sold in the US (Big Buddy is one) are a great way to keep warm without having to worry about running down …

Think Pressure Cookers for Economy of Fuel AND Time 
Nowhere have I seen anyone mention how efficient and wonderful and safe the modern-day pressure cooker is today. It can be used as just a regular, heavy-based …

Photovoltaic panels 
In addition to conserving electricity consider installing some photovolyic panels on the roof of your RV. A 120 watt inverter is only about $25 and a …

Reading Glasses with two LED lights 
For the past two years, I have a pair of reading glasses that have a light switch on both sides. They give off incredible light and they light exactly …

Nature's Water Heater 
Paint a one gallon plastic container with black spray paint, fill with water & set out in the morning to be heated by the sun. By dinner time, you will …

Cold Weather Best Friend 
We camp/RV even when the snow flies, but I hate the cold and feeling cold. So my best friend is.... an old fashioned hot water bottle.And, when there …

Sun Power and Cooking Brown Rice 
More people should consider using solar ovens when boondocking. If you love healthy brown rice but hate the cooking time and use of fuel, a solar oven …

Reading Lights and Screens for Windows 
We have a 1994 Ford van that we have gradually converted as a camper over the years. It suits us to be quite low-tech and basic, preferring wild and …

Outdoor Showers 
Hi Marianne; One device we purchased last summer and use a lot up near Bancroft was a portable shower unit from Coleman. (Available at Canadian Tire, …

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All tips and advice on this web site are purely the personal opinion of the author who assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences resulting from following said advice.