View Full Version : Battery life dry camping?

07-13-2010, 07:08 PM
New to dry camping. How long will a fully charged battery last if usind TV, minimal lights and water pump at night, minimal usage during day (football games etc) Any experience??

07-14-2010, 08:10 AM
If you have the included Interstate battery like mine has - you'll be luck to get 24 hours out of it. On our second outing, we were dry camping in BFE Wyoming at Seminoe State Park. (Beautiful btw.......) Between using the lights, water pump etc for almost an entire day, the battery was almost dead by the 24 hour mark. I ended up plugging into the truck, but the charge was so slow that I ended up direct connecting via jumper cables directly to the second battery on the truck. I left it connected for ~1 hour with the truck running and it got us through that night. The next morning we packed up and left and during the 5 hour drive home, the battery was obviously fully charged.

If we are dry camping in the near future - im either going to look into generators, or going with some sort of dual golf cart battery setup.

- Ben

07-14-2010, 09:30 AM
At the earliest opportunity, I would recommend that you replace your single, 12v battery with 2 6v golf cart batteries. (assuming you have only 1 12v battery now). If watching TV with minimal light and pump usage at night as well as watching some TV during the day is high on your list of priorities while camping, then you need something more than a single 12v. You might also want to investigate purchasing a generator or a solar panel. Personally, I am not a big fan of generators and instead use an 85w solar panel to keep our 2 6v batteries charged. Generators, when used with common sense and courtesy are "okay". It seems, however, that there are more and more campers who can't do without all of the comforts and conveniences that they have left behind for a few days and who insist on having the generator running for hours to operate all the appliances and entertainment systems. Is my bias showing?
There are good and bad points to both --- generator vs solar panel.

07-15-2010, 07:19 PM
Turned on bedroom TV (larger living room tv doesn't seem to work on batteries) and several lights in living room. After only 4 hours, the lights were dim, etc. We won't be doing much dry camping except at football games. RV parks are already full due to pipeline project. Probably will go with small generator. Any recommendations on brand?

07-15-2010, 09:08 PM
The question you asked regarding brand of generators has been asked before on this forum and there are numerous posts and threads related to this topic which you can browse through. You can access these posts/threads by doing a search - just type in "generators" and you should find quite a number of posts.

07-16-2010, 08:47 AM
Generator, generator, generator. 2000 watt would be perfect for you. Honda EU2000is, these are super quite and are perfect for charging up the batteries and running the microwave when needed.
Now the batteries, this is my opinion, We rv with a few people and one of them made the switch to 6v batteries (x6) and I dont see where they last any longer than my 4 12v, now I do have a Onan 5500 watter built in and usually just run it in the evening time for about 2 hours, just to give the batteries some charge and they last all night and the next day no problem. If your dry camping a lot, a generator is a must. I know that when your camping, you are supposed to "roughing" it but all these trailers come equipped like your home. I paid a lot of $$ for my set-up and I am using it!

07-16-2010, 10:52 AM
New to dry camping. How long will a fully charged battery last if usind TV, minimal lights and water pump at night, minimal usage during day (football games etc) Any experience??

I dry camp 6 mo of the year. the first thing is you do not state what size of battery you have. This is important... You need AH (amp hours) not CCA if your battery has a rating on it for cca it is not suitable for boondocking. The plates inside are too thin.

What you need to do is add up how many watts are used by each appliance you have (dont forget the fridge cause even on propane it uses battery power) if you have an inverter remember that it uses power even on standby. Once you know how many watts you use you can then figure out how large a battery you need. Dont forget that you can only use 50% of a batteries power before you start to do damage to the battery. This is why I have 6-6 volt batteries (660 AH).

08-10-2010, 08:01 AM
I replaced 4 of my halogen bulbs with LEDs. Halogens have a very high amp draw, and can discharge a battery in no time. (Most of my light fixtures contain 2 bulbs. For the 4 fixtures in which I placed the LEDs, I removed both bulbs, and replaced one in each with an LED.) Given, the lighting is much dimmer than when the incandescents are on, but the amp draw is less than 1 per hour. Since I have 2 group 24 deep cycle batteries with fully charged capacity of about 160 amp hours, I can safely use 80 without ruining my batteries. I also have a 15 watt solar panel with a regulator. With this setup, I can go for several days without an external battery charge. (The solar panel replaces about 8 amp hours each day.) I don't use my TV.

LEDs have come a very long way in the past few years. They are brighter with a much whiter color temperature than they were a few years ago. I installed high quality LEDs on my sailboat about 3 years ago, and they are great. I put similar ones in my RV last year.