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Old 09-04-2007, 10:14 AM   #1
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boondocking

Hello, and thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide. I am new to travel-trailers and just bought my first airstream 28 ft. CCD, and am personally thrilled with it. After a lifetime of backpacking, a permanent traveling bed sounds like heaven.

I am interested in camping in the more natural areas, so thus will need to boondock more. I was wondering if any of you have had experiences (+/-) with solar panels plus small generators that are possibly altered for propane rather than gasoline.

looking forward to seeing everyone on the road.
Susanne
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:17 AM   #2
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All kinds of info here about Boonedocking, solar, gennys..etc. Go to the boonedocking,,and,,generator forums under Airstream Forums. Also use the search option up top of this page.

Welcome,,,,enjoy life now...for you are older than you think you're gonna get.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:34 AM   #3
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Hello Susanne -- Welcome to the Forums! I also spent many years backpacking and especially canoe camping in our Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Boondocking can be a splendid adventure. Airstreams don't really have enough ground clearance to be capable campers back in the sticks (see http://www.airforums.com/forums/f382...ies-30063.html) -- if it's more than a logging road I can usually make it if I take it slow and easy -- you don't want to see big humps in the middle of a road and backing up for a half mile is no fun! Be sure to browse up and down the forums page here.

My take? In a nutshell, solar is an expensive way to recharge batteries slowly. Propane conversions are available for the quiet and efficient Honda or Yamaha gensets (Yamaha actually can sell you one manufactured that way without having to do the conversion). I still have a gas Honda and run it about every other day to keep the batteries up (unless it's cold enough for the furnace - a power hog!) -- and use an LED lantern inside at night. Otherwise I save my battery capacity for controlling the fridge (on propane), running the water pump, and listening to tunes. Being a northerner most of my camping is done without air conditioning; enough generator to run the A/C can be prohibitively heavy. Boondockers learn to be very economical on water use too! That being said I welcome a state park site with electric hookups and do that about 50:50.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:35 AM   #4
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There is so much information on this site that searches can be a little daunting but if you search on "propane generator" I'm sure you'll get lots of info. Likewise a search on 'solar' will return much information. When you learn what's where you can use the advanced search to narrow results.

Another option is to use google advanced search limited to this site.

When you've looked through the site, there are many knowledgeable people here who will answer specific questions.

I don't know much about the topics you mentioned but I do know from reading here that people often use the smaller Honda and Yamaha generators. The Hondas can be converted to propane and I think the Yamahas come with duel fuel set ups.
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:18 AM   #5
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the quick answers

Gas is way easier to find
Propane is safer, and easier to transport
Gennys make more economic sense, to date, than solar
Solar is very safe, and conveniant but you have to park in the sun

I too was a backbacker. I was always glad to see that there was always an
obstruction left or engineered to keep motorhoming tourists from driving up to a wilderness area , taking a snapshot, then blasting off into the sunset. Many very cool spots are difficult for even jeeps to traverse.
My point is that you can still ( and may need to ) backback, using your trailer as a home base

P.S. I wish people would stop posting that they don't know the answer but someone here will tell you the answer.
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:07 PM   #6
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There are some thread here on boondocking, a new term that I realy like is rockdocking, introduced here. I think this is a better word for rough dry camping, more descriptive? It was coined by a you guessed it, a geologist.

I'll see you at the end of the road!
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Old 09-11-2007, 02:50 PM   #7
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Susan-

Welcome to the forum! Yes, use the search function and you will find some really great threads on both Solor and gas conversions for gens. As for the solor debate; I for one think it is a large waste of money. For all the added weight to your unit and the very slow charge rate and return if any on your investment I would opt for larger and more batteries. We will be redoing the 12V system in our Safari in the spring to two 48 Gels. This will allow us 7 full days of 12V power without going below our 50% charge rate. Check it out and get out therte and enjoy your Airstream!
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:01 PM   #8
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Being in Michigan, will make Solar very inefficient and costly, unless you are planning on moving to Arizona. I'd recommend a small Honda EU 1000 (28 #s) or Honda EU-2000 (56#s) to recharge your battery and run small appliances. Air Conditioning shouldn't be needed much up there, but in case you can't live without it, the Honda EU-3000 (156#s) or two 2000s hooked together should do the trick. All are less than solar for what you get.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:02 PM   #9
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Howdy and welcome in!

We use a Honda eu1000 in the winter to battery charge. That keeps the batteries full and the furnace running. We also have an eu3000 in the summer for A/C. The Mojave desert gets hot!

We are having solar installed later this month. As boondockers we want to be as self sustaining as possible.
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping
Howdy and welcome in!

We use a Honda eu1000 in the winter to battery charge. That keeps the batteries full and the furnace running. We also have an eu3000 in the summer for A/C. The Mojave desert gets hot!

We are having solar installed later this month. As boondockers we want to be as self sustaining as possible.
Do you have a 13,500 A/C and if so does the Honda eu3000i do the job. I was told that the 3000 was marginal to run the A/C and the charger???? HELP...I am genny shopping.
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DFord79
Do you have a 13,500 A/C and if so does the Honda eu3000i do the job. I was told that the 3000 was marginal to run the A/C and the charger???? HELP...I am genny shopping.
I have the 15,000 A/C. the 3000 runs it fine. Can't run the fridge or any other appliances though.
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping
I have the 15,000 A/C. the 3000 runs it fine. Can't run the fridge or any other appliances though.
Thank you, I get so many opions. Our AS dealer says the 3,000 is not enough. They recommend 2 2000's....but you only gain 400 watts with the 2/2000's . I get so many opions on this I am confused. But thank you again for your quick reply.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DFord79
Thank you, I get so many opions. Our AS dealer says the 3,000 is not enough. They recommend 2 2000's....but you only gain 400 watts with the 2/2000's . I get so many opions on this I am confused. But thank you again for your quick reply.
In a way he's right. I have to run the fridge on propane when the A/C is running. I also don't have a microwave. Other than that the eu3000 does it fine.
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:32 AM   #14
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Hi Susan

We use both solar and generator for boondocking. Solar may be expensive but it is quiet. We have 150 watts of solar panels on the roof that will usually keep us going for 2 weeks. The generator is only as a last resort. Our generator is converted to propane and we run it from the trailer propane supply using a push-on quick connector.

The secret to succesfull boondocking is to conserve power where possible, we use a French press for making coffee- why use a 1500 W coffee maker when you don't have to? Also our interior lights have been converted to LED's to save power. There are very effective stove-top toasters available that allow you to do away with yet another power-hungry appliance.

I know that the generators are quiet, but still I don't like running them if I don't need to-by the same token i prefer to not camp next to people that run their generator for every little thing .

Another thing to consider to minimize generator use is to replace the stock converter/charger with a 3-stage smart charger/converter - it will save you many hours of unnecessary generator run time in order to keep your batteries up.

Enjoy your Airstream and many happy boondocking trips!
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