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Old 02-23-2013, 10:24 PM   #1
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Question Boondocking package?

We have a 2004 28' classic with factory installed solar panels. How do I find out if it has a "Boondocking package" and if it does, what all does it consist of? None of my manuals tell me anything about this. Is there even such a thing as a factory Boondocking Package?
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:05 AM   #2
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Add a generator and all Airstreams are equipped for boondocking. Also doable with your solar. Otherwise not aware of a package.

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Old 02-24-2013, 10:27 AM   #3
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Any Airstream is a self-contained, boondocking package.
Not sure what you may be thinking of.
As dkottum says, I added a Yamaha generator to charge batteries (something you won't need with solar panels), otherwise we can go 5-7 days with our Airstream; longer if we haul water in the back of our tow vehicle.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:20 AM   #4
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Boondocking package from factory
1 or 2 12V batteries
2 propane tanks
propane stove
fresh water tank
gray tank (on models 74 and newer)
black tank
2 or 3 way fridge (3 way is rare)
12V/propane furnace
roof vents and windows
optional solar
optional 600 watt inverter

A dealer may say adding the solar and inverter is a "Boondocking package"

I was told by someone that bought a truck with team stickers on it that the dealer advertized it as that team's package, as if that is how it came from the factory.
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:49 PM   #5
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Solar Panel... you are a Boondocker already!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fmcnair View Post
We have a 2004 28' classic with factory installed solar panels. How do I find out if it has a "Boondocking package" and if it does, what all does it consist of? None of my manuals tell me anything about this. Is there even such a thing as a factory Boondocking Package?
************
We have a factory solar panel on our 2006 AS. It is not very large, but we get by in the warm months without any 12 volt problem of draining our batteries. Out in the sunny West, charging during the day and using minimal lights in the evening do not affect your battery life... as much as the exhaust fan on our refrigerator running much of the day and night.

If you have space in a pickup, add four plastic water containers for an additional 26 to 28 gallons of water. We have two Blue Heelers, so there are water containers at WalMart (blue ones) that can sit onto a plastic milk crate over the dog's outside water bowl and we add water with the turn of a valve. If you camp where water is available, take only one container as a reserve in the event no water is at the camp site.

The next major user of 12 volt power is the water pump... when you take a shower. We take a shower every three days if we need it, or not. But we are camping in places you probably will not be interested... way out of the way places and no facilities other than what we carry.

After the first two trips, make a list of what you should have had with you. Some basic tools, electric screw driver, duct tape, paper towels, wheel bearing grease for the hitch... common sense things. It is interesting how conserving electricity in your AS will influence how you live at home! We have learned to be rather thrifty in our home utilities...other than... a longer hot shower and more frequently at home!

No matter how hard you try to conserve water while taking an AS shower... expect 1.5 to 2 gallons of wasted fresh water per shower and plenty of power used from your batteries. Fresh water to drink is the most important use of your on board water storage. You can actually clean up with a quart or more with a face towel and wash the dirt tan off. Hair washing... with teenage girls... whoa, better bring double the water and containers!

Make good use of that AS and if you have camped in a tent without facilities... you already know more than most of the AS owners on this Forum about Boondocking... or Rockdocking far away from even the Boondocking crowd.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:41 PM   #6
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"The next major user of 12 volt power is the water pump... when you take a shower."

"No matter how hard you try to conserve water while taking an AS shower... expect 1.5 to 2 gallons of wasted fresh water per shower and plenty of power used from your batteries."


I can't see why you consider the pump use a major drain on your batteries. They only take 2 to 5 amps when running, and a shower takes only a very few minutes.

Even at 5 amps, and a 6 minute shower with the pump running full time (one tenth of an hour) the drain would only be 5 amps x .1 hours or .5 amp hours. The common two, type 24 battery system used in many Airstreams has a capacity of about 150 amp hours.

The pump is a minor drain on the battery.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
"The next major user of 12 volt power is the water pump... when you take a shower."


The pump is a minor drain on the battery.
*********
I might be living in a different part of the Universe when it comes to figuring out which and what electrical components on an AS use 12 volt power in larger quantities when we are off the grid...

"The water pump is a minor power drain..." compared to what else on an AS? The pump is not only used for the shower, but all of the other uses to extract water from the water tank... I will add.


I should have added the Furnace Blower.

Since Boondocking/Rockdocking in the Winter is not the wisest thing I would chose from our camping options, the furnace is a real energy user. Living in the Rockies, the AS running on battery power and heated by propane in the cold months is not an option I want to take on. Done it, learned our lesson and it is not a wise choice in use, part time or full time living. Your water, grey and black water tanks will freeze up like ice cubes. Your interior water lines will freeze up behind the walls. Your water pump will freeze up. We have seen 18 degree mornings in July in DuBois, Wyoming. We learned how to keep the trailer from self destructing... but you are looking for major problems if you are not on top of the living conditions and limits of the AS.

Maybe I needed to add more length to my earlier comments. An AS is not what I would consider any better during the Winter months for propane use or 12V power than other trailers on the market today. We do not use a generator. We do not watch TV and have a satellite dish. We do not take daily showers. We DO use our AS as a "tent on wheels" and after tent camping for much of my life, the AS carries two things that were important to my wife and I... water and a refrigerator.

Those "Boondockers" using water on site, electricity and other available amenities is like living next to your garage at home in an AS.

That is why I use the term "Rockdocking" as our form of AS camping and travel. After seven years of Spring, Summer and Fall camping between Mexico and Canada in the Rockies, you learn how to make use of our trailer. From Deserts to high elevation Mountain camping, you will discover what vibrates off the AS trailer. You understand conservation of limited resources. This is not for everyone, I understand. But for those of you who think "camping in your AS" is at the Sam's Town Casino in Las Vegas, hooked up... it would be cheaper to stay AT the Casino for much better amenities!

I can go on and on, but have made plenty of "long" posts and threads in many previous posts in Boondocking. I have NEVER seen an AS camped in areas we were or were driving through. I actually have not seen any other trailers or tent campers. There are some on this Forum WHO DO the travel like we do, but the number is so small we never pass in the day or night.

For those of you who DO WANT TO LIVE OFF THE GRID IN YOUR AS. Be very careful whose advice you take on your first or later trips. These Rockdocking "adventures" are not like the big Rallies where you are camped among the crowds who can help you when in need of something. You can actually put yourself in danger off the grid and that is why people are reluctant to try it. If I had any advice to give to a Newbie wanting to progress from Community Camping, then to Boondocking and maybe press your limits in Rockdocking, do it one step at a time and LEARN YOUR LIMITS. Some people are natural ding bats and should never get too far off the grid. It is not meant as an insult, but I see them out there. Your AS is a tool and a tent on wheels. There is no glory in finding your AS and tow vehicle rolled off the side of a narrow mountain dirt road among the pine trees.

This is where I must drop off. Just be careful of some of the advice you receive on the Forum. Someone with a 34 foot AS... there is no way of being parked out in some secluded canyon in Utah off the grid. So when you see comments being made about Boondocking or Rockdocking... check the trailer length and make any other assumptions after reading what the person has to say. Size does matter in true AS Boondocking... but find out what this person finds as a definition before taking some bad advice.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:24 AM   #8
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This is boondocking with a 32 ft Excella 1000. Boondocking to me is camping where you have no hook ups, non-urban environment, limited people. You live off of what you brought with you and what you can catch. In the Adirondacks we don't have the miles of dirt road through BLM lands. Airstreams or for that matter most travel trailers aren't designed for rough backcountry travel, IMO.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:28 AM   #9
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"I actually have not seen any other trailers or tent campers."

I should have said "I actually have NEVER seen any Air Streams..." We camp regularly in areas where there are decent County maintained roads that can handle larger trailers and plenty of tent popup trailers and tents.

When I was typing away with my wife saying breakfast would be ready in ten minutes... I plugged along to attempt an ending. This last "camping trip" in Wyoming we saw NO ONE camped and at one place north of Sweetwater Station, Wyoming (about 25 miles) along the Beaver Divide... one car drove up, stopped and looked down the 400 foot cliff wall with a road cut into the side by wagons, saw us camped along the rim, sitting in our lawn chairs, turned around and left.

So I have to apologize in my way of attempting to edit this statement from my previous statement to correct this error, but this will have to do.

Much like the adventurous trailer owner camping along the Miracle Mile south of Saratoga, Wyoming to fly fish. Good for you! We camped there thirty years ago and no body to bother us. The North Platte is wide there and appears to be very deep... until a bunch of young pioneers were floating down to Saratoga on inner tubes and the water was only up to their knees. So, we all learn something from those who really WANT TO get away from the crowds and push the limits of ourselves and our wonderful AS!


2005Ford beat me to it! Good to see a... 32 footer being put to use.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2005 ford View Post
This is boondocking with a 32 ft Excella 1000. Boondocking to me is camping where you have no hook ups, non-urban environment, limited people. You live off of what you brought with you and what you can catch. In the Adirondacks we don't have the miles of dirt road through BLM lands. Airstreams or for that matter most travel trailers aren't designed for rough backcountry travel, IMO.
*********

What did you catch?

You have the right attitude and obviously, know how to fish as well! Best to you.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:38 AM   #11
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Most provincial parks here in Ontario offer few, if any, hookups. The most you can except is 30 AMP power, and often it's no services whatsoever. Typically there's a dumping station at the exit, so if tanks are empty/full after a week a quick trip will buy more time.

I was worried about space when we bought our 34' International, but that doesn't appear to be an issue.

Full hookup spaces aren't for us - too crowded, not enough privacy. We do look at our AS more as a tent on wheels, albeit a luxurious tent, than a house.

Next year I'll be swapping the toilet for a Nature's Head composting model and use the resulting freed up black tank space for extra fresh water.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:54 AM   #12
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Boondocking package self-expansion. :)

We bought two of these last spring, determined to expand our dry camping capabilities a bit. They work great, warm to a comfortable temperature in a few hours in the sun.

We filled them from campground water spigots a few times, also from a very clean, high-altitude river in the Rockies. They didn't leak, and provide a good, steady spray.

We could both comfortably shower out of one, comfortably shampoo with the other.

Empty, they take up little space.


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Old 07-06-2013, 11:11 AM   #13
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Ray Ekund: I completely agree with all you have said about boondocking in and Airstream. There are not many who wish to be far away from power and other support items, nor are there many who are not afraid to be alone. I boondock almost exclusively, although I will admit that I do like Forest Service campgrounds and National Parks where there is a designated spot to camp, even with no services. But places like Big Sandy Reservoir in Wyoming is attractive to me and I have stayed there each time I go through the area.

My only reason for the comments about the electrical draw of the water pump is that it truly is a minor thing. Even pumping a full tank of water out, say 30 gal at 3 gal per minute is only a run of 10 minutes at about 5 amps max.

Now, the furnace is another issue. That does run much longer times when it is cool or cold out, and will do a significant drain on your batteries. With even a small furnace operating at about 3.5 amps, running for say 10 hours a day (actual run time) you can take 35 amp hours, and the larger ones in the longer trailers may take up to 7 amps. Run those for 10 hours and you have exhausted 70 amp hours, which is about the capacity of one of the type 24 batteries commonly used in an Airstream.

If a trailer still has incandescent lighting the draws can be very significant for a long time. Fluorescent is much better and some (but not all) of the new LED lights are very energy efficient even compared to fluorescent lights. However, they are much better than any incandescent or halogen light.

In short, it is not the amp draw of the appliance that is as critical to energy management as it is the time of operation. Things which take a large current draw for a very short time don't use much from your battery, but if an item takes a relatively small current draw for a long time (think furnace fans or lights) can deplete a battery in a day or two.

Happy boondocking to all. It is a great way to travel.
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:22 AM   #14
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"Rockdocking," like the term. Nice thread.
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