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Old 02-06-2006, 05:50 PM   #1
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Question Boondocking in the snow

I'm hoping that some of you can help with how to boondock in the snow, like say camping at a ski resort. I'm guessing that we need at least one generator, such as the Honda 2000 to power the heater fan through the night and while we're skiing to keep water pipes, etc. from freezing. Is that right? How does one handle this when in places that require generators off between 10pm and 8am? When do you need more generator power than the 2000, such as two 2000s in parallel?
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Old 02-06-2006, 06:19 PM   #2
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hello aeriqua

airstream skiing? what fun!

there are several threads that can guide you on winter camping, winter living...and so on.

had an exchange with someone headed to mammoth recently...so searching for skiing, mammoth can also help.

furnace fan runs on 12v...depending on your batteries (#, size, type) should keep the furnace running overnight...without generator.

2k generator is plenty...1-2 hours morning and evening should keep batteries well charged.

do any 120 applicance work while the gen set is running...like say coffee pot or microwave....it's better to rely on lpgas for cooking....

turn thermostat way down in the day time...and watch lights, water pump in the evening and overnight....turn it all off and use a flashlight.

wear a night cap and mukluks at bedtime...don't forget the nightshirt or jamm's

easiest thing is to find a ski region that already has a parking lot/area for rvs....often they will have electric plug area for small fee.

know where the closest place is to get lp gas and know how to remove/replace your lp lines, tanks and so on.

2-3 days is easy, a week is more fun but trailer moisture and holding tanks become an issue....

once stayed several weeks at a ski resort....and shoveling snow became an issue too....i loved it.


cheers
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Old 02-06-2006, 06:50 PM   #3
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You really wouldn't need such a large generator, although it's nice to have. If you upgraded your batteries to two group 27's you would have enough power to run the furnace at 55-60 degrees for 24 hours even if the outside temperature got to 0. The trick is to keep the batteries in a warm place. If you switched to gell cell batteries you could keep them in an inside cabinet where the furnace heat would keep them warm. Lead-acid batteries need to be vented when charging which is why the factory battery boxes are open to the outside which allows the batteries to get cold. Find a 500-1000 watt portable electric heater to use while the generator is running. That will save battery capacity and propane. Be sure to turn the heater off before using the microwave, however, because using both will overload the circuit breaker on the generator. Try to avoid using a catalytic heater in cold, wet weather since it will increase the condensation. It's best to use the furnace for dryer heat and to keep the corners and holding tanks from freezing.
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Old 02-06-2006, 06:51 PM   #4
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I think you could get by without a generator running during the night. I've got two batteries (smaller size... Group Whatch-um-a-callit...) and manage overnight in 30 degree weather just fine with the furnace coming on many many times (doesn't stop me from worrying though). Be sure to have very good bedding so the thermostat wouldn't be set so high -- in cold conditions I haven't found anything better than my old reliable backpacking sleeping bag (which is about 20 degrees warmer rated than Susie's -- different people, different personal thermostats).

Motors don't tend to be as bad on current draw as power/current drawing appliances; eg, resistance or microwave or compressor (fridge). Best advice is to get a multimeter -- get to know the battery voltage when it's healthy (approaching 14V) and judge accordingly after a night's use.

110V plug-in of any type will help you a lot. That would be the equivalent of having a generator. You don't need the full 30A unless you're running your air conditioning. Get an adapter for the 30A terminus on your umbilical -- but beware of ever trying to run the AC on household circuit amperage. It'll burn out the compressor pronto.
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Old 02-07-2006, 04:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
I think you could get by without a generator running during the night. I've got two batteries (smaller size... Group Whatch-um-a-callit...) and manage overnight in 30 degree weather just fine with the furnace coming on many many times (doesn't stop me from worrying though). Be sure to have very good bedding so the thermostat wouldn't be set so high .
I agree that with a good batteries well charged you should be OK with out the generator. I can not sleep with it running so I will turn it off when we get into bed and just run the furnace of the batteries.
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Old 02-07-2006, 05:37 PM   #6
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Soapstone for heat

Has anyone used soapstone for nightime heat while Boondocking?

Soapstone is widely known for it's heat storing ability. I'm thinking of getting a 1" slab about the size of my stove top. About a half hour before lights out, I'll light the burners to heat the stone up. After cutting the stove off the soapstone should radiate heat throughout the trailer for most of the hours we are sleeping. That will reduce the time the furnace will operate and run the battery down.
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Old 02-07-2006, 06:55 PM   #7
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Low temps play a big role in available battery amps and LP btu's. Someone on the forum can probably provide graphs/tables showing the relationship (temp vs energy). Suffice it to say that the colder you get, the more demands you'll place on electricity and LP gas. If you can't keep BOTH batteries and bottles warm be prepared to use your supply much faster than you're accustomed to because full batteries and bottles can not deliver the same energy as their temp goes down.
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:50 AM   #8
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Thank you all so much for the great responses and info. My "to do" list has just grown HUGE. I'm off to check into size 27 AGMs, see how many amps by battery has now, get the multi-meter, get a 2000 generator, and on.... Thanks for all the help. You all are a great resource.
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Old 02-09-2006, 01:43 PM   #9
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Honda EU2000i's can run for over 10 hours in "Eco Throttle" mode on a gallon of gas. Not much noise, they purrr like a kitten! Don't be afraid to let it run. I've ran mine for days on end, and so have friends of ours, who boondock on weekends at their new homesite.

Like Wally used to say, "Better to wear out, than rust out."
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Old 02-09-2006, 03:02 PM   #10
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Hey Pick...Tell us about your propane generator setup; dedicated bottle and line, tank endurance under average loads, did you retrofit (how long ago) or have it done, what did it cost to switch over and apart from the environmental benefits what are the other advantages, are the operating costs similar and any other that would be good to know. Thanks.
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