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Old 01-13-2016, 03:12 PM   #1
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Is a Generator Necessary for Alaska Travel?

Next summer (July/August/Sep) am planning to drive through Canada to Alaska. I'm wondering if I will need to buy and carry a generator, primarily to recharge batteries. About three years ago I installed 400 watts of solar panels on the roof. Since then I've come to learn that solar is not perfect. Its largely ineffective in a forest and on rainy cloudy days. Plus, I imagine the further north the lower the sun will be in the sky thereby making solar even less effective.

In a normal 24 hour day of camping we use about 20 to 25 percent of battery power. It mostly depends upon furnace use. On a cloudy/rainy day or heavily forested campsite we get back 3 to 5 percent. So by the third day a big recharge is on the agenda.

A lot of what I see and read about Alaska includes forests and rain.

So my question is posed to those that have made the trip. Was this an issue? Did you mostly stay where hookups were available to deal with it? Did you carry and use a generator. Do you have rooftop solar, and if so, how did it work out? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

- Kurt

BTW - I do plan to replace the original Group 24 batteries with golf cart batteries so this upgrade may help somewhat.
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Old 01-13-2016, 04:12 PM   #2
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Never been to Alaska but after reading several RV travel blogs I would take a small generator. Why take the chance?

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Old 01-13-2016, 04:27 PM   #3
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There are a lot of RV type parks in Alaska and on the road to get there and back - but those full hook-ups tend to be expensive and not particularly scenic (some exceptions). The best scenery, the best campsites, and the best experience are in public parks - national, provincial, state, territorial - and many of these do not have full (or any) hookups - so if you want to take advantage of these public parks a (quiet) generator is a real plus.

Have a great trip.


Jay
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Old 01-13-2016, 04:29 PM   #4
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Personally I would take a 2000KW generator. With it you are 100% self sufficient.
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Old 01-13-2016, 05:23 PM   #5
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2000 kilowatts! Wow, better get a peterbuilt to haul that!
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Old 01-13-2016, 05:29 PM   #6
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2000 kilowatts! Wow, better get a peterbuilt to haul that!
LOL, ok how about a 2000w. Guess I got carried away!
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Old 01-13-2016, 05:36 PM   #7
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I have a friend that has been travelling for over a year with 500+ watts of solar. He didn't fire up his generator for months. Until he went to alaska...

I'd bring one.
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Old 01-13-2016, 06:01 PM   #8
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We went to Alaska with 520 watts of solar and lived like power kings, until we settled North of Valedez. 23 straight days of rain and cold. It was a delightful time but I sure could have used a generator after about a week. It was the only place where solar didn't keep up no matter how much we tried to conserve. In the scheme of things a little generator is a drop in the bucket. When, not if, I do it again I'll forgo the solar, as much as I liked it, and make do with a little Honda.
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Old 01-13-2016, 06:27 PM   #9
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LOL, ok how about a 2000w. Guess I got carried away!
I knew what you meant. I just couldn't resist.
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Old 01-13-2016, 06:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
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There are a lot of RV type parks in Alaska and on the road to get there and back - but those full hook-ups tend to be expensive and not particularly scenic (some exceptions). The best scenery, the best campsites, and the best experience are in public parks - national, provincial, state, territorial - and many of these do not have full (or any) hookups - so if you want to take advantage of these public parks a (quiet) generator is a real plus.

Have a great trip.


Jay
Our experience also. We stayed at a couple of private campgrounds with water and electric but they were basically parking lots. The Provincial parks in Canada were spectacular in beauty but often with pit toilets and one or two water pumps. The state parks and forest service campgrounds in Alaska were also nice but often no electricity. I would not head out on such a trip without our Honda generator. We also have solar capacity. It is really a wonderful trip of a lifetime. Have fun.
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Old 01-13-2016, 07:15 PM   #11
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This is good info to be aware of. We're tentively planning a long trip to AK in 2017. Sounds like a generator should be added to our list of things to take.
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:23 AM   #12
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We went to Alaska a few years ago, I took a 2K Honda, and used it about 10 times over the course of 3 months. We do not have solar, and just the common "deep cycle" 12 volt batteries. We didn't come close to using all of our battery capacity.
The Honda was handy if we wanted to use an electric skillet, or watch TV....when we make the trip again, I'll take the Honda, as we've got plenty of room for it..

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Old 01-14-2016, 12:09 PM   #13
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Generator for Alaska?

I don't think you would be sorry you had one with you.
We have a small Honda 1200 but I think I would use this one as a backup and buy another larger unit for a trip to Alaska!

Enjoy!!!
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Old 01-14-2016, 12:23 PM   #14
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You have already had plenty of advice to bring a generator which I'd also recommend since you are planning to visit during the rainiest time of the year. Just plan on a fair amount of cloudy wet weather as well as cool to cold nights in much of the interior. Where I live near Fairbanks we can figure on our first frost by the 20th of August and by early September the leaves are well into fall colors.
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