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Create flexibility in your travel plans

Full hookups RV sites are not the only option. With the ability to stay in sites with partial hookups or by completely boondocking, you will have many more options. Actually, boondocking can feel like complete freedom. But what does it take? Is not all about solar.


Let's first define what we mean by sites with hookups. Full hookups means Electricity (mostly 50 or 30 amp), water (good clean water with adequate pressure - 40 psi), and sewer (an outlet for your black and grey tank).

While most places today have full hookups, some older ones and some state parks, etc, has some amazing sites but there may be no sewer. In some cases they have a dump station, but sometimes you will have to find one elsewhere. RV travel apps such as RV Life and Campendium have them listed. Many times they are free (especially if within the park where you stayed), but public places like larger gas stations, may charge a small fee.

Water is the new gold, so having it available is a huge bonus. If there is water, the first thing you do need to do is ensure it has adequate pressure. That means not too little or too much. The latter being more common and can provide a problem. Having a pressure gauge on your hose is a well worth investment for peace of mind. Second, using some sort of water filter setup (there are several with multiple canisters to take aways even the finest contaminants) is highly recommended. Lastly, if you are using water in appliances like dishwashers or washing machines, you may want to use a water softener as well.

For electricity, the common option is 30 or 50 amp. However, perhaps sometimes you may only have access to a 110v 15amp plug at a friends place. First make sure you have the right plug adapters, but then also that your system can run on the amount of power available. This may mean that you can not start all the appliances and that you need to be careful to not exceed the rating so you do not blow a fuse or trip a breaker.

So what can you do to create maximum flexibility and perhaps even boon dock completely? Let's look at the three components again.

Sewer - when boondocking, managing sewer waste is all about tank size. The larger the tanks, the longer you can stay without having to dump. Grey water tanks handle all the water from showers, sinks, dishwashers, and washing machines. Black water tanks handle the toilets. As we have mentioned in a previous post, there is an option to use composting toilets, which eliminates the need for a black tank. As compositing toilets do not use water, this also positively impacts your water supply. Having a mascerator toilet is another option. while it can use significant amount of water, it does reduce all the waste into a liquid form which can use a small diameter garden house when dumping (or pumping to an external tank). When the tanks are full, you do have a few options. You can drive your trailer to a dump station, you can use a tank dolly and perhaps pull or tow it over to a nearby dumps station, or if properly equipped, you can pump your tank content to a temporary tank on your truck and then drive that over to a nearby dump station.

Electricity - As we mentioned, it is not all about solar, but you do need a combination of solar and batteries to make this part of the equation work. A battery bank will allow you to feed your RV with electricity. 12 volt batteries can support 12 volt light and appliances, but you need an inverter to run any residential type equipment or anything requiring 110v. Only some inverters can also handle 220v loads such as some miniplit AC units, ovens, and dryers. You can only run your equipment as long as there is battery power left, and this is where the solar comes in. Using solar panels on the roof and solar controllers in your utility area, you can harness the free sun and charge your batteries. Properly sizing your solar arrays and battery banks will allow you to run all of your equipment for a very long time. Best in class systems today are lithium batteries and using charger/inverters that can seamlessly connect to as low as 5amp grid connections and charge the batteries. We are partial to 48v battery systems as they can drive residential 220v electrical panels, allowing all your appliances to run without issue.

Water - So last is the fresh water supply. As mentioned, this is the new gold. Just like with sewers, a large fresh water tank certainly do make a difference. Minimizing use of water will also be key to making it last. Taking short, military showers. Using a dishwasher versus hand washing dishes. Using a compost toilet as it does not use any water. Do some or do them all.

There are new technologies coming soon that potentially can be game changers. We have mentioned them before in our newsletter, but both these companies have now established US distribution, so we are getting close. The first is the ability to take any water source (except Salt water) and convert it into potable water using highly sophisticated Reverse Osmosis filters - utilized for years in the Swedish archipelago to provide drinking water on remote islands, it was most recently used to provide safe drinking water for thousands as Russia destroyed water treatment plants in Ukraine. Just think of having virtually unlimited supply while boon docking. This is brought to you by Blue Water. The second is the recycling shower from Orbital, which filters and reuses the the water as you shower, using what it can, discarding the rest. It heats it as it recycles and can provide a 10 minute shower with just three gallons of water. There is still work to bring this into the RV world, but it shows tremendous promise.


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