4. Battery Capacity Matters
Solar panels for RVs are all the rage these days. While it used to be that only full-time RVers or hard core environmentalists powered their RVs with solar, as the price of panels has decreased, and the knowledge about using them to power RVs has increased, more and more RV owners are choosing this route.
It’s important to remember though that the panels are only part of the overall power equation. Without a set of good quality batteries to store the power, you may find yourselve firing up the generator on every cloudy day.
Our first year of boondocking we had two generic batteries and three 100 watt solar panels. On sunny days the amount of energy coming in from the panels was more than enough for our needs, but as soon as the clouds rolled in, out came the generator.
This winter we have four AGM batteries and the same 300 watts of solar panels. The extra battery capacity means that we can store far more power than before. Now we can easily survive several days of cloud cover using the reserve power stored in the batteries.
5. Know the Rules
It’s important to know the rules and regulations when camping on public land. Honestly, it’s not terribly complicated. Usually if you follow the 14 day limit, use only existing sites, and leave the area in the same or better condition than when you arrived, all should be good.
In some instances there is more to know though. For example, public land is often interspersed with private land and you need to know what areas are off limits. Some areas allow camping for shorter or longer periods than the normal 14 days, and some allow grey water to be dispersed, while in others this practice could incur a serious fine.
The easiest way to learn the regulations is by checking with the local rangers. All national forests and BLM lands are split into districts managed by rangers. A quick Internet search will tell you where the district office is located, or how to get in touch with them. Theses offices are often stocked with land use maps and the rangers can tell you which roads and sites are okay for camping.
Learning the rules ahead of time not only ensures you don’t camp in prohibited areas, but it might also let you know about new spots.
This winter our favorite boondocking site to date was inside a national preserve. In most cases RV boondocking is not allowed in nationally designated areas, but when researching the rules we found that the Mojave National Preserve does in fact allows Roadside Camping in some locations.
If we hadn’t bothered to research the rules we would have never even known that this was possible.
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