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7 Ways To Get Off-Grid Power While Camping

RVs off-grid need off-grid power
You’ll need off-grid power while boondocking. Photo by author

7 Ways To Get Off-Grid Power While Camping

More and more RVers are discovering the joys of off-grid camping, but with off-grid camping comes the need to obtain off-grid power to charge your house batteries, recharge devices, power appliances, etc.

So, how do you obtain power when you’re not at a campground or RV park with an easy power connection? Below are 7 ways you can generate power no matter where you’re camping.

1. Built-in generator

Many motorhomes come equipped with a built-in generator from the factory. While it will provide power when you’re camping off-the-grid, it might not be the most efficient or best choice.

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2. Portable generator

This is the easiest solution to obtain off-grid power for most RVers. They are relatively inexpensive, available in many sizes to meet varying power needs and are not dependent on weather. Learn everything you need to know about portable generators here.

3. Solar power

Harnessing the power of the sun to meet your off-grid power needs is a great solution in many cases. No fuel is required and there is no associated noise like a portable generator. Click here to learn more about installing a solar power system.

Note: Don’t be fooled by the so called “solar generators” which are being advertised lately. Check out this article to see what you aren’t being told.

4. Wind turbines

Small wind turbines can also be used to generate off-grid power when you are camping in areas where wind is predictable. However, there are both pros and cons to using wind turbines. They are more affordable than solar power and more environmentally-friendly than generators. Also, a wind turbine mounted to your RV is not as noisy as you might think. The main disadvantage is the need to be in an area where wind is consistent. They may not generate as much power as you need depending on the weather conditions.

5. Water turbine

Just like using wind to generate off-grid power, flowing water can also be utilized when camping near a fast flowing stream or river. Check out this video on making a $50 DIY water turbine:

6. Alternator in your tow vehicle or motorhome

Those RVers using fossil fuels to power their RV down the highway have a ready source of power via their alternator. By running their engine, the alternator can send 12 volt DC power to the house batteries of the RV.

Another option is to power an inverter directly from your alternator, with the engine running, and then plug your shore power cord into the inverter. A similar option is to purchase a product like the CarGenerator to take advantage of the fuel, engine, and alternator already contained in your vehicle.

7. Fuel cells

This unique technology uses a chemical reaction rather than combustion to turn a fuel source (propane, hydrogen, etc.) directly into electrical energy which NASA has been utilizing for years. The technology is now becoming available for RVers looking for an alternative source of off-grid power. Learn more via this short video:

As you can see, there are many options for obtaining off-grid power for your RV. What system of generating power is best for you depends on your power consumption, how and where you camp, and personal preferences. Hopefully this overview has provided you with additional insight of meeting your off-grid power needs.        

RVers looking for valuable how-to information have learned to go to the experts. Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.