Never in a million years did we think we’d being doing this thing called boondocking when we bought even our first RV. However, look at us now five years later. But it didn’t come without learning what to have and not have when we’re out there living off the grid in our fifth wheel. So before cold-starting your first boondocking experience, we’ve put together our recommended RV boondocking gear buying guide.
And, since we’ve started camping off the grid, I can’t tell you how much money we’ve saved and how much our blood pressure has gone down having the right boondocking gear.
ELECTRICITY AND ENERGY MANAGEMENT
Good RV Batteries
When we started boondocking, our original coach batteries were extremely inefficient. Their state of charge barely kept our residential refrigerator running for eight hours without having to recharge them with our generator (pre-solar panel install). We immediately replaced our two 12-volt batteries with four 6-volt golf cart batteries. However, while this gave us about 400 amp hours of battery power, we only could take them down to 50% state of charge.
Then two years later, we were introduced to lithium ion batteries. What a game changer! Our six Battle Born GC2 100amp lithium batteries store enough energy to hold us for up to 3 or 4 days depending on our electric usage. Battle Born offers a 10 year warranty and we can literally take them down to ZERO State of Charge!! Oh happy days…and nights!
By the way, we kindly ask that if and when you order your Battle Born batteries or components, please mention Always On Liberty so we get credit!
Now even a couple years later, you can get a higher watt rating of 200 watts per panel with the same footprint. We opted to go with HighTec because they are made in the U.S.A. and have a great reputation for efficiency and solar absorption. They’re easy to install and are very durable. They require no maintenance except for an occasional cleaning.
We chose to purchase two inverter generators to use if the sun doesn’t cooperate for an extended period of time. Each inverter generator weighs only 48 pounds and provides about 13 amps of 120 volt AC power. Paired together with a parallel kit, they can run one 15000 btu air conditioner and other AC appliances in our fifth wheel.
When using our generator, it’s important to monitor our electrical usage to make sure not to overload them. If we don’t need to run an air conditioner one of our generators works fine on its own and will recharge our fifth wheel’s battery bank. That said, the length of time to recharge depends on the depth of discharge of the Battle Born lithium battery bank.
WATER ACQUISITION REPLENISHMENT
When we boondock, most times we don’t want to have to relocate our fifth wheel just to go replenish our water. first, we had to learn how to conserve water. Then, we invested in a couple water jugs that collapse for easy storage.
By doing so, elongated our days living off the grid.
LIQUID WASTE MANAGEMENT
Portable Sewage Tank
Instead of having to pack up and pulling our big fifth wheel to a dump station, we bought a portable sewage tote aka honey wagon. Now, when our black or gray tank gauges read full, we connect our sewage hose from our RV to our honey wagon, put it into the bed of our truck (see below how!) and just drive the tote to a dump station. Trust me, you’ll need this if you just don’t want to relocate your RV.
This device is originally designed to winch big game animals into the bed of a truck. However, we use it to lift our 27 gallon portable sewage tank mentioned above. This is simply repurposing the Rack Jack for a new role and works well for us. Dan can easily lift the 27 gallon, 200 pound tank into the bed of the truck for disposal off site. Our big fifth wheel gets to stay in place for a longer period of time.
This is a good tool to have if you have a pickup or vehicle with a trailer hitch that could lift whatever you need into the back of your vehicle.The Rack Jack can also be used to lift your 5th wheel hitch, a tank of water or a 3500 watt generator.
OTHER COOL OFF-THE-GRID GADGETS
Portable USB Fans
After we installed 12-volt electric outlets and USB outlets in our RV fifth wheel, we wanted to facilitate our 12-volt usage by finding a way of keeping our RV cool on warm days and nights. We found these two different kinds of fans that plug right into our USB outlets to operate or charge. Or, we can plug them into our charged USB battery banks operate or charge.
The first is this five-speed 8″ USB operated desk fan with timer.
We also have three smaller USB operated and charging fans for indoor or outdoor use.
Our portable USB fans are also great for keeping the mosquitoes and no-see-ums away while we are sitting outside. They are a perfect addition to your RV boondocking gear kit.
This is a recent addition to our boondocking gear list. Instead of using the lights in our RV to play games, work, study or cook, these are amazing! They are wireless motion sensor cabinet LED lights that are rechargeable via USB outlet or rechargeable battery bank. They stick anywhere; including the bathroom, closet, under cabinets, on walls, above your headboard, etc.
Solar Powered Outdoor Entry Light
When we are out there and things go bump in the night, these solar powered entry lights will shine on what may be out there. They are amazing! All we do is just set them outside and point the light towards our door. They can be hard mounted to your RV or just set on the outdoor carpet at the base of our entry way stairs.
Portable Charger Battery Pack
Everyone needs a portable electronic device or phone charger, even if you don’t boondock. Without having to be tethered to an electrical outlet, you can tote this portable charger 32000mAh Battery Pack for your iPhone or Android. It has 3 ports, 2.4A input, triple iSmart 2.0 USB connectivity.
OUTDOOR BOONDOCKING MUST-HAVES
This cool reversible mat cleans easily with soap and water. It’s made of durable, mildew resistant materials, with rust resistant grommets and ground stakes included. Its reversible woven design allows snow and rain to drain through mat. Help keep dirt from being tracked into your RV. Also useful for picnics and beach outings. Perfect for boondocking in the desert, beach or woods!
We spent hundreds of dollars in search of decent camp chairs to keep in our boondocking gear kit. Upon recommendation of other RVers we met on the road, we finally found camp chairs that were comfortable for our aging backs because they have an amazing lumbar design. Their spacious ergonomic seat designed to align hips and back. And they can hold a person up to 300 pounds.
Small Adjustable Height Lightweight Folding Table
This sturdy compact table is ideal for boondocking, camping, tailgating and many other outdoor activities. It has folding legs, a built-in easy to carry handle and quickly packs up for transport. This cool little camp table is made of lightweight aluminum and plastic material so that it weighs a mere 4.5 pounds. So, it’s perfect to keep in your RV! It’s sturdy enough to support a surface limit of 60 evenly distributed pounds for most needs. And, it’s easy to clean with its quick wipe material so you won’t have to worry about stains or spills! What’s more is you can also use this to set up your own little workspace outside!
Having a backup cooking source is a good idea when you camp in an RV. They are great to take your cooking outside to keep the grease and heat outside instead of in your camper. You can sauté veggies while grilling up chicken. Or, get the soup going while you’re cooking up burgers. This durable, steel-crafted outdoor appliance offers camp cooks a grill and stove at the same time. When your meal is over, cleanup is easy and quick.
Small Portable Campfire
We’ve seen this cool camping gadget around for some time now. It’s much more compact and easier to store than our previous Outland Firebowl we used to have. This little campfire lets you take your fire with you. It is great for campsites with restrictions against in-ground fires. Take it tailgating or put it on the patio, the size is convenient for wherever you need a fire. The sturdy lid and security latches make it safe and easy for transport.
Wrapping this up, we hope this RV boondocking gear buying guide gets you on the road to boondock out there.
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