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Camp Longer This Year By Knowing These Three Options for Extending Off-Grid Power Capacity

By Jenn

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Driveway camping went perfectly and you are ready for your first weekend at that nice little National Forest Service Campground a few hours away from home.

You arrive just before dusk and rush to set up your campsite.

You quickly cook dinner, running the fan to exhaust food odors and cool the air, while listening to your favorite tunes via Bluetooth on the camper’s stereo.

A few hours later, after a nice campfire, you retire for the evening to enjoy the sounds of a babbling brook and tree frogs, drifting away to a truly restorative night of sleep.

The next day finds you enjoying a serene breakfast, complete with what you are sure is the best camp coffee ever brewed.

Later, that serenity changes colors faster than a chameleon as you go from confusion to shock to anger when you realize that you have taken the battery so low that the carbon monoxide monitor is chirping.

How could this be? You have a battery? Can a brand new trailer come with a dead battery?

It can, but that probably isn’t what happened. You didn’t understand your power capacity and probably didn’t really understand the implications of the power you were using.

It is one of the most common scenarios people expereince.

Unless you camp 100% of the time with shore power, and some people do that, you will very likely have to consider your options for extending your ability to dry camp, or Boondock.

If you only spend an occasional night overnight parking and manage your power consumption, you might get away OK with the small battery provided by your dealer. The same is true for the weekend warrior.

However, if you have a 12v fridge, you might need to consider additional options.

What are those options. Watch this video to find out.

As I mentioned in the video, most people will want to camp a little before they make choices.

Figuring out your camping style is a key component to finding the right solution.

I started our with dual 6v lead acid golf cart batteries before transitioning to AGM golf cart batteries. This, coupled with solar, kept me going off grid for three months straight, but that was without the luxury of a 12v fridge.

Now, with the draw of a 12v fridge, I have re-examined my usage and done some testing and am ready to make a change.

The 105w solar panel on my 2021 T@b 320 is effective, but small. It isn’t quite enough to keep up with the 3+ amp hour draw of the fridge plus other power use, for me.

I started by adding a portable 100w solar panel to the mix. I haven’t had a chance to test it, but the Renogy Eclipse 100w Monocrystaline panel I have selected has excellent reviews and I have used Renogy in the past. I have high expectations that this panel, coupled with a Victron solar controller, will help give me the solar capacity I need.

But what about multi-day driving trips? How will I keep up? Or what about overcast weather? We get a lot more cloudy days in Western PA than we do sunny days.

I have decided to upgrade to 200 amp hours of lithium batteries from Lion Energy.

By nature, I am an early adopter. But with lithium batteries for RVs, I have been slower. Why? I was waiting for additional competition to impact both the quality and cost of these batteries.

I think that time has finally arrived.

I developed a spread sheet to compare the specifications of the major lithium battery options available: Battleborn, Lion Energy, Renogy, Victron, and some of the lesser known like Ionic, Dakota, Relion.

When I examined the basic specifications, and considered user reviews. I narrowed my choices to Battleborn and Lion Energy. And let me say this, I feel like the choice is similar to choosing between Canon, Nikon, and Sony. They are all good choices and you probably won’t go wrong, whichever route you go.

Battleborn has been the early leader in RV lithium power. They seemed to get their batteries in the hands of a lot of RV influencers, early. They are a very high quality battery and I have nothing disparaging to say about their products.

However, Lion Energy caught my attention because they were slightly lighter and smaller. This is largely due to the different types of lithium cells used. Like Battleborn, they also had a good reputation for excellent customer service. The other advantage is the price.

I was able to save a little money by using a referral link. I can offer you a %15 discount via my referral link, as well. You get a discount, and I earn a small commission, if you use this link.

Keep your eye out

These batteries are on order and I will share details about the installation and configuration when I am done this spring.

How do you currently or plan to extend your off-grid camping by upping your power or solar capacity? Let me know in the comments, below.