Camping Off The Grid

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by PopUpSteve, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

    Dec 22, 2002
    Malvern, PA
    What are some of the features you think a PopUp should have to camp off the grid?

    My E2 is a great camper but I must say that after using it these past few months (a lot of Camp Driveway), the only true feature it has over its blacktop traveling brethren is the road clearance.

    All the outlets are 120v with the exception of the two 12v ceiling outlets for bunkend fans/lights. Not even a 12v power port (cigarette lighter type).

    Now this is not just my E2, every manufacturer who make a "Off Road Camper" that I have seen pretty much lacks anything that I would consider essential when camping off the grid.

    What are some of the things you deam essential for back woods camping?
  2. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    Bear Mace [:D]
  3. thethird152

    thethird152 Active Member

    Feb 1, 2015
    Mt Pleasant, MI
    I think these same things all the time. I've yet to take my E1 truly off grid (although I have camped without any type of hookups) and the biggest difference I can see is that it's way more expensive for me to replace my tires than most other camper owners :)

    A 12V power source (like a cigarette lighter port) is easy enough to install (I say that knowing full well that I have one sitting here on my desk - I still haven't installed it).

    If I were to go truly boondocking I think my biggest concern would be power replenishment - either a generator or a solar setup. Outside of that, I'd really just consider the pup a tent on wheels (and I've done TONS of backwoods tent camping) - in which case the most valuable thing you can bring with you is a good sense of humor :)
    Cadillac and Mausinn like this.
  4. Cathi

    Cathi New Member

    Oct 3, 2016
    The best little gadget I ave found is a portable fan that runs on 8 d cell batteries.It is
    great for hot summer nights! Can't remember the brand but the batteries last a long time.
    PointyCamper likes this.
  5. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

    Dec 22, 2002
    Malvern, PA
    Yup, I just installed one this weekend. Tapped the power line going the the radio.

    Jorja likes this.
  6. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

    Jun 26, 2012
    Wylie, Texas
    I'm out camping off grid as we speak. Well hunting, strangely enough right next to a transformer. Best little doo-dad I've got? Well, right now it's a generac iq2000 and a Frigidaire 5k but air conditioner. Later tonight around 11am my best gadget will be the iq2000 and a 200 watt electric heater. Gotta love technology! [LOL]
  7. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

    Order of importance IMO
    Led lights
    Group 31 deep cycle battery standard
    water pump and onboard water storage
    Outside shower
    USB outlets/12volt cigarette outlets
    Battery monitor
    12VDC fan(s)
    mrshopkins likes this.
  8. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    wha? no one suggested solar? I do not camp off grid but once or twice a year
  9. bearman512

    bearman512 Well-Known Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Albuquerque NM
    Nailed it but think a 100+watt portable solar system with at least a group 27 or 31 battery.
    I really think that all the manufacturers that offer "Offroad" type campers should prewire for solar!! ARE YOU LISTENING MANUFACTURERS? ALL the truck campers as well as All the 5rs and TT's all come prewired for solar. OOPS sorry for the rant [}:)]
  10. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

    Ok put 100 watt solar panel last on the list and appropriate charge controller
  11. ByramTra

    ByramTra Member

    Sep 30, 2016
    I will back it up also. Works great. On my dads trailer he had 1 large panel that was the right size to be balanced by the battery, requiring no controller. Worked great. Didn't use it for a lot of electronics, mainly pump and some lights. Solar is easy to wire in. I'm planning on LED lights for saving power also. one or two of the 5-gallon water carriers is really helpful for filling up the tank because the trailers tank is small, so you don't have to move the trailer to fill up. At state parks, if we had enough rigs there, we would use a water thief and a bunch of hose for filling up from the faucets. For off-grid energy and water are your two finite resources. Paper plates and cups saves water from dishes. (dispose in fire.)
  12. ByramTra

    ByramTra Member

    Sep 30, 2016
    I know I'm planning on doing an axle reverse to fix the lack of ground clearance on my trailer. The "off-Road" campers have high clearance, which i great for off grid, but the "normal" campers, if they have leaf spring suspension, can be lifted cheaply, making it easier to get into places with poor dirt roads.
  13. samh

    samh Campin'

    Jan 23, 2015
    Bozeman, MT
    We only camp off-grid so I removed all the 120v stuff from our rig. Single solar panel on top, 85Ah battery, all LED lights, multiple USB-based charging ports, Fantastic Fan. We use multiple 5 gal. jugs for water, and the standard propane tank to feed the furnace.

    I would rank the necessities as follows:

    1. Water storage
    2. Fuel storage
    3. Power storage
    4. Highly-efficient means of consuming all of the above and note-taking on usage for analyzing prior to future trips.
    Fbird and dirkdabass like this.
  14. bldmtnrider

    bldmtnrider Member

    Aug 28, 2014
    I've got an E3 and am pretty happy with it as far as an off-grid camper goes. If we want to glamp we bring along lots of extra water for showers and a generator for recharging batteries and any 120 accessories that we might need. If I am just going up for the weekend I just make sure the battery has a good charge and don't worry about it.

    I personally don't have any use for solar. When camping in the summer I am tucked in under the trees and usually in the shadow of a mountain and for fall hunting I bring the genny along to run the heated blankets. The generator has hands down been the best add-on for me.

    The only thing I wish the E3 had was a large water tank so I didn't have to carry so much extra for longer camping trips. That and a light over the sink.
  15. Doctorphate

    Doctorphate New Member

    Sep 26, 2016
    I've never done any off grid camping with a pup but I have a fair bit of knowledge with offgrid camping in general as my primary hobby is Overlanding.

    In order of importance I'd say its as follows;

    1. Water
    2. Fuel
    3. Food
    4. Spare parts(for anything that may leave you stranded)

    Electricity is pretty low on my priority list, almost nonexistent. But if you really want some power, run dual batteries on the tow vehicle and use the secondary battery as a source.
    Arlyn Aronson likes this.
  16. rustybronco

    rustybronco Member

    Jul 7, 2016
    Off grid, that's like tent camping right?

    Must haves...
    Led lights.
    AGM or deep cycle battery.
    12 volt outlet.
    Absopure type 5 gal water bottle with some type of pump and or pouring system.
    Efficient cooler.
    20 Lb Propane tank(s).

    Luxury mode...
    Solar panel or efficient inverter gen (Yamaha-Honda)
    Efficient 12 volt fan.
    Efficient vented heater.
    Reflective solar covers/some sort of black absorption material for cold.
  17. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

    May 7, 2013
    Somewhere in Idaho
    I do a lot of off-grid in desert and in the mountains. What I consider necessary is:

    Water (how much depends on length of stay), 20 gal tank full plus two five gallon containers on the front, and plenty about 12-24 bottles of Propel in the truck.

    Dog food and biscuits, better than being gnawed on by two 100+ lb. dogs in the middle of the night

    Propane tanks always for any trip, even if to a campground.

    Batteries fully charged when leaving.

    Food (usually just lunch meat, bread, chips, etc.)

    Generator if going for more than five or six days in the desert (just in case), and for more than four days in the high mountain areas if the temps will be dropping to 30 or less (batteries will suffice for four days in cold weather) so the generator is used to power the charger.

    Desert, just my standard carry .40; however, if going to do a lot of hiking I will also bring along a Judge loaded with .410 for the rattlers.

    High mountain, First Assault bear spray (large container) .44 Mag and sometimes a 12-gauge with 600 gr. slugs but so far the bear spray has saved my butt and happy to say never had to use any firepower.

    And maybe the most important of all, for that just in case emergency moment when a person camps only by himself and two dogs....a Personal Locator Beacon! I do not want to end up laying on a desert rock for days hoping someone will find me like Danelle Ballengee who I met a few times when I lived in Moab, very interesting person, as well as one heck of a great lady, and owner of one of the best burger restaurants in Moab-Milts-along with her husband. So, when I hike, and in the trailer at night, I have my PLB with me; just in case.

    The trailer is equipped with all LED lights (inside/outside), outside shower, Trimetric meter to monitor the batteries, an inverter (which I have used once I think), a 12-volt accessory plug, two USB plugs, (but the USB plugs have only been used to recharge or run my table which I load with movies (Dish Network; if off-grid that means no cell phone service so the phone is turned off when I arrive and turned back on when I leave), two series 27 "true" deep cycle (not marine) batteries, and two propane tanks, gizmos, water pump, heater.
    Katskamper likes this.
  18. Kb2yht

    Kb2yht New Member

    Nov 28, 2015
    A good power meter has been moving up the list of importance for me over the past year, Being out of power is less of a problem then getting suprised by dead cells.
    Also solar has been moving down the list, my 50W system is not big enough, and more trouble than I've found it to be worth.

    current list looks something like:
    • Fresh water
    • Power meter
    • Full fuel (2xLP and a Jerry can for the TV )
    • 2x Group-27 Charged cells, and a jump-pack to start the TV if it gets drained
    • the rest of it...
    • solar

    I am installing a good trimetic this winter to see if i can get a better gauge on what level of power I need and if a 100W solar system is worth the effort.
  19. chambo

    chambo Active Member

    Apr 27, 2015
    Southern California
    Looks like we are all dancing around a different version of the same list. It really comes down to your camping style and how "off grid" you will be. Water and LP are at the top of my list. Also a way to get juice back into the battery. I've though about solar, but I've been able to make it 5 nights and still have power. I do carry a homemade cable that clips onto my car battery and then into the 7 pin trailer plug. In a pinch I can charge the trailer from the car. I think solar would be a lot of setup/moving/take down when it really isn't needed in my situation.
  20. sierrapup

    sierrapup Active Member

    Jun 19, 2016
    my pup was pre-wired for solar, so I use a 80 watt panel on the roof, with 2 group 27 batteries. in case the weather is non-compliant I have a Yamaha inverter generator.
    dual propane tanks, fantastic fan and 2 12v bunk end fans. 16 gal.extra water on the toy deck.
    not coming home till I'm ready
    Cadillac and Katskamper like this.

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