Tent Camping with a Popup

Discussion in 'Camping Green' started by E3Popup, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. E3Popup

    E3Popup New Member

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    Jul 5, 2016
    Hi, We really like to go into the tent camping sites with our Popup, but most of the time these sites do not have power (or any) hookups. We are looking for a way to run our popup camper lights powered by something besides draining our battery. What about solor? I was looking at SylvanSport solor generator, but not sure what is needed or if that will work. Do you have any other suggestions? Is it that we want to charge our battery or plug into a generator like we do when I plug in our camper with an AC plug?
    Thanks for the help.
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    Changing bulbs out to LEDs will help power consumption. What else do you have? Water pump, heater, 'fridge (even on LP, they need battery power for controls and igniters), water heater (ditto). LP/CO detectors are a vampire drain, so disconnecting between trips is helpful. Having a meter in the mix is great to keep tabs on battery levels.
    Here's a good primer on 12v: http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm

    We generally dry camp, usually for 5-8 nights. Our first pup had no battery or 12 v items, so we just kept camping as we did in a ground tent. Our second one had a furnace, two one-bulb ceiling lights and the detector. We occasionally ran an endless Breeze fan in the 12v outlet.
    We could camp a couple of nights without running the battery down below 50%, maybe a bit longer if we didn't run the furnace. (We added solar panels before we got out of furnace season.)
    We chose solar panels, since they work well where we camp, and we neither wanted to deal with a generator (even the more quiet ones) nor had space for it and the gas. We can just put the panels out when we set up camp and they go about the business of charging the battery without much, if any, interference. (There are a few sites where we reorient them due to tress during the day.)
    With our TT, there are more power using items, so we did end up going to a larger size solar panel than we had with our pup. We kept the original set of panels, and can use them to charger the free-standing Goal Zero Yeti 150 battery that we have. Handy to recharge phone, Kindles, occasionally a tablet, but also to power the fan or a lantern anywhere in the site we need it.

    If you are wanting to run appliances, including the a/c, you will need a generator, but be aware that most campgrounds have limited hours for them. Some have generator-free loops too.

    Here's a section for power:
  3. NMroamer

    NMroamer Active Member

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    Apr 21, 2016
    Albuquerque NM
    If you don't want to use the camper lights and only need minimum light we use solar powered lights that can be charged during the day. A company called D.light makes ones that charge with just a little sunlight. When it is warm the only 12 volts we use is the water pump. Rechargeable Led lanterns last for several days of camping.
  4. Ryanm

    Ryanm New Member

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    Oct 13, 2012
    Battery powered LED lanterns. Bought some el-cheapos years ago and still have a couple.
  5. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    My first camper had no battery or any other amenities. So I used a bungie to hold my LED camping lantern on the shepherd pole for the bunk. With a tent light on both bunks I had plenty of light. As others said, switch to LED lights for inside. Not sure what other amenities you have but if all you use is lights you can go a long time on the battery. If you do a lot of dry camping for longer periods you can look into either solar or a generator to charge your camper battery.
  6. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

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    Jun 14, 2014
    With a group 27 deep cycle battery, we can go 10 days without power. We do have LED lights and don't use much else for power. If your needs are primarily lights and low usage things like this, I would just go with a battery and you don't need anything else.
  7. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    buy battery powered fans and LED lights. Use propane for your fridge although it does not necessarily need electric to run it with propane, and plenty of LED flashlights.

    I might invest in Solar but never got around to it. wife is watching what I spend on popup... [:D]
  8. PaThacker

    PaThacker Well-Known Member

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    Feb 11, 2010
    I boondock and dry camp with my pups and hybrid. If the pup fits you shoe horn it onto a tent site. I have a k2500 sub that can crush the pup if need be. My next trip is onto a tent site by backing down the entire loop into the tent sites. Pup has group 31 120ah true deep cell trolling motor battery, dual propane tanks, shw popup gizmos, and 12vt every thing but bed heaters. On tent site simply sleep in a good sleeping bag.
  9. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    May 21, 2015
    Unless you have tongue weight or space issues you'll get more bang for your buck by adding to or upgrading your battery bank and making some power saving changes such as changing over to led lights and turning off unnecessary options. If you're doing two or three days that will probably get you through.

    Meanwhile, you can figure out what your power needs/wants are and plan the next step. My solar panel is great, but it's not foolproof. You will always need fallback options and a generous battery bank is easy to do.

    IMO, running a generator in a tent only loop would be just rude.

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