Eight weeks on the road

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
304
Niagara Region, ON
After spending the last year purchasing, modifying, and testing a trailer and tow vehicle we are now off on an epic road trip this summer.

The kids are (hopefully) at a point where they are old enough to remember it, but young enough to put up with us for the summer.

Totals (to "last edited" date):
Distance driven: 13,602 km (8,454 mi)
Average fuel economy (reported): 10.8 l/100km (21.8 MPG)
Fuel bought: 1,499 l (396 US gal)
Fuel cost: $2,959 (CAD)
Solar harvested: 24.0 kWh
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
304
Niagara Region, ON
Day 1

Got underway (from Niagara region) at 11 after picking up some spare trailer wheel bearings and my daughter's passport. Bought lunch at Champ Burger in Primrose. Arrived at Bruce Peninsula NP 5ish. Had dinner and hiked to the Grotto before turning in for the night.

Distance travelled: 365 km
Fuel economy: 10.8 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 35.1 l @ $1.954 /l = $68.54
Solar harvested: 520 Wh

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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
304
Niagara Region, ON
Day 2

Started raining at ~3am. Got up at 6am, had breakfast and packed up the trailer wet. On the road shortly after 7am to get to Tobermory by 7:40am to catch the first Chi Cheemaun car ferry sailing. Arrived South Baymouth and disembarked by 11am. Rain cleared up by the time we docked. Drove up to Kagawong and had lunch and a swim at Bridal Veil Falls. Proceeded to Chutes PP and set up camp around 4pm. Went for a swim in the river and then had dinner. Campfire (w/marshmallows) before bed.

Ran the vent fan overnight last night which seemed to help with humidity. Averaged about 1.5A draw.

I was a bit worried about the 100Ah LFP battery running the fan and charging devices overnight, boiling water with the electric kettle (via Inverter) multiple times at breakfast, and running the fridge on 12VDC while on the car ferry but it never dropped below 50%. Back up to 100% by the time we set up camp at Chutes via DC-DC vehicle charging and 200W solar (luckily sun came out at lunchtime).

Distance travelled: 198 km (not including distance on car ferry)
Fuel economy: 11.8 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 27.4 l @ $1.996 /l = $54.61
Solar harvested: 630 Wh

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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
304
Niagara Region, ON
Just curious, why an Inverter instead of a stove?
We usually do use a propane stove for heating water/cooking. But we removed the built-in one (and the sink) when we bought the trailer and replaced it with a (Camp Chef Everest 2x) portable one to gain additional space. Plus we don't like food cooking smells in the trailer.

So early morning + raining + tight schedule = easier to use the electric kettle then set up the outside stove just to make tea and cleanup.

It takes ~8Ah to boil 1 litre (~1 quart) of water so not too bad as long as we don't go crazy with it. We are driving every day so we can make that up in less than ½hr of car charging, or less than 45 min of solar charging on a sunny day (or slightly over 15 mins combined).

Because we can also use the Inverter with the trailer packed up we can make tea/hot chocolate/cup-a-soups/etc during lunch stops when we are driving as well.

So it in no way replaces the propane stove, it just complements it.

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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
304
Niagara Region, ON
Day 3

Slept in a little which was nice. Packed up the trailer and hit the road by 9:30am. Stopped in Sault Ste Marie to eat lunch and pick up some groceries. Arrived at Lake Superior PP around 3pm. Set up the trailer, visited the discovery centre, and played at the beach for the rest of the afternoon. Supper, campfire.

Sites are all sandwiched between the highway and the lake so hopefully won't be too loud. Might run the fan just as a white noise generator.

Tweaked the solar and DC-DC charge controllers so that the solar charges at slightly (0.5v) higher voltages so it takes the lead when charging and the DC-DC charger takes up the slack if needed. ie: if the battery is charged and the fridge is drawing 10A and solar can make 8A, then solar will make the 8A and the DC-DC will make up the additional 2A. Before the DC-DC was taking the lead so it would charge up to 18A before the solar would contribute.

Fuel economy dropping, but today was both upwind and hilly.

Distance travelled: 357 km
Fuel economy: 12.1 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 32.2 l @ $1.982 /l = $63.85
Solar harvested: 600 Wh

IMG_20220702_203953.jpg
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
304
Niagara Region, ON
Day 4

Did not end up running the fan but slept well regardless. Night was cold (~8C) so ran the furnace for a few minutes before getting out of bed in the morning. Packed up and on the road by 10:30am. Stopped at Wawa for lunch by the beach and groceries. Arrived Neys PP 3pm. Set up, played at the beach, supper, campfire.

Never been to Neys PP before, but it probably one of the best parks I've ever camped at. No cell service (Telus & Bell anyways) but it prevented me from doing work stuff on a Sunday night.

Been keeping an eye on trailer bearing temps using a FLIR - running nice and cool so far. Tires are considerably warmer than the hubs.
FLIR00080.png FLIR00081.png

Using calcium sulfonate grease and not preloading bearings (tighten with wrench, back off, hand tighten, back off to the point a cotter pin fits).

Distance travelled: 307 km
Fuel economy: 11.6 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 29.19 l @ $2.129 /l = $61.27
Solar harvested: 740 Wh
 
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Patrick w

Active Member
Aug 13, 2021
563
Is your battery in the trailer or vehicle? If your generating 18a that's well over 200w... So I assume you have some dedicated wiring somewhere....
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
304
Niagara Region, ON
Is your battery in the trailer or vehicle? If your generating 18a that's well over 200w... So I assume you have some dedicated wiring somewhere....
Battery is in the trailer. AWG#10 wiring in the vehicle and trailer. I have a build thread here: https://www.popupportal.com/threads/new-electrical-system-build-thread-lithium-solar.134726/

A standard 7 pin Bargman is good for 30A so ~300W (depending on voltage drop). Some of the knock-offs only use single sided "tabs" on the connectors which may limit their current carrying capabilities.

The Victron 18A DC-DC charger I am using is rated up to 280W, and I have the voltage cutout at 11.8V. 280W / 11.8V = ~24A, which works out well as it is 80% of the rated capacity of my Bargman 7 pin connector. If the input voltage drops below 11.8V the DC-DC charger backs off the current to maintain 11.8V.
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
304
Niagara Region, ON
Day 5

Got up, on the road by 11am after a last play at the beach. Stopped at a picnic site along the highway for lunch. Arrived in Thunder Bay at 2pm for a few supplies and a visit to Fort William. Explored the fort until it closed at 5pm (could have used more time) before driving the last ½hr to Kakabeka Falls PP. Supper, a quick walk to the falls, and bedtime.
Another park near the highway, but the noise of the river/falls drowned out the noise of the cars & trucks.

Weather was overcast for much of the day, and it started raining by 9pm, so not much solar today. My 8yr old son figured out the solar charge controller tracks daily totals so I'm including them now.

Had to brake hard on the highway to stop for a moose and her calf.
IMG_20220705_092254.jpg

Distance travelled: 316 km
Fuel economy: 11.5 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 56.49 l @ $1.999 /l = $112.92
Solar harvested: 380 Wh
 
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jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
If you need any assistance / help when passing through Manitoba, feel free to hit me up.

We'll be camping at Falcon Lake (MB) this coming weekend with friends. Judging by your pace, you'll be heading through here in the next few days.

If you have the time, be sure to hit up Riding Mountain National Park or Duck Mountains (East Blue Lake) Provincial Park. You won't be disappointed.
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
304
Niagara Region, ON
In addition to the solar, I'm assuming you're getting a good charge on the camper's battery for the TV over that 316 km.
Yes, running the fridge on 12VDC when driving which takes ~9A, so even without solar the DC-DC charger from the vehicle will still charge the battery at ~10A with the fridge on.

Plus the solar always seems to be kicking in at least one or two amps even on cloudy days.

I don't think we have arrived at a campsite and not had the battery recharged to at least 90%.

On sunny mornings I might start flipping the fridge from propane to 12V as soon as I wake up in order to save on propane (since solar is free, and charging from the vehicles does not have any measureable impact on fuel consumption).
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
304
Niagara Region, ON
If you need any assistance / help when passing through Manitoba, feel free to hit me up.

We'll be camping at Falcon Lake (MB) this coming weekend with friends. Judging by your pace, you'll be heading through here in the next few days.

If you have the time, be sure to hit up Riding Mountain National Park or Duck Mountains (East Blue Lake) Provincial Park. You won't be disappointed.
Thanks for the offer,

Looks like we will just miss you - planning for Spruce Woods PP tomorrow.

Will hit up Riding Mountain on the way back for sure - thanks for the suggestion.
 

Patrick w

Active Member
Aug 13, 2021
563
Yes, running the fridge on 12VDC when driving which takes ~9A, so even without solar the DC-DC charger from the vehicle will still charge the battery at ~10A with the fridge on.

Plus the solar always seems to be kicking in at least one or two amps even on cloudy days.

I don't think we have arrived at a campsite and not had the battery recharged to at least 90%.

On sunny mornings I might start flipping the fridge from propane to 12V as soon as I wake up in order to save on propane (since solar is free, and charging from the vehicles does not have any measureable impact on fuel consumption)

Yes, running the fridge on 12VDC when driving which takes ~9A, so even without solar the DC-DC charger from the vehicle will still charge the battery at ~10A with the fridge on.

Plus the solar always seems to be kicking in at least one or two amps even on cloudy days.

I don't think we have arrived at a campsite and not had the battery recharged to at least 90%.

On sunny mornings I might start flipping the fridge from propane to 12V as soon as I wake up in order to save on propane (since solar is free, and charging from the vehicles does not have any measureable impact on fuel consumption).
It's 9a all the time?
 




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