Wednesday, February 4, 2015

RV power to the people, or not

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We invested in a whole solar array on our 5th wheel. We then invested in all new LED bulbs, 12v appliances and small inverters for charging our computers and cameras. With all this investment we seldom need or want electric service.

In many cases we are forced to pay for it anyway as many private, state and federal parks do not offer a choice of dry camping. In the good ole days you couldn't find hook-ups and now it is just the opposite. Are we just getting too old for our own good? We want simple and cheap, yet the RV industry is going complicated and expensive.
--Sunny side up in Sedona

Dear Sunny:
Part of learning the RV lifestyle is understanding all the subtle nuances of finding what you are looking for. 1st, question everything. Many times things are not as they seem. For example: A park website may not offer dry camping, when in reality it is available. You just have to ask.

As more and more people are investing in solar, park managers realize there is a demand for sites not offering and charging for electricity. In many cases, management will give you a regular site and padlock the electric box. It can mean a substantial savings.

Many parks are now going to ala carte electric service. In that case you have the option of using it or not. Many state parks have found an extra income stream in offering overflow camping instead of turning people away. This usually entails camping in a parking lot with no utilities. Being solarized can come in very handy when this situation arises.

Depending on how you travel, a solar investment can pay for itself very quickly. The beauty of it is not having to give up any creature comforts if you are conservative with power usage. With enough mileage under your belt you eventually understand the various management styles of various state run parks. They all have different fee schedules, annual passes, senior discounts, etc. Many Federal parks are going to concessions and things change every year.

You will find a treasure trove of information online and from fellow travelers, but always check ahead of time with management for current information. When in doubt, ask. The worst thing that can happen is you will find you have no option in the matter. When it is cold or hot and you need heat or air conditioning, that A/C might look pretty good.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


simonsrf said...

In the west, why would anyone want to pay for dry camping in a RV park?

We have a full solar system, and rarely spend time in RV parks. We do use cheap RV parks for dumping our tanks, filling with water, and when temperature extremes warrants full-power electricity for heating and cooling.

We have spent less than $100 for RV parks in the last 6 months.

Daniel J. Ryan said...

Hi All.

That's the biggest reason for going to Solar and all Led Lights and Led TV's. So it makes perfect sense to Dry Camp or Boon-Dock as often as possible. I only use a campground if I only have to, which is not very often at all. I have been at this for 55 years as a Camper, a Traveler, and RV'er and a Full-Timer.

I hardly ever need a place like a camp ground. I can usually find free places to dump and get water, or pay very cheaply for it.

I have it all down to a fine science now. Besides Solar, I do have my build in 5.5 Generator, plus a pair of Honda EU2000I's, Parall Kit & Extended Run Tank, which I have had for many, many years. I never want for anything now. I can also easily exceed my Motor Homes 30 AMP Power Supply, any time, any place, any where.

Happy & Safe Travels. From Dan & Austin, ( My Yorkie ) We are Full-Timers, and true "Spirits of the Wind".