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Living Off The Grid

A boondocking worksheet- quite helpful

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Boondocking Worksheet
As submitted by Sasha Jevtich:
Here is our boondocking worksheet to help you plan your off-grid RV’ing. It reflects the capacities of our rig, but you can modify to show your rig’s capacities. I hope it can be of use to you.
We are major solar fans and have an integrated solar system hardwired into our RV electrical system and totally built in. It allows us to live off-grid in our RV as though it is our home, which, it is, no matter where we are. As long as we are in temperate environments. No amount of RV-based solar is going to run an air conditioner or furnace heater for any appreciable amount of time. Not gonna happen. That said, our houses have wheels and when boondocking, we generally point ours towards moderate climates where we can keep our windows open and enjoy low humidity. In these conditions, our solar rig allows us to boondock indefinitely. Water and black tank dumping are the only limiting factors then.
Having the solar system and parking in the right spots, you can be totally off-grid. Runs our TV, laptops, back up hard drives, home stereo, wireless router, microwave, ceiling fan, lights, motorcycle battery trickle charger, auxiliary refrigeration, water pump (we have 116 gallons on board and 20 in reserve cans). It also charges our phones, iPad, camera and GPS. We typically boondock for at least 4-5 months out of the year and when we do, we leave the inverter running 24/7.
Our system has six roof mount 100 watt panels, a 600 amp-hour AGM battery bank with 4 6V batteries, a 2000 watt Magnum inverter with a dedicated remote control panel and a 30 amp solar controller with it’s own dedicated remote panel.
We also have a built in 30 amp, 5000 watt generator with 30 gallon fuel station. In addition to general 120VAC power, the generator recharges the battery bank if there is no sun,,,,,,
Keep in mind about solar: Yes it’s expensive to have a system like ours that supports long term boondocking. No doubt about it. If you don’t do a lot of dry camping it’s a waste of cash. We do, so for us, it’s totally worth it. While you will save on gas and campground fees, you can’t really think of “recouping” your investment. What you are buying is this: Freedom, Calmness, Peace and Quiet. Freedom to park on any public land with sun and not hear a nasty generator, not smell the fumes, not have vibration in your rig.
Our solar electrical system is basically like a noise-free, fume-free “invisible” 24/7 generator. As long as we are in temperate climes. What’s that worth to you? To us, it’s priceless.
One more thing about solar costs. There is federal tax credit of 30% for your complete solar installation costs, effectively reducing your bottom line costs. In 2009, when we installed, that credit was the difference for us between writing a check to the IRS and getting a very healthy refund. Remember, this is a CREDIT to your account, not a tax deduction. So much better. Depending on your domicile, there may be additional state and local incentives too. The Federal credit is currently good thru 2016.

This information was supplied in our main FTRVing group (found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ftrving/) and submitted by Sasha Jevtich. We have relocated it here for your convenience and future reference.

How To Live Off The Grid In An RV

It’s not all that unusual to talk to folks who say they wish they could get back to nature and live in the wild. There is something to be said for watching the sun rise over the horizon rather than over the neighbor’s house, for breathing in the sweet smell of sage and grass instead of exhaust fumes. And sometimes you have to get away, far away, to enjoy those experiences. You could find yourself in a place without electricity, running water, and yes, without cable television. Don’t worry-you can live off the grid in your RV and be perfectly comfortable.

Here’s How…

Decide where you will be living. You can purchase some property or you can live on public land. It’s always nice to have your own little corner of the world, but it’s not necessary. In many places in the U.S., you can live off grid on public lands at no charge, although you may be limited to a 14-day stay.

Do some research before you jump in the RV and head off for the wide-open spaces. Find out about the climate in the area you’re considering. Hot in an RV is really hot; ditto for cold. Figure out how far it is to the nearest medical facility, market and other services. If your health is questionable, living off the grid may not be best for you.

Go over the systems in your RV with care to confirm that it will support life off the grid. Make certain the fresh water system is sanitary and that nothing leaks. Check that your black water system (sewer waste) is tight and healthy. Make sure the RV’s electrical wiring is not frayed or damaged. Confirm that your propane lines are good (if you plan to use propane).

Set your RV up for comfort and practicality off the grid. For example, carpeting often requires a vacuum cleaner; you might want to install wood flooring or vinyl that you can clean with a broom. Get rid of unnecessary stuff so you have room to move in the RV. It’s a tight space, and you probably won’t have that many guests, so get rid of the dinner service for 12. Seal holes to keep out hot, cold and critters.

Fill the fresh water tank with fresh water; add something to purify the water if you haven’t used the system in a while. A small amount of chlorine bleach dumped in the holding tank with the fresh water should kill most bugs. Make certain the holding tank for your sewer is empty; if it’s not, stop in at a station and dump it on your way out of town. Charge your RV batteries and fill your propane tanks.

Set up your little homestead in the lovely spot you selected in step 1.Once you’re there, try different layouts of the space to ensure that you’re using the shade and light to their maximum benefit. If you own the property and you plan to stay long-term, think about creating a level pad to park the RV on more or less permanently. Also, consider installing a composting toilet so you don’t have to fight with the septic system in the RV.

Make a regular schedule to refill your systems and pump your sewer-you don’t want to run out of fresh water or propane in the middle of preparing a meal.