Boondocking, an excellent way to get rid of urban life’s hustle and bustle, is free camping in the country’s remote areas. While boondocking may be a lifestyle for a few, it is a getaway plan for many. When you are boondocking, you have to make sure you have all the supplies for your trip. Among all the supplies like food, water, and clothes, a generator is also essential. It will help you charge your phones, laptop, run RV appliances such as AC, water heater, refrigerator, and TV.
If you are a beginner in the world of boondocking, you must keep a few things related to generators before you set out on a trip. In this article, we all explain all the important things you need to keep in mind about generators before setting out on a trip. This article will help you prepare better for your trip and make the most out of it.
Generators and Boondocking: Important Thing to Know
Your Power Needs – If you plan to buy a new generator for a boondocking trip, consider your power needs. Calculate the total wattage of the appliances you need to run on your generator, and then add a couple of hundred watts as a cushion to accommodate any emergence needs. You also need to put a thought on the number of people traveling with you. If you are traveling alone, your needs may be less.
Will a solar panel do the trick?
A solar panel may work well for you, but you would have to fix it on your vehicle’s roof and attach batteries with it. The initial setup cost is high for solar panels. Secondly, a fixed solar panel will be limited to be used with your RV. Taking it off and making it work for your home will cost you a lot of time and money. On the contrary, a portable generator or an inverter will work for many purposes. You can take it along on your other camping trips and use it to power up your homes during blackouts.
Is Inverter Generator good for Boondocking?
Inverter generators are an excellent source of clean electricity. They are less noisy. You can connect the appliances directly without any short-circuiting fear, and they don’t emit harmful gases like a conventional generator. However, they are expensive, and their power output is less than the classical ones. If your power needs are less and you can afford a costly inverter, you must go for it. An inverter generator is also more portable as compared to gas generators.
Before leaving, you must ensure that your generator is in mint condition and will not create any issues on the trip. First of all, you must do a complete diagnostic checkup on your unit. Check the oil levels (replace the oil if needed), inspect the spark plugs, fuel assembly, fuel pipes and filters, and water level. Inspect your generator for any carburetor issues, engine, electrical, and battery problems.
Run your generator idle for 30-40 minutes and then on approximate load, which you will put on it during your trip for at least 1 hour to check its response and functionality. Make sure you have enough fuel with you to last for 3-4 days and get your gas tanks refilled when it gets below the halfway mark during the trip. Generator gas storage will also depend on the boondocking area.
If you are traveling to an area where finding gas is an issue, you would need to stock up more gas. Checking your generator’s exhaust and the muffler helps keep things quiet and ensure a smooth operation. Installing a generator box at the front or back of your RV for the generator helps keep it safe from thieves. It will also save you from the hassle of taking it out every time you need it and then keeping it back.
Trip Time Guidelines
While you are on your trip, you must use your generator at a safe distance of 10-15 feet from your sitting area. Make sure you keep the noise level low as you don’t want to disturb anyone in the proximity and the wildlife in the area. The best way to do this is to keep the muffler directed upwards.
Do not overload your generator, and do not let it get overheated. The maximum run time for a portable generator must not exceed 6-8 hours as its components can then get overheated and malfunction. Never refill gas when your generator is running, or it is hot.
Try to run your generator under shade if the sun is out in full bloom and use a safety tent during bad weather. Make sure you turn off the fuel supply to the carburetor after shutting down your generator. Please do not leave your generator unattended when it is running.
If you have to go somewhere, make sure you lock the generator case on your RV. You must also check that your generator is properly grounded while running.
Post Trip Guidelines
Once back home, you would need to drain the fuel tank of your generator and empty the carburetor as well. Unhook the battery and inspect the overall condition of the generator. If anything needs to be repaired, do it now. Ensure you store your generator in a mint condition, wrapped in the storage bag at a safe place.