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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I travel alone, no animals, have some light fishing gear, camera, keyboard, computer in a small SUV that is stripped to provide sleeping space, a small refrigerator and other l iving comforts for bad weather. Maybe wildlife?

My plan is to “tent” around the continental US for the next year or so using
resorts and the boonies. Maybe Alaska, Canada next year. Obviously, this will require electricity, so here is my 2 stage plan for you to critique, slam, freely comment.

Stage 1:
1 200ah AGM battery housed in the front passenger space.
A three stage electric charger from the battery vendor.
A 10 watt gas generator approved by the battery vendor.
Metering to limit battery drawdown.
Existing 1100 watt inverter may have to be replaced with a 1750 watt.
Operation will be daily overnight charge on shore power and a daily 3-4 hour generator run while boondocking.
Cost is about $900. A 2 year write-off is $1.16 a day.
An alternative is to mount golf cart batteries in a rear carrier but I worry about the greater bounce.

Stage 2:
1 24 volt 245 watt solar panel.
1 controller converter to 12 volt output.
Additional 200ah battery, depending on experience with stage 1.
Cost of the controller and panel is $1075. A 2 year write-off is $2.70/day.

My objectives are a system that can be moved to another vehicle, provides enough juice to avoid worrying about it, and keeps me off the grid when I settle with a garden patch.

I really appreciate your taking the trouble to read and reply with any help.


971 Posts
While a little heavier and larger, you might try using two 6 volt batteries (They come in AGM, too). They hold their charge much longer than 12 volt batteries (I hear about double the time but don't quote me on that).

Good idea on increasing the inverter. You might need even bigger as your power needs get higher. So far you have a fridge and computer, but you'll have other electronic toys to keep charged or powered. You don't mention what your small SUV is but then you'll have to make sure the rear receiver can take the weight so nothing falls off. This will depend on what class of receiver is currently on the SUV. Make sure everything is locked down too. You might also consider having a front receiver installed too and be able to carry up front. Again watch your weight ratings to ensure your SUV can take all the weight.

The only thing I'd worry about is the quality of the shore power. You might need an EMS of some kind or even a surge protector/voltage protector like an Autoformer (but this might be overkill). Do not expect shore power to be "clean" and safe from lightning strikes that will fry your stuff, but there are ways to safeguard your electronics.

If you use a carrier for your batteries, the time you need to worry about bounce is if everything is too loose. If the tray that you install into the receiver is a tight fit (there are receiver inserts for this) and you strap the batteries to the carrier so they don't bounce around, then you should be okay. Just make sure whatever carries your batteries and the receiver can take the weight (two 12v or if four 6 volts, they weigh more).

Sounds like an exciting time for you. Happy trails and may all your adventures be positive!
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