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Old 07-27-2010, 12:04 PM   #1
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Running the refrigerator for 'dry camping'

Hello fellow 'Escapers'! I am one of the new owners, not just of an Escape, but of any form of trailers and the use of batteries/ propane, etc. I have been going to campgrounds that have hook ups, but hope to begin to dry camp more often. I do not have a generator as of yet, and wonder about the refrigerator keep cold with battery use and propane. Can anyone tell me about that? And any other hints about dry camping that I should know about? I have done much camping, but know little about using trailer and the batteries.
Thanks for any help. Escaper Robin
ps LOVING my Escape 17!!!!
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:00 PM   #2
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Re: Running the refrigerator for 'dry camping'

My dry camping experiences are limited to my old Casita, but we found the Dometic refrigerator worked VERY well on propane. In fact, it took us a while to find a setting which wouldn't freeze everything in the box. I also added a small 12v fan inside the fridge which circulated the cold air and kept the lettuce from freezing.

I always started the fridge the day before we left as it took a while to get cold. We also made sure everything was cold before we put it in the fridge. While driving I ran the fridge on propane (and there are multiple discussions and threads about that subject, both on this website and others) and never had any problems.

Dave


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Old 07-27-2010, 08:00 PM   #3
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Re: Running the refrigerator for 'dry camping'

Like Dave we always use propane and drive with it on... works great,
you can turn the whole fridge into a freezer if you turn the temp. down to much.
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:53 PM   #4
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Re: Running the refrigerator for 'dry camping'

Quote:
Originally Posted by robinp
Hello fellow 'Escapers'! I am one of the new owners, not just of an Escape, but of any form of trailers and the use of batteries/ propane, etc. I have been going to campgrounds that have hook ups, but hope to begin to dry camp more often. I do not have a generator as of yet, and wonder about the refrigerator keep cold with battery use and propane. Can anyone tell me about that? And any other hints about dry camping that I should know about? I have done much camping, but know little about using trailer and the batteries.
Thanks for any help. Escaper Robin
ps LOVING my Escape 17!!!!
Hi Robin,
Few Things to think about when dry camping (alias - boondocking)
-Your refrig is not one of them. Dave and Doug have excellent suggestions (get the refrig cold the day before and put cold food in it). Also, I agree with them on running the propane in route. Not everyone does, but that's OK. It is required to shut it down when you go thru tunnels and on ferries, however. Don't worry, your refrig will do better on propane than electricity.
--Your battery is your only source of power so guard it. Make sure it's fully charged before you go. Use lights sparingly (unless you have switched to LED's). In the summer time, your Maxxfan has the biggest need for power behind your lights. In the winter, it's your furnace fan. So, be aware. I really can't say how long our 2 6V batteries will operate the Maxxfan continuously? The refrig doesn't use any when on propane.
---Probably the biggest factor in how long you can stay out (for us anyway) is the volume of water you use, and the storage space for the waste. The black tank is not a problem. You could stay out a pretty good time without needing to dump. But the grey tank is the culprit, particularily if you shower, or otherwise bathe. We can take 4 showers on one tank of water, so that means 2 days for us dry. If you are the master of the "spit bath" than you can obviously go longer. We don't use the water tank for drinking water, only for washing and flushing.
<one hint in general, not related to boondocking, but essential to maintaining your camper. Always have the black tank at least 2/3 full before you dump. You can fill it at the dump station with extra water if necessary. That volume is necessary to have enough pressure to properly flush out the tank. If you don't have enough fluids, you will leave behind solids that will stick to the inside of your black tank, and eventually make the tank difficult to properly maintain. I always add a gallon of water, some detergent, and a capful of Calgon (water softner) to the black tank after dumping, so "swish around" while on the way home. A bucket is all you need to empty when you get home, and dispose of in the toilet. Helps keep everything smelling good inside the camper>
Staying somewhere out in the wild it GREAT! You have a lot fewer neighbors making noise that way (unless it's the frogs and tree insects) : - )
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:45 PM   #5
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Re: Running the refrigerator for 'dry camping'

...and to add to the "black tank tips," put some ice cubes in the black tank and drive a bit before dumping; they help to further macerate the mix. Dump black tank first, then grey water.

Dave
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:21 AM   #6
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Re: Running the refrigerator for 'dry camping'

Hi: All... Keeping your freezeable salad fixin's in a zippered insulated lunch bag will prevent "Frozen salad syndrome" Alf
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:47 AM   #7
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Re: Running the refrigerator for 'dry camping'

That's a great idea Alf. There has been a few times when the outside temps drop, and then so do the temps in the fridge, freezing the lettuce.
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:06 AM   #8
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Re: Running the refrigerator for 'dry camping'

Yes, thanks for the tip. I will have fine salad then this weekend, dry-camping at Point Beach State Forest...
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:07 PM   #9
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Re: Running the refrigerator for 'dry camping'

I bought a small battery operated fan (specifically for the fridge)at an RV place last year--just disconnect the batteries when we are at home.(still on the same two D batteries)
Works really well and I have not noticed any frozen salad at all....
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