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  1. #3851
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Meiss Meadows
    Posts
    1,087
    Yes, get a solar panel.
    No, it isn’t much help on storm days, but alas not enough of my days are storm days.

    My Duo controller also charges the engine battery. Great if in storage.

  2. #3852
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    sydney
    Posts
    71
    Hey guys,

    coming over from Aus and rented a decent sized campervan for a couple of weeks, any info on cheap powered spots around South Tahoe or Northstar would be good if they exist. no problems bumming it on the side of the road but using a heater would be nice for a couple of nights.

    After spending a few weeks in Japan and then Colorado with friends ill be driving LA > hoover dam/Grand Canyon > Zion np > Tahoe and then come back via SF/Yosemite and Big sur.

    Probably only going to spend a few days in Tahoe because ill have done a fair bit of skiing beforehand but any beta on the other areas or new suggestions would be appreciated.

    cheers

  3. #3853
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Sölden
    Posts
    375
    I took the idea mentioned previously, and filled the void between my camper + wheel well. It is a easy solution which gives me quite a bit more space. I will not be storing anything in there unless I am actively using the truck just for security concerns(camping/ski bumming etc.) Click image for larger version. 

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    Furthermore, so I have decided which route I am going to go as of right now as far as the camper electrical/furnace goes.
    I don't want to invest right now in a full solar setup + one or two nice deep cycle batteries. For the mean time, I am going to run a Wave 3 for heat primarily, fridge, and range off of propane. I have a Mr. Buddy as a backup already.
    Electric, purchase a decent 100AH battery that I can later turn into a decent solar setup, tie in into the existing electrical system and have a charger for it. Run my roof fan and a light off of it solely, and charge off shore power when I am back home. I figure with running 20AH a nightish off of a fan on low circulating air, I can get two solid nights of camping before running into 50% issues on the deep cycle. Charge phones off of the truck itself. I just don't want to put the money into the solar setup right now, while I can make-do with what I have at the time.

  4. #3854
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Funland
    Posts
    1,155
    I did a basic house battery install for a buddy this summer. Here's a rough drawing on the circuit and load calculations.


    Battery Doctor 125A Smart Isolator - $60
    Misc wires, lugs, and insulators - $50
    Fuse Block - $15
    100AH 12V AGM battery - $200
    $325 for a 100AH isolated system that will charge your house battery off your alternator but won't drain your start battery. Bonus - you can press a button on the isolator to jump your starting battery off of your house battery if need be.


    Renogy has reasonably priced and high quality solar equipment.
    100W panel - $115
    RV Tilt Bracket - $40
    Cable Passthru - $15
    10' 10AWG wire (overbuilt, planning for upgrade in the future) - $25
    30A Charge Controller - $120
    More (overengineered) wire - $25

    $350 to upgrade it to Solar.

    Even though AGM and Gel Cell batteries are supposed to be sealed and maintenance free it's still a really good idea to have them vented. In this case, with the gap around your wheel wells, you could store them there in a cheap, discrete, battery box.

  5. #3855
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    324
    So I just heard on the news about a town in WA called Moses Lake is seeing increase in homeless camps in parks but cops can’t kick them off because they don’t have a shelter.

    If this is true to all states, it will increase places to park your rig/RV to camp overnight.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  6. #3856
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,170
    Quote Originally Posted by pow_pow~ View Post
    Hey guys,

    coming over from Aus and rented a decent sized campervan for a couple of weeks, any info on cheap powered spots around South Tahoe or Northstar would be good if they exist. no problems bumming it on the side of the road but using a heater would be nice for a couple of nights.

    After spending a few weeks in Japan and then Colorado with friends ill be driving LA > hoover dam/Grand Canyon > Zion np > Tahoe and then come back via SF/Yosemite and Big sur.

    Probably only going to spend a few days in Tahoe because ill have done a fair bit of skiing beforehand but any beta on the other areas or new suggestions would be appreciated.

    cheers
    i'd say , stay stealth, looks like the itinerary is not that cold. best of luck!

  7. #3857
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sun Peaks Resort
    Posts
    413
    Quote Originally Posted by tmokes View Post
    So I just heard on the news about a town in WA called Moses Lake is seeing increase in homeless camps in parks but cops can’t kick them off because they don’t have a shelter.

    If this is true to all states, it will increase places to park your rig/RV to camp overnight.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Do you really think that homeless tent camps will spring up in ski country? Also people who are camping in licensed motor vehicles will be subject to parking tickets or getting towed, even if parked beside a tent city.

  8. #3858
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by pow_pow~ View Post
    Hey guys,

    coming over from Aus and rented a decent sized campervan for a couple of weeks, any info on cheap powered spots around South Tahoe or Northstar would be good if they exist. no problems bumming it on the side of the road but using a heater would be nice for a couple of nights.

    After spending a few weeks in Japan and then Colorado with friends ill be driving LA > hoover dam/Grand Canyon > Zion np > Tahoe and then come back via SF/Yosemite and Big sur.

    Probably only going to spend a few days in Tahoe because ill have done a fair bit of skiing beforehand but any beta on the other areas or new suggestions would be appreciated.

    cheers
    "Cheap" and "powered" do not go well together although you may be able to park in front of a closed business in South Tahoe or Truckee for the night and find a plug. Not sure how big of a "campervan" you are renting, but assuming you are coming in winter since you are skiing and that you are returning it to LA. "Zion np > Tahoe and then come back via SF/Yosemite and Big sur" is a lot of driving, especially if in anything bigger than a van. Note that Highway 120 through Yosemite will be closed and Highway 1 through Big Sur can get closed from mudslides, etc. during a big winter and it took more than a year to re-open after damage from 2016-17 winter. Zion can also have roads and trails closed by snow during winter.

    To do "Tahoe and then come back via SF/Yosemite and Big Sur", I think your best route choices are Tahoe to SF to Big Sur (probably best to drive all the way though Big Sur from Monterey/Carmel to Cambria or Morro Bay and then through Fresno to/from Yosemite) OR Tahoe to Yosemite (via highway 88 W - stop at Kirkwood, especially if on a Vail pass - to Jackson, 49 S past to Sonora and 120 into Yosemite) to SF then CA-1 (or US-101 if you want to save some time) to and through Big Sur.
    Last edited by tseeb; 10-02-2018 at 04:37 PM.

  9. #3859
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Leadville, CO
    Posts
    3,728
    Quote Originally Posted by pow_pow~ View Post
    Hey guys,

    coming over from Aus and rented a decent sized campervan for a couple of weeks, any info on cheap powered spots around South Tahoe or Northstar would be good if they exist. no problems bumming it on the side of the road but using a heater would be nice for a couple of nights.

    After spending a few weeks in Japan and then Colorado with friends ill be driving LA > hoover dam/Grand Canyon > Zion np > Tahoe and then come back via SF/Yosemite and Big sur.

    Probably only going to spend a few days in Tahoe because ill have done a fair bit of skiing beforehand but any beta on the other areas or new suggestions would be appreciated.

    cheers
    free places - updated -

    ** Be very careful , cautious and courteous with generators - generally speaking - try to never use them in free camp spots - ever
    better to cycle between house battery and running main engine to recharge - mostly be very cognizant of those around you and or managers workers shoppers at places you are poaching or getting a freee night - (No Free powered spots except in your friends driveways)


    there's a city parking lot in Truckee next the train tracks that overnight parking is allowed. This past winter i was run out of everything at or near squaw and alpine v. in fact im still holding a grudge on those a holes. its loud at the train tracks , you can move during the day to squaw valley parking dont have to be skiing, you can hang in rv, or you can hang during day parked at library (nice) , or the grocery going into squaw, or the safeway heading toward truckee, i would not stay in these last named lots overnight based on my obs and experience, and you will be kicked out of squaw...which is least camper friendly of any area in the West less Denver i-70 corridor (except Frisco* see below)

    There is an app for Walmart parking lots, that tells you if they allow or not ( some do not like san jose, ca, some allow only one night like bozeman mt, Butte Montana good for several nights) the App is called: Allstays (costs one time like $2) worth it , walmarts are reviewed and notes about stays are there.

    You can pretty much stay at any truck stops ( pilot, flying j, loves, ) but not any TA (Travel Centers) (like Denver-Lakewood without permission??- one night max) Although, I did hang out at a Travel Center in Reno (sorry splat, i was going to call) , I would make a point not to roll out your fake grass , grill, folding chairs and tables at these locations as they are like gold and not a camp ground...i saw offenders (aka dumbasses ) set up a tent on a walmart median in montana outside their rough rv...that is pushing it and runs risk of causing those free spots to disappear - shop there , stick receipts in windows with tape

    In general Denver is going to be tough....there are a couple of pay RV lots, but due to the housing crisis in Denver, most of these tend to seem more like mobile home lots even though mostly RVs with many long term tenants and those can look a little 3rd world imo , There are more options once you leave the main federal interstate corridors but many/most of these are paid...

    There's an overnight lot in Frisco, CO in mountains Scummit Cnty (serves breck, abasin, copper, keystone, etc) can get away with a night at wally world too....maybe...they will tow....for certain infractions

    Rest Stops on interstates can be good for a night - Northern Nevada and Wyoming are espeically friendly , many with full and FREE black grey water dump stations....nice!

    plenty of pay options all over

    in and around denver mostly full due to housing crisis

    some or most can be filled with long term tenants, although the ones out on interstates in remote areas are more like campgrounds, I have a friend that had to stay in one in Buena Vista CO for a couple of weeks and had to watch a dude in very small rv walk by every morning with bottles of pee because he did not have black or grey water tanks - so there's that - he and wife and dogs are older folks and more into enjoying morning coffee and watching the scenery , so pee man didnt work for them -

    I could write a lot more about managing your battery, heat , various appliances , black and grey water while on the road for long periods of time 90 days + in deep Winter in snow and cold

    I'm giving you low hanging fruit, but its still great info imo
    Last edited by MiCol; 10-02-2018 at 10:40 AM.
    My Company: Made in Colorado SKi Clothing- check it out

    www.freeridesystems.com
    25% Maggot Discount Code = 'MAGGOT18'

  10. #3860
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Sandy
    Posts
    884
    ^Good info there for someone from out of the country who may not be familiar with where to/where not to park.

  11. #3861
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Sölden
    Posts
    375
    Quote Originally Posted by tBatt View Post
    I did a basic house battery install for a buddy this summer. Here's a rough drawing on the circuit and load calculations.
    tBatt, I will send you a PM with what I am working with you if don't mind answering some questions which is pretty similar to this.

  12. #3862
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    sydney
    Posts
    71
    Thanks MiCol for the great info, it will definitely be a big help.

    I found a pretty good airbnb in Silverthorne, combined with hiring a car actually worked out to be cheaper than a camper.

    Im not too fussed about the cold, California really shouldn't be un-manageable. However my girlfriend might be different so just trying to get as much info as possible to make good decisions when there.

    Are there any rec centres or gyms around South Tahoe or Truckee that you would recommend? a warm shower can do wonders for a cold girl haha.

    As to the distances and route brought up by tseeb, Im not too worried about trying to save time or take a shorter route. Coming from Australia I do some pretty long drives, this is the kind of trip that I would be happy to do some criss-crossing to see what I want to see as I might not have the opportunity to do it again. The route is also quite fluid as it snow conditions will be an important factor. Van is also about 18.5ft so not too big.

    We don't have black water and grey will be winterised so not much use. One thing that has been on my mind has been how to keep my laptop and other electronics from being destroyed from the cold, or are they usually alright?
    Last edited by pow_pow~; 10-02-2018 at 10:14 PM.

  13. #3863
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Scummit
    Posts
    7,850
    Quote Originally Posted by pow_pow~ View Post
    Thanks MiCol for the great info, it will definitely be a big help.

    I found a pretty good airbnb in Silverthorne, combined with hiring a car actually worked out to be cheaper than a camper.

    Im not too fussed about the cold, California really shouldn't be un-manageable. However my girlfriend might be different so just trying to get as much info as possible to make good decisions when there.

    Are there any rec centres or gyms around that area that you would recommend? a warm shower can do wonders for a cold girl haha.

    As to the distances and route brought up by tseeb, Im not too worried about trying to save time or take a shorter route. Coming from Australia I do some pretty long drives, this is the kind of trip that I would be happy to do some criss-crossing to see what I want to see as I might not have the opportunity to do it again. The route is also quite fluid as it snow conditions will be an important factor. Van is also about 18.5ft so not too big.

    We don't have black water and grey will be winterised so not much use. One thing that has been on my mind has been how to keep my laptop and other electronics from being destroyed from the cold, or are they usually alright?
    Hit me up when in Silverthorne. I'll grab a beer with ya.
    Silverthorne has a pretty nice Rec center w/ showers and hot tub and stuff for pretty cheap. So does Breck.
    There's usually people parked on the side of the road on US hwy6 Loveland pass all winter. Get to listen to semis all night, but not a bad spot for a night or two.
    There's also a few other spots I can tell you about if you PM me.

    And your electronics will be fine in the cold, but the batteries will need to be charged more often. Just keep em plugged into the rv and should be fine.

  14. #3864
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    sydney
    Posts
    71
    Quote Originally Posted by shredgnar View Post
    Hit me up when in Silverthorne. I'll grab a beer with ya.
    Silverthorne has a pretty nice Rec center w/ showers and hot tub and stuff for pretty cheap. So does Breck.
    There's usually people parked on the side of the road on US hwy6 Loveland pass all winter. Get to listen to semis all night, but not a bad spot for a night or two.
    There's also a few other spots I can tell you about if you PM me.

    And your electronics will be fine in the cold, but the batteries will need to be charged more often. Just keep em plugged into the rv and should be fine.

    Updated post for rec showers around Tahoe/truckee. Thanks for the info, got a warm airbnb in Colorado though so should be sweet. Probably going to hire a car from Turo.com, a subaru/similar awd from Denver.

  15. #3865
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Uber Alles California
    Posts
    3,735
    2 Costco six volt golf cart batteries in series $125 EA and 100W panel $150 and dunzo. Im at 12.3-12.5 volts pretty constant.
    Hello darkness my old friend

  16. #3866
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    NCW
    Posts
    1,844
    Quote Originally Posted by Dhelihiker View Post
    2 Costco six volt golf cart batteries in series $125 EA and 100W panel $150 and dunzo. Im at 12.3-12.5 volts pretty constant.
    damn, CA is expensive. I think I spent $135 for two GC's at Costco.

  17. #3867
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,170
    hide in plain sight. work van.

    fleet vehicle

    deliver. results.

  18. #3868
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    tetons
    Posts
    6,552
    Quote Originally Posted by byates1 View Post
    hide in plain sight. work van.

    fleet vehicle

    deliver. results.
    totally agree. I like that our new van looks like a plumbers van or something boring that one overlooks

    we laughed about getting a wrap for it that makes it look old and rusty - or one that makes it look like an old truck with a hay bale on the back lolol
    skid luxury

  19. #3869
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    368
    How do you folks deal with heating in the winter? Are you mostly parking at RV camps to use electricity? Those with extra batteries, do you get enough juice to heat your van/rv?

  20. #3870
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    tetons
    Posts
    6,552
    we use a Mr. Heater with propane and it's not ideal but works pretty well and is much cheaper than the fancy heaters my husband wants to install that attach to the gas tank etc

    we have solar panels but I think most decent heaters are still going to draw too much power to last too long on solar/ batteries

    good question though- I'm also interested to hear what people mostly use
    skid luxury

  21. #3871
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sun Peaks Resort
    Posts
    413
    Quote Originally Posted by b-bear View Post
    totally agree. I like that our new van looks like a plumbers van or something boring that one overlooks

    we laughed about getting a wrap for it that makes it look old and rusty - or one that makes it look like an old truck with a hay bale on the back lolol
    To complete the commercial stealth van look and to make sure no one wants to break into your van, I recommend a magnetic sign for the doors: B-Bear Diaper Service.

  22. #3872
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    1,695
    I have one house battery and it isn't enough for the winter. The suburban furnace runs enough to lower the battery to the red zone every day. Solar helps but honestly I want like 4 batteries.

  23. #3873
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    on the banks of Fish Creek
    Posts
    606
    Quote Originally Posted by nomad_games View Post
    How do you folks deal with heating in the winter? Are you mostly parking at RV camps to use electricity? Those with extra batteries, do you get enough juice to heat your van/rv?

    One of these,

    https://salamanderstoves.com/the-hobbit-stove/

    With this option added,

    https://salamanderstoves.com/product...ve-direct-air/

    Nice dry heat... Good for combating condensation and the drying out of wet clothes and boots.



  24. #3874
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sun Peaks Resort
    Posts
    413
    Quote Originally Posted by nomad_games View Post
    How do you folks deal with heating in the winter? Are you mostly parking at RV camps to use electricity? Those with extra batteries, do you get enough juice to heat your van/rv?
    Most RV parks are closed in winter.
    The 12v fan in my 18k BTU propane furnace will draw down my 2 AGM camper batteries in a day or 2, especially since I keep the heat on low for my dog during the day. The furnace also goes thru quite a bit of propane so I have 2 20lb (5 gal.) tanks.

    Due to snow, clouds and reduced daylight hours in winter, solar is not reliable. I run my Honda 2000 watt generator every other night or so with the furnace turned off so it won't drain the batteries at the same time I am trying to charge them with a smart battery charger. I then heat the camper with an electric space heater.

  25. #3875
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Sölden
    Posts
    375
    Quote Originally Posted by nomad_games View Post
    How do you folks deal with heating in the winter? Are you mostly parking at RV camps to use electricity? Those with extra batteries, do you get enough juice to heat your van/rv?
    The cheapest way and user friendly is propane as in Mr. Buddy or Olympian Wave 3/6. But, you can get serious condensation build up and of course Carbon Monoxide issues. Both can be prevented/mitigated with proper ventilation and CO/Smoke/Combo detectors.
    The next up would be forced air propane furnace. Which uses electricity and propane to essentially do just what it sounds like. Less condensation, can be used on a thermostat, and is generally safer than straight propane due to air movement. Downside..electricity.
    Electric heaters are awesome..except they require tons of electricity.
    Many can use the later two with a generator like said above with the Honda 2000. Downside to that is you are running a generator. Here in Colorado, I would say 75% of the places I winter camp for backcountry skiing would be frowned upon heavily if I had a generator running all night.
    One of the best ways is wood stove as mentioned above. Fuel is cheap, dry heat etc. Downside is no control over heat as they get super hot pretty quick, and of course the exhaust gases are hot/smokey.

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