No hookups means a finite supply of water, power, and propane. Often times, one is dependent on another, such as your propane heater also requiring battery power for the fan. They key to boondocking is to bring as much supply while limiting consumption. Here are some tips for doing both.
Always start your trip with a full tank, which can be difficult to do given how the reservoirs and fill hoses are configured. You can use a quick tire ramp mod to slightly tilt the water reservoir for improved filling. This helped me get an additional 2-4 gallons in my tank.
If you need more than what your popup camper will store, you can fill your water bottles and hydration backpacks before leaving rather than using the camper’s faucet for this purpose. Or if you’ll be camping next to water, you can fill a bottle from that local source and sterilize it with the Steripen.
For larger amounts I recommend the Aqua-Tainer. It’s rectangular design allows for easy storage. A hideaway spout and screw on vent cap make for easy dispensing. Each will hold 7 gallons of water.
Once at the campsite, conserve water use wherever possible. Some quick tips:
- Use hand sanitizer instead of washing your hands.
- Use baby wipes instead of washing your face.
- When washing hands, don’t keep the faucet running. Wet your hands, turn the water off, soap down, and then turn the water on only to rinse. Use only a trickle of water.
- The same thing for brushing teeth – don’t keep the faucet running.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables before leaving rather than with precious campsite water.
- Wipe your dishes off before washing them.
The easiest way to not run out of propane is to bring twice as much. See how easy it is to install dual propane (LP) tanks.
To conserve propane, try the following:
- Use Reflectix insulation to keep the cold air out. This made a significant impact on my furnace cycle time and use.
- Instead of turning up the furnace thermostat, wear heavy pajamas, use extra blankets, and put on a stocking cap to keep your head warm. Remember: your furnace uses both propane (for heat) and battery power (for the fan).
- Cook on the campfire instead (propane free).
Similar to propane, an easy way to increase your battery capacity is by simply adding a second battery.
To conserve what battery power you do have, you can:
- NEVER run your fridge on 12-volt mode.
- Prop open your roof vent but don’t run the powered fan.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.
- Limit furnace fan use by trying the suggestions mentioned above for propane conservation.
You’ll also want to monitor battery consumption. This can be as simple as a multi-meter reading taken directly from the battery or a more convenient battery monitoring solution placed inside the camper. Just remember that you don’t want to draw your deep cycle battery down below about 50% unless it’s an emergency. The chart below will help you understand how much power remains.