Camping without Hookups

Across the street from our site

Across the street from our site

We left Trimble Park and headed back to Ocean Pond instead of Fore Lake because this weekend is going to be rainy and we wanted hookups.  But when we got to Ocean Pond, all of the water and electric sites were taken, so we ended up in a water-only site anyway.

The magic solar panel!

The magic solar panel!

I’m kind of glad, because it gave me a chance to see what our solar panel would do.

This morning, the battery was at 12.22.  At noon, the battery was fully charged, in spite of its being in partial shade for a while.  I was thrilled.  I got my smart phone and Ron’s Nook charged, too.  But I took my laptop down to Gail’s electric site and she charged it for me.

We have all LED lights in the trailer, so that helps keep our electricity needs to a minimum.

Our site -- chosen for sun exposure morning and afternoon.

Our site — chosen for sun exposure morning and afternoon.

Today was beautiful.  It got cold last night, but it reached 70 today.  Tomorrow’s supposed to be cooler, but still nice.

AND Gail and Mike’s offer on the house was accepted!  They close the 18th and will move in 30 days later.  I am almost as excited as they are!


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  1. Love solar!

    • Judie, our panel is only 90 watts and I didn’t really expect it to charge our battery that fast. It was a very nice surprise. I learned how to use minimal resources when I did primitive camping and backpacking. So I guess some of those lessons carried over. It sure made my day. 🙂

  2. cozybegone

     /  November 21, 2014

    Cool life off the grid….I so want to try that. Our whole journey with a suitcase solar setup, haven’t tried yet! Jealous!!!

    • After my shower this evening, I was going to blow dry my hair. Then I temembered I couldn’t. So the solar panel is great, but I do miss my electric coffee pot and blow dryer. 🙂

  3. I bet that solar system would work great for me and my tiny camper. At least now you know how well it works for you. I like that it doesn’t need to be screwed down which can lead to many problems. Also wondering about the flexable panels that only need to be glued in place
    Happy for your sister.

    • Jo, tiny campers are the right rigs for these solar panels. They wouldn’t make much of a difference on a big rig.

  4. Jerryc

     /  November 21, 2014

    I like being off the grid, but Wanda loves her hair dryer, also. That’s why we carry a Honda rather than solar. May still pick up a suitcase one day.

  5. We camp off the grid most of the time, and find ourselves evaluating campsites by the amount of sun they’ll get, and the number of times we’ll have to move our solar unit around to capture it. We love solar – wouldn’t trade it for power. Our favorite campsites have all been of the rustic type. Sun power! Glad you’re having a good experience using yours for the first time.

    • Judy, although I know how it works, I still feel like a kid doing a science project. And that inner kid still thinks it’s really magic!

  6. I want one!!!

    I crank up the generator to run my hair dryer. It feels a little silly and always makes me laugh. But my hair looks better.

    • You are fortunate to have a built in generator for hair dryer and air conditioning. But solar is nice, even with its limitations because it’s free energy–after you buy the equipment.

      I’ve seen several Roadtreks this trip. I always eye them a bit enviously. But I really love my Casita. 🙂

  7. Congratulations! Wade into the off grid slowly…it’s just another way of thinking.
    I usually am camping where it’s warm enough to dry the hair naturally but frequently use the hand dryer in the ladies room. Gives me a real bouffant look! A perk coffee pot or a plastic melita filter will solve the coffee dilemma.
    My laptop is a bit of a challenge but by placing the inverter in the truck and charging on errands will get it powered back up.
    Looking forward to hearing more about the house!!!

    • Lynne, we had a chance to get a site here with hookups this morning, but since the senior rate without hookups is only $6.00 a night, we are staying here through Sunday night. It will probably not be a lot of fun spending a rainy two or three days, but I do want to know exactly what I can expect from that one panel.

      I thought of getting another one to hook up in series, but that would,be too much weight. I think I’d rather adjust my power consumption to what is available.

      Thanks for the tip about using the truck to charge things. 🙂

  8. Need to get a solar(suitcase type) soon…do have a generator, but solar would be soooo much better…looks like you Guys are enjoying the time….Happy Trails…Horst sends

  9. Horst, if I had a good generator, I’m not sure I would worry with solar, too. They are both great.

    We are having a marvelous time, in spite of the rain that will last for two more days.

  10. Do you have an inverter? Two 6 volt batteries (Series) and an inverter and you could do Coffee, Hair Dryer etc. Just let the panels bring the batts back up between short use of big loads. That is cool beans. Hare Dryer and Coffee est 1100 watts. So you would need a 1500 watt inverter.

  11. hair….geesh

    • unless of course you are drying rabbits!!

      • Haha! That was my giggle for the night–hare dryer. I want one. I NEED one! 😀

        On my Aliner I had two six volt batteries. I don’t have room in the Casita unless I get really creative. It would make a big difference to have the dual batteries to get through 2 more days of rain.

        • AHH are the batteries not on the tounge in a Casita? I got a little creative and put four six volt on my HyBrid camper back in 2010. All on the Tongue. Now those are onboard the 5er and the orig battery box is for inverters.

          • I wish I could put them on the tongue. Or even on the rear of the trailer. The 17′ Casitas are very tongue heavy. We are pushing our truck’s tongue weight limit as it is.

            If I wanted to remove the benches and do some serious mods, I could make a second battery work. But I’m not that energetic right now.

  12. Marsha

     /  November 23, 2014

    We also have a 90 watt solar panel that we use extensively. We were glad we had it when we camped at Glacier because the only spot we could get was in the no generator loop.

    We bought our generator first, but find we use the solar panel more. The only time we haul the generator out is when there are the really cloudy days or rain.

    • Marsha, thanks so much for your comment. I was wondering if I was trying to expect too much out of my panel. You have reassured me that our little panel is adequate for our modest needs.

      Iit only got down to 60 last night, so we didn’t need the furnace. And even though it is cloudy with rain on and off, the panel is still slowly charging.

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