We survived our first 12 days of boondocking in the desert! It has been a great time, and we have learned so much about off-grid living. We are taking a little time out for a week, as we have had a vacation planned for many months now, so we will depart the desert for a week. However, we will be coming back and taking up where we left off next week! The Big Tent Show starts next week, and we would like to have a look at that.
I think the most difficult thing we have had to do is to manage our electrical usage properly. This is mostly not a problem, but with overnight temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s, the demand for the furnace has been pretty high. Since the furnace runs off of 12V, and is a huge consumer of electric, we have had to ration usage at night/early morning.
To stretch the battery power, we have done a few things to help:
- Turn thermostat to 53° before going to bed. The furnace usually doesn't kick on until very early morning.
- Close off the front and back. We use the pocket door to close off the front, and turn the furnace off up there. It usually gets down to 45ish up front in the morning.
- Move in one bedroom slide. Our bed is on a slide, and we move it in. It reduces the number of exposed areas outside. The other slide has a closet built in, so it is a little insulated.
- Load up every blanket we have onto the bed. And the dog. And keep socks on. And don't drink too much before bed so I don't have to go to the bathroom before it warms up.
So, that has been the most challenge so far. Everything else has been pretty easy. I established a walk-around every day to peek in on the systems. Genny check, water tanks, batteries (check water), check the master panel. After a few days, a guy really gets to know his stuff!
We are now on the hunt for a catalytic heater. A lot of boondockers out here really swear by them. The ones we have looked at claim they are RV safe, and have oxygen depletion sensors built in. They burn at 100% efficiency, and do not use any 12V to heat. I will do a bit more research and report back if we end up getting one.
Today's summary: bundle up, keep an eye on your systems, and you too can last all night in the desert!