Boondocking, also called dry camping or off-the-grid RV travel, means parking your rig outside the typical comfort zones of conventional camping. Going on a boondocking adventure means that your vehicle’s battery should hold out for the trip’s duration.
So how long will RV battery last boondocking? An RV battery’s life depends on its capacity and charge. For instance, an average 12-volt battery can work for about two days before it needs a recharge.
You can extend the life of the battery by rationing the usage of your electronic devices in your RV during your trip. Also, keep reading to know more about how an RV battery hold a charge and other relevant information.
Table of Contents
How Long Will My RV Battery Last Boondocking
The standard 12-volt RV battery should last about two days before it needs recharging. Having multiple batteries can extend usage, which is ideal to prevent emergency power outages.
Also, take note that some batteries tend to last longer than others. For example, solar-powered batteries may have a longer charge than conventional RV power cells since you can do a trickle charge to limit battery discharge.
You can also watch the video below to see a series of tests to know how long two batteries can last in an RV:
How to Charge an RV Battery While Boondocking
You can charge RV battery when boondocking by using two techniques.
The first method is to buy a high-quality battery charger. The model you are looking for should deliver a 40 amp charge rate at least. Then, for every hour of running your RV generator, you can charge your RV battery with 40 amps.
As for the other method, you need to install a 3-stage converter charger to your rig. Like the previous technique, this charger should provide a 40 amp per hour charge rate at the least.
The difference between these two options is that the second method requires you to make a permanent installation, but the 3-stage converter charger tends to provide better performance than the battery charger.
How Many Batteries Do I Need for My RV Boondocking
If you want to rough it while boondocking, you might only need one 12-volt battery for the trip. This single unit might be enough to supply you with power if your retreat is only for a few days.
But consider buying two 12 volt batteries with 100 amps per hour each. Then, connect the batteries using a parallel connection to provide sufficient power for your electronics while you are boondocking.
Take note that many RVs should already have two wires for battery connections, but forming a parallel connection with two batteries requires four wires. Therefore, if you want to achieve this result, you need to buy two extra wires for the connection to work.
How to Extend the Life of RV Batteries While Boondocking
Extending the life of an RV battery will help you enjoy your appliances and other electronics while boondocking. Here are some tips to help increase your RV battery’s life expectancy:
- Routine RV battery maintenance can extend its life.
- Never discharge a 12-volt battery below 12-volts.
- Discharge your battery less (for example, a 50% depth of discharge is better than 20%).
- Use distilled water when adding water to the battery.
- Do not overcharge. Check the water level of the battery if it is in a hot climate.
Why is My RV Battery Not Holding a Charge
An RV battery not holding charge might mean it has sulfation. Sulfation or corrosion is fairly common in RV batteries, and it happens when the many charging and discharging cycles result in sulfate crystals.
These particles can prevent the battery from charging properly, leading to its unusable state. Check out the following video to know how to neutralize and clean battery corrosion:
How Long Does a Deep Cycle Battery Last
Many people tend to talk about the lifespan of a battery in terms of years. However, this point of measurement is generally not accurate since you need to consider many factors that can affect the longevity of a battery, such as the battery cycle and depth of discharge.
Take note that one battery cycle is one charging and discharging period. RV batteries tend to have a finite amount of deep cycles, which should be around 1,000. Note that the RV battery may not supply sufficient power if it reaches that limit.
For example, a company says that a deep cycle battery lasts 20 years. But upon checking the fine print, you find that the tested battery needs to use only 5% of its discharge to last that long.
In this case, expect the life expectancy of the deep cycle battery to be lower than 20 years if you are going to use more than 5% of its power before each recharge.
How long will RV battery last boondocking? Keep in mind that the answer to this question depends on certain factors, such as its usage and average life expectancy.
Extend the charge and life of your RV battery by practicing the following methods:
- Recharge the battery timely to prevent corrosion or sulfation.
- Do not discharge the battery below 12 volts.
- Check the water in the battery if it is under hot weather.
- Use distilled water if you are adding moisture into the battery.