One of the biggest misconceived notions about RVing and RV life is that it is a great way to save money- and although that statement could be true in some instances, in most you are spending money and often a lot of it to be an RVer.
Talking about how much money you are spending is one thing but let’s look at how you can save money? What products can we use to help achieve this and what are you typically spending your most amount of money on while out on the road in your RV. I find that knowledge is power and the more you know before RVing or the more you continue to learn while on the road can really help you along in your journey.
Looking at where you spend money on the road is important, being prepared for emergency spending is crucial. Something overlooked quite often though is how do we mitigate our cost right from the start of our journey? RV manufactures are doing a great job selling new units pre-wired for solar panels but there is not a lot of discussion or resources around solar power system options and batteries. Solar power systems and batteries are not just for remote hillside and mountain views they can in fact save you a tremendous amount of money while RVing.
One of the largest expenses in RVing is your campsite fees. As an RVer you have a variety of options for where you will be camping, some can add up rather quickly. Some of the more notable and cost-effective options are places such as your National Parks and State Parks, a small caveat to this is as each years passes RVs are becoming larger and larger and ruling out these two options for some RVers. The National Parks cannot accommodate larger RVs for the most part and if they do it is, very few and far between. They are also very popular places to camp and often require months in advance booking and are full a lot.
Your next option is small local campgrounds, these are great “if” you can get in, these fill up fast and typically have repeat customers, or fulltime residents. They will typically range anywhere from $40.00-$125.00 an evening, this adds up fast. Another option is RV Resorts, the bougie way to stay while RVing these places will include amenities such as pools, fitness centers, curbside trash pick-up, onsite activities for children and more but these come with a premium price. We see these prices ranging from $65.00 all the way to $200.00 a night for prime locations and holiday weekends. If you even, take the low end of the stays you are still looking at a campsite fee of around $2,000.00 a month and it is not often you find these on the low end.
Are there ways to save on campsite fees yes- can you purchase a membership to help you reduce these costs-yes but those come with many stipulations such as, you will need to be at certain locations for certain lengths of time and other variables that can feel constricting. For longer stays, typically over 30 days you are responsible for your electric use while at your campsite adding an additional fee. How do we combat this large expense associated with RVing? If you need a place to park your RV how do you possibly avoid these expensive costs?
By using a solar power system and Lithium battery set up you can greatly reduce your campsite stay fees, have flexibility to stay in more locations and if you are staying at a campsite for an extended period of time you can use your own electric generated by your solar power system, reducing your electric bill each month that you would incur from the campsite location. Solar power systems and the correct batteries open the doors for you as an RVer not just for those longer stays but also for quick overnight stops when you are trekking form one location to the next. The ability to reduce your monthly costs that drastically, is a huge win.
So how do we put this into practice and not just theory? Boondocking has become a widely popular word in the RV space, what once felt scary, and overwhelming is far more mainstream and accessible to the majority of RVrs. The industry has moved from generators that are often cumbersome, loud, and pricey to run, to a much more efficient way to stay away from using the costly campsite locations by using a solar power system and batteries that are effective. There is no doubt that solar power systems and lithium batteries are changing the way we can stay as RVers, it is opening endless options and saving us money!
If you are just beginning your RV journey, I encourage you to dive right into Boondocking and becoming familiar with using your system and staying at locations that allow you to start saving money. If you are already in the RV space, it may feel daunting and overwhelming to switch from those RV camping spots with full-hook up locations meaning they supply electric, water and sewage into the world of boondocking. I can assure you though that once your wallet starts to see the savings and you become more comfortable that it will not feel so foreign. What are your options for where you can stay?
Let’s look at short term locations, one of my absolute favorite ways to stay when needing a short-term location, perhaps when trekking from location to location is using Harvest Hosts. They offer a wide variety of locations such as breweries, wineries, farms, museums and more for overnight stays. Harvest Hosts opens a world of locations that you could not enjoy without your solar power system and lithium batteries. Some other options for overnight stay locations are Bass Pro Shop, Cracker Barrel, Walmart, Casinos, and Rest Stops, you will always want to check with the businesses to make sure they participate in RVers using their parking lots.
Unboxing a new Dakota Lithium 12v 200Ah
Longer stays are where it is at though, those are the times that you really get to enjoy the cost saving benefits of having a solar power system and lithioum batteries. You will find that the most common boondocking sites are on public lands, lands that we all have access to. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Army Corps of Engineers, State Parks, and National Forests. As we see campsites filling up fast this is a great alternative to being in crowded RV parks paying premium fees. Remember there are resources out there to find locations, lean on your fellow RVers and ask questions.
One of my personal favorites and truthfully how we have found some of the best boondocking locations is around those campfire chats with your fellow RV community, I love to ask the question “where is your favorite place to boondock?” those are the times when you realize how valuable leaning on your community can be.
Batteries can make or break your solar power system, speaking from personal experience I know first hand how specifically, Dakota Lithium Batteries can elevate your boondocking capability. Dakota Lithium batteries charge up to 5 times faster than other batteries and last 4 times as long. When choosing a battery, or battery set, the larger the Ah number, the more energy it can store. So, if you are looking for several days of boondocking, you want to ensure you have enough power stored! The key to a good solar power system is by far the batteries. There are plenty of online resources to better understand your power needs and these will help you choose the batteries you need. Boondocking can be more than just an amazing view, it can also be a money saver.