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How Long Can We Last?


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Looking for some experienced advice, and I'm pretty sure this is where to get it. Here's the scenario: there are 2 of us- my wife and myself- we have 43 gal. of fresh water, 76 gal. grey water capacity, and 38 gal. black water holding tanks. We drink bottled water. We can take GI showers every 2-3 days, we have 2 gennies for power when needed, plenty of gas for them, we don't watch much TV, maybe a movie once in a while, but we do have satellite. Don't use the micro, and do most of our cooking outdoors on camp stoves or BBQs. Fridge can run on propane; same with water heater. 2 20 gal. propane tanks. I don't think we want to stay out much more than a week. By then it will be laundry time, re-stock, etc. We won't go anywhere where the weather is extreme- hot or cold. But we've been through many storms and inclement weather, and that's not a concern. I think I have all the tools I will need; my toolbox is pretty full. Compressor, hoses, full set of tools. Tire repair stuff. I can't think of much more at the moment. Soooooo.....what do you guys think?  Are we good for a week? We've camped all our lives, but never boondocked with a fiver. Thanks for any replies!   (I also posted this on the FR forum)

 

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Edited by RangeMaggotBob
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There are no hard and fast rules for how long you can go on the resources you have.

How will you handle battery recharging?  The fridge uses 12 volt battery power for the controls as do the lights.  

How big is your battery bank?

It might be doable, but you will need to be really watchful of the water supply.  You can use bottle water to drink and paper plates to minimize washing dishes.

Ken

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We boondock almost exclusively.  Our Class C has tank sizes of approximately 30/30/30.  We carry 3 5-gallon jugs to refill the fresh water tank between dumps.  We can go 7 days before we need to dump tanks.  We have an on-board generator and solar to recharge batteries.  The propane tanks needs to be refilled about once a month, sometimes less depending on how much we've had to use the forced-air furnace.

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I think you could go more than a week based on your description.
We have a truck camper (about 45 gallons fresh) and are good for an easy five days with both of us taking a shower every day.
Whenever available, we will use campground toilets and sometimes their showers if available and really clean.

 

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I believe you should be able to last a week with what you posted.  Your good on batt power with the genny to recharge.  If you conserve your fresh water you should be good there.  What limits me is the black water.  Wife and I can last 2 weeks before having to dump.  We have 140 gal fresh and a 40 gals black and a 40 gal grey tanks.  

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You can try boondocking in a full hookup site - just unplug from the utilities so you're self contained and go about your normal activities.  See what fills up or runs out first, then see if you can modify your behavior to make it last longer.

The advantage of being in a full hookup site for the test is you can just reconnect and replace whatever hits the limit without having to move.   The only thing I would do is plug into shore power whenever you'd run the generator instead of firing it up out of consideration for your neighbors.

Edited by Lou Schneider
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I would do as Lou suggest. The time that supplies will last is a very subjective thing. It just depends on how good you are at conserving water. Back when our boys were in their teens, we did a lot of backpacking which really teaches conservation. We also had a popup trailer that carried 15 gallons of water which we could make last for 3 or 4 days with my wife, myself, and 3 sons. Of course that did sponge bathing and not showers, but it shows what can be done. With our first motorhome, Pam & I used to go to square dance festivals that were Friday through Sunday and shower every day, and manage with only 30 gallons of water. Today, we have stopped doing any "ruffing it" type of travel and we till a 25 gallon grey tank in two or three days. 

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Your tank sizes are strange.  43 fresh, 76 grey, 38 black?  How would you fill the 76 grey with only 43 fresh to work with?  Just curious on why the mfg. did that.

Anyway..... we had 105 fresh, 65 grey, 45 black and we could last 2 weeks.  We didn't carry any extra water. We used the tank water for drinking and cooking.  We always had plenty of room in the black so the dish water was used for flushing.  When it was time to dump the grey the black was nearly full, also - they way it should be for a good flow.

We had solar.

I would think you could go a week.  Come back and let us know how it went.

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Not that odd.  Many manufacturers size the gray water tank assuming that you'll be hooked up to water but not to sewer. Since the gray water tank is usually the first to fill, it allows staying in a typical state park type campground (water & electricity but only a dump station for sewer) for a longer time. 

Our first fifth wheel had two gray water tanks whose total capacity far exceeded the fresh. 

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Last summer, we booked a site at a national forest campground in the Rockies for 2 weeks.  We knew there was no sewer at the campsite, but counted on using the blue tote to haul grey water to the dump station.  When we got there, we discovered there was no dump station.  The nearest one was at a water treatment plant on the other side of the nearest town several miles away.  So, we just conserved, and did what you are planning on doing.  We made it for the whole 2 weeks, and we only have a 55 gallon grey tank.  You should have no problems.

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5 hours ago, mptjelgin said:

Not that odd.  Many manufacturers size the gray water tank assuming that you'll be hooked up to water but not to sewer. Since the gray water tank is usually the first to fill, it allows staying in a typical state park type campground (water & electricity but only a dump station for sewer) for a longer time. 

Our first fifth wheel had two gray water tanks whose total capacity far exceeded the fresh. 

Our 5er also has more waste water storage than the 70 gallon fresh tank.  It came with a 2- 45 gallon grey tanks and a 45 gallon black tank.  I changed the black to 70 gallons.  We now carry another 100 gallons of fresh water on the truck, for a total of 170 gallons.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a 38 foot Class A diesel pusher. 100 gallon fresh, 53 gal grey, 56 gal black water. Large propane tank ?23 gallons on board, with extend a stay T. Diesel Cummins genset 7000Watts, 3 x 100 watts Renogy panels on roof.

Your question depends on summer or winter. I have summered in the mountains in Colorado for a job where I had to shower 5 of 7 days, cook, do dishes, etc. off grid. If I saved the dishwater for flushing toilet, or, used a dishpan and dumped out side, I could make the 100 gallons fresh last 2 weeks. Keep in mind I don't drink water out of the tank, only for household use. I carry 5 gallon Rhino BPA free jugs for fresh water from water dispensers (filtered). 5 gal fresh jug lasts a week with me and 3 dogs. Propane tank  draw was from frig/cooking/boil water for coffee and I didn't fill that up but every 3 months in warm months. I leave the hot water heater off until I want to shower, turn it on 10 minutes before, about the time it takes to get clothes laid out, brush teeth, organize what I'm taking for lunch. Even a 10 gallon water heater reservoir will heat to comfortable quickly with propane, almost like an on demand water heater.

I did this for a 13 week contract, moving every 2 weeks per National forest rules, so I would drive into town to dump station and water source at the visitor center. Trash management is worth mentioning, too. Take your trash out in the grocery bags you took it out in. It is less objectionable to business owners where you might pop it in their trash can, while supporting their business. Seeing a household trash bag grates on their good will, as they feel they are paying for your trash collection.

I would top up the batteries every night with a generator run before bed, mainly because the batteries were at the end of their useful life. New batteries do just fine with the panels.

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