If you love the excitement and adventure of the open road, RV or van conversion living may be right up your street. The sheer range of amazing tiny homes on wheels you can make your own makes the allure of driving off into the horizon a dream lifestyle for many.
But even the most enthusiastic nomadic traveler needs a power solution to power TVs, Hot showers, and even the internet from time to time.
Mobile living demands a simpler approach to life and a minimalistic outlook that has won it ardent fans who appreciate being in no rush to put down roots!
Indeed, many individuals and families have opted to make the nomadic lifestyle as 24/7/365 with residences including all sorts of vehicles including the iconic yellow school bus.
How you will get the power you need to supply a road-trippin’ lifestyle!
Making a vehicle a home on wheels certainly takes some creative thinking. Not only do you have to find somewhere to put yourself and your stuff but you need your RV or bus to be able to provide you with the amenities that usually come with a house or apartment.
How you will power your home on wheels is a top priority as you may not always have access to an electrical hookup in a campsite or trailer park. If you can get powering your motorhome right, hot showers and Netflix can be yours wherever you go!
Let’s take a look at the solutions that will quite literally power even the most intrepid nomadic lifestyle.
Simple effective off-grid living portable power
Expectations need to be somewhat limited but the sheer breadth of power solutions means that you should be able to enjoy the comforts of good lighting, cooking hot water, and the connectivity that we take for granted to keep up with the pace of contemporary life.
You won’t have household mains, but with a bit of creative design and some inspired acquisitions, you can enjoy great flexibility for powering your van.
The bare necessities makes off-grid power simple
For many, the thought of off-grid living is ominous and frightening but it needn’t be that way. It’s all about finding a workaround that will meet your day to day needs reliably.
By prioritizing your requirements for household tasks, work, and recreation you will be able to work out your power requirements and zone-in on the solutions that will work for you. Here are some handy steps for calculating your power needs.
- Make a list of the appliances and amenities that you will need while you reside in your van. Essentials like lights, a fridge, water heater, fans, running a computer, and an electric hob need to be noted down.
- Calculate wattage for each device and appliance. Most appliances will have a known wattage you can locate on their labeling or online. By adding up the wattages of the items you will be regularly using, you will be able to get a better idea of the amount of power you will need to generate for your mobile home. Also, take note of any difference between starting and running watts. Starting watts are usually higher reflecting the additional power needed to overcome resistance in a cold electrical circuit in your appliance when it is switched on.
- Consider how you use your electrically powered items. It is unlikely that you will have every electrical item in your RV switched on at once. Some appliances like a refrigerator will run continuously and lights or your coffee maker are only switched on when needed. By creating a spread of how your appliances and tech gear are used, you are like to find out that your wattage requirements for nomadic living are far lower than expected, which will be helpful if you need to buy a generator or battery.
So, what are my power options for running an RV, trailer or van conversion?
There has never been a better time to be looking for smart energy solutions for an RV. Most people are familiar with using a gasoline generator if a hook-up is not available, but advancements in battery and renewable energy technology mean that you can meet your power requirements in a variety of convenient ways.
Here are some ideal power solutions for hitting the road in comfort.
Sensitive electronics like your GPS, smartphone, or mobile internet and need good quality clean power. Generators can be unpredictable and cause damaging surges or spikes in current, especially if starting up from cold.
These devices can be efficiently served by maintaining a charged power bank or power station lke the Jackery 240 available on Amazon. These are essentially portable rechargeable batteries which will readily release current to an attached device.
The best portable power stations on the market come equipped with AC and DC outlets and the USB charging ports we have now come to expect for our electronic equipment. These units when fully charged take DC power within the batter and convert it to the clean sine-wave AC power that your devices need.
Power stations can take the pressure off a generator which means less noise and smell while you are in your dwelling. Unlike generators, portable power stations are often designed and calibrated for electronics, meaning that they won’t damage expensive tech.
Another great thing about these units is that they are often handheld or tabletop, so they do not take up much space, making it easy for them to travel with you on excursions in a backpack or holdall.
These larger batteries are an RV staple and are designed to deeply discharge their accumulated energy. The Vmaxtanks is one of the most popular amongst campers and van life travelers which is available here on Amazon. Traditionally these have been lead-acid batteries, but newer lithium-ion technology has produced compact powerful batteries that can easily supply full power to your van.
A decent RV battery makes using your motorhome comfortable and convenient and of course, it will be quieter than running a generator. The amount of space you have available in your vehicle is often the best determinant of the size and capacity of the battery you will be able to acquire.
Solar power has been widely embraced as a game-changer for powering a rolling home. Solar Installation of solar panels means that you can enjoy free energy wherever you go, during daylight hours of course.
You may already be familiar with the benefits of a solar-powered shower that uses sunlight to heat your water for a satisfyingly warm shower, but with solar electricity, you may even be able to run a power shower within your van or RV.
100 W solar panels can be purchased for installation on the roof of your ride or as a dismountable option that can be a ranged around a stationary vehicle for optimal performance.
For reliable performance, your solar energy hook-up needs to have an integrated inverter, to ensure that your energy output is AC and can divert energy to recharging your onboard batteries.
Components of a solar energy system can be purchased individually or as plug and play system or kit which has everything needed to get a solar energy system up and Solar power stations also use smaller solar panels that can be used to recharge their batteries or directly power a laptop or phone.
Generators like the A-iPower 2000 Watt portable generator are still very much the workhorse of motorhome energy and a dependable for back-up power, that can run both day and night and in all weather conditions.
A generator will run on gasoline, propane (or both in the case of dual-fuel generators) which means that you will have to store fuel somewhere in your vehicle. Portable generators are now surprisingly compact and mobile making storage far easier than in the past.
They also utilize technologies like remote or electric starting which means that you don’t have to fumble around in the dark to pull-start your power.
Having the right power solutions for your rolling home setup makes all the difference in the nomadic lifestyle is not only comfortable but also productive.
Powering your mobile home’s appliances and devices using a combination of solar energy, power stations, and a back-up generator provides unparalleled convenience and flexibility.
If you are looking to make mobile living a long-term way of life, investing in these sound off-grid power strategies will provide your household with the resilience needed and in some cases may work out to be highly cost-effective.