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Old 09-24-2018, 01:07 AM   #1
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how long can I go for?

We have a new 2018 Dutchmen Kodiak Ultra-Lite 255BHSL. My question is this: how long can we dry camp for? I have no sense of whether this is 1, 2, 3, or 8 days. And yes, I KNOW it depends on how much you use water, propane, and electricity, but come on....there HAS to be an average idea out there. Just trying to get an IDEA of how many days I could safely/comfortably dry camp without some major failure.

Here is the kicker: We do NOT have a generator or solar panels. So our batteries would be fully charged before departure.

Here is our typical situation. I am curious to know how long our systems would last, and which system would give out first (e.g., batteries, propane, or holding tanks).

* 2-4 people
* 46 gallons fresh water tank, but only used for sink/shower. We would bring our own drinking water.
* 39 gallon grey tank
* 28 gallon black tank
* two 12-volt deep cycle batteries would only be used for average use of furnace fan, slide-out operation, water pump, and lights (we have a manual tongue jack)
* propane (two 20# tanks) would be used for stove, furnace, fridge, and water heater.
* assume outside temperature around 40 degrees, with furnace keeping the inside to 65 or so.
* use of USB ports to charge phones as needed (but could bring battery banks instead)

My guess it that our propane would last the longest. I am most concerned about the batteries....and MAYBE the black water tank, but using other/outdoor bathrooms is always a possibility.
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Old 09-24-2018, 01:12 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Hart_family View Post
We have a new 2018 Dutchmen Kodiak Ultra-Lite 255BHSL. My question is this: how long can we dry camp for? I have no sense of whether this is 1, 2, 3, or 8 days. And yes, I KNOW it depends on how much you use water, propane, and electricity, but come on....there HAS to be an average idea out there. Just trying to get an IDEA of how many days I could safely/comfortably dry camp without some major failure.

Here is the kicker: We do NOT have a generator or solar panels. So our batteries would be fully charged before departure.

Here is our typical situation. I am curious to know how long our systems would last, and which system would give out first (e.g., batteries, propane, or holding tanks).

* 2-4 people
* 46 gallons fresh water tank, but only used for sink/shower. We would bring our own drinking water.
* 39 gallon grey tank
* 28 gallon black tank
* two 12-volt deep cycle batteries would only be used for average use of furnace fan, slide-out operation, water pump, and lights (we have a manual tongue jack)
* propane (two 20# tanks) would be used for stove, furnace, fridge, and water heater.
* assume outside temperature around 40 degrees, with furnace keeping the inside to 65 or so.
* use of USB ports to charge phones as needed (but could bring battery banks instead)

My guess it that our propane would last the longest. I am most concerned about the batteries....and MAYBE the black water tank, but using other/outdoor bathrooms is always a possibility.
Your electricity will run out long before your water. Furnace runs on propane but needs electricity to power the blower. Water pump runs on 12v. LIGHTS run on 12v. IF you have more than one battery (like the ones that power golf carts) you will be much better off.
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Old 09-24-2018, 01:41 AM   #3
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Thanks Franktafl. I agree...the batteries would probably go out first. We have TWO deep cycle batteries. And also, they would be needed for the water pump and slide-out operation.

So what do you think, on average? 2 days? 3 days? 4 days? More?

Maybe I should just buy a generator.
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Old 09-24-2018, 02:03 AM   #4
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If you don't have any solar panels ( not mentioned) then a generator will be a must to keep your batteries topped off.

Two days of that furnace running will definitely drain them. You do not want to let your batteries get that low, it will damage them.
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Old 09-24-2018, 02:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hart_family View Post
We have a new 2018 Dutchmen Kodiak Ultra-Lite 255BHSL. My question is this: how long can we dry camp for? I have no sense of whether this is 1, 2, 3, or 8 days. And yes, I KNOW it depends on how much you use water, propane, and electricity, but come on....there HAS to be an average idea out there. Just trying to get an IDEA of how many days I could safely/comfortably dry camp without some major failure.

Here is the kicker: We do NOT have a generator or solar panels. So our batteries would be fully charged before departure.

Here is our typical situation. I am curious to know how long our systems would last, and which system would give out first (e.g., batteries, propane, or holding tanks).

* 2-4 people
* 46 gallons fresh water tank, but only used for sink/shower. We would bring our own drinking water.
* 39 gallon grey tank
* 28 gallon black tank
* two 12-volt deep cycle batteries would only be used for average use of furnace fan, slide-out operation, water pump, and lights (we have a manual tongue jack)
* propane (two 20# tanks) would be used for stove, furnace, fridge, and water heater.
* assume outside temperature around 40 degrees, with furnace keeping the inside to 65 or so.
* use of USB ports to charge phones as needed (but could bring battery banks instead)

My guess it that our propane would last the longest. I am most concerned about the batteries....and MAYBE the black water tank, but using other/outdoor bathrooms is always a possibility.

We have dry camped only over night en route at WallyWorld.


No problem with running heater all night in 16 degree weather,


But here is the kicker. We have camped at some state and Corps of Engineers Camp Grounds with no sewer.


Our gray water tanks is filling up after only two days. Black is fine.


So that may also be a limiting factor.



Have fun
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:02 AM   #6
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Thanks Thom. Good info. I did indeed mention in my original post that we don't have solar panels OR generators. I totally understand we need SOMETHING to keep the batteries topped off for longer trips. I was just curious how many nights we could survive on batteries only. I would have thought 2 or 3, but I may be mistaken.

Does hooking the trailer up to the truck electrical line recharge the batteries at all, or is that JUST for the running/signal lights?
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:06 AM   #7
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Gray water can go discretely on the ground. Not all tagged deep cycle batteries are true deep cycle batteries so they will be the first problem area when running the furnace blower motor.
Two days unless everyone is super conservative.
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:18 AM   #8
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Thanks sundancer 87. I will go 1-2 days. I am surprised that dry camping cannot go longer without a generator or panel. I suppose the furnace is the main culprit. If we didn't have to run that, we could probably do another 1-2 days. Thanks everyone! On to the generator store I go, I suppose.
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:21 AM   #9
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Gonna say it, this is something you should have considered before you bought the trailer.

My Toyhauler, 160 gal fresh water, 2-48 gallon grey water tanks, 2-48 gallon black tanks.
2 - propane tanks, 5500 watt Onan Generator on board. 30 gallon generator fuel tank, 40 gallon toy fuel tank, can transfer from toy tank to generator tank.

Two adults. Two 14lb rescue dogs. I have tracked usage on short stays and figure we're good for about seven days before the grey water tanks are full.

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Old 09-24-2018, 03:23 AM   #10
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You should get 12 volts on pin 7 for charging your battery from truck.
It will be a slow trickle charge and truck needs to be running,
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:28 AM   #11
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Thanks Pirate. I know toy haulers are built pretty beefy...our is just at travel trailer. I did a ton of research, but yes - it is our first. That said, I didn't see a lot of travel trailers with a TON more tank capacity. Some more, some less. But your numbers are impressive. I am not worried about fresh/drinking water or grey water. The black water concerns me only a little bit. The batteries sound like the big issues, so will need to get another power source.
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:39 AM   #12
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The tank sizes were one of my purchasing considerations.

If you're not worried...then its batteries and generators and solar panels.

I have Interstate green deep cycle batteries and use 6V in series to get 12V.

Generator...spend a little more and get a Honda generator. Last forever, they are the quietest running I know of, and they are stingy on gas. Just get a good chain an lock to keep it from disappearing. Does you trailer have a compartment that you can store and run the generator in?

Solar is a great idea. have it on the house...but not the Toyhauler. Don't really need it. There are excellent kits out there you just buy and install. No Engineering degree required.

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Old 09-24-2018, 06:47 AM   #13
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how long can I go for?

Your limiting factors will be either fresh water or batteries. Since you donít need much power to charge your batteries I would go find a small Honda generator which should have no issues keeping your batteries charged running a few hours per day tops.

To save water you have to get food and quick showers and since you are camping donít shower daily. Get a big bowl to wash your dishes in and dump that water outsideónot down the sink so you donít fill your gray tank.

As others have said the furnace fan/blower will drain the battery too so do anything you can to avoid running your heater at night. Carry lots of blankets, they take up room but they are light! There is nothing worse than having your batteries die overnight.

So to sum up once you get a small generator you will only need to deal with fresh water because even if your batteries die overnight your fridge will stay cold enough because you wonít be opening it then and you can crank up the generator to charge up in the morning.

Happy camping.
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Old 09-24-2018, 11:42 AM   #14
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Everybody is going to get different results based on their behavior patterns.

I would guess you are at best going to get 3 days and the batteries are going to be the choke point. You don't want to run them below 50% charge level too often or it will drastically shorten their life span. Solar is an option as is a QUIET run inverter generator. My choice would be a pair of the Champion 2000 watt with the parallel kit. That way you can top up batteries using just one, and if you really need power for something like AC you have both.

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Old 09-29-2018, 11:46 PM   #15
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I see your trailer has a slider. Here is what happened to me. First time with f150, no fuse installed for trailer charging on 8 pin plug. Slider was out, hooked up to charge trailer. NO power, screwed. Drove to get fuse, generator. Basically what I am saying, if you drycamp in a trailer with slides, you need a good charged battey, ies..
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Old 09-30-2018, 02:42 AM   #16
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The small honda generators work well and are relatively quiet. Get one run it for 2 hours in the evening(being considerate of others) and perhaps if needed 2 in the am. When boondocking if allowed i dribble my grey water as plants nearby love it.
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Old 09-30-2018, 03:54 PM   #17
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Dry Camping

I checked out your rig on the Dutchman site. Cool rig for a small family!
I agree with most estimates posted. Three nights using the furnace.
My wife and I get 5 nights when not using the furnace. The 25 gallon gray tank in our Cub fills first. Most water is used for dishwashing.
We get three nights using the furnace. We have two 100 amp deep cycle AGM batteries and of course 9' less length. Battery power limits.
You can draw deep cycle batteries to near empty. GEL and AGM will tolerate draw to empty occasionally. However, You have electric slides to stow before leaving.
It is good practice to test your systems with a shake down trip close to home. Dutchman products have a tendency to surprise you when they are new.
I have a 1000i Honda generator I have not used yet this year, even with late winter camping. It runs the 12 volt converter to charge batteries and fits in the storage under the bed. It is light enough to easily lift out when needed. I have tested it in my driveway by charging from 12.0 volts (approximately 10 %). It takes 5 hours (1 small tank of gas) to get to 12.7 volts (approximately 80%). (Don't use the "Convenience Center" volt indicator except for approximate readings.)
The Honda 1000i will not run high watt appliances like the microwave. You will need twice the wattage for that.
Tow vehicle charging is limited. It varies depending on the size of the 12 volt and ground wire size. The distance from the generator and the connecter pin condition also make a difference.
You test the charge rate if you can get a 20 amp current meter and directly measure the charge current on each battery. You should get 10 amps or more for good charging when the battery is discharged. (12.0 volts no-load)
10 amps charging theoretically would take 10 hours to charge a 100 amp/hour battery. It actually takes twice that because charge current will drop as charging progresses.
20 amp meters are hard to find. However $10 digital voltmeters are usually available at you local hardware store. Some of the meters have 10 amp current measuring capability.


You can test how it is working using a digital volt meter.
1) Measure tow vehicle battery voltage with engine running. 14.? volts is optimum. Battery is charged and alternator has spare capacity.
2) Measure TT battery with no load (let it rest for 15 minutes). 12.0 to 12.4 is good to test with. (Discharged)
3) Connect TT to tow vehicle. Recheck Tow battery. 14.? means generator still has spare capacity. (TT battery is charging and drawing significant current)
4) Wait a while for the charging to stabilize. Check at tow connector. The difference between Tow battery voltage and connector battery is the line loss in the tow system. Greater that 13.3 volts at the connector is excellent. 13.6 is outstanding.
5) Check the TT battery voltage. It should be rising fairly fast. The difference between the no-load voltage and the charging voltage is the driving force for the charging. 1.0 volt above no-load would be a good charge rate.
Significant charging of lead acid batteries takes quite a while. A computer controlled fast charger of sufficient capacity needs about 8 hours to reach 100%, 3 hours for 80%. A constant voltage charger takes about 18 hours. Your tow vehicle is similar to a fast charger. It can deliver greater than 14 volts for a fast charge, but the TT battery is too far from the alternator to get the full effect. It acts more like your constant voltage 12 volt TT converter. 13 to 13.6 if the wiring is exceptional.
Paul Bristol
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:59 PM   #18
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Your gray tank will fill before your black tank. You can transfer gray water to the black tank and get an extra day or two. Thatís if you canít water the bushes with your gray water.
I have a catalytic heater that doesnít require using my battery.
Baby wipes Ďshowersí and paper plates will save water.
I bet you can stretch an extra day or two with some research and practice.
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Old 09-30-2018, 06:56 PM   #19
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Truck will charge the batteries slowly. But could drain your tow vehicle battery. Best bet is to buy an Inverter generator . then your only limited by your water supply and waste tanks.
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Old 10-03-2018, 02:52 AM   #20
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My .02

We've had our Kodiak 240BHSL for about 4 years now and we dry camp ALOT. The problem you'll run into with your 2 batteries is running them down too low and not getting them fully recharged.Especially with the standard "generic" inverter that comes in these campers, the generator needs to run for several hours in order to get the batteries fully topped back up. We would generally run it for 2ish hours in the AM and a few hours in the PM. We killed a lot of batteries over the years.
We now have a 100Watt solar panel mounted on the roof and still use out 2000Watt generator for TV, microwave, etc. The panel does a great job at just trickle charging it throughout the day and keeping the batteries happy and we don't have to worry about just running the generator for the batteries.
We are a family of 4. We have 2 boys, 13 and 4yrs old. We generally dump grey discretely and we carry (3) 6 gallon jerry cans to refill our fresh tank. Black tank is the big problem and we can go 9 days if the boys pee outside mostly!
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