I'm back from my longest boondocking trip yet: 5 nights/6 days with a 12.8V/100 Ah LFP battery and the teeny tiny fresh/gray/black tanks of my 2014 [email protected]
320 S. If all my camping photos look similar - lots of evergreen trees - it's because all my trips (since acquiring my [email protected]
in Nov 2020) have been on Vancouver Island, due to prior Covid restrictions and the added travel time/cost to take my trailer over to Vancouver on the ferry (approx $300 round trip). But I hope to do a longer trip on the mainland in September and explore the Similkameen and Okanagan valleys.
This latest trip was to Juan de Fuca Provincial Park to camp at China Beach campground, which has limited services: fresh water and pit toilets. It's a beautiful campground that is only open 5 months of the year and has lots of time to rest in between camping seasons. The old growth cedars were logged out long ago. Only the stumps remain and their girth is about the size of the queen size bed in the [email protected]
The current 2nd growth mixed Cedar/Hemlock/Douglas Fir forest gets lots of rain and is beautiful and lush. This location is very much off the grid - no cellular reception at all.
This was the first time I camped for 5 nights straight. The battery charge "under load" held steady at 13.2V for most of the trip, until I decided to use the Jensen connected to my iPhone to play some music, which quickly drained the battery down to 13.08V (30%) - the lowest I've ever let it go, but still within the 'safe' range for lithium, thinking I could charge it with the solar panel the next day. However, I was only able to charge it up to about 13.14V due to the dense forest and very cloudy/foggy weather. I think I'm going to get a rechargeable, bluetooth speaker and avoid using the Jensen unless I'm on AC power.
Here is a useful article on lithium batteries, charge levels and storage requirements. I learned from this article, that my battery should not be exposed to heat above 30C (~95F) and so I should have brought it indoors during the big heat wave a few weeks ago when it was nearly 40C. Something to keep an eye on for the future: https://www.solacity.com/how-to-keep-lifepo4-lithium-ion-batteries-happy/
Things I learned about managing my small tank sizes on 'solo' trips:
- I use a smart siphon to refill the 5 Gallon fresh water tank, usually about 1x per day.
- the 6 Gallon Black tank is plenty if I keep it for mostly night time use and avoid flushing toilet paper. A small sacrifice to keep things manageable.
- the 19 Gallon Gray water tank is plenty and I can drain some off into a 10 Gallon blue boy as needed.
- Happy Camper does a great job at neutralizing black/gray tank smells and I added more throughout the trip, just in case.
My next trip is 4 weeks from now to Strathcona Park, also on the island. On the way home, I'm getting the Alde fully serviced for the first time since my trailer was built in 2013. It will get fully flushed and refilled with the new RhoGuard heat transfer fluid. Exciting!!!
2014 [email protected]
320 S "Sunny" - 2015 Toyota Sienna LE - British Columbia, Canada