(Chuck) When we came West several years ago we had a good idea that we wanted to be able to stay in the wide open spaces in our RV. I had researched boondocking on the Escapees Forum and had a good idea of what we wanted, but not how to do it. We were fortunate that first year to spend time with our friends Jerry and Nancy Hurley. Jerry introduced me to solar power and the beauty of spending time in the desert with friends. We installed two 130 watt panels, Blue Sky controller and two Trojan batteries on our fifth wheel. We were in heaven. We found that the freedom of staying in remote places with friends was priceless. One of the biggest advantages of solar is the pure quiet of the desert.
We have added panels three times to our rigs. At this time we have near 900 watts and I feel that we probably have enough. We know that we have survived with less watts over the years, but now the price of the last panels have been cheap enough that I am glad we bought them. Our first 130 watt panels cost $690 each. The last I added were two 145 watt panels for $164 each delivered from Amazon. My buddy Ron Poutney tipped me off on those and I am indebted to him for that. My philosophy has been to leave the panels flat and not attempt to go on the roof, with each move, to raise and lower them. To raise them and gain direct rays of the sun is more efficient however I am happier to make up the loss with more panels.
Some people may find economy to be their reason for boondocking. Not paying campground fees is an obvious advantage; however freedom from the campground is the payday. We have boondocked without any hookups over 210 days each year for the last five years. To me, boondocking means no water, electrical or sewer hookups. Most if this is in the West and the mountains where the temperatures do not require air conditioning. Our five year average cost per day for RV sites is $6.46. This does not include fresh water which is relatively small, waste disposal, LP gas which is around $500 per year or the cost of our solar system.