Propane/battery consumption at Lake Superior in Autumn - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-11-2015, 11:45 AM   #1
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Name: John Michael
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Propane/battery use boondocking at Lake Superior in Autumn

Last week we enjoyed 10 days boondocking mostly on the shore of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Penninsula and the chilly nights increased our propane use. Temps dropped to near 40 each night and climbed to around 60 each day. Two days were overcast. All campsites were breezy and shaded almost completely by trees. The trip was quite wonderful and we enjoyed daily hikes along the shore of Gitchy Gummee. Between beach and forest we hiked 6-8 miles daily.

During our trip we used 3 gallons of propane running the water heater, furnace, frig and range for 10 days. The frig was constant, others intermittent. The furnace thermostat was set at 60 degrees at night and 70 at other times when we were in the Scamp. Most day hours we were outside and the furnace was off, though it was warm enough to need little use. We carry only one 20 pound tank and one 1 pound Coleman bottle for emergency use when I plan poorly. We each showered in the Scamp twice and made do with sponge baths otherwise.

Our solar set up struggled a bit as we were camped in shade most of the time. At our 46 degree North latitude and being just after the equinox the sun was low in the sky anyway. Still the bright sky fed our 100 watt panel and made enough juice to go for 6 days on one campsite with the Group 29 factory battery voltage dropping to 12.1 volts. We probably would have gone 3-4 days anyway without the solar panel. Our main draw was the furnace's blower. Our lighting is 100% LED which we used every night as the sun set pretty early. After this 6 day stay we towed every other day and the battery remained nearly fully charged.

Such shoulder season trips are our favorites. No crowds, no bugs, no AC necessary. It all makes for pleasant boondocking. We spent 6 days at Pictured Rocks National Seashore at Twelve Mile Beach Campground, two days at Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park at Presque Isle Campground and two nights at Franklin Lake in the Nicolet National Forest near Eagle River Wisconsin.
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:53 AM   #2
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Confuse me.
You used 3 gallons from a 20 lb. tank.
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Old 10-11-2015, 12:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for your post. I was just wondering how long the propane would hold up for 3-5 day trip using the heater at night. We got our scamp last Oct. and did not use it until Apr. For a little heat we used a Elec. cube heater. Boondocked a couple times at Walmart,but was not cold out so did not use heat. Wife not feeling well, so don`t know if we will get out again before the snow flies. Carl
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Old 10-11-2015, 03:13 PM   #4
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Roughly 4.25 lbs/gallon for LP, so 3 lbs would be about 2/3 of the 20 lb tank.

Nice pictures. Makes me wish I could be there... but retirement is still a decade away.
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Old 10-11-2015, 04:15 PM   #5
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but retirement is still a decade away.
Me too. My 101k is not as large as could be hoped. Wasted way too much on expensive hobbies, like kids.
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Old 10-11-2015, 04:19 PM   #6
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Confuse me.
You used 3 gallons from a 20 lb. tank.
Sorry, my error in mixing units. 20 pounds of liquid propane fits in 4 gallons of volume. So on this trip my propane probably would have lasted a few more days.

On balance I think the frig used more gas than the furnace since it burned 24-7 while the furnace probably less than 2 hours per day.

John
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Old 10-11-2015, 05:11 PM   #7
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I believe our (new) 6.7 refrigerator only uses 13 oz. of propane per day --- at least that is what they claim. Don't know how that compares to older ones but anyone could probably find out what their refrigerator and furnace use.
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:05 PM   #8
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A single door Dometic refrigerator flame is rated at about 700 BTU's/hr., a typical RV furnace is rated at 16,000 BTU's/hr., so even running at a 20% cycle, the furnace is a real LP hog, the refrigerator is more of an LP sipper.
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:20 PM   #9
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"Roughly 4.25 lbs/gallon for LP, so 3 lbs would be about 2/3 of the 20 lb tank."


Mike,

I think you meant to say that 3 gallons would be about 2/3 of the 20 lb tank.

It's nice that you provided the conversion formula. (3 x 4.25 = 12.75)/20 = .64 which is very close to 2/3 of a tank, as you indicated.

Jim
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:34 PM   #10
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Sorry, my error in mixing units. 20 pounds of liquid propane fits in 4 gallons of volume.
I took a Blacksmithing class this weekend and the Instructor was talking about buying Propane at Tractor Supply by the gallon. I have always just had the whole tank filled and paid whatever. I have two empty bottles and may check the gallon thing out this time. Have also heard, but not seen myself, that Ace Hardware sells Propane cheaper one day a week (like Tuesday).

And on the retirement topic, I am hoping for 7 years, but 10-12 may be more likely.
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Old 10-11-2015, 07:38 PM   #11
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I took a Blacksmithing class this weekend and the Instructor was talking about buying Propane at Tractor Supply by the gallon. I have always just had the whole tank filled and paid whatever. I have two empty bottles and may check the gallon thing out this time. Have also heard, but not seen myself, that Ace Hardware sells Propane cheaper one day a week (like Tuesday).

And on the retirement topic, I am hoping for 7 years, but 10-12 may be more likely.
Be careful, my Golden Parachute never opened, Carl
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:13 PM   #12
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John
I just got back from 52 days of traveling. In 30 days I used up one of my 20lb propane tanks. when I went to refill it the propane guy said a fridge alone can take up 1 lb of propane a day=20 days and it's used up! That was my senerio because I hooked up maybe a half a dozen times in that month. I have a 4.0 fridge and it was set on the second highest setting. Something for me to keep in mind from now on since I do a lot of dry camping!
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Old 10-21-2015, 11:58 AM   #13
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Just a ramble : )


I realize this is a bit of a apples and oranges post...but since my wife and I full time in a large 5th wheel (full hook ups) and do our monthly 5-day-adventures in our van (100% off grid - no propane < < WE LOVE TO BOONDOCK!!) i'll share this bit.


YMMV.
. . . It's a lifestyle choice . . .


As I type it is ~10am on the Oregon Coast. It is 54 outside, and 56 inside our rig and 72% humidity. Last night's low was 48. We really enjoy sleeping in a cold rig. We both have thermals on until we will venture out sometime around noon-ish on a little jaunt. We will not use any heat inside our rig till about fall freeze when nights drop into freezng. At that point we will use a little 750 watt electric heater set to 40 degrees overnight to take chill out of the air. We've not had any heat (propane or electric) in our rig since last spring. Our water heater is an on-demand-propane heater and we will utilize about 2 gallons of propane a month. Fridge is running on AC (in auto mode). And we have a 5500 watt gas-genny that sips ~1/4gallon and hour with 58 gallons of regular gas in the tank.


One might ask why we wouldn't turn on the heat?? Well... we like to _camp_ even in our big luxury rig. Sometimes we'll both enjoy an entire winter day with outside temps never rising above 40 with interior temp hovering around 50. We'll have our long johns on, beanie caps and booties...sometimes even mitts. We do this as a choice, and it is _comfortable_ for us.


And sometimes... i'm in my Selk'Bag. (http://www.selkbagusa.com/) Think of it as a one piece insulated snow suit that you can walk around in and sleep in... all while looking like a fella in a Gumby Suit.


Anyhoooo.... just a lifestyle choice as I mentioned. It is certainly not for everyone.
We even use paper plates in our big rig ; )


Cheers,
Thom
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Old 10-31-2015, 06:09 PM   #14
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quote...... Sometimes we'll both enjoy an entire winter day with outside temps never rising above 40 with interior temp hovering around 50.


Around here,NE OH those temps are T- shirt and shorts days in winter. Winter is + 10 to - something and 40 is a number only used for the wind speed or snow drift depth. Enjoy!
Dave
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