Ideas on Boondocking - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 11-20-2009, 04:46 AM   #15
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I have decided It's really not so hard to do without using the refrigerator at all while camping, and using foods that do not require it, as well as not generating 'leftovers'. It does stretch the battery and propane out a loooooong time!

But, I do carry one of those super insulated (and also very small) 30 Qt Galaxy cube coolers that I occasional use if I want to hold fresh milk (instead of powdered) or real orange juice (instead of Tang) and use sparingly for a week or so. They are expensive, but, like tires, worth the extra cost. I am amazed how long some food items, like eggs, can last unrefrigerated.

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Old 11-20-2009, 11:36 AM   #16
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Agreed completely, John. We as a culture have become so used to refrigeration, that you have to do some research to discover ways to get around it. For example: I've had eggs last for months in the heat of the tropics. You just have to keep air from permeating the shell, which can be accomplished in a number of ways (I flipped the cartons every few days; but you can also coat them with Vaseline or water glass, or boil them briefly).

Also, many many of the products that say "Refrigerate after opening" don't really have to be, if you are careful and use some common sense. Even mayonnaise will keep, so long as you never introduce a contaminated knife or spatula to the jar, and always use a clean one.

Likewise many leftover foods will keep just fine on the stove top overnight. What I would do (when I was living without refrigeration) was, after I was done eating, put the lid on and bring the contents to a boil (or very hot), and then turn off the flame. Then don't touch the lid. The next day, before eating, heat it up again, then serve.

There are many many tricks like this that are nearly forgotten: You can store cheese in oil, wrap limes in foil, etc. etc.

One problem is that foods (such as vegetables, fruits, and eggs) that have already been refrigerated in stores seem to become "dependent," and no longer have their good long-keeping qualities. So you have to seek out farmers or farmer's markets.

I basically did the same as you - I used the icebox (when I had ice) for beverages and for some leftovers, or the ocassional other item; but not for the bulk of my food storage. It's kind of a fun game, really


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Old 12-01-2009, 05:26 PM   #17
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OK, here is the schematic for the rig previously mentioned. The grounds for the "load" output have been omitted for the sake of clarity.

Click image for larger version

Name:	<a title=solar.png Views: 110 Size: 38.7 KB ID: 25323" style="margin: 2px" />
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:53 AM   #18
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Adding to your comments about storing eggs, I worked at a pub in Germany one summer and we never put the eggs in a cooler. (Irish-American Pub with a chuck wagon in a German village, go figure.) Even at the markets , the eggs were stored or displayed without cooling and often in the aisles.
We have seemed to have lost our ability to survive without gadgets. Somewhere in my vast collection of uncataloged books, I have an excellent book about food prparation and preservation in Britian from the middle ages to the present time. The traditional English meat pie used the heavy crust to keep the meat from being exosed to air, dirt, and other contamination. It was filled with rendered fat or clarified butter to drive out all the air. The crust was discarded like we discard packaging. When properly prepared the pies would stay fresh for several weeks.
Now, I don't plan to junk my frig but it is good to know some alternative ways to preserve and store my food.
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:57 PM   #19
Trailer: Bigfoot 17 ft (B17STD)
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Something I have never tried but this topic brought it to mind. When I was a young kid I worked on my uncles farm. He would wrap my water bottle with a wet gunney sack before I got on the tractor, and the water always seemed cold. This was in the hot dry prairies, but I have heard of swamp coolers. It might be worth a try some time wrap the cooler in a wet blanket, it would be great if it could save the ice for an extra day.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:29 PM   #20
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 13 ft / 1999 Toyota Tacoma
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Our little 1.7 Cubic Foot Frig finally gave up the ghost after 25 years.

After looking around for a year and a half with sticker shock for a new frig, and using good Coleman Extreme 78 Qt coolers with block ice, I am considering doing completely away with the frig...maybe a nice oven in it's place. I am considering getting an Engle or similar cooler for summer trips.

And for those who cannot get block ice easily, just take plastic milk or water jugs, fill them to 90% and freeze. These work very well, and no water sloshing around or needing to be drained in the cooler, or more cold drinking water......

Block ice in our coolers keeps plenty of food cold, and with two coolers, we can take way more refrigerated food than the little old frig would hold. Do miss having popsicles and ice cream sandwiches in camp though...oh well....

I had an Igloo thermoelectric cooler like some have talked about, but it seemed to keep thing cool, but not cold, and battery life was pretty well shortened.


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Old 12-18-2009, 08:18 AM   #21
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The box you're considering is a good one, this uses the new Danfoss d.c.compressor, it is far better in cooling temps than the thermoelectric/Peltier coolers Peter talks about...While the product has better performance it results in drawing more power wasting more in mechanical energy losses and draws more power as the battery draws down lower...There is a curve in its amp draw vs. available voltage from the battery as with anything.

This tech is put into European trailers now, I have seen two 12v compressor refrigerators in U.S. trailers of late...But my European cousins run out and buy their own version of the adsorbtion ice chest shown in the link below. The reason they do is power drain in the new refrigerator.

I run mine in the car off the cigarette or aux plug on the trip cooling it the day before on A/C at home...Off 115 shore power I use L.P. when camping...At one point I had two chests...One I set to max and the other to minimum...One for meats dairy ect. the other for drinks.

I would stay with a three way, I post a link to one I own...

One of our Canadian customers might help, these are hard to find in the U.S.A...
I set mine on propane with a squat mini propane tank from home depot and its lasts 2 weeks no power at all. (kit can be ordered from the factory to adapt to tank) Coleman made them in the 60s and that one lasted 22 years.

After the investment in all the stuff needed to feed the appetite of the electric one you will own several 3 way models for the price...I have bought mine off Craigs list and eBay, you must search under "3 way" ice chest "u.s.a." or the European and Aussie hits are too many...They are the way to go outside the U.S. why they never caught on here is a puzzle?


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Old 02-17-2010, 11:59 PM   #22
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Great suggestion Harry!

For those accessable to Canadian Tire it is product # 37-0100-6

For those not, here is a link to the product on the manufactures web site:

Note the little link at the end of the specs that says the voltages etc. are all set according to the destination country.
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:57 AM   #23
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I see that eggs are a suggestion about food that can be stored without refrigeration.
In the past, I have had success with SODIUM SILICATE, google that and egg preservation, fresh eggs can keep for three to six months at room temp. That's what they did in the "olden" days.
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Old 06-28-2012, 04:53 PM   #24
Name: RogerDat
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Originally Posted by Judith Kennedy View Post
OK, here is the schematic for the rig previously mentioned. The grounds for the "load" output have been omitted for the sake of clarity.

Attachment 25323
That is a very nice diagram gives a clear idea of what you have in mind. You might want to do the same type of diagram for a solar charge controller in trailer with a deep cylce battery, solar panel on a portable stand to be positioned in sun and plugged into charge controller. I think you will see a marked increase in simplicity in that configuration.

I would consider a 12v /110v ac compressor type two way fridge. When you are plugged in 0 battery drain, on battery...

100 watt panel is going to be approx 5.7 amp an hour charge. So you can figure plus 30 amp hr a day from solar. Even a single 130 ah battery gives you 65 ah "in the bank" without going below 50% charge.

If you use 40 amp hour a day you have six days before you need to plug in.

You could also look to putting the chest fridge you mentioned in OP on a slide out tray where the old ice box or fridge was. Still keeps electrical set up simple and contained in trailer. Slide out chest to get food, slide in when done. And I it might be nicer to have that food in trailer rather than in car.

More efficient energy wise too, insulated, shaded trailer vs car with all it's windows. I know my car is a lot hotter than my trailer and any fridge is a heat exchanger, hotter ambient temp more it will run.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:41 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by dunlapet View Post
I have had success with SODIUM SILICATE, google that and egg preservation, fresh eggs can keep for three to six months at room temp. That's what they did in the "olden" days.
AKA Water Glass. Available at most dental suppliers. A one quart bottle will last a long time.

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