Going off-grid might sound like something for survivalists and hardcore campers, but you can do it too. With a few alterations to your RV, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty and solitude found off the beaten path. Let’s take a look!
What Is an Off Grid RV?
An off-grid RV doesn’t need external water or power supplies to run essential systems like lights, appliances, showers, and toilets. This allows you to enjoy RV camping anywhere you can bring your rig. You won’t have to stay in campgrounds or RV parks. Depending on whether you can use a gravity-fill system to refill with rainwater or other freshwater sources, you can theoretically stay off the grid indefinitely!
Benefits of Having an Off Grid RV
So why would you want to invest the time and money required to get your rig ready to go off the grid? There are some significant benefits for certain travelers.
You Don’t Have to Pay for Campgrounds
Paying to stay in campgrounds gets expensive. It can rival or even exceed the cost of some hotels. For many RVers, campgrounds represent a significant monthly expense. Off-grid RVs allow you to skip the campground when you don’t feel like it or can’t afford it. However, you won’t have to sacrifice basic comforts to do so.
You’re Totally Self-Sufficient
With a fully off-grid RV, you could potentially live with very little reliance on any of the systems most people need every day. Other than an occasional trip for supplies, fresh water, or a dump station, you’ll be able to camp where you want, when you want.
You Get to Experience the Prettiest and Most Remote Places
It’s tough to truly enjoy the solitude of nature when you have to drive back into town every day or two. An off-grid RV allows you to camp in beautiful and remote sites that most RVers avoid due to the lack of hookups. With your off-grid setup, you’ll be able to kick back and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Top 5 Upgrades for the Ultimate Off Grid RV
With just a few key upgrades, you can turn your RV into a boondocker’s dream. Here are our choices for off-grid upgrades that’ll make the biggest impact.
1. RV Solar System
You’ll struggle to get off the grid without a solar system. You can use several solar panels (either mounted on your RV or portable) to generate power and charge your RV’s batteries.
Depending on your travel style and rig, you may want bulkier panels that are more efficient and cheaper. They work best when you aren’t moving much.
Alternatively, you can opt for more versatile panels that are more expensive and less efficient. They are better if you are constantly on the move, however. With enough panels and battery capacity, you’ll be able to power your RV sustainably.
2. Composting Toilet
Two major limiting factors in taking your RV off the grid are freshwater usage and gray and black water storage. A composting toilet helps resolve both.
Since composting toilets separate your waste without using water to flush, your freshwater tank will last longer. They also store waste inside the toilet itself, eliminating the need for a black tank. When the toilet fills, you can dispose of waste in a variety of ways. And while some might get squeamish about emptying it, is it really that much worse than dealing with your black tank?
3. Convert Black Water Tank to Extra Gray Water Storage
With your traditional toilet now gone, you’ll no longer need your black tank for sewage storage. By converting your black tank space into an extra gray tank, you’ll buy yourself extra room for water from showers and dishwashing.
You may need professional help rerouting some of your water lines for this. However, you can find some neat tricks used by other RVers who have done this themselves.
4. RV Cell Signal Booster
Even those who love the off-grid lifestyle need to check in with civilization now and then. But plenty of beautiful boondocking spots don’t have any usable cell service.
That’s where your cell signal booster comes in handy. These devices use a more powerful external antenna to capture weak cell signals and amplify them. This can work wonders in allowing you to stay in touch in areas with limited service.
5. Upgrade to LED Lights to Reduce Power Consumption
When you’re relying on an RV solar power system, you’ll need to conserve energy. One easy way to do this is by upgrading to LEDs.
LED lights use only about 10% of the power needed by traditional incandescent bulbs — and they often last longer and burn brighter. They also generate minimal heat.
These low-impact upgrades are a perfect way to save significant amounts of energy without having to change your whole lifestyle.
Many of us have felt the wilderness call or simply don’t want to spend as much time at RV parks and dump stations. Going off the grid can seem daunting, but with a few straightforward upgrades, your RV can make boondocking a breeze. If you can afford the initial costs, your off-grid RV will pay you back many times over; both financially, and in the freedom and flexibility it provides.