What are RV Batteries Used for?
Once in a while, we enjoy dry camping, commonly called boondocking. During this time, you can enjoy yourself, especially if you have the best RV battery for boondocking.
Your RV battery will greatly help power all your RV electronics. This enables you to enjoy your stay away from home. This article will help you choose the finest battery configuration for your boondocking needs.
The Best RV Boondocking Batteries At A Glance
- Battle Born Batteries LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery – 100Ah 12v with Built-In BMS – 3000-5000 Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery: Best overall RV battery for boondocking
- Fullriver Group GC2 6V 224Ah T-105 AGM Sealed Lead Acid Battery: Best lead-acid battery for boondocking
- Optima OPT8016-103 Batteries D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery: Best easy-to-maintain RV battery for boondocking
- Trojan T-105 GC2 6V 225Ah Deep Cycle Flooded Lead Acid Battery: Best budget RV battery for boondocking
Things to Consider Before Buying a Battery for RV Boondocking
When looking for the best battery for RV boondocking, there are a few factors that you should keep in mind before making a purchase.
RV batteries typically come in either a 6V or 12V voltage rating. 12V batteries are larger, and many campers have found that a single 12V battery is sufficient for boondocking needs. Many Class B recreational vehicles use only a house battery rated 12 volts.
Because of the ever-increasing demand for electricity, most recreational vehicles (RVs) now contain at least two 12V batteries hardwired into their electrical systems. It is possible to connect more than one 12V battery, even though these batteries are relatively huge and heavy.
If your apparatus cannot hold two 12V batteries, you must ensure they will fit before connecting them. Many campers who travel by recreational vehicle (RV) opt to meet their rig’s voltage requirements (12V) by wiring together multiple golf cart batteries that operate at 6 volts.
The lead plates in 6V batteries are larger and thicker than those in 9V batteries, allowing them to endure the stresses that connect with the discharge-recharge cycle. This is one of the advantages of doing this. Because of this characteristic, people frequently refer to them as “deep cycle batteries.”
When connected in series, You can combine these smaller batteries to produce one bigger 12V battery with a more resilient lifespan to heavy use.
When looking for the most suitable RV battery for boondocking, capacity is another factor. The battery’s capacity is the quantity of energy a battery can provide, measured in amps. A battery’ depletes when it reaches the point where it needs recharging.
When you notice a reference to Ah (which stands for amp-hours), this signifies the amount of power a battery can provide to your electrical gadgets to power them. The standard rating for deep-cycle batteries depends on the total amount of amps drawn from the battery over twenty-four hours.
Therefore, if you have a battery with a rating of 100 Ah, this indicates that you can draw power from the battery for a total of 20 hours, and it will deliver a total of 100 amp hours. That equals around five amps (5A times 20 hours Equals 100Ah).
Earlier, we talked about how it is important to figure out what appliances and devices are essential for you to be able to use throughout the day camping. We discussed this in determining how many amp-hours a camper would need to be able to boondock.
This is the essence of capacity, and naturally, the more battery capacity you have, the more home appliances and electronic gadgets you will be able to power at once (or the longer you can run them). Always leave room in your budget for a battery with a larger capacity than you think you’ll need.
This term refers to the rate at which the various electrical components of your RV pull power from the battery. Discharge rates are a capability that varies greatly between different types of batteries. In addition, the rate at which you deplete your batteries can affect their ability to deliver the amount of power in their specifications.
According to Peukert’s Law, the connection between the total time of discharge and the applied load for lead-acid batteries (flooded, AGM, and gel) is not linear. This holds for all three types of lead-acid batteries.
This indicates that your realized capacity from your battery will decrease as your load increases (i.e., as your current draw increases in amps). As a result, you will not receive as much power in the form of amp-hours.
When assessing their batteries’ capacity, makers typically adopt a rating of 20 hours for consistency’s sake. This indicates that a battery with a capacity of 100 Ah will deliver the specified amount of power when subjected to a load of 5 amps (5A multiplied by 20h equals 100Ah).
However, because of Peukert’s law, if you deplete a battery with a capacity of 100 Ah by drawing a load of 100 amps, the battery will not offer you one hour of runtime.
Except for lithium-ion batteries, deep cycle batteries of any type cannot deplete their capacity below 50 percent without severely compromising their shelf life.
To put it another way, if you’re boondocking and you consume more than fifty percent of the power stored in your deep cycle batteries, you’ll start to reduce the amount of time your 12v RV batteries will last for you to utilize your RV.
Because of this, purchasing lithium-ion batteries will be beneficial in the long term if you intend to do a significant amount of boondocking. This is because you can use nearly all of their charge without causing damage to the batteries.
When compared to the cost of traditional RV deep cycle batteries, lithium-ion batteries can be up to ten times more expensive. Standard lead-acid batteries are the most cost-effective option if you only want to dry camp occasionally. Therefore you should consider purchasing them.
Sealed batteries, such as AGM, gel, and lithium-ion, do not need regular maintenance. This is in contrast to standard lead-acid batteries, which do require some maintenance from time to time.
Standard deep cycle RV batteries take a significant amount of charging time to get them back to a full charge after discharge. On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries only take a short time to charge completely from empty to full.
The vast majority of deep cycle RV batteries have a rating of at least 100 amp hours (AH), indicating that they can deliver up to 100 amps of electricity in one hour. Knowing how many amps your RV uses in a single day of boondocking, you can calculate how many amp-hours of power you will require from your batteries.
The Different Types of RV Boondocking Batteries
Before we get into which RV battery is ideal for boondocking, let’s look at the various home batteries available to those who travel in recreational vehicles. They are not all identical, and each one functions and performs uniquely. Let us look at the different types of RV boondocking batteries in the market today;
Lithium Batteries (Lithium Iron Phosphate)
The lithium battery is one of the best options for RV boondocking when using solar energy as your primary power source. Because of its superior performance in everyday applications, lithium batteries have risen to the top of the battery industry to become the industry standard. The following are major characteristics of these batteries;
- Compared to other batteries, these have a lower weight. The surrounding temperature less influences them (so they perform more consistently in warm and cold climates).
- They don’t need any regular upkeep at all.
- They charge more quickly because there is less impediment to the charging process.
- They don’t need the standard three-stage charging cycle to overcome the charging resistance of lead-acid batteries to charging.
- Because they discharge without harm, they provide greater power for the money. The maximum amount of energy that you may draw from flooded, AGM, and gel lead-acid batteries without causing damage to the batteries is at around fifty percent of their total capacity. This restriction does not apply to lithium-ion batteries.
- They do not have to reach the hundred percent mark. Regular recharge on lead-acid batteries is necessary to ensure that the sulfur collected on the lead plates returns to the solution appropriately and thoroughly.
- Since they do not produce hydrogen during the charging process (unlike flooded lead-acid batteries), you do not need to install them in an open-air environment or a ventilation compartment. This allows for greater location freedom.
- There are two reasons why lithium batteries are risk-free. The chemistry of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) is stable in terms of temperature and chemical composition. If mishandled, it’s more difficult for them to catch fire. They have built-in battery management systems (BMS) to ensure they stay within safe parameters.
- The only significant disadvantage of lithium batteries is their high purchase expense. Once you have them, however, they will likely outperform any other battery you could install for a substantially longer period, even though purchasing them is incredibly costly. However, you will spend a significant amount of money. So, let’s look at other, more budget-friendly options.
Gel batteries are the next most expensive option for RV home batteries. Because it is self-contained, a gel battery does not require maintenance. Gel batteries use electrolytes that are very similar to those you can find in flooded lead-acid batteries.
On the other hand, unlike flooded lead-acid batteries, gel batteries do not contain any liquids that require maintenance or that can spill. Gel batteries are well-liked among off-road enthusiasts who take their sport seriously because of their tough construction, extended lifespan, and insensitivity to extremes in temperature.
The disadvantages of gel batteries include that they are somewhat costly, and their charging capabilities are inferior to those of other types of batteries. They typically need to charge for an extended period and are highly sensitive to the charging procedure.
In addition, their usable power caps are at fifty percent, the same as it is for all batteries based on lead-acid chemistry. Therefore, a 100-Ah battery can only deliver 50-Ah of power before recharging.
You can refer to lead-acid batteries with a complete seal by their acronym, AGM, which stands for “absorbed glass mat.” The term “AGM” refers to a type of battery in which glass mats absorb the liquid within the cells.
No fluid can leak out of the battery regardless of its position. It does not require maintenance because you do not need to check on or replenish the liquid within the cells (unlike a typical flood lead-acid battery).
AGM batteries are extremely efficient and can operate in temperatures as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). They have a low discharge rate and are cheaper to acquire than gel and lithium batteries.
However, they do have a restriction of 50 percent on the amount of power you can use. This means that twice as many AGM batteries are a requirement to match the power capacity of lithium.
AGM batteries have been popular with RV owners and van builders for years because they do not release hydrogen gas since they are entirely enclosed. This property allows you to install AGM batteries inside of a vehicle.
It’s common knowledge that flooded lead-acid batteries offer the best value among RV batteries. However, you need to vent them because they release hydrogen gas during the charging process, which poses an explosion risk.
Additionally, they need routine maintenance (specifically, you need to top off the electrolyte solution in their cells), and a maximum of fifty percent can only increase their capacity. This is a limitation that all lead-acid batteries share.
Flooded lead-acid batteries offer the best value for the money, providing you with the least expensive power available in an RV house battery. They are likely the choice for you as the best RV battery for boondocking if you don’t boondock very often or for very long periods (for example, weekend campers).
Suppose you don’t boondock very often or for very long periods. In that case, flooded lead-acid batteries are the best RV battery for boondocking.
However, it is essential to keep in mind that flooded lead-acid batteries are exceptionally cumbersome. In addition to the fact that you have to vent and maintain them, they are typically unable to withstand temperature extremes.
Suppose you live in an area where cold temperatures are typical, for example, and you leave a lead-acid home battery in your vehicle throughout the winter, come spring. In that case, you will need to purchase a new house battery for your Vehicle.
On the other hand, if you take your flooded lead-acid batteries from the rig in winter storage and store them properly, they will keep well for a considerable time. This is the case if you remove the batteries from the rig before winter storage.
How Many Amp Hours Do I Need for Boondocking?
This is a question that is difficult for us to answer. The answer depends not only on the amount of power you will use throughout boondocking but also on the number of batteries you will have and the method you will use to charge them.
If you are going to be boondocking for the weekend and all you need to do is power your LED RV lights, your rig’s water pump, and your roof vent fan to keep things cool, then you don’t need to worry about finding a place to park. Be sure to charge all of your electronic devices.
When you’re ready to unwind before bed, watch some streaming television. If you only have a few flooded lead-acid house batteries, you should have little problem getting by
If you’re going to be boondocking for the weekend, you’ll need
Would you require solar energy? Yes. You could keep your batteries charged with a solar panel between 100-200 watts. If you don’t have solar panels, you could also charge your batteries while driving or using your generator.
If you use your generator for a short period, you could time it so that you can power your microwave to heat a meal while you charge your batteries.
All of this shows the number of amp-hours you require. At the same time, boondocking depends on several variables, and no two campers have the same requirements. The most helpful guidance we can provide is to calculate how many amp hours you typically use in a day, then go from there.
Even if you can afford a single solar panel, this will help keep your batteries charged and allow you to keep things operating.
In addition, we always recommend that you set up your camp at a campground and spend the night there disconnected from the grid to become used to boondocking while still having something to fall back on if you require it.
How to Charge RV Batteries
You have several options available to you when it comes to charging your best RV batteries for boondocking, regardless of the variety of batteries that you decide would be the finest camper battery:
- With the help of solar panels (portable or installed).
- By running your generator (built-in or portable).
- Simply driving your recreational vehicle and letting the alternator on your engine charge the batteries will do the trick.
- By connecting your motor home to the shore power supply at a campsite or RV park.
The Benefits of Boondocking
One of the advantages of dry camping is that it allows campers to stay in some of the most breathtaking areas our nation has to offer without having to pay a fee. RV campers select dry camping for a variety of reasons, including the following:
Unlimited Campsite Space
The spaciousness is one of the biggest advantages of boondocking, in our opinion. We’ve all had the sensation of pulling into a campground only to discover that there isn’t much room for campsites. Even inside our RV, we’ve camped in certain spots where you could almost touch the RV next door!
Boondocking might be great if you want the room to move around and explore. Since boondocking frequently occurs in undeveloped areas, you are free to camp wherever you wish, possibly far from your neighbors.
You can set up camp anywhere if you adhere to public land rules, such as choosing a location only in approved regions. Due to the extra space alone, many individuals new to boondocking immediately fall in love with it!
Privacy is also another fantastic benefit of boondocking in addition to space. You will frequently be the only person in the neighborhood, with no other homes, vehicles, or people visible! When you boondock, you have extra privacy, which is excellent if you want to disconnect or use the outdoor shower fully.
As opposed to camping at established parks, boondocking is a different experience because of its privacy.
Unimpeded Views and Beautiful Vistas
Most of our public lands are relatively undeveloped. Since there hasn’t been much development, there won’t be any homes, high buildings, or other artificial structures to obstruct your views while you’re boondocking.
While boondocking, the vistas from our campsites have been some of the best we’ve ever seen. The views on your boondocking camping excursion will astound you, whether you are staring into an old-growth forest or soaking in a picturesque desert landscape.
It is not difficult to discover fantastic boondocking spots with beautiful views. Finding these places is now simpler thanks to the internet. Use an app like Campendium to view images of boondocking areas and the views, or try searching social media for hashtags like #boondocking or #campsiteviews.
Of course, you may always go the traditional route and search through your favorite public land camping place by car until you find the perfect view!
Simple to Travel in a Big Group
Boondocking can be a great choice for your upcoming camping trip if you prefer to go with a group of friends. Boondocking is a simple method to gather everyone together without the hassles of making campsite reservations months in advance or making too long-term plans.
To accomplish this, decide where you’ll boondock and let your group know the coordinates or directions. The first person there should look for a space big enough to fit all the rigs. Many public camping locations have enough room for twenty or more RVs in a common area!
Remember that if you’re going to camp with friends, it’s preferable to arrive at about the same time and, if possible, stay away from reaching on a Friday or weekend.
The most desirable locations may quickly fill up, making it challenging for everyone to camp together. Finding a vast area to assemble will be simpler if you can schedule your arrival between Sunday and Thursday. Likewise, make a point of getting there earlier in the day, before the available camping places are over.
Do not forget to treat your public lands respectfully and as good neighbors. It is unacceptable to “hold” places for your group if they have not yet arrived because these campsites are first-come, first-served.
Boondocking is a Great Option for Family Camping
The fact that boondocking is an excellent choice for families or anyone traveling with kids may surprise you. For the young and young at heart, boondocking is a true camping adventure because of the wide-open landscapes and freedom to roam.
Families are frequently relieved to learn that when boondocking, they are not required to confine their kids to a restricted area away from other campers. Kids can be as loud as they want and have more space to explore without disturbing others.
Boondocking Close to Excellent Recreational Possibilities
There are several camping and recreational options available on public lands. Numerous dispersed camping sites are close to other wonderful attractions, including hiking and bike trails, lakes, rivers, and more.
We have spent nights on public grounds that are only a few steps from the RV’s front door and offer great recreational activities! When boondocking, examine if there are any nearby recreational possibilities if you’re looking for fun and adventure. The number of options you’ll have without leaving your campsite could surprise you!
RV Camping is Cost-Free
The best benefit of boondocking is its minimal cost—typically, it’s free! On public lands, scattered camping is almost universally cost-free. Before having to relocate, you can camp for up to 14 days.
One of the most significant advantages of boondocking is being able to camp for nothing. Spending less on overnight camping costs frees up money for trips, activities, or just to put in your bank account.
Traveling for months or even years without paying to camp in the Western United States is feasible due to the abundance of free camping spots there. Because there are so many public lands available, boondocking is a great option for anyone taking a lengthy trip or looking to save money.
There are a few campgrounds on public lands with a small entrance fee, but they are few and far between. Typically, these places charge an affordable price per night. You can check the BLM or forest service websites or look for a notice at the camping area’s entry to see whether there is a cost for a particular campsite.
Even while charging for dispersed camping on public lands is uncommon, it does happen. On the plus side, these locations typically provide certain facilities in exchange for a price. These camping grounds typically have restrooms and picnic tables.
RV Boondocking Batteries Reviewed
Since you’re here to find out which is the best battery for RV boondocking, we’ll get right to the point and provide you with a list of the three batteries that, in our opinion, rank among the best options available to you.
We have broken these three batteries down according to their type. Still, we consider that each type of battery has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, based on how long you generally boondock, how much money you have available, and other factors.
Now that we know what to look for, let’s look at the best RV batteries for dry camping and see which one is ideal for you.
Battle Born Batteries LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery – 100Ah 12v with Built-In BMS – 3,000 to 5,000 Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery: Best Overall RV Battery for Boondocking
Amazon’s Choice in Powersports Batteries by Battle Born Batteries
Brand: Battle-born batteries
Vehicle service type: Van
Amp hours: 100ah
Voltage: 12 volts
Battery cell composition: Lithium-Ion
Item weight: 29 pounds (13.2 kilograms)
Item dimensions: 12.75 x 6.88 x 9 inches (32.4 x 17.5 x 22.9 centimeters)
Number of cells: 4
Terminal: Standard flag-style terminals
About This Item
If you are serious about camping in the great outdoors, a lithium-ion battery is by far and away the superior option. The Battle Born LifePO4 is undoubtedly one of the most impressive lithium-ion batteries.
In contrast, to lead acid batteries, the deep-cycle lithium-ion batteries by Battle Born have a limitless mounting capability and an extraordinary lifetime. Additionally, even though they have a higher initial cost, they may be more cost-effective in the long term.
Battle Born batteries also include BMS (battery management system) technology. It protects the battery from typical reasons for failure, such as fluctuating temperatures and ground faults, among other things.
In addition, their batteries consist of energy that is entirely non-hazardous, safe, and renewable. They last more cycles and are easily recharged and drained more quickly (and frequently) than other available batteries.
You’ll also see that each one only weighs 31 pounds (14.1 kilograms). This RV battery variant weighs roughly one-half as much as comparable alternatives.
Rv Items Powered by This Battery
This battery can power most of the electronics in your RV. You might operate your RV’s air conditioner off-grid for a few hours if your high-end RV has multiple lithium-ion batteries connected to deliver more than 1,000ah.
Fullriver Group GC2 6V 224Ah T-105 AGM Sealed Lead Acid Battery: Best Lead-Acid Battery for Boondocking
Brand: Fullriver battery
Vehicle service type: Trailer
Amp hours: 224ah
Voltage: 6 volts
Battery cell composition: Lead-acid, AGM
Item weight: 70 pounds (31.8 kilograms)
Item dimensions: 10.24 x 7.09 x 9.88 inches ( 26 x 18 x 25.1 centimeters)
Number of cells: 3
Warranty: 24 months
About This Item
A high-quality 6V 224Ah AGM sealed lead-acid battery is a product of Fullriver Group and receives excellent ratings. This 6V battery has a complete seal. It does not require maintenance, and you can put it on its side if necessary.
However, because it only produces 6v, you need to connect it in series with another battery to provide the 12v that your RV needs. For its 6V AGM batteries, Fullriver provides a warranty valid for five years and includes free replacement for the first 24 months, with the remaining 36 months billing at a prorated cost.
Rv Items Powered by This Battery
This battery can power almost every electronic device in an RV.
Optima OPT8016-103 Batteries D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery: Best Easy to Maintain RV Battery for Boondocking
Amazon’s Choice in Automotive Replacement Batteries by Optima
Vehicle service type: Trailer, boat
Voltage: 12 volts
Amp hours: 10ah
Battery cell composition: Lead acid
Item weight: 43.5 pounds (19.7 kilograms)
Item dimensions: 10 x 6.88 x 7.8 inches ( 25.4 x 17.5 x 19.8 centimeters)
Number of cells: 6
Warranty: 24 months free replacement for non-commercial use
Terminal: Dual-purpose threaded top terminals
About This Item
The Optima 8016-103 deep-cycle marine battery is another great option for those looking for the finest RV batteries for boondocking. It should be no surprise that practically all RVers favor this battery because it does not require any maintenance, is reliable, and you can use it in various situations.
In addition to having a construction that prevents spills and a design that requires no maintenance, the battery has optimal starting power even when exposed to severe weather.
In addition, compared to the other batteries on this list, its resistance to shocks and vibrations is 15 times more than the average.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, unlike ordinary batteries, you could recharge it up to three times as many times. The two-hour reserve capacity of this dual-purpose battery allows it to satisfy the requirements of even the most demanding RVs.
The Optima OPT8016-103 is a lead-acid battery that operates at 12 volts and is ideal for use in RVs and boats. Optima batteries have a one-of-a-kind design called spiral cell that delivers power that is both clean and reliable while also being resistant to vibration.
Because you can attach in almost any orientation, mounting these batteries won’t be a problem, so you won’t have to worry about that.
In addition, although we haven’t put it to the test, Optima says that these batteries can hold up to three times as many charges as competing marine batteries. Optima blue-top batteries come with a warranty that covers free replacements for two years.
Rv Items Powered by This Battery
It can power most electronic devices in an RV.
Trojan T-105 GC2 6V 225Ah Deep Cycle Flooded Lead Acid Battery: Best Budget RV Battery for Boondocking
Vehicle service type: Golf cart
Voltage: 6 volts
Amp hours: 225ah
Battery cell composition: Lead acid
Item weight: 64 pounds (29 kilograms)
Item dimensions: 10.37 x 7.12 x 10.87 inches ( 26.3 x 18.1 x 27.6 centimeters)
Warranty: 18 months
Terminal: Embedded high-profile terminal
About This Item
Take the Trojan T-105 plus 6v deep cycle battery with you if you travel to an area with many hills. The Alpha Plus Paste technology, DuraGrid, and Maxguard XL separator allow the battery’s robust and durable design to readily absorb and survive the impacts, shocks, and bumps of the most difficult terrains.
This becomes possible by the design’s ruggedness and durability. Because of all of these factors, the battery will have a longer lifespan, allowing it to serve you for a longer period. In addition to this, it lengthens the battery’s lifespan, which in turn guarantees superior overall performance.
Also, the battery is well-known for its convenience, which you can attribute to its overall efficiency and design, which does not require any maintenance. The last of its features is its weight, which is only fifty pounds, significantly less than the weight of the other batteries on this list.
Many cite the Trojan T-105 6V deep-cycle lead-acid battery as the industry standard for excellence among flooded lead-acid batteries. Each Trojan T-105 6V battery has a capacity of 225Ah.
When connected in series with another Trojan T-105, they should provide sufficient power for boondocking for most RV owners searching for a high-quality flooded lead-acid alternative. Take note that the weight of a single Trojan T-105 is 64 pounds (29 kilograms).
We would be remiss if we did not mention that even though we are providing the Amazon link to the Trojan T-105, Amazon’s price is too high for this battery. If you are interested in Trojan batteries, you may consider looking into other purchasing options because Amazon’s price is too high for this battery.
Rv Items Powered by This Battery
This battery can power almost every RV’s electronic device with the appropriate number of batteries.
To get the most out of the recreational vehicle lifestyle, it is often necessary to be able to camp for extended periods without hookups for sewer, water, or power. You will be able to access some of the most breathtaking camping places in the country.
This is if you opt for the type of camping known as “dry camping,” which, even though it may appear to be an inconvenience, will be your ticket to some of the most stunning camping spots in the country. You should have the best batteries for RV boondocking, which will help you get there and allow you to stay there for as long as you like!
Your budget, the frequency you intend to dry camp, and the RV systems you intend to run off your deep cell batteries will determine the best RV battery for boondocking. We recommend the Battle Born Batteries LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery for your dry camping needs. It has all the best qualities you need in an RV battery.