My Battery Is Dead While Dry Camping

by Cheryl
(Green Bay, Wi)

Question: We have been dry camping and we can not get our battery to stay charged. How often do we need to run our truck and for how long to keep the battery in working order? I do not have any lights on and it drains within 8 hours.

What is draining it if I am not using anything but the refrigerator and water heater? Should I be turning my water heater and pump off?

How do I make my battery last longer?

Robbie: You need to read the battery page on my website. There are a lot of things to consider but most mistakes made are the amount of time needed to charge a battery. If your battery is below 10.5 volts (Lights getting dim) you need to charge the battery for 72 hrs to completely recharge it. Chances are you could have been in trouble before you even left for your trip if the battery hadn't been serviced and completely charged before you hit the road.

The secret to successful dry camping is to never allow the battery to go really low. A generator would need to be ran for 3 hrs in the morning and 3 hours in the evening in most cases. Using the tow vehicle to keep the battery charged would be hard. Plugging in the trailer 3 or 4 days before your trip is a great idea and consider solar if you dry camp a lot or have no place to plug in the trailer at home. If you have no lights at all then you might have a bad battery. Chances are you'll never be able to bring back a completely dead battery (while your camping). The secret is never allow the battery to get low in the first place.

Draws on the battery could be from many things but leaving the water pump and water heater on is fine. Remember there is also the LP leak detector drawing and a radio draws even when it off. But like I said earlier, if your battery gets low when your camping it's really hard to recover from. And running the tow vehicle for an hr does nothing to replenish a deep cycle battery. If a deep cycle battery is charged for 24 hrs you have only replaced 1/3 of what the battery is capable of holding if the battery was low when you started.


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Robbie Warford, San Diego RV Repair

Hi, I'm Robbie. Welcome to!

Like the name implies, this site is all about helping you save money while keeping your RV in tip-top shape--and that is all about you having the knowledge to do so.

I've been a technician in the RV industry for 30 years, operating out of San Diego, California. And let me tell you, I love my job.

But I also love empowering RVers with the knowledge they need to make the right decision on repairs, or to make the fix themselves--and that, my friend, is the reason for this website. I hope you enjoy.

Or, learn more about me, my RV service practice, & this website here.