Solar project on hold???

To go solar or not?  Me thinks not right now.

Recently I have been doing a lot of reflecting.  As much as a set of solar panels sounds attractive, I’m thinking about not getting them – or at least not till later in the year.  They might not be needed in addition to possibly drawing more attention to the van.  Most of the places I camp have electricity.  If none is available, I have a new generator and have learned that the house batteries are more than adequate.

Solar would be nice but there is plenty of free power right now without having to spend more money.  Dad’s house supplies electricity to charge the batteries and keep them topped off.  Why not keep taking advantage of it and the free driveway?  It won’t be around forever.  During that time, solar technology may continue to drop in price.  It can be added later and likely for less money.

Lately some of my posts in various places have been about building out your van to YOUR needs.  It was time to do this for myself.

There are a lot of cool ideas floating around here but to some degree it can result in a “keeping up with the Smiths and Jonses”…  I’m guilty as hell when I show people the 2500 watt inverter and 460 amp hour house battery system that powers a 15 watt TV and a Koolatron.  I had to have big batteries, a big inverter, a microwave and all that…  It’s what a lot of other people were doing and I’m male – that automatically predisposes me to the “bigger is better” thing.  Add this to the “coolness factor” and it can get more expensive.

After giving it some thought, I’ve decided to table the solar plans and just enjoy camping.  There are still other plans for minor upgrades and tweaks to add some comfort.

If there is one piece of advice I can give newer van campers who are looking at doing a conversion it would be to ask “Where do I plan to camp?”  It can affect almost every decision you make:  batteries, water, bathroom, bathing, cooking, cooling, ventilation, food storage, etc.  No two campers’ situations are completely alike.  Internet information is great but it’s what we do with it that makes it useful or not.

At first it seemed a little disappointing to put the project on the back burner and then it dawned on me.  I’m living what I believe is important.  That’s a cool thing.

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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