There are so many things to think about when your goal is to dry camp for extended periods of time. "Dry Camp" refers to camping off the grid, away from RV Parks or other areas that allow you to "hook-up" to water, power, septic even wifi! But as you'll discover, as we are, "Dry Camping" involves a different train of thought during the planning stages. Two of the items I've covered in the last two days involves communication and power.
Cell phones may work fine and here, and many parts of the country. But they have their limitations especially in mountainous terrain and other areas of the west where coverage can be limited. There is a catalog full of electronic solutions to improve cell service and even wifi signals, but if no service exists in the first place, what other options do you have? An option that I'm considering, is HAM radio. The radio itself can be very economical and with the FCC's removal of the Morse Code requirement, obtaining a license is very attainable. So much so, that I passed my written exam yesterday. For the cost of a HAM study guide ($14), examination fee ($15) and 2 meter handheld radio ($45), I now have access to several repeaters all across the country that can link me to a network of other radio operators. That's what I call affordable security.
But with any kind of electronics comes electricity. Where will it come from and how long will it last. Batteries will provide our electrical power both in the Tiger and the Turtleback trailer. Sooner or later, those batteries need to be recharged. Yes, we have a generator built into the Tiger Adventure Vehicle, but I would rather not use it except as a last resort. So what then? Well, when we received our Turtleback Trailer, I noticed an SAE receptacle built into the electrical system. When I asked what it was for, I was told it was for portable solar panels for recharging the batteries. Voila! So a Renogy Solar Suitcase was purchased. The Solar suitcase comprises of two foldable solar panels tucked neatly inside a semi-hard shell zippered case. Everything is wired and ready to go, including a built in charger/controller. Now because I already have a controller in both the Turtle and the Tiger, I have modified mine so that I can charge with or without a controller. I'm excited of the projects of making toast without sacrificing too much power. I'll let you know how it goes!