When we started on our Airstream journey with the 16′ Bambi, we rarely camped in state parks with power. We loved the freedom of being able to fit anywhere and finding beautiful sites without crowds and noise.
When we moved up to the 25′ we found ourselves using the state park system in Oregon far more often. Electricity and water are nice conveniences – especially in the winter. And, Oregon does have some of the most beautiful state parks in the country. However, in the summer, those parks are CROWDED! We missed camping in more secluded, natural areas like we had when we first began. Sadly, in the few years we owned our 25′, we only dry camped a handful of times and we had never tried in the 28′. I was seriously afraid we’d outsized the federal campgrounds that we’d so enjoyed.
We’d been thinking about updating to lithium ion batteries for quite some time. We love dry camping but hated to rely on noisy generators to keep our batteries going. We finally took the plunge and had our local Airstream dealership install the Expion 360 batteries and monitor – we also purchased a Zamp portable solar panel. We discussed having panels mounted on the roof at AM Solar, and eventually it is still a possibility. However, we are still just weekend campers and the PNW is heavily forested – we weren’t sure we needed that much power yet. We decided to begin with the portable panel and go from there.
We were excited to try the new system out so we canceled our reservations at the state park we had planned on visiting and headed up to our favorite federal campground on Mt. Hood for a weekend of boondocking. It had been years since we’d been there and it was wonderful to return. It was the last week of June and my first week of summer vacation. The sun was shining but it was cold. Cold enough that we dressed in down jackets, warm slippers and kept a fire going during the day! It was beautiful, it was quiet and it was perfect!
1. The lithium batteries were wonderful. They held a charge and topped off very quickly.
2. The solar panels at this forested site weren’t very useful. Any shadows whatsoever, really compromise the charge. We expected this though, and honestly, we were just happy the battery system worked so well. We used our lights, listened to music and didn’t try to conserve power. Our old batteries would have never made it through the weekend without running the generator.
3. We really missed dry camping! So happy we did this!