What makes RVing so great, thrilling, and liberating is the fact that it allows you to get away from it all. If you’re someone who loves going off-the-grid every once in a while and hitting remote spots, then chances are you have indulged in boondocking. Also known as wild camping, free camping, or dry camping, boondocking is basically RVing without being connected to sewer, electric, or water hookups. So, how are you able to power up and enjoy the luxuries of life in the middle of nowhere? Thanks to RV batteries, of course! The best RV batteries for boondocking allow you to explore the landscape and nature off the beaten path. Moreover, it’s a great way to spend time with friends or family or even just by yourself without the distractions that everyday life brings about.
While tent camping is all about roughing it. RV is all about being in the great outdoors while still having modern creature comforts. This includes everything from being able to cook in the kitchen to be able to watch TV under the stars! Plus, you also get to charge devices, use Wi-Fi to stay connected, and even have access to a bathroom with running water, which is an absolute luxury. That’s why RV camping is the best of all worlds, but if and only you’re hooked up to a great battery. Thanks to boondocking batteries, it’s possible to dry camp and also be able to utilize your RV’s features to the fullest. To that end, here are the 13 best RV batteries for boondocking.
How To Choose The Best RV Batteries for Boondocking?
If 2020 is the Year of RVs, then so is 2021 and beyond. An increasing number of people are realizing the joys of RVing, especially for heading into the unknown with all comforts while maintaining social distancing. In order to boondock, you need a good battery. But for that, firstly, you need to understand your RV’s power system.
RVs basically come with two kinds of electrical systems, AC/120V and DC/12V. AC power is what is available in homes and is used to power electronic items and appliances. On the other hand, DC power comes from batteries and is used for lighting, slide-outs, pumps, electric fans, and vents, etc. When you’re hooked up at an RV park, a majority of your RV’s electric devices will be running off of AC power drawn from the park. Any devices using DC current will pull power from the battery, with a converter replenishing it by the AC current. Finally, when your RV is unplugged, DC power stored in the battery bank is the only power supply. So, what should you look for in boondocking batteries for your vehicle? Read on.
How Much Power Do You Need?
The first question obviously is that how long will RV battery last boondocking? After all, it’s what will decide how much power you need and which type of battery is best for you, you need to understand your power needs. For instance, if you plan to just more than just the basics, then estimate what devices you use every day and for how long. Next, check the said devices for the number of amps or watts they use. Since the number needs to be in amps, convert it to amps if the device has information on watts.
Another idea is to use a battery bank instead of having a single battery to run DC power. Basically, a battery bank is a set of multiple batteries wired together to store energy and increase your bandwidth and power. What’s more, batteries can be connected together in either “parallel” or “series”. Series increases the voltage while keeping the Ah (amp-hours) the same, while parallel increases the Ah and keeps the voltage the same.
Types of batteries
Broadly speaking, there are four kinds of batteries:
- Gel batteries: They’re amongst the most known options for housing batteries and make for good RV deep-cycle batteries. Lithium-Ion batteries: These are the best standard for boondocking out of all battery types. While they’re expensive, they’re more than capable of carrying out boondocking successfully.
- AGM lead-acid batteries: These are durable, maintenance-free batteries that are leaf-proof and can be mounted at any position. What’s more, they can be used with both solar and wind energy.
- Flooded lead-acid batteries: One of the best batteries on the market, these can also be mounted in almost any position. They have a long battery life, have a flooded technology, and are durable, leak-proof, and spill-free.
Voltage and capacity
Finally, we come to voltages, and RV boondocking batteries come in a variety of voltages. For instance, lithium 12V 100Ah makes for the best RV batteries of the deep-cycle kind and is very reliable. However, 6V batteries last even longer than 12V ones, and both are preferred by campers equally because they’re inexpensive and boast excellent performance. Another thing to look at is the capacity, for which you to look at the voltage of the battery. A standard 12V RV battery has a capacity of 220 amp-hours. Another factor you can look at for measuring capacity is the reserve capacity of amp-hours on the battery.
How to maintain RV batteries when not boondocking?
Many batteries such as AGM and lithium-ion ones are maintenance-free. That essentially means that you don’t need to keep them filled with distilled water all the time. However, if you let the battery go dead and stay dead for long time periods, then every battery will definitely go bad. So, it’s important to keep the batteries up and running as the metal plates inside will sulfate and die if they’re not kept charged.
How long will RV battery last boondocking?
Most dry campers and boondockers run with two 12-volt batteries, which will generally give enough power to use the water pump, charge devices, run your vent fans during the daytime, and keep the lights on at night. What’s more, you might even be able to run the propane furnace throughout the night. Likewise, if you use four lithium RV batteries, you have twice the power, which gives you the chance to boondock for a good 2-7 days. However, a lot depends on what kind of batteries you use.
VMAX Solar SLR125 AGM Sealed Battery
One of the best RV batteries for boondocking is the VMAX Solar SLR125 AGM Sealed Battery. If you want to upgrade to the standard GOAL-ZERO 100 Ah battery, then this one is the perfect fit. It not only increases the capacity of your battery but also offers a lifespan of at least 8-10 years in float mode. Weighing a total of 75 lbs, this VMAX beast boasts a maximum charging current of 30 amps. This is thanks to its inventive design with 99 percent recombination capabilities and produces no dangerous gases or fumes. Finally, the battery also comes with space for as well as aiding roof-mounted panels.
- Safe to operate.
- Long lifespan.
- Higher amp-hour capacity.
- Very heavy.
Optima Batteries Dual Purpose Battery
Are you boondocking somewhere with bad weather usually? So, you’ll need a battery that can handle the vibration of sitting in your RV as well as the elements. Then go for the Optima Batteries Dual Purpose Battery, which features 15 times more resistance to vibration for added durability and longevity. Weighing 43.5 lbs, the battery boasts a reserve capacity of 120 minutes for more consistent performance. What’s more, it even has optimal starting power in bad weather. Wrapped in a case made from polypropylene, the material protects the battery as well. Moreover, this Optima model even delivers a maintenance-free performance and boasts a longer life than many previous models. Finally, it features a capacity of more than 300 recharge and discharge cycles and has faster recharging too.
- Starting power in bad weather.
- Reserve capacity.
- No handle.
Battle Born LiFePO4
The Battle Born LiFePO4 is amongst the best RV batteries for boondocking. Eco-conscious RVers will love this lightweight lithium battery that’s designed using green practices using 100 percent non-toxic, safe and renewable energy. Essentially, it lasts for more cycles and can be discharged and charged continuously. Plus, it even charges way faster than any other battery. Weighing just 31 lbs, it weighs just one-third the weight of lead-acid ones. It can also be safely mounted in any position, making it the perfect choice for boondocking. Thanks to the in-built Battery Management System (BMS), the battery is protected from failure, including ground faults and temperature volatility. If that wasn’t enough, the BMS even acts as a shut-off system during unsafe operating conditions and regulates the power amount taken from the battery.
- In-built battery management system.
- Green energy elements.
- Fast recharge.
- No handle.
Weize Deep Cycle Battery
Yet another excellent dry camping battery that won’t break the bank is the Weize Deep Cycle Battery. This Weize battery is an excellent battery for off-the-grid camping thanks to its heavy-duty calcium-alloy grid. It provides a long service life and exceptional performance in both cyclic and floating applications. Going further, the battery uses AGM technology in an inventive valve-regulated design. This basically means that it can be used in indoor and enclosed environments sans worrying about maintenance and leaking. Weighing 57 lbs, this 12-volt battery boasts a capacity of 100 amp hours, making it ideal for taking your RV just about anywhere and camping with all the comforts possible.
- Calcium-alloy grid for good battery life.
- No security features.
Renogy Pure Gel 12V 200Ah Battery
Amongst the best deep-cycle batteries that are also amongst the best RV batteries for boondocking is the Renogy Pure Gel 12V 200Ah Battery. Able to withstand the rigors of harsh environments, the battery also has a ton of important security measures that’ll keep it running in hot, wet and even sandy environments. The battery, firstly, features a triplex sealed build, which is triple strengthened and valve-regulated around the terminals. This prevents electrolyte leakage as well as external air from entering into the battery. Thanks to its heavy-duty lead-calcium grids, the battery also offers a long service life and allows for up to a decade of standby use. Finally, the battery also has an extremely reliable performance as well as a really low self-discharge rate.
- Low self-discharge rate.
- Long shelf life.
- Explosion-proof safety valves.
- No handle.
ExpertPower Lithium 12V 100Ah Deep Cycle Battery
Yet another excellent battery is the ExpertPower Lithium 12V 100Ah Deep Cycle Battery. Boasting a longer service life than most lead-acid batteries, this battery has a total lifetime of a decade, providing power for at least 2500-7000 cycles. What’s more, it has an extremely flat discharge curve that can hold well above 12 V for a discharge capacity of up to 90 percent. If that wasn’t enough, the battery is very lightweight, weighing just a third of what usual lead-acid batteries weigh. Thanks to the in-built Battery Management System (BMS), the battery is protected from short-circuiting, overheating, overloading, deep discharging, and overcharging. Plus, it’s also what keeps the battery’s self-discharge rate very low.
- Efficient power.
- Long battery life.
Optima 8016-103 Deep Cycle Marine Battery
Yet another of the best RV batteries for boondocking is the Optima Batteries 8016-103 Deep-Cycle Marine Battery. Why this battery is loved by almost all kinds of RVers is no surprise – it’s maintenance-free, reliable, and versatile. Besides a spill-proof build and maintenance-free design, the battery also has optimal starting power even in harsh weather conditions. What’s more, it’s 15 times more resistant to shocks and vibrations as compared to other batteries on this list. If that wasn’t enough, it can be recharged up to thrice more than other batteries. Rounding up the excellent features of this dual-purpose battery is the two-hour reserve capacity, which meets the most demanding of RV needs.
- 15 times more resistant to shocks and vibrations.
- Spill-proof and maintenance-free.
- 2 hours reserve capacity.
Odyssey PC680 RV Battery
One of the sturdiest batteries on this list is the Odyssey PC680 Battery which boasts amongst the most rugged builds amongst boondocking batteries. The best part about this battery is that it lasts anywhere between 3 and 10 years, which is very, very long for any battery. Since they’re designed to withstand the harsh abuse of the outdoors, they work well as boondocking batteries, no matter the kind of weather you’re camping in. Furthermore, the swanky and sleek AGM design can withstand all sorts of vibrations and shocks, especially when you go off-the-road and camp in a remote place along the scenic route. Moreover, the multiple lead plates boost the power supply and raise the temperature tolerance levels of the RV to a great extent. Finally, the battery recharges quickly, can be mounted anywhere, and is incredibly flexible.
- Rugged build.
- Excellent AGM design.
- Can withstand shocks.
- Recharges on time.
- Isn’t designed for solar power.
Renogy Lithium-Ion Phosphate Battery
The Renogy Lithium-Ion Phosphate Battery is one of the best RV batteries for boondocking that’s a li-ion battery. Featuring an extended lifespan of more than 2,000 cycles, this battery is designed while keeping safety in mind. So, you’ll find a multi-protection system with automatically balanced cells that protect the battery from being overcharged or over-discharged, thus ensuring optimal performance. What’s more, the system also protects the battery against over-current, short-circuit, and overheating, which are especially important when you’re dry camping. Plus, it also ensures higher off-the-grid performance since it’s compact and lightweight too. Finally, it’s ideal for a host of marine and solar applications as well.
- Comes with many protective features.
- A 2,000-cycle lifespan.
- Lightweight and compact.
- Only usable for parallel connections.
Mighty Max 6V 200AH SLA RV Battery
The Mighty Max 6V 200AH SLA RV Battery is yet another great dry camping battery, which lives up to its name and offers excellent results. One of its best aspects of the battery is the terminals which feature internal threads, thus offering a more reliable and secure connection. It’s also what gives this battery a bit of an edge in the durability arena. What’s more, the low self-discharge rate also helps increase the battery’s life, which is aided by the in-built one-release valves. Plus, these valves are also what protects the battery from pressure and overheating, especially since it can operate in extreme temperatures as well. Finally, the spill-proof nature of this well-designed battery makes it a must-buy for anyone looking to boondock.
- Works in extreme temperatures.
- Internal threads
- Low self-discharge rate.
- Some users weren’t happy with the warranty.
Universal Power Group 12V Battery
Leading the way in spill-proof design amongst the best RV batteries for boondocking is the Universal Power Group 12V Battery. Considered amongst the best deep cycle batteries for RV, this flexible and versatile battery can be mounted in a plethora of different positions and just about anywhere depending on your personal preferences and living style. What’s more, the AGM technology is very reliable and greatly reduces the effects of intense shocks and vibrations on the battery. If that wasn’t enough, the battery is properly sealed in a rugged spillproof design and will never leak or spill. Maintenance-free and weighing 64 lbs, this battery is a great addition to your boondocking gear, especially if you love staying at remote spots.
- A multi-purpose and versatile battery.
- Can be mounted anywhere and in any position.
- The AGM technology reduces vibration and shock.
- The stainless-steel hardware is slightly short.
Trojan T-105 Plus 6V Deep Cycle Battery
If you’re headed somewhere hilly, then take the Trojan T-105 Plus 6V Deep Cycle Battery along with you. The rugged and durable design of the battery can easily absorb and withstand the impacts, shocks, and bumps of the roughest terrains thanks to the brand’s Alpha Plus Paste technology, DuraGrid, and MaxGuard XL separator. All of these together increase the lifespan of the battery, so that it lasts you for a long time. Moreover, it also increases the battery’s durability, thus ensuring top-tier performance. What’s more, the battery is also famed for its convenience, thanks to the overall efficiency and maintenance-free design. Rounding up the features is its weight, which is merely 50 lbs, much less than the other batteries on this list.
- Rugged and durable.
- Maintenance-free and spillproof design.
NPP 6V 225Ah AGM Battery
The top spot on this list of best RV batteries for boondocking is the NPP 6V 225Ah AGM Battery. The versatile battery has a lot going for it, especially the rugged design made to deal with the wear and tear that comes with RVing. Crafted from ABS plastic, this battery is resistant to vibrations, shocks, heat, weather, and chemicals. Besides being easy to install, the battery even comes in a two-pack option. So, if you’re looking for a second 6V battery, then you don’t need to look anywhere else. Aside from being maintenance-free, the battery is safety certified and extremely versatile. For all those campers and RVers who love going off the grid armed with nothing but their GPS, a sense of adventure, and of course this battery, an adventure awaits them.
- Rugged and durable.
- Resistant to shocks, vibrations, and wear and tear.
- Practically none.