Off Grid Caravanning And Camping- What We Learnt And Tips
Get off grid and get healthy
Monday, 12, Aug 2019 02:53
By William Coleman
Going off grid and escaping it all seems like the ideal way to evade the day to day and recharge your batteries. But is moving away from the creature comforts of site facilities that relaxing and more importantly, is it actually enjoyable?
Let me start off by saying that going off grid for an escape from the world is a good idea and every now and then we should all give it a try. Being out in nature has so many benefits to your physical and mental health and studies have shown that the body tends to be a lot more settled when out in areas by lakes, the sea or forests. This means more energy when you need it and it can drastically improve your sleep. Win win!
Now, if you are planning on towing the van, jumping in the motorhome or using a tent I would suggest doing a fair bit of research. Despite our planning, which in hindsight wasn't the best, we did not realise just how challenging some things were going to be.
Using a caravan or motorhome for off grid living does work, provided you know what you are doing and where to go. The two types of 'off grid' camping you will come across is location with a lot of other caravaners that just doesn't have an electrical or water hook up but there are plenty of places to go and re stock with clean water and other amenities. The second, which is what I think really is off grid, is finding a remote location that allows camping or pitching up.
To really get the true experience of freedom you should go for the latter and find somewhere you've never been before, stock up and just escape.
What Do You Need To Really Go Off Grid?
You are going to need to make a few adjustments to your kit and set up to ensure some smooth sailing, or towing.... Becoming self sufficient when on holiday can be a lot easier than you think, especially with these little titbits of info.
Keeping The Lights On Solar- When camping electric is not really much of an issue as most things you use can be powered by your conventional AA or AAA battery. When using a larger for of accommodation such as a camper, motorhome or caravan an electric current is a bit more essential.
Even if the sun is not at its brightest of is the sky is a tad overcast a solar panel will still be able to charge, slow yes, but they still do a good job. Don't be afraid of using this method to keep your powered up.
Like with most things in life you get what you pay for so you may want to go for a middle/high end panel so as not to be left short half way through your evening. A 100-watts of power should do the trick nicely, obviously depending on how many electrical items you intend on using.
One major tip for solar would be to unplug anything you are not using as pretty much every electrical item that is plugged in will slowly and continuously draw power.
Finding The Location And Then The Right Spot
Have you ever seen a caravan or motorhome out in the sticks all pitched unevenly, looking like one big mess and wondered "how did that end up there?" Through bad planning is usually the answer.
When I first attempted to go off grid I just did not really take into account how tricky it was going to be to find the right spot to pitch up on.
I had permission from the land owner to free roam and set up wherever I wanted, the issue I found was that each location I wanted to stop it was either too densely wooded to get the van on or it was so uneven that steadying the van would have been an absolute nightmare.
When picking your location you have to kind of limit your expectations, I did not do that, and realise that sometimes the most picturesque location have really hard work in reality.
Also be mindful of the toilet cassette. The more secluded you are the more chance there is of not being able to responsibly emptying the cassette after extended usage.
Stock Up Well
Falling off of the map brings with it it's own list of challenges, the main one is packing enough tea bags and crumpets. I firmly believe that when getting lost in the middle of nowhere you cannot over stock on supplies, but bare in mind your on board weight for towing.
The main thing you will need to stock up on is the H2o. Without enough water you trip will end prematurely or you'll spend more time worrying about rationing than you will actually relaxing, this very much defeats the point of going off grid.
If like me you were on a location that had a tap then you are going to want to fill up an extra aqua roll and make sure you bring as many 5 litre bottles as possible, best kept in the boot of the car. The issue with an additional aqua roll is its size. It can take up extra storage space. But it is well worth it when you need that morning cuppa or an evening shower after a long day hiking.
To ensure you do not burn through your gas or electric reserves I would pre chill some freezer block and make the most of a good chiller or cool box. I bought a pull along one from Costco and it does an amazing job and will keep a whole cooler full of food cold for up to 4 days.
Removing the constant electric hook up will leave you relying heavily on your gas storage, seasonal weather dependant of course. I mean in July people in the UK wanted nothing to do with on board heating. Fast forward 3 weeks and the conditions are quite different.
I'm sure most of you reading this know exactly how much can you can get through normally when using the hobs, heating water etc etc. But now take away the electric element and before you know it you'll be burning through a whole bottle, especially if you enjoy extended touring.
If you are going to make the most of the outside life style and use a Cadac or any other gas fuelled BBQ try your best to bring a second gas bottle.
Reasons To Love Off Grid Caravanning
Life can be, at times, a bit stressful. What with the Monday to Friday rat race of commuting and the normality that is life you do sometimes just need to isolate yourself with some much deserved "me time". Going off grid provides freedom, tranquillity and you'll walk away with total peace of mind ready to tackle life once more.
There are the main reasons to give off grip caravanning, and camping of any form, a go:
- Find new hidden locations
- Cheaper fees than onsite bookings
- See more of the countryside
- Hidden health benefits
- Get to know your van better
- Spend more time outside being active
- Total peace and quiet
Have you ever dabbled in a bit of off grid holiday making? If not has this tempted you to give it a try?