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 > mounting a propane tank to bumper

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NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Posted: 12/12/19 12:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When we got our Lance about 15 years ago, I had the same conversation with myself that you’re having. It was the first TC we’d had with a built-in LP generator, and I just knew the two 30 lb cylinders weren’t going to last very long if we were using it to provide air conditioning. That’s all true enough, but you know what? The opportunities (NEED) to do that have been few and far between.

First of all, it didn’t take me long to figure out that running a 3600 watt genny 100% of the time to meet our power needs that the vast majority of the time (95% or more) is less than 1000 watts, is pretty wasteful. Plus, none of the built-in generators are as quiet as a little 1 or 2KW Honda or Yamaha inverter generator. The built-in generator still gets used, but it’s typically for short duration things like nukeing a meal, or running the air conditioner while we take a lunch break.

So, I bought a 1000 watt Yamaha to carry around with us, and would use that when it was needed. We typically use a mix of campgrounds with hookups and without, so It’s only about 50% of the time that we need a generator. Most of the time when we need the generator, there are campground generator rules to abide by, so it’s not like we could run it 24 hrs a day anyway. Occasionally, we camp out in the boonies where there’s nobody around to care if we run a generator 24x7, and we do. I’d much rather listen to the Yamaha 1000 than the built-in Generac at those times.

Then there’s the “Do I even want to go somewhere in the camper that air conditioning is a necessity in order to be comfortable, but there’s no utility power available?”, and the vast majority of the time, the answer is no. We’ve done it a handful of times and toughed it out, but most of the time when we’re dry camping, it’s in a place that at least cools off at night.

The need to spend extended lengths of time somewhere that is brutally hot, with no power available just hasn’t happened for us, and we’ve been TC’ing for a long time. If the need arose, I would probably look at getting two 2KW generators that could be paralleled when needed.

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* This post was edited 12/12/19 12:36pm by NRALIFR *


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Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 12/12/19 02:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NRALIFR wrote:



The need to spend extended lengths of time somewhere that is brutally hot, with no power available just hasn’t happened for us, and we’ve been TC’ing for a long time. If the need arose, I would probably look at getting two 2KW generators that could be paralleled when needed.

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2 years ago we took 2 months to make it from Las Vegas to Florida, where where we had to turn around due Irma entering the state from other side.
Even we started in July and went into September, we had only 3 nights when we could sleep with no AC.
But Honda 3000 with its front mount worked well when we did not have power hook up. The build-in tank would last for 2 nights of AC operation and the storage compartment I gained after propane generator removal was great for extra gas can.
Than I also have 900W inverter generator who thanks to forum tip cost me $150 new. So far used it only when our house was with no power for full day, but at 20 lb I carry it just in case.





jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 12/12/19 05:50pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP still hasn’t said what he plans to do with that much propane. That’s more important than figuring out how to carry more.

If it’s for AC, then there should also be some plans to blcok the sun with sun screen cloth and insulate the camper batter. Then, there is the use of fantastic fans and keeping the temperature at just the minimum required temperature.

Also, OP says in their signature that they have a DRW.


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jaycocreek

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Posted: 12/12/19 07:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

OP still hasn’t said what he plans to do with that much propane. That’s more important than figuring out how to carry more.


Seriously...The Northern Lite only has two five gallon bottles while something like the Arctic Fox has two seven gallon bottles..So three five gallon bottles(carrying one extra) would equal basically the capacity of and Arctic Fox TC or a standard TT without carrying an extra tank...

Supposedly most TC manufacturers went to the five gallon bottles for ease of exchange but limiting severely(IMO) the propane needed for winter camping and summer heat...Oh and they weigh less..Laughing..

While I am looking for my last TC I will ever buy,propane capacity is a big concern for me and the times of the year I camp..If I got a TC with a propane generator,I also would be looking for a way to carry more propane to atleast equal what AF has as standard which would be one extra five gallon tank..

jimh425

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Posted: 12/12/19 08:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jaycocreek, I usually only fill my tanks up once or twice per year. I only use my generator to top off the batteries. I’m pretty sure I’m only around 60-70 hrs on my generator in 13 years. With LEDs and using the sunscreen cloth I just don’t use that much propane. When I’m moving, my batteries top off with the truck since we don’t use that much battery power.

Frankly, if I was going to stay inside all of the time, I would probably just stay home. I can understand if you are forced to hangout while kids are doing an event, etc. But otherwise, how much AC are you going to need with the exception of Southeast with high humidity and high temperature late into the night.

So, again, what’s the OP doing that he needs 4 tanks for one trip? If it’s generator, he’d be better off moving to a gasoline model. Propane is one of the most expensive/inefficient fuels for a generator. Not to mention they make a lot more noise.

In TC generators are convenient, but they are also the most expensive generator solution.

Bedlam

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Posted: 12/12/19 08:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The amount of propane I could carry was a consideration when we purchased our short bed truck camper with Onan - Eagle Cap and Arctic Fox were the only ones that had dual 30 lb tanks. We wanted a built in generator rather than hauling an external one and another fuel source, so that eliminated many of the brands.

Even with 60 lbs of propane on board, I carry an additional 100 lbs in my enclosed trailer for extended boon docking not just for the generator but for outdoor cooking, fire pit and outside heater.

Weekend Warrior went from dual 30 lb tanks to triple 20's making swaps easy if refilling was not available. Unfortunately that convenience takes up too much room in a truck camper unless you get creative.


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jaycocreek

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Posted: 12/13/19 04:15am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jimh425 wrote:

jaycocreek, I usually only fill my tanks up once or twice per year. I only use my generator to top off the batteries. I’m pretty sure I’m only around 60-70 hrs on my generator in 13 years. With LEDs and using the sunscreen cloth I just don’t use that much propane. When I’m moving, my batteries top off with the truck since we don’t use that much battery power.

Frankly, if I was going to stay inside all of the time, I would probably just stay home. I can understand if you are forced to hangout while kids are doing an event, etc. But otherwise, how much AC are you going to need with the exception of Southeast with high humidity and high temperature late into the night.

So, again, what’s the OP doing that he needs 4 tanks for one trip? If it’s generator, he’d be better off moving to a gasoline model. Propane is one of the most expensive/inefficient fuels for a generator. Not to mention they make a lot more noise.

In TC generators are convenient, but they are also the most expensive generator solution.


Jim..1-Try going hunting for a week in October or November in Idaho or Montana and see how much propane you use to stay warm and keep the lines from freezing..2-5 gallon tanks just don't cut it.

2-Spend all day out on your ATV or fishing/whatever and come back to a TC that has done nothing but act like an oven all day when you were gone and it's 95 degrees out and see just how long you have to run the genny to cool it down and it's still 95 outside and your just pain tired..

We all use our TC's differently and you can't walk in another mans shoes unless you take his path which may or may not be totally different than yours making his needs completely different than yours.

NRALIFR

Truck Camping Out West

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Posted: 12/13/19 06:02am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ron, I’ve done a version of both of those scenarios myself. In both instances though, I didn’t and wouldn’t recommend relying on the LP generator for long continuous use. Besides the higher fuel consumption, there are a couple of potential drawbacks to using a built-in LP powered generator in extreme temperatures that you need to be aware of.

The first was a planned trip, so there was plenty of time to prepare. It became clear pretty quick that I was going to need more than just extra propane, and I wasn’t going to be able to carry it all in the camper and truck. So, I borrowed a small cargo trailer and used it to haul extra propane, gasoline for the generator, water, etc. I took more than enough fuel for the trip, and used a combination of the campers furnace, and an electric heater to keep things warm. The Yamaha didn’t run 24x7, but it ran a lot. The Generac was used at least once a day and it never failed to start, but the temps never got down below the mid teens at night. I wouldn’t want to rely on it as our only source of power in dangerously cold weather though. I would always want a backup means of generating power in case of a problem with the LP flow in extreme low temps.

The other extreme has only been experienced a few times, mainly because as I said the “want to” factor just isn’t there for us.

The most extreme time was at Arches NP in July or August several years ago. We managed to get some hiking in before it got too hot one day, but when we got back to the camper it was well over 100 degrees, and the sun was shining directly on the corner of the camper where the built-in Generac is installed. The outside of the camper was too hot to even touch. I started the generator up to cool the camper off so we could rest and get cleaned up before getting on the road, and it ran for about 15 minutes before its over-temp limit switch shut it down. That figures.

The most recent was a trip we made out west in September last year, and we wanted to visit Joshua Tree NP. It was still pretty hot then, but we don’t make it out that way often, so we just decided to tough it out. Spent two nights at Jumbo rocks, and the daytime high was about 113. The campground has set generator hours, so we couldn’t use the built-in for air conditioning. 113 degrees is HOT, even with the low humidity. From about noon to 5pm, about the only thing we could do was stay out of the sun. I managed to keep the camper just under 100 degrees inside by using our awnings to keep the direct sun off of the camper as much as possible, and the fantastic fan. Fortunately, it cooled off enough at night to sleep.

But, and this is for Kayteg just to prove my heat and humidity “bona fides” (Information that serves to guarantee a person's good faith, standing, and reputation; authentic credentials), back when I was a poor young man living in the Florida panhandle in an uninsulated, flat-roof, 700 sq ft “bungalow” (actually more of a shack), that only had a window air conditioner that we couldn’t afford to run very often, I spent many a hot summer night sleeping in 90+ degree heat with 90+ percent humidity with only a fan in an open window for comfort. You do what you can afford to do.

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jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 12/13/19 06:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jaycocreek wrote:

We all use our TC's differently and you can't walk in another mans shoes unless you take his path which may or may not be totally different than yours making his needs completely different than yours.


Maybe my TC is more insulated than yours, but that wasn’t the point. I wear clothes in winter, so I don’t need my TC at 70+. Reducing the temperature drastically reduces the amount of propane used. I didn’t say OP or you should/should not do whatever he or you want.

Just wondering what he’s doing since he hasn’t said. Maybe he’s going hunting in Montana, or riding an ATV, but maybe not. If he’s using the propane for his generator, then he should consider a gasoline generator solution.

As I said, propane generators are convenient, but expensive to use.

jaycocreek

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Posted: 12/13/19 08:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

The most extreme time was at Arches NP in July or August several years ago. We managed to get some hiking in before it got too hot one day, but when we got back to the camper it was well over 100 degrees, and the sun was shining directly on the corner of the camper where the built-in Generac is installed. The outside of the camper was too hot to even touch. I started the generator up to cool the camper off so we could rest and get cleaned up before getting on the road, and it ran for about 15 minutes before its over-temp limit switch shut it down. That figures.


Humm,interesting..I have had a Yamaha portable gen do that exact same thing but not one of the built in Onan's I have had in a couple Class C's..My Honda 3K has not done that either..

I am on the fence about having or not having a built in gen in my last and final TC..In the Class C's I have owned they came in real handy and ran in blistering heat without issue but then it was gasoline Onan's not propane..I have heard a bunch of stories of trouble with Onan generators but I have never had any trouble,myself..But I used them alot,not just once in a while..

During a typical hunting trip of 1-2 weeks,I used an average of a 7 gallon bottle every 3-4 days maybe even 5-6 depending on temps..That is why I have two 25 gallon bottles that I usually take atleast one because refilling propane 100 miles from anywhere, is not an option..

My need for a TC mounted gen would only be for trips to the city for medical needs and stays not in a motel room..I do have the window AC that works great but that needs a gen set and would be not advised in a Walmart or city hide-away,even temporarily..

So like the op but for my reasons,carrying an extra tank or two makes sense for those times you did not plan on for the AC or furnace/Cat heater..

IMHO all TC's should have two 30# propane bottles which would solve a lot of issues while two 20#,especially if exchanged,don't fill the needs of longer stay's in extreme temps...

If the op does a google search he will find many propane tank holders that will bolt to that huge bumper found on most new truck campers to carry anything from propane bottles to even a small Honda or Yamaha..Lots of room there for extra's..

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