Boondocking is perfect for RV owners who want to explore nature! Having a battery that can keep up with the power demands of running an RV, especially in the case of space heating and water heating systems, is important when you’re living on the road.
Finding the right battery for full-time boondocking is a task in itself. Your battery needs to be heavy-duty so you can run all your systems without worrying about whether or not it will be able to keep up. You can also connect your RV GPS easily near your steering.
Luckily for you, we’ve done all the research and compiled a few high-quality batteries that are perfect for full-time boondocking.
Best RV Battery for Full-time Boondocking?
The best RV batteries for boondocking are lithium-ion batteries. They may not be every RVer’s first choice because they are expensive, but for those of you who live off-grid the majority of the time, they will be worth the extra money.
If you’re only going off-grid for a weekend or a short trip, a less expensive battery may be the best RV battery setup for you. However, if you’re a full-time boondocker, you’ll want to invest in your battery because you’ll be relying on it more and for longer periods of time.
Many full-time boondockers use solar panels in addition to their battery setup to provide power. Those are excellent suggestions, but you will still require the battery in the event of extended periods of inclement weather.
They are lighter, require less maintenance, are less likely to be damaged, and are an excellent choice for full-time boondocking.
We recommend This Battery For Boondocking: Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery
Overview of the Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery
This 29-pound battery has received positive feedback, and its “Battery Management System” protects the battery from the most common causes of failure, such as temperature volatility and ground faults.
They can be charged and recharged multiple times and charge quickly. They are also renewable and sustainable. They have a ten-year warranty.
Best RV Battery for Long-term Boondocking?
VMAXTANKS 6 Volt 225Ah AGM Battery
If you won’t be dry camping for the majority of the year but still want a dependable, high-performance battery, you have a few choices.
Lithium-ion batteries are still the gold standard, and if you can afford them, they are a great choice that will last for a long time.
If you don’t want to spend that much money, a set of 6-Volt deep-cycle lead-acid or AGM batteries will suffice. Depending on the battery you choose, you may need to keep up with maintenance, such as checking the water level and not draining them too far, but you may find that the extra work on your part is worth the lower price.
Overview of the VMAXTANKS 6 Volt 225Ah AGM Battery
This battery has excellent reviews and a float service life of 8-10 years. It contains no silica gels or other contaminants.
Perhaps most importantly, it requires no maintenance, and you should not have to add water (unlike many 6-Volts) or check electrolyte gravity during its float service life.
Best RV Battery for Short-term Boondocking?
A lithium-ion battery is likely to be far too large for people going on a weekend trip. It just wouldn’t make sense to spend that much money on a battery that you won’t use very often.
A 12-volt lead-acid or AGM battery should suffice for your needs. You could also use a 6-Volt golf cart battery to give yourself some extra power if necessary.
Overview of the Optima OPT8016-103 Batteries
This is a long-lasting 12-volt RV battery that is suitable for boats and other small vehicles, and it is ideal for short camping trips. It works well in inclement weather and has a 120-minute reserve battery.
Different types of RV Boondocking Batteries
In order to cover a wide range of potential operating temperatures like those found in RVs/boats and when boondocking, different types of deep cycle RV/Marine batteries exist: Flooded Lead Acid Batteries, Gel Cells and AGM’s.
Each type has unique characteristics which can be a good or bad thing depending on your needs. The first example of this is the difference in cold cranking amps between all three types at 0°C (32°F).
Flooded Lead Acid batteries
Flooded Lead Acid batteries are also called “wet cell” batteries and have been around since 1859.
They are inexpensive to buy, last 7-10 years under normal use before they need to be replaced, will not leak acid if punctured, and do not require expensive battery monitoring systems because when they get low on charge, you add more water.
But they also weigh twice as much as an AGM or Gel Cell, cannot operate for any length of time fully discharged without damage/discharge, and must be topped off with distilled water if you’re storing them for over 3 months because they also lose water while sitting unused.
Gel Batteries are more expensive but last 5-7 years, do not need to be topped off with distilled water even when long-term storage is involved, weigh less than traditional flooded lead acid batteries, and have the same internal resistance as AGM’s so no battery monitoring system is required either.
Also, they cannot be accidentally discharged below a certain point or permanent damage will occur causing early failure of the cells which can only be replaced by an expert technician that usually requires removing the old ones first.
AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) Batteries are similar to Gel Cells in many ways such as the fact that they can be mounted in any direction without leaking, they have no “memory effect” like traditional batteries do if they are not used often, require no maintenance and will not leak acid when punctured.
AGM’s however weigh more than Gel Cells which makes them heavier and more expensive to ship.
They also cost 2-3 times as much upfront but can deliver 20% better performance than a standard flooded lead acid battery of the same weight/size although this is usually only important for people who have very unusual applications such as powering their home during an extended power outage or running their EV through the night to get to work on time.
What To Look For In A RV Battery When Boondocking?
There are many factors involved in selecting the correct battery size to fit your travel trailer or motor home, including longevity, cost, performance under heavy loads, and ability to accept short-term or trickle charge cycles.
While these variables can make selection complex, there are ways to simplify the process.
Maybe your primary concern is simply finding a deep cycle battery that you can afford! Of course with energy independence, peace of mind, and emergency preparedness also in mind, it’s important to note that more expensive batteries tend to last longer and have better overall quality.
So, if long-term usage is a primary consideration for your purchase decision, then we encourage you to make sure your selection meets all of your other needs as well unless money is the only stumbling block!
The capacity of your battery refers to how much energy it can hold at any given time.
This is very important when it comes to finding an appropriate RV battery since you want something that can withstand a lot of abuse without dying on you!
Many people will try to go for smaller batteries with many times MORE amp hours than they actually need in order to ensure that they have plenty of energy available.
However, your RV battery does not necessarily need this much energy in order to run, it just may help give you more time between charges.
Take into consideration how often you plan on using your RV and what will be necessary to keep it moving along with the rest of your group.
It’s possible to have multiple batteries if one is used for starting and one is used as a deep cycle to power things like electrical components.
Your deep cycle battery should match up with your motorhome or camper by having the same voltage rating as your electrical system’s wiring otherwise there could be issues that arise during long road trips!
For instance, if you’re running an inverter in your RV while also running your main battery, you are essentially trying to power two different things with the same energy supply.
This will most likely cause problems as a result of using too much energy in a short period of time.
For example, if you try to use a deep cycle battery rated at 12 volts powering both a fan and an AC unit alongside other electronics that are drained by your starter battery (which is usually 12 volts), it’s going to be far too challenging for one battery to keep up with this type of workload!
4. Cycle Life
Also known as depth of discharge, this refers to how many times you can run your deep cycle battery down until it needs replacement or recharging.
The higher the number of cycles that a battery can go through before needing to be replaced, the better! We rate this as an extremely important feature in deep cycle batteries because if your power goes out while you’re on vacation (or permanently parked) and your deep cycle battery dies, it won’t be able to start up your RV when it’s needed.
When a low-quality or cheap product runs out of energy storage capacity early, it will force you to replace it early too!
The type of design that is used in RV deep cycle batteries can significantly impact how well the battery operates for its intended purpose.
There are many different types of batteries that are known for being excellent at handling one type of load or another. An AGM battery, for example, might be extremely good at powering up your devices for a long period of time but it will not be as good if you needed to power your motorhome’s starter engine.
For this reason, we have listed three different types of batteries that are popularly used in RVs.
6. Amp Hour Rating
The amp hours rating of a deep cycle battery refers to the number of times that you can completely discharge it without needing replacement or recharge.
This is an important indicator when shopping around for RV batteries because the higher the Amp Hours rating, the better!
This will let you know how much energy you can pull from the battery before it has to be recharged or replaced and therefore give you more freedom during your road trip.
7. Charging Cycles
A charging cycle refers to the number of times that you can recharge your RV deep cycle battery before it completely depletes its capacity and needs to be replaced or recharged.
Ideally, you would want a battery with as many charge cycles as possible if you are going to use it for long periods of time because this means fewer frequent trips to the gas station!
For instance, if an onboard marine battery is able to last 200 cycles before needing replacement, that’s about 6 months of continuous operation without having to hook up your RV. If only 10 cycles were available on the same product, then it wouldn’t last nearly as long (about 2 weeks)!
Of course, with many renewable energy sources becoming available (5 Best Solar Panels For RV Boondocking, windmill generators, etc.) this is much less of an issue.
READ MORE: 5 Best Solar Panels For RV Boondocking