The best RV battery for boondocking depends on your needs, so let’s review all the top options!
- 1 The best RV battery for boondocking depends on your needs, so let’s review all the top options!
- 2 Best RV Battery for Boondocking
- 3 6-Volt vs. 12-Volt Battery
- 4 Different Types of Batteries
- 5 Other Considerations
- 6 Your Vote for Best RV Battery for Boondocking
- 7 And now that you know all about RV batteries – You might want to look at The Beginners Guide to Boondocking
Boondocking also called dry camping, is beloved by many RVers. If you don’t know, it’s camping without hookups to water, electricity, sewer, or cable.
Jennifer and I prefer boondocking since we feel like we can truly disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life.
RV boondocking allows you to enjoy nature away from people and be off the grid. But, still be able to enjoy some comforts from home. It provides you with the best of both worlds!
Of course, if you want to use electricity to power lights and appliances, you will also need an efficient boondocking battery setup.
We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases at no added cost to you. Thank you for your support. You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.
Best RV Battery for Boondocking
To determine the best RV battery for boondocking, you will need to assess your particular needs. You will need to know how many amps each of your appliances consume when plugged in.
Small appliances, like lights, will not drain much power from your battery. But microwaves or coffee pots will use more amp hours. You will also want to account for an air conditioner or heater if you think you will use either of them.
Once you have set up camp, you will want to switch on a generator while using high amp consuming appliances like the air conditioner. You will also want to switch over your refrigerator to propane.
If you have not already done so, consider swapping lights for LED, use 12-volt DVD players or TV. You can also look into solar power chargers for electronic devices like phones, tablets, and computers.
And you might want to re-visit the podcast interview we did with Battleborn’s top leadership team to discuss the findings of a recent White Paper and what it means to RVers. Our guests were Denis Phares, the CEO, and Sean Nichols, the COO.
As you may already know, we’re big fans of Battle Born Batteries. We think they’re an RV Upgrade That’s Worth It, especially for boondockers.
6-Volt vs. 12-Volt Battery
When shopping for RV batteries, you will likely come across some that have both 6- and 12-Volt size options. So, what are the differences between the two?
Although it may seem unexpected, 6-Volt batteries last longer than 12-Volt batteries. This is because they have thicker plates and more space per cell. That means they have a deep discharge compared to a typical 12v battery.
Many RV owners like 6-Volt batteries because of their longer charge time, and because they are relatively inexpensive.
12-Volt batteries are usually less pricey than their 6-Volt counterpart. This makes sense since they do not last as long and cannot be discharged and recharged as often.
12-Volt batteries are fine for those RV travelers that use hook-ups. They are not always the best option for full-time boondocking trips, depending on the type of battery.
Keep reading for my explanation of the various types of RV batteries for boondocking.
BTW, if you love boondocking…
If you’re a die-hard boondocker like Jennifer and me, you should check out our Boondocker t-shirt and Boondocker hoodie… they’ll keep you comfy all year long and spur plenty of conversations.
You’d be surprised how often Jennifer and I meet people because they ask us, “What’s a boondocker?” And as you know, we love to share the RV lifestyle with as many people as possible.
Different Types of Batteries
When looking into the best RV battery for boondocking, there are a lot of choices. Most batteries can fit into three broad categories, with each offering benefits and drawbacks.
Keep reading to learn about lithium ion batteries, lead-acid deep cycle batteries, and absorbent glass mat batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are the leading battery choice for boondocking. They are newer than lead-acid batteries, and lighter and more compact. In fact, you probably already own small lithium batteries in your laptop or cell phone!
They do not need as much maintenance as lead-acid batteries, making them easier to deal with. They can also lose their charge completely without damaging the battery, unlike lead-acid batteries.
A lithium battery is expensive, but if you spend a long time off the grid, it’s worth it. These batteries are lighter and require little maintenance. They are a good, reliable battery for full-time boondocking adventures!
Lead-Acid Deep Cycle RV Batteries
Lead acid batteries are the most common type of RV battery. They are made of lead plates that are submerged in an electrolyte solution (a combination of sulfuric acid and water). You will want to look for a “deep cycle” battery for your RV, since they can discharge better than other lead-acid batteries.
These batteries come in both 6- and 12-Volt sizes.
They work fine for long-term boondockers, if you cannot afford a lithium-ion battery. However, for full-time boondocking you should really consider saving up for the lithium-ion option. Just be sure to always check the water level and do not drain it fully.
Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries
Similar to lead-acid batteries, AGM batteries use glass fibers, not lead plates, in a mat. While they discharge better than lead-acid batteries, most RVers don’t find their advantages worth the higher price tag.
One major advantage of AGM batteries is that they do not require maintenance like their lead-acid counterpart.
If you plan on doing some long-term boondocking, but do not want to purchase the pricier lithium-ion battery, this will work well. Just be sure to check the water level and don’t drain it too far.
This is perhaps the best RV battery for boondocking on short trips. If you’re only going out for a weekend, this battery should be enough to suit your needs.
After deciding on the best RV battery for boondocking for you, you may still have some questions.
Should I Keep My Battery Plugged In?
Can keeping your battery plugged in make your battery less effective? The short answer is yes. You do not want to overcharge your batteries.
One simple solution is picking up a smart or solar battery charger. Both devices monitor the status of your battery, keeping it only at the optimal charge level, extending its battery life. Either one will ensure that your battery does not get damaged from overcharging.
How Do I Maintain my Battery Setup?
If you choose to purchase a lead-acid battery, you will want to ensure that the water level stays constant. If the level drops too low, it can cause damage to the battery. Be sure to keep distilled water on-hand to keep the level consistent with what is called for in the owner’s manual.
Lithium and AGM batteries require less regular maintenance. You do not need to monitor the water level with those battery types.
That concludes our list for the best RV battery for boondocking! You may also want to check out Solar Panels for RV Battery Charging- 8 Quick & Easy FAQs.
Your Vote for Best RV Battery for Boondocking
Please share in the comments what kind of battery management system you use and recommend. Your advice on the best RV batteries can help a fellow RVer!
And now that you know all about RV batteries – You might want to look at The Beginners Guide to Boondocking
More than 65 pages of downloadable content to help you with the most common boondocking problems. From how to get started boondocking to where to go and what equipment to use, it’s all here in this digital guide.
November 30, 2021at5:23 am, Samantha Nichols said:
Bought two VMAXTANKS batteries for my travel trailer to get additional aH while camping. They are heavy but excellent so far. They are also smaller than usual 12V batteries. If you are looking for a great choice without spending on lithium battery prices then this is for you!
December 23, 2021at10:55 pm, Samantha Nichols said:
Thanks so much for sharing!
October 18, 2021at7:58 am, Andrew Yang said:
I used this Optima 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting & Deep Cycle Marine Battery for about 4.5 years and it still works perfectly. My RV stays parked much of the time, but I don’t have to worry about the battery when I take it out. This product has a distinctive SpiralCell design together with continuous lead plates, which is capable of supplying a safe, strong and clean source of power. I am impressed with this battery because it actually serves a dual purpose: as a starting and deep cycle battery. Besides that, this battery has good vibration resistance, it is even fifteen times more resistant to various forms of vibration compared to other marine batteries.
May 06, 2021at4:07 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org said:
While lithium LiFePo4 is the superior boondocking technology, it still falls seriously short of the mark for 4 season applications because its low-temperature performance is not up to it. As has been pointed out, there are many lithium technologies. Some of them do make the grade but are not yet in common use.,
May 06, 2021at3:05 pm, Dennis said:
Lithium iron phosphate is definitely the best, but be careful when recharging. A regular battery charger or the charger in your trailer must be rated for lithium batteries because otherwise you will shorten the life of your lithium battery
May 06, 2021at11:08 am, Linda said:
Good information on the batteries! You got my husband very interested in the lithium batteries!
March 19, 2023at12:38 am, Michael Dunn said:
I wouldn’t do that they can explode under certain conditions which is why the RV mfg don’t use them. I do mostly dry camping not an RV park person which reminds me of staying in somebody’s back yard. I use 2 Interstate deep cycle batteries which work quite well with a portable generator running about 3 hours a day you need it to run the a/c anyway. Someone said they had a battery that will last 10 years which is a pipedream.
May 06, 2021at10:56 am, Mel said:
I use Big Battery 170 AH. I like that you get 70 more AH for the same price as 100 AH ones. It also has a shut of switch buoy in and display that shows its voltage. Also it has a built in 300 amp fuse to protect the battery from catastrophic damage. Has a 10 year warranty and much lighter than lead acid.
May 06, 2021at9:58 am, Pat Bjorkland said:
Hi, I’m already a subscriber and enjoy your weekly updates. Did a lot of camping of all kinds over the years, but have been away from it since I am alone. I’ve decided to get back as a solo traveler, and am currently reworking my SUV to accommodate it. Would love your packing list and any other information you could provide. I’m a senior and am anxious to get back to the camping lifestyle at least part time. Wish me luck!
May 06, 2021at8:53 am, Dolph Santorine said:
House batteries tend to be LiFePo4, which is Lithium Iron (a very different chemistry from Lithium Ion).
May 06, 2021at11:26 am, John Dolan said:
I agree with Dolph on using the proper acronyms for battery types. Lithium (Li) Iron (Fe) Phosphate (Po4) batteries (aka: LiFePo4) are very safe and are typically what is used as upgrade replacements for lead-acid in RV’s etc… so more accurate and appropriate to refer to them as LiFePo4 to people. On the other hand Lithium-Ion batteries, which are typically is used in cell phones and other small electronics have reported instances of overheating and exploding in rare cases depending on the device. They have a “bad reputation” in that regard, which is why it’s better to not refer to lithium batteries in RV use as “Lithium-Ion” as this may discourage RV folks from making the switch to lithium in their rigs. Better to use the term “LiFePo4” so people can read/research accurate info on the battery chemistry.
March 19, 2023at12:31 am, Michael Dunn said: