Going off the grid gives you a perfect chance to get away from the crowds. What could be better than relaxing and enjoying nature?
Keeping life simple is the fastest way to happiness. But, sometimes adding a bit of creature comfort is a good idea. It can help enhance your camping experience and create perfect memories.
But, you need more than a caravan to have a self-sustainable off grid caravan trip.
What better way to improve your off the grid free camping experience, than with some 12 Volt Jayco Caravan accessories.
By setting up your power to stay off the grid, you don’t need to rely on a power supply or a caravan park anytime you go camping.
There are a large amount of 12 Volt Jayco Caravan accessories available, let’s take a look at the most popular ones.
Jayco Caravan Accessories
Before you choose your caravan accessories, you should first look at what time of the year you are travelling. As well as where you plan to visit, and how.
The time of the year and climate are likely to affect how much power you will use.
Are you planning to go very remote and off the beaten path for an extended period? Then you are more likely to heavily rely on using power for fridges, water pumps, lighting, TVs etc.
The longer you plan to be away, you should have more:
- Solar panels
- Lithium power packs
- Backup generators.
One of the essential items that every caravan needs for off-grid free camping is solar panels.
Solar panels let you power your entire caravan with a renewable energy source. Epic forests, divine beaches, and white sand flowing provide the perfect background. But, the last thing you want to worry about is making sure that you can keep your food in the fridge cool. Or that your lights are going to go out at night.
What is Solar Power?
What exactly is ‘solar power’? Solar power is using the sun’s energy and then converting it into power which you can use.
It is a very cost-effective way of going off the grid. It allows you go to anywhere off the beaten path for extended periods. Best of all, you don’t need to rely on torchlight.
How To Use Solar Panels
You should think of solar as part of a caravan’s power supply system, rather than an accessory. That’s how important it is to keep your caravan running.
Having a reliable solar panel power supply is rather important when planning to go off the grid free camping. It allows you to use a large range of electrical appliances. Which helps add comfort to your trip, as well as enhance the caravanning lifestyle and keep you safe on the road.
For any energy system, the most important component is the battery. Every other component such as a battery charger, inverter or energy management equipment works with the battery.
A solar system provides an alternative energy source to a more traditional source such as a generator or alternator.
Most caravans have a battery and battery charger installed, but when going off the grid, it’s not a good idea. Previously, most people would only use a generator to charge their battery when they went off the grid.
But, over recent years, as technology has improved. It has also become more affordable. Solar panels are quickly replacing generators as an alternative power source.
A solar system will keep topping up your battery. This means that you (and your campsite neighbours) won’t have to deal with the constant noise and fumes from a generator as often!
Having a solar system, allows you to be self-sufficient and be able to indefinitely charge your battery for as long as you wish to stay off the grid. With a generator, once you run out of fuel, you can no longer charge your battery.
A disadvantage of solar energy is that it quickly uses power for any continuously run high energy consumption appliances. It’s not a good idea to run things such as a toaster. Or an oven microwave, stove, air-conditioner, hair dryer, washing machine, or any appliance with a heating element on solar power. For these appliances, it’s still recommended to use a generator or an inverter generator.
- Produce electricity by using petrol or diesel to power a motor which attaches to an alternator.
- Use advanced electronic circuitry. The output is AC, which then gets converted to DC. The current is then inverted to clean AC power. Sound confusing? What it means is that it is suited for electronic equipment which is highly sensitive such as a laptop or TV.
Inverter generators are better for noise. As well as the quality of power output, fuel efficiency, weight, size and portability, as well as parallel operation.
Conventional generators are better for affordability and providing a maximum power output.
For their running time, both conventional generators and inverter generators perform about the same.
The Perfect Solar Panel Solution
The ideal situation is to have a mix of both fixed and portable solar panels. This lets you set up your caravan in the shade under a tree, and then you can lay out your portable panels or solar blankets in the sun.
If you only have fixed panels, then you’ll need to park your caravan out in the scorching hot Australian sun to recharge.
Best 12 Volt Jayco Solar Panels
There are many 12 volt Jayco Solar Panels to select from. You can choose either a folding and portable panel which can be moved. Or a fixed solar panel which is mounted on your caravan.
Solar panels provide a continuous power source as long as the sun is shining, which makes them an ideal solution for long term off the grid camping.
Depending on your power requirements, there are three capacities available.
The three models are:
Solar Panel Folding 175 Watt 12V 10 Amp Controller Camec
The 175 W solar panel is a folding and portable solution. This lets you move the panels between vehicles and into a sunny location. Rather than fixed panels which are unable to charge if you are parked in the shade.
It includes a heavy-duty bag to make it easy to store when not in use.
If you need extra power, you can even daisy-chain them if you need to increase your power capacity in the future. This can be done by using an optional cable kit.
- Dimensions (Open): 1105 mm x 1196 mm x 70 mm
- Dimensions (Folded) 546 mm x 1196 mm x 145 mm
- Weight: 22.4 kg
SOLAR PANEL 150 WATT 12 VOLT CAMEC
This is a fixed solar panel which has to be mounted onto your caravan. You only have to install it once then it will always work. A disadvantage is that if you park in the shade, you won’t be able to charge the panel.
- Weight: 12.5 Kg
- Dimensions: 674 mm x 1482 mm x 40 mm
SOLAR PANEL 90 WATT 12 VOLT CAMEC
This 90W fixed solar panel is an affordable entry-level solar panel. It makes a great option if you are only going off the grid for a short period. Or if you will be able to charge it daily. If you need more power, it’s always possible to add more panels.
- Weight: 7.83 Kg
- Dimensions: 1196 mm x 546 mm x 35 mm
Solar power is an easy and efficient way to power your caravan. You can mount solar panels to your caravan roof, have portable panels, or a combination of both.
But, it’s also strongly recommended to have a backup power supply to solar panels. For times where there is no sun during the winter, or you have parked in the shade, a solar blanket provides a great alternative.
RedArc Solar Blanket
A RedArc solar blanket is a perfect backup for whenever you are camping in a shady location, or when it is overcast during the winter, with no sun in sight.
RedArc has a range of different Solar Blankets.
The one that provides the greatest flexibility for most situations is the 115 W SunPower Cells Solar Blanket.
The solar blanket does as its name says, it provides power from the sun. It’s been designed for strength and portability, meaning you can move it frequently, without worrying about damaging a cell.
It folds into a small bag, making it easy to pack and store, instead of having to struggle with a large solar panel.
When compared to a glass folding panel, the SunPower blanket is about a third of the weight and has higher power output.
It’s also possible to attach the solar blanket to:
- Your awning
- The roof of your tent
- The bonnet of your vehicle,
- Or just about anywhere else
The SunPower Solar Blankets are also available in different watts:
Do you plan to go away for more extended periods without being able to charge your blanket? Or will you use it to power a significant amount of appliances? Then maybe it’s a good idea to consider either the 150W or 190W solar blanket. Although, for most users, the 115W blanket is enough.
RedArc 112W Solar Blanket Amorphous Cells
Another RedArc solar blanket is the 112W Solar Blanket Amorphous Cells.
This RedArc solar blanket is state-of-the-art, the next generation of blankets. It provides a convenient and lightweight package but is almost double the price of the 115 W SunPower Cells Solar Blanket.
The design reduces the risk of any cracks or cell breaks, and it also performs better in the shade than the SunPower solar blanket.
Which RedArc Solar Blanket Is Right For Me?
Trying to decide which RedArc solar blanket is right to suit your off the grid free camping needs and requirements can be quite confusing.
As well as solar panels, lithium batteries are a vital source of power for off the grid free camping. They are quickly becoming known as ‘the’ caravan battery.
But are they right for you?
Let’s take a look in further detail how they work, and if they would provide a benefit for you.
What are Lithium Batteries?
Lithium-Caravan Batteries for caravans are made of LiFePO4 (which is lithium iron phosphate). It is a more stable and safer version of original lithium batteries (LiCo02 – lithium cobalt oxide) which are used for digital cameras, laptops and phones.
LiFeP04 batteries are also commonly referred to as lithium-ion batteries.
Benefits of Lithium Batteries for Caravans
Lithium batteries are becoming more and more popular for off the grid free camping. Some of the many reasons why includes:
- Lithium batteries are much lighter. Compared to traditional lead batteries with a similar capacity, lithium batters up are to 70% lighter
- Lithium batteries can supply a higher current than other batteries. As an example, a 180Ah lithium battery is similar to a traditional lead battery which is 300Ah AGM.
- Lithium batteries can be charged by either mains power, solar panels, or the alternator while driving.
- Lithium batteries charge ultra-fast. Unlike traditional batteries, you don’t need to fully charge them before they are used. This is a great benefit if the solar power system of your caravan isn’t generating enough power to be able to charge a regular battery.
- As lithium batteries are lighter and smaller, you can gain extra storage space. Also, it helps to reduce your payload, and improve the fuel efficiency of your rig.
- Lithium batteries are also better for the environment. As they don’t contain corrosive acids or toxic heavy metals which are found in traditional lead batteries.
Should you get lithium batteries for your caravan?
Lithium caravan batteries are more efficient and lightweight. But, they are a lot more expensive than traditional batteries. Prices range between $2000 to $5000 per battery.
You should ask yourself, what kind of caravanning will you be doing most of the time? Will you be staying in caravan parks where you can plug into electricity, and driving on freeways for most of the time?
If so, then lithium batteries probably aren’t a necessity for you. But, if you plan to go off the beaten path for extended periods, then you will likely be reliant on solar power for weeks at once.
In this situation, lithium batteries are essential accessories for off the grid free camping.
Buying lithium batteries will also save weight substantially, by replacing the old lead batteries you’ve had to rely on to go off the grid. You can save a minimum of 50% of the weight of batteries. You can also save a small amount on the cost of fuel.
Lithium batteries are more expensive than lead batteries up front. But, over time they provide more efficiency, a longer life span, and also lighter weight. They are a significant long-term investment if you plan on frequent off the grid free camping.
12 Volt Jayco Lithium Batteries
Jayco Lithium batteries come in a variety of different sizes generally ranging from 100 Ah to 200 Ah. There are some smaller ones available, but it’s recommended to have a battery with at least 100 Ah for shorter off grid trips. With up to 300 Ah worth of batteries for longer trips.
ePower 100AH Lithium Battery
ePower 200Ah Lithium Battery
Battery Management Systems
Battery management systems are essential when you are camping off the grid for an extended period. This is because voltage drops can be a real problem.
What is a Battery Management System?
A battery management system (or BMS), connects your caravan (auxiliary) battery to your main battery. It also makes sure that the charge from the alternator will apply to the main battery. It does this by not sharing the charge with the auxiliary battery until the main battery has been fully charged.
A battery management system also protects the voltage of your main battery. By doing this, it allows your vehicle to start every time – even if there is heavy load relying on your auxiliary battery.
What Does a Battery Management System Do?
A high-quality battery management system can accept charges from multiple power sources besides the alternator.
- 240V AC power from a generator or the grid
- 12V or 24V power from solar energy
You can connect multiple power sources at the same time. The battery management system will seek the best charging method to use intuitively.
If you have multiple power sources for your caravan, then a battery management system is essential.
Some caravans may come with a battery management system. But, if you add multiple sources of power, it’s recommended to upgrade to a more effective system.
RedArc Battery Management Systems
RedArc makes high quality and reliable battery management systems. The BMS tells you how much charge you are receiving from your sources, and also how much battery you are using.
You can easily keep an eye on your battery and charging levels this way, and make sure that you are never without power.
RedArc has a couple of different models to select from.
REDARC The Manager 30
The Manager 30 is a state-of-the-art system which is perfect for caravans who use multiple power sources.
Based on the Manager 30, The REDARC Manager15 is a 15A battery management system. It is designed to charge and maintain auxiliary batteries by incorporating AC, DC and solar inputs to achieve the best charge.
Using Green Power Priority, it will use the 12V solar power before it uses an AC or DC input.
LCD DOUBLE TANK WATER LEVEL INDICATOR
Besides the gauge, you will also need to buy caravan tank sender probes separately.
The tank senders are easy to attach to a water tank. Each one requires only one hole in the side of the tank. A special grommet is used to seal the sender probe.
It measures the water level through contact with the five sensors along the arm.
You need to select the one which matches the size of your water tank. The tanks are available in the following sizes:
2.5 Meter Lead
5 Meter Lead
7.5 Meter Lead
With all these caravan accessories for off-grid free camping, it’s also highly suggested to have a backup generator. You never know what the weather might be like. What if there is extended clouds and rain for a long period? Then your solar panels won’t work. It is a great idea to have a backup power supply to ensure you always have power.
Jayco Caravan Accessories Australia
There are many places to buy Jayco Caravan Accessories Australia. This gives you peace of mind that even on your travels to the most remote locations, you will be able to buy new caravan accessories. Jayco Caravan accessories are available almost anywhere in Australia instead of having to head to a major city.
You can find a list of recommended caravan accessories here.
Jayco Caravan Accessories Supplies
Do you plan to cruise down the Albany Highway in Beckenham, Western Australia? Then it’s well worth stopping into Jayco Caravanland which is like a toy shop for caravan owners!
It has the biggest range of Jayco parts and accessories in the country. It is also the perfect way to spend an afternoon while topping up your Jayco Caravan accessories supplies. Don’t forget any spare parts too before you head off the grid again for months at a time.
Jayco Expanda Caravan Accessories
The Jayco Expanda offers generous storage and solutions while making use of every centimetre of space to help achieve maximum comfort. It has two expandable double beds which include innerspring mattresses. The expanda has been designed to sleep 4 to 8 people, while when towing it gives the feel of a standard compact caravan.
There are many Jayco Expanda Caravan accessories which have been designed to enhance your comfort. Without compromising any space.
Jayco Expanda Bed End Light & Fan Combo
This Bed End Light is perfect to help cool down your Jayco Expanda caravan keeping you cool while in the bed end and letting you get a good night’s sleep.
Toggle Roof Clamp for Camper Trailer
This clamp is used to hold down the roof of your Jayco Expanda Caravan while it’s in transit or storage for an extended period.
Sail Track Kit Expanda Storm Cover – Front & Rear
This Sail Track Kit is designed to work with front and real Jayco Expanda Storm Covers.
Each kit comes with six different lengths of sail track which you attach to the Jayco Storm Covers. They then attach underneath the hard lid of the Jayco Expanda caravan.
Off The Grid Free Camping Tips
- Focus on letting the solar panels power as much of your caravan accessories as possible.
- Add a diesel heater for things such as warming the van in cold environments. This will limit needing 240V when off the grid for only the reverse cycle air-conditioner.
- Have a generator as a backup. Use it to run air-conditioners and chargers during extreme heat.
5 Awesome Off-Grid Campsites
After setting up your 12v Jayco Caravan accessories for off the grid camping, let’s take a look at five of the best off-grid campsites in Australia
Cape York, Queensland
After the long journey along the Cape York Peninsula, it will all be worth it. Especially once you see the sandy cove of the deserted and stunning beach of Mutee Head, complete with campgrounds.
Take in the view of the beach from your green campsite while enjoying the shade of the she-oak trees.
Besides the marvellous seclusion, you can also enjoy watching sea turtles in the bay as they surface, and relax while beach fishing. Sounds like paradise.
Camping is available on either side of the headland, with plenty of space for your off-road rig, as well as some fire pits for cooking fresh fish.
Mutee Head has no time limits, and fresh water available at a nearby creek 15 km away, meaning you’ll be in no rush to leave!
At A Glance:
Location: Signposted 20 km west of the Jardine River ferry crossing and 27 km north-west
Recommended For: 4WD vehicles and rigs
Pets: No Pets Allowed
Mambi Island Lower Ord River, Western Australia
Mambi Island is situated off the Lower Ord River, Australia’s largest human-made lake. The grassy banks make it the perfect location to enjoy the free campground.
While it’s only a small grass-covered clearing, it’s the location that will have you in awe. It features a concrete boat ramp also if you want to take your boat out for a cruise.
You may find yourself in total relaxation and wanting to stay longer than you first thought. So be sure to bring along an ample supply of drinking water, food, and firewood.
Pets are allowed. But, you’re entering saltwater crocodile territory. Make sure you keep your dogs well away from the edge of the water.
The best time of year to visit is during the dry, cool season between May and September.
At A Glance
Location: 70 Km North of Kununurra via Parry Creek Road
Recommended For: 4WD vehicles, camper trailers, Off-road caravans
Pets: Pets Permitted
Facilities: Toilets, boat ramp
Hall Point, Sulphur Creek, Tasmania
Just east of Burnie, Hall Point is a beautiful headland surrounded by gorgeous white sandy beaches.
While this may seem like a regular camping spot, it’s when darkness ascends that the magic starts to happen. Brace yourself for the treat of seeing penguins come out of the surf and return to their burrow to feed their chicks.
This is a truly unique experience, and you can enjoy seeing the miracles of nature for hours each night.
Between November and March is the best time of year to visit, during the penguin’s summer breeding season.
Make sure to wear dark clothing, and set up behind the beach so that you don’t block the Penguins’ path back to the dunes.
At A Glance:
Location: 10km East of Burnie at Sulphur Creek
Recommended For: Self-contained rigs only
Pets: No Pets Allowed
Facilities: No toilets. Picnic Tables
Pinch River Camp Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales
The Pinch River Camp is near the breathtaking Snowy River which provides some of the best trout fishing in the country. Also enjoy swimming and paddling, in this scenic wonderland.
Take a dip in the pools beneath the creek. Then go for a long walk under the invigorating sun while you marvel at the kangaroos, emus and wallabies.
This camp has no time limits, and there are wheelchair-accessible toilets provided, as well as fireplaces and picnic tables.
Remember to bring your drinking water and firewood, while you enjoy your time at this iconic campsite.
At A Glance:
Location: Horseshoe Camping Area Access, Kosciuszko National Park
Recommended For: Camper trailers, Off-road caravans, 4WD vehicles, self-contained rigs
Pets: No Pets Allowed
Facilities: Wheelchair-accessible toilets, fireplaces & picnic tables
Lipson Cove, Tumby Bay, South Australia
Do you have further questions about off the grid free camping caravan accessories? Are you looking to get your rig fitted out?
AllBrand Caravan Services are caravan professionals. From servicing to installation, repairs to solar, electrical and accessories. Whatever your needs, we have you covered.
For a free quote, call one of our friendly team on (07) 3869 2969 or contact us online.
Lipson Cove gives you the perfect vantage point to see the friendly dolphins, sea lions and sea birds of Tumby Bay.
The campsite has designated large campsites which can fit big rigs and is free. It features toilets, rubbish bins and fire pits.
Best of all, there is no time limit on your stay.
Pets are allowed, and if you find the right spot, you can even pick up mobile reception.
During low tide, a sand split occurs. This is how you can reach Lipson Island, and also enjoy a relaxing walking trail along the cliffs of the coast.
At A Glance:
Location: 290 KM South of Port Augusta, signposted off the Lincoln Highway
Recommended For: 4WD, vehicles, Camper trailers, off-road caravans, self-contained rigs
Pets: Pets Permitted
Facilities: Toilets, fire pits, rubbish bins. (BYO firewood & drinking water).
Off the grid free camping is an amazing experience. Nothing beats being able to get away from the hustle and grind of the city and escape to the solitude of nature.
By fitting your rig with the right 12 volt Jayco Caravan accessories like:
– Solar Panels
– Solar Blankets
– Battery Management System
– Lithium Batteries
you can experience a true off the grid free camping experience anywhere in Australia.