If you’re anything like us, the week or two prior a big trip is always hectic. Yes, there’s packing to do, but often organising life to allow for the break is the hardest bit. Either way, the simpler it is to get away the more often we go.
We usually turn on our fridge about a week prior to the trip. While the fresh food we leave to the last day, everything else can be packed in the fridge early.
The REDARC Manager 30 can charge the second battery from mains power, solar or the vehicle when driving. We usually plug the mains power in once or twice during that week prior to heading off to make sure the battery stays topped up and ready to go.
The mains power cord in our LandCruiser is positioned near the rear seat. We can simply plug it in and then close the door over the cord and the door seal has enough flex in it to still work.
On the tracks
When we’re on the road the REDARC Manager 30 keeps the second battery charged off the alternator of the vehicle. If we’re driving most days this will keep us fully charged.
One of my favourite things about overland travel is finding secluded campsites and parking up for a few days. When you’ve been covering bigger distances nothing beats stopping and soaking up your surroundings.
Water, food and power are the challenges for staying off-grid. The first two are relatively easy to solve, but power has been now to cause headaches for many travellers.
The REDARC Manager 30 has an inbuilt solar regulator. To harness the sun it’s easy as plugging a panel in.
We prefer to use a solar blanket rather than one mounted to the vehicle. In hot weather, we can camp in the shade position the blanket out in the sun. There are pros and cons though and there are certainly times it would be nice to have a mounted panel.
On a side note, it’s also worth looking at the size of the battery you run. If it’s small there is less margin for error. If you forget to put out your solar panel or if it’s shady you won’t have much power to spare and may end up having to go for a drive to charge your battery. It’s not the end of the world, but it is a pain if you’re trying to have a break from behind the wheel!
We’ve got a 180 Ah lithium battery. This is relatively light and compact and paired with a 150watt solar blanket gives us solid off-grid capacity.
Camping in powered sites
While we are usually seeking remote campsites, when we’re covering highway distances or have just finished a wild stint, a hot shower and water for our tanks are always welcome.
If power is nearby it’s easier to plug in than get out the solar blanket. It’s a nice option to have and it certainly gets the battery topped up quickly.
Usually, our Manager 30 is in what’s known as touring mode. When we are parked up for an extended period we switch it into storage mode which ensures the battery is kept in good condition.
REDARC Manager 30
The Manager 30 also logs power usage and input. Through the display, it’s easy to see when power is being used and be switching accessories on and off it’s possible to get a feel of the big power users.
When relying on solar it’s easy to see when the battery is full and you are producing extra power. That’s a great time to switch on an inverter and charge all your devices, so overnight when no power is being produced you can minimise usage.