Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Oklahoma, USA
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I agree that you should be able to avoid AC, but I question whether you should. One thing many of us here have learned the hard way is that you don't want to make hard decisions too soon. When I started mine, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. We had been hiking/packing from a truck tent setup for 10 years and had very workable routines. What we didn't realize was how much farther the van could expand our capabilities. While the cabinetry is almost exactly what I originally designed, the electrical expanded considerably. It would have been 1000 times easier to expand the electrical to begin with.
Simple case in point: In the truck tent, we avoided overnights in the winter because it was too cold to comfortably make dinner and breakfast. The sleeping part was fine. As older folk, we need regular conditioning, so getting in shape was tough in the spring. Now, as long as the daytime weather allows a hike, we can hike all day at our nearby state park, which in the winter is almost as good as boondocking.
This weekend, we plugged in the van and turned on the AC electric heater. Dinner was lasagna I had prepared at home and reheated in the AC microwave. Breakfast was hot oatmeal and soup made with hot water from our AC water kettle. When we returned to the van yesterday after a short hike, we made nachos in the AC microwave before heading home. All of this could have been accomplished with nothing more than an all-weather extension cord threaded into the van from the back bumper. This capability can be had for less than $100 including the appliances and can, if you wish, be completely separate from your DC circuits.
That's what we started with. We had one 100Ah battery for the DC. Then we realized we liked that capability so much, we really would like to at least use the MW when we weren't plugged in. That and other considerations led to inverter, second battery and solar. Then we realized we sure would like some heat when we're not plugged in, so now we're retrofitting a gas-fired heater.
Now RD'S gonna remind you that you can do all that cooking on the portable butane stove. Yes you can. You know which you prefer, or at least you think you do. You won't really know until you've put in a few trips.
So even if your present needs suggest you can get away with just DC, I suggest you at least put in that extension cord. I really suggest you put in the entire system with inverter, etc., you've been already planning. This is not a good time in the build process to unnecessarily limit your options.