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Old 05-07-2009, 08:38 PM   #1
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Going electric........

I decided to go as "all electric" as possible. Since we have to pay for electricity as part of a CG's charge or fee to camp... may was well use it. Propane isn't cheap although we'll keep at least one tank full for emergencies. I already bought a small electric heater rather than use the propane furnace. Today I bought a double electric hotplate rather than use the propane stove. I also bought a small lightweight cheap double toaster at Wal*Mart, rather than use the camp toaster that requires we use a stove burner. We'll be using as little propane as possible.

Lighting the grill is another PIA as we both hate the smell and faint taste of the starter fluid.. and the 15 to 20 minute wait for the coals to get going. I'm looking for a way around that. We have an electric "starter," but it always flips the breaker, here and at CGs. Maybe it's defective and we should try another one.
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:07 AM   #2
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Google "charcoal chimney." We've used them for years and they work great. You stuff a couple sheets of newspaper in the bottom, set it alight, and twenty minutes later you have hot coals. I'd recommend spending a little more money to get a studier model. The flimsy ones fall apart pretty quickly.
Hope this helps.
Don
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:06 AM   #3
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Ditto on the charcoal chimney. I've used them for years. They sell them Lowes and Walmart and probably other places, too.

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ct_id=10879201

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...416&lpage=none

Suggestion: if you don't like the taste of lighter fluid, stay away from the charcoal they sell like MATCHLIGHT. It has the stuff INSIDE the brickettes. Stick with regular Kingsford or some of the natural lump charcoals ( I prefer the Kingsford myself). You can always flavor the cooking effort with some hickory or mesquite chips. UMM UMM GOOD!
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:40 AM   #4
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Minimizing camping costs

Certainly if you're paying for electricity you might as well use it, particularly when you have a small camper since campground rates, at least the electricity portion, are sized for people who use a lot more electricity than our little campers.

When you consider propane use, it's not the stove that costs you money. A propane tank virtually lasts us for a couple months. Though if we run the furnace that's another matter all together.

The major camping cost, after the rig, is campground fees. These can be reduced by various techniques - many states and the feds offer senior rates, cutting the price in half. We also use Passport which reduces fees by half. of course there are many free camping options as well.

We traveled most of 10 of the last 12 months in our Sunline over the last 12 months. I checked our budget/expenses for the last 12 months and we spent $60 or so on propane. One of our smallest costs.

Like you I use an electric heater when we can instead of propane, though we never run it at night, using a twin size electric blanket instead. In addition we have modified our hot water heater for electric heating using propane only when dry camping for hot water.

We've kept track of all our expenses over the last 8 years, partially because we retired early, did not plan to work, and needed to be careful.

Our biggest expenses tend to be food, camping, and gas (if we're frequently on the move). We average $20 a day for gas if we're doing 200 miles a day, usually average 40 or so miles since we do less since we tend to stop for 3-7 days at each stop.

Both of us believe that these were some of the best years of our lives, as close to the joyful years as teenage daters.

Norm and Ginny Milliard
1982 Sunline 15.5 Sb
2004 Honda CRV
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donreitz
Google "charcoal chimney." We've used them for years and they work great. You stuff a couple sheets of newspaper in the bottom, set it alight, and twenty minutes later you have hot coals. I'd recommend spending a little more money to get a studier model. The flimsy ones fall apart pretty quickly.
Hope this helps.
Don
Get a Weber charcoal chimney. I have seen them at Lowes for less the $15. They work much better than the cheaper ones. I know it sounds silly, but they really do light charcoal much better.

ParTimCmpr

(I see someone posted both the Weber version and the less expensive version. Believe me - the Weber version is worth a few extra dollars!)
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:44 PM   #6
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If you are going all electric, why don't you take your George Foreman grill? We actually prefer our Hamilton Beach over our George Foreman, but they both work well with very easy clean-up.
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Old 05-09-2009, 11:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donreitz
Google "charcoal chimney." We've used them for years and they work great. You stuff a couple sheets of newspaper in the bottom, set it alight, and twenty minutes later you have hot coals. I'd recommend spending a little more money to get a studier model. The flimsy ones fall apart pretty quickly.
Hope this helps.
Don
I just Googled it. What a great invention yet I haven't seen them used anywhere or at Camping World or Bass Pro shop. I must get one somewhere and will Google more tomorrow.
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Old 05-09-2009, 11:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkasten39828
Ditto on the charcoal chimney. I've used them for years. They sell them Lowes and Walmart and probably other places, too.

Suggestion: if you don't like the taste of lighter fluid, stay away from the charcoal they sell like MATCHLIGHT. It has the stuff INSIDE the brickettes. Stick with regular Kingsford or some of the natural lump charcoals ( I prefer the Kingsford myself). You can always flavor the cooking effort with some hickory or mesquite chips. UMM UMM GOOD!
Yes, I did buy the plain briquettes. That lighter fluid ruins the taste of food, faint as it may be after the briquettes burn for awhile. That's why we bought that electric thing that flips the breaker.

I know they don't have these charcoal chimneys in the stores locally, so will have to order one online. The one at the Lowe's URL looks better quality than the one at Wally World. I think I'll go for that one. :P

I'm learning a lot from this website and love it!
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:14 AM   #9
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Re: Minimizing camping costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Honda03842
Certainly if you're paying for electricity you might as well use it, particularly when you have a small camper since campground rates, at least the electricity portion, are sized for people who use a lot more electricity than our little campers.

When you consider propane use, it's not the stove that costs you money. A propane tank virtually lasts us for a couple months. Though if we run the furnace that's another matter all together.

The major camping cost, after the rig, is campground fees. These can be reduced by various techniques - many states and the feds offer senior rates, cutting the price in half. We also use Passport which reduces fees by half. of course there are many free camping options as well.

We traveled most of 10 of the last 12 months in our Sunline over the last 12 months. I checked our budget/expenses for the last 12 months and we spent $60 or so on propane. One of our smallest costs.

Like you I use an electric heater when we can instead of propane, though we never run it at night, using a twin size electric blanket instead. In addition we have modified our hot water heater for electric heating using propane only when dry camping for hot water.

We've kept track of all our expenses over the last 8 years, partially because we retired early, did not plan to work, and needed to be careful.

Our biggest expenses tend to be food, camping, and gas (if we're frequently on the move). We average $20 a day for gas if we're doing 200 miles a day, usually average 40 or so miles since we do less since we tend to stop for 3-7 days at each stop.

Both of us believe that these were some of the best years of our lives, as close to the joyful years as teenage daters.

Norm and Ginny Milliard
1982 Sunline 15.5 Sb
2004 Honda CRV
I don't know if my husband would be interested in modifying the water heater for electric or propane. Is that a big job? Expensive? That would really be the only thing using propane once we hit the CG. On the road the water heater would be off, but the fridge would be on.

The only senior rates we've got so far were like 10% off at TN CGs and 10% off at a KOA in MD since he's a veteran. We belong to GoodSams but there are no CGs around us that belong to GS. 10% isn't much. We still need to get that "Passport" thing. Despite what one may see online, the State CGs here in TN don't carry/have them. No Federal CGs are near us. We haven't seen any way to save up to 50%. Once we find a place to get a "Passport"... are the CGs that honor them far and few between? I'm learning I can't believe everything I read online.

The only free camping I've seen online is dry camping out west and the Parking Lots of some stores (overnight only). Those kinds of isolated places, as one sees out west, would be very hard to find in the east. Where are you camping for free?

I expect our biggest expense will also be gas and CG fees. We have to eat anyway so I personally don't count that as a camping expense.

I well remember those heady teenage years of dating.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al in PA
If you are going all electric, why don't you take your George Foreman grill? We actually prefer our Hamilton Beach over our George Foreman, but they both work well with very easy clean-up.
I find my Geo Forman grill only good for pork chops and steaks. These also do great on the charcoal grill. The outside grill is much better for burgers, hot dogs, chicken, corn on the cob, shish-ka-bobs, pepper and onions etc. Also, keep in mind my TT is only about 15' long. I'm already taking a few pots, a frying pan, the usual kitchen utensils, the toaster, the 2 hotplate thing, our laptop, our flatscreen TV, 2 coffee pots (drip and perk)..... We need some space for bedding, clothing, food - and us.

I looked for a really small microwave but couldn't find one, yet.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Get a Weber charcoal chimney. I have seen them at Lowes for less the $15. They work much better than the cheaper ones. I know it sounds silly, but they really do light charcoal much better.

ParTimCmpr
The Weber version is the one I plan to buy. It looks like it's a much better quality product. If our local Lowe's or Home Depot don't have it, I'll order it online. We loved food grilled outside over coals so this looks like the answer to getting rid of the chemical smell and flavor.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:21 AM   #12
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We also use the campground electric whenever possible, but sometimes if we're dry camping or at a rest stop it's nice to have the gas available. We'll take a nice long break. I'll heat up some soup while Steve takes Pepper for his walk. Or we may want a cup of tea, or a cycle of heat if it's cold out.
Lowes had the chimneys last time I was in there - not sure of the brand. We've had a cheap one and a heavier one and they both eventually rusted, but still work rusty or not
Doesn't your hot water heater already give you a choice of gas or electric? It's nice to have the choice since an electric hookup isn't always available. I find that once the water is heated up it stays hot a long time after I turn off the heater.
I agree that it IS nice to use electric but I wouldn't eliminate the gas altogether.
Never tried any of these, but here's a website for free camping.

http://www.freecampgrounds.com/

US Forest Service Campsite are usually beautiful and less expensive than private or state parks.

http://www.fs.fed.us/
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:58 AM   #13
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Passport

The following is a link to Passport America showing the campgrounds offering Passport in TN. If you click on a red marker it gives info on that particular campground.

http://www.passportamerica.com/resou...e.php?state=TN

I'm not sure if Passport makes sense for you. It costs about $35 a year. If you use it 3 days a year it typically pays for itself. By using this site you'll be able to determine if it's worthwhile for you.

Norm Milliard
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Old 05-10-2009, 06:03 AM   #14
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Electric Hotwater

Modifying a rig for electric hot water is relatively easy.

It consists of removing the drain plug from your existing Hot water tank and replacing it with an electric heating rod. I recall that the heating rod costs about $80. It comes with a thermostat.

It does require a little wiring.

I believe mine is a 600 watt heater, much like a little coffee pot.

Caution. You need to be careful when removing the drain plug not to damage the threads.

Norm Milliard
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