We’ve looked at different RV Batteries to find which ones are ideal for free camping off-grid. Whether you’re after the best RV battery for boondocking for the weekend or for several weeks, we’ve come up with the most suitable batteries for different needs and setups.
One of the most essential items to take with you while you’re Boondocking, commonly known as dry camping, is a long-lasting Deep Cycle RV battery. While other items like water, food, and medical supplies are essential too, a house battery bank with reliable batteries is a must in our book.
A long-lasting deep cycle battery will ensure that all of your appliances work efficiently. Only a well-working RV battery can ensure you have a safe and pleasant Boondocking experience.
To help you make the right decision, in this article we talk about everything you need to know about getting the best battery for dry camping. We’ve included our reviews of what we deemed to be the best RV Batteries.
Also, later in the article, we discuss the relevant factors, tips, and tricks that will help you choose the RV battery that’s best suited for your needs.
Do you have any questions about boondocking? If you do, then you will probably find answers in our exclusive FAQs section or in our Boondocking Guide. Let’s begin!
Our Recommendations : RV Batteries For Boondocking
- Top Choice: Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery
- Runner-up 1: VMAXTANKS 6 Volt 225Ah AGM Battery
- Runner up 2: Vmaxtanks AGM 12V VMAXSLR125 SLA Battery
- Best 6V RV batteries: NP6-225Ah 6V 225Ah AGM Deep Cycle Battery
- The Most Lightweight: ExpertPower 100Ah Lithium 12V Battery
- Best Value: Mighty Max AGM Deep Cycle Battery
- Best Gel RV Battery: Renogy Deep Cycle Hydrid Gel Battery
- Best Dual Purpose RV Battery: Optima Blue Top Starting and Deep Cycle Battery
Quick Answers: Best RV Batteries for Boondocking
After trying different RV batteries, we’ve concluded that the following 8 RV Batteries are the best for dry camping. Whether you plan on Boondocking for a weekend or for a month-long adventure we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out what made them stand out from the rest.
1. Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery
The Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery for dry camping is by far one of our favorites. It’s the ultimate RV Battery for boondocking if you plan on camping off-grid for long periods. It’s incredibly powerful, reliable, and durable.
The Battle Born LiFePO4 battery is incredibly powerful and lasts a long time even with heavy loads such as the use of a microwave and hairdryer.
It charges extremely fast with very little absorption time needed to top off. It can be charged and discharged countless times without any problem.
With the built-in battery management system (BMS) which works as the central functioning mechanism. It protects the battery from issues such as battery failure, ground faults or temperature instability.
It also regulates the power that’s extracted from the battery and shuts it off immediately if the operating conditions are unsafe.
We like the battery’s lithium-ion technology. It’s cost-effective, durable, and you can mount it in any position. Moreover, it comes with a 10-year warranty.
The Battle Born LiFePO4 battery doesn’t come cheap but if you’re planning on camping off-grid for long periods, this best RV battery won’t let you down.
2. VMAXTANKS 6 Volt 225 Ah AGM
We like the VMAXTANKS 6 Volt 225Ah AGM Battery gets great reviews because of its amazing durability and resistance to shock. This battery sure can put up with those bumps and rough terrain. This makes it a great option for serious boondockers.
The VMAXTANKS 6 Volt AGM Battery has a float service lifespan of 8-10 years. We like that it’s maintenance-free and that you don’t need to add water (unlike many 6-Volts) or check electrolyte gravity.
You can attribute its impressive durability to its heavy-duty lead-tin alloy design. This provides an extra margin of performance and service life in either float or cyclic applications, even after repeated over discharges.
Overall, this is a great 6V battery that’s reliable, offers superior performance, and is perfect for boondocking over long periods.
3. Vmaxtanks AGM 12V VMAXSLR125 SLA
The Vmaxtanks AGM 12V battery is a great intro to an off-grid setup. It performs amazingly well and has outstanding storage capacity. With one of those batteries you can power up small appliances, including a small fridge.
The Vmaxtanks AGM 125Ah SLA battery is a heavy-duty battery made from military-grade plates which are custom made in the USA.
The company guarantees that the battery will give you up to par functionality for at least 8 to 10 years. They also offer a one-year warranty in case you have any technical issues with it.
The only drawback of this battery is its weight. It weighs around 75 lbs which makes it a bit difficult to move around and it adds a fair bit of weight to your rig.
Overall, the Vmaxtanks AGM 12V 125Ah Deep Cycle Battery may be a bit heavy but the quality and the price make it a great choice for a robust system.
4. ExpertPower 100Ah Lithium 12V Battery
The ExpertPower’s Deep Cycle RV Battery is another great battery for boondockers. It weighs the least of all the batteries we’ve looked at (22.6 lbs only.) It’s powerful, it saves space and weight.
The ExpertPower’s Lithium Deep Cycle Battery provides 2500 – 7000 cycles and shouldn’t disappoint you for at least 10 years.
We evaluated the discharge curve (flat) of this battery and found that it does hold above 12 Volt for up to 90% of its total usage capacity.
Just like the Battle Born battery, it features a BMS system. The ExpertPower RV Battery is safe from overcharge, deep discharge, short circuit, overloading, and overheating. Furthermore, its excessive low self-discharge rate ensures up to 1-year maintenance-free storage.
Weighing only 22.6 lbs, the ExpertPower Deep Cycle Battery will add less weight to your rig. You will also be able to carry it without breaking your back!
5. NP6-225Ah 6V 225Ah AGM Deep Cycle Batteries
The NPP NP-6 225Ah are awesome deep cycle batteries for boondocking. These battery offer excellent power capacity, as well as great resistance to shock and various temperatures. These particular ones come in a pack of 2 which is perfect to get started on your dry camping journey.
Each of these 6V batteries weighs just 65 pounds which is definitely a big plus when you don’t have much cargo capacity left on your rig. They provide great performance and reliability for their compact size and weight.
The NPP NP-6 225Ah deep cycle batteries are made of a non-conductive ABS plastic material. This keeps them in top condition even with constant exposure to harsh elements, including heat and chemicals.
We like how resistant they are to vibration and shock and various temperatures, both high and low. These batteries are also maintenance-free and are also easy to install.
These sealed lead-acid batteries are made of durable materials, making them ideal for use in many applications.
Overall, we think the NPP deep cycle batteries are among the best RV batteries for short and long-term boondocking.
6. Mighty Max AGM Deep Cycle Battery
We deemed the Mighty Max to be the best value for money. It can safely be used in enclosed environments, can be mounted in any position and performs well in hot and low temperatures.
The Mighty Max Battery is maintenance-free and you don’t have to add fluids in it. It’s ready for use straight out of the box.
The battery is spill-proof and features a high discharge rate, deep discharge recovery, and last but not least a wide range of functioning temperatures. You will get efficient performance whether the temperature is high or low.
The Mighty Max is also resistant to shocks and vibrations and can be mounted safely in any position.
The Mighty Max battery uses a calcium-alloy grid which is known to provide efficient performance output and longevity whether you use it for float or cyclic applications.
The Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) technology works around the clock to make sure there are no leaks during the battery’s operation.
Overall, we found the Mighty Max battery is great value for money and a great choice if you’re after a reliable RV battery for dry camping all year round.
7. Renogy Deep Cycle Hydrid Gel Battery
If you have a small solar setup and you don’t want to splurge on a lithium battery, the Renogy Deep Cycle Hybrid Gel Battery is a great option. If you need more power, you can easily connect more of those batteries with the included Renogy Battery Interconnect cables.
The Renogy Deep Cycle Gel RV Battery is produced using a gel suspended electrolyte and a highly advanced valve regulated technology. This ensures that you don’t experience any acid leakage. Plus, the battery requires very little maintenance.
With its corrosion-free grids, Renogy claims this battery has a life expectancy of 12 years or more in standby applications. Furthermore, it offers 70 cycles of charge and discharge at 50% DOD in cyclic applications.
The unit also features a proprietary plate composition and patented gel electrolyte which gives it brilliant recovery ability after excessive deep discharge.
If you need a bit more power, you have the option to connect your battery bank in series parallel by using the included Renogy Battery Interconnect Cables.
8. Optima Blue Top Starting and Deep Cycle Battery
We’ve included the Optima Blue Top Starting and Deep Cycle Battery in our list of the best RV Battery for Boondocking because it offers deep cycle and starting power. It’s also highly resistant to extreme temperatures and vibrations.
The Optima Batteries Blue Top Starting and Deep Cycle Battery has sufficient starting power even if you are using it in severe weather conditions.
The unit can be mounted in any position. It’s safe, durable, and offers optimal performance no matter what. It’s resistant to shocks and vibrations as well.
While using, we noticed that the battery has a reserve capacity of approximately 120 minutes, or 2 hours, to offer constant operation.
The SpiralCell technology it uses consists of several individual spiral-wound cells that contain two pure lead plates with a purity of 99.9%. We liked that the technology provides precision and accuracy in the functionality of the battery. It also helps the unit withstand high levels of humidity and temperature.
Buying Guide: Best RV Battery for Boondocking
Before we jump into the factors that will help pin out the best RV battery for boondocking, we first need to understand what is boondocking and why we need good RV batteries.
Boondocking is also known as free camping, wild camping, or dry camping. This term is most common among RV’ers and it’s used to describe a trip in the wild without any connection to power, water, or sewer.
Since we’re disconnected from all the essential services and amenities one normally needs, it’s also known as ‘Dry Camping’. Hence, if you want to be able to power up any of the appliances inside your RV, you need a power source. This is what RV batteries are usually for.
RV batteries will keep all your electricity-dependent appliances working throughout your trip. A long-lasting, powerful, and reliable Deep Cycle RV Battery will help keep you powered up wherever you are.
Types of Boondocking or Dry Camping
Did you know that there are three different types of Boondocking? Well, there are! This is useful to know to be able to evaluate the best RV battery that will suit you based on the type of boondocking you plan on doing.
First, you need to establish how often you will be off-the-grid and for how long. If you plan on boondocking for long periods at a time you should consider getting a long-lasting battery with high Amp-hours (Ah) capacity that’s also compatible with your solar panel kit.
On the other hand, if you’re an occasional boondocker who goes out only a couple of days at a time, you don’t necessarily have to invest in a Lithium-Ion battery. You can opt for deep-cycle AGM or gel batteries instead which cost a lot less than Lithium-Ion batteries.
When we started out, we opted for an AGM house battery which was charged by our alternator when driving. When stopped, we’d charge it with our 120W solar panel. This setup was more than enough to power up our fridge, some lights, and devices.
The Overnight Boondocking
The overnight stay is the simplest type of boondocking that you will come across. This type of boondocking usually refers to parking your RV at a friend’s place for the night, staying at a rest area or even in a Walmart parking lot.
If you are an RV-er, you will surely once in your lifetime, boondock in a Walmart’s parking. Usually, you might want to do that if you’re driving through the city and you want to take a break or if you need to stop due to any adverse weather conditions.
Moochdocking or Staying in a friend’s driveway or front yard for a night is another type of overnight boondocking.
Boondocking on Undeveloped Campsites
Another type of boondocking is staying on an undeveloped campsite which is usually free. This type of boondocking doesn’t have any amenities near the campsite and chances are you’re all alone.
This is the type of self-dependent type of boondocking in which you have to be self-sufficient and rely only on your own resources. You need to make sure you have a plan in place for water, electricity, and other services you may need.
Boondocking on Developed Campsites
This type of boondocking may cost you a small fee for the use of the site. These campsites usually have a specific fee you need to pay to stay per night.
Though you might be able to use a few amenities the campsite has to offer, you might not have any sewer hookups, electricity, or water.
Starter Battery vs Deep Cycle Battery
There are two batteries in an RV as part of the battery management system. One of them is the starting battery that gives a quick and powerful surge to start the engine. The other one is a deep cycle battery which is also called a house battery. The house battery is what you use to power up lights, appliances, and devices in your RV.
Types of RV Deep Cycle Batteries
While reading the above reviews, you would have noticed that there are different types of batteries. There are AGM, Lead-Acid, Lithium-Ion, or Gel Batteries. Which type of RV battery will best suit your setup? Let’s look at the differences between each type.
These batteries are made with lead plates or grids which are submerged in a liquid electrolyte. These are the most common types of batteries used. They are inexpensive, reliable, and durable.
They have a high-performance average and give you high voltages. However, these types of batteries are heavy, and charging them takes time. Furthermore, there’s always the danger of acid leak or overheating.
Time to revisit 9th Grade Chemistry! Lithium-Ion Batteries consist of a cathode and an anode that’s usually submerged in an electrolyte (lithium salt solution). The lithium ions swim around two electrodes (cathode and anode).
These batteries are low maintenance and charge quickly. They also have low self-discharge which makes them a great choice for dry camping. On the downside, Lithium-Ion Batteries can be expensive and may not last as long if stored at high temperatures.
AGM, or Absorbed Glass Mat, Batteries are lead-acid batteries that are sealed seamlessly. The absorbed Glass Mat as the name suggests is a fiberglass mat that absorbs the entire electrolyte. This prevents any acid leakage from the battery’s casing.
They’re cheaper than Lithium-Ion batteries, they’re renowned for their quick charging and they require no maintenance.
The main disadvantage of lead-acid batteries is that they’re sensitive to overcharging. Their charging capacity also reduces overtime.
As the name suggests, the electrolyte in these batteries is in the form of a gel. This type of battery ensures no leaks of the gel or fumes. They can be mounted in any position.
These batteries come fully sealed, require no maintenance, and can withstand high temperatures.
However, they also react poorly to overcharging. Because these batteries use a gel instead of a liquid you need to take them off the charge as soon as it’s complete. This will prevent any voids with the electrolyte which would cause irreversible damage.
Factors To Consider To Choose The Best RV Battery for Boondocking
We will now talk about the various aspects that can help you choose the best RV battery for boondocking. Let’s dive in!
The voltage of the RV Battery
The first and foremost aspect to evaluate to choose the best RV battery for boondocking is its voltage. On the market, you can find 12 volt RV batteries and 6 volt RV batteries. We personally use 12 volt batteries because we find them easier to work with.
The capacity of the RV Battery
There are two things to pay attention to when looking for the best RV batteries for boondocking:
The amp-hours (Ah) of the battery are usually referred to as the charge capacity and watt-hours (Wh) which refers to the battery’s energy capacity.
Amp-hours is the measure of the electrical charge of a battery that will allow a current of one ampere to flow for one hour. You need to look at the amp-hour rating of the battery because it indicates how much electricity you can store and use later.
To check out the amp-hours you require for your RV, calculate the electricity needed by each appliance you plan on operating during your trip. Don’t only measure the electricity they need but also the frequency and the duration of use.
The sum of these calculations will help you to determine the battery capacity that you need.
Charging Versatility of the Battery
Another thing to consider is the charging versatility of the battery’s capacity. If you’re buying RV batteries for boondocking then opt for batteries that can be charged using solar panels, a generator, or battery charger.
In a nutshell, buy batteries that can be charged in different ways to ensure you have enough power for your daily needs no matter where you are.
Optimal Temperature Range
One of the most important factors to consider while looking for the best RV batteries for boondocking is the temperature range they perform the best at.
It’s very important to think about the type of weather conditions you may encounter during your trip. You need to choose RV batteries that can function properly in a wide range of temperatures.
Resistance to vibrations and shocks
While traveling, you will most probably come across many terrains; rocky, bumpy, snowy, smooth, and slippery. This is especially true if you do a lot of off-roading.
These different surfaces may cause the batteries to knock against each other, which in turn may cause them to malfunction due to the impacts.
Thus, it’s important to check if the RV battery is resistant to shocks and vibrations to exclude the possibility of malfunction and damage.
Frequently Asked Questions: RV Batteries for Boondocking
Q.1. 12 volt or 6 volt battery, which is better?
There’s no right or wrong answer. We chose to use 12V batteries because we find them easier to work with and we find them the most suitable for our solar setup.
In saying that, we know some hardcore dry campers who swear by 6V batteries. You can use two of those batteries to make up 12V, but that means you have to buy 2 batteries, and you need to wire them in series.
Furthermore, if you want to upgrade, you will need to buy two more and so on. If you decide to go down that path you need to make sure you have sufficient space and weight capacity to accommodate those batteries.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to how much you plan on camping off-the-grid and your personal preference.
Q2. How Much Power Do I Need While Boondocking?
You need to determine your power requirements for your RV to find out the battery capacity you need. You need to know how many Watt-hours you will use on a daily basis.
For that, you need to make a list of all the things you want to use that require electricity and calculate the number of watt-hours each item uses per day.
In this video, you will learn how to calculate the amount of electricity you will need every day.
Q.3. How to choose the right size of RV Battery for Boondocking?
First, you need to figure out how big of a battery bank you will need as far as amp-hours and determine how many watts you will need for solar panels. Having a properly sized solar setup will make your dry camping experience an enjoyable one, or not.
Here’s how to easily size your RV battery bank and solar set up.
Q4. How to Boondock Safely And Responsibly?
You must keep in mind all the precautionary measures while dry camping. Some of the things that will help you to safely boondock are as follows.
Plan your trip
Make a checklist and write down everything that you might need for the trip. Furthermore, mark locations that might come in handy if you run out of supplies –nearby grocery stores, a hospital, a gas station.
It’s always wise to download maps or apps for your route. This will help you stay on the right path, away from danger. A good app to get is the Boondocking app which shows all the free campsites and maps to get to them.
Find a safe location
To find a safe location, try opting to park your RV in a developed campsite or a Walmart/ truck shops/ Apartment complexes parking lot.
Final Thoughts: RV Batteries for Boondocking
Boondocking is the type of camping we think everyone needs to experience at least once in their lifetime. Why? Because it teaches you how to rely on your instincts and use your resources strategically.
If we look at the RV batteries we’ve reviewed above, we think The Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery is the best RV battery for boondocking. It’s the best overall, especially if you plan on camping off-grid a lot.
In terms of 6V RV batteries, we think the VMAXTANKS 6 Volt AGM RV Battery is also a great choice for serious boondocker.
Whereas, the Vmaxtanks AGM 12V 125Ah VMAXSLR125 SLA Deep Cycle battery is a great battery for part-time or occasional boondockers.
We hope this article has proved to be a fruitful read and that you are now ready to plan your next dry-camping adventure! Happy boondocking!
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