With summer in full swing, activities like hiking, rock climbing, and over landing might be in the back of your mind. It is a perfect time to be one with mother nature and take full advantage of the beautiful summer sun. But some people lose interest in camping because of the lack of daily luxuries like a fully functioning toilet and shower. Millenials and all their gadgets will have a hard time with the lack of electricity in the wilderness. Camping shouldn’t be a stressful experience and if electricity will make you relax, perhaps purchasing a power inverter to supply the campsite with power is something you want to do.
What is a power inverter?
Batteries give off Direct Current (DC) power while outlets in our homes supply Alternating Current (AC) power. This means that most of our appliances and household electrical items run on AC power. Inverters essentially mimic AC power using a DC power source which lets you plug lights, charge batteries, and supply power to essential appliances that will make your camping experience feel like home. Most inverters look like a metal brick with outlet plugs on one end.
How do you connect the power inverter to your car?
Using a power inverter is as simple as charging your mobile phone in your car. Some inverters simply plug into a 12-v accessory socket or a cigarette lighter. These inverters are limited to a five to ten amp draw.
Heavy duty applications require a direct connection to your car battery or fuse panel. Some fuse panels have an empty slot specifically for a power inverter to be wired into. This will give the inverter a dedicated circuit. A direct connection to the battery will need an in-line fuse from the inverter. Having a fuse will give extra protection from a potentially hazardous situation. The connection from the power inverter to the battery is similar to that of jumper cables. Vehicle batteries are typically 12-v, but for a steadier supply of electricity, a 24-v battery may be required.
How do you choose an inverter?
The basic thing to keep in mind is the voltage of the battery you will be using. Battery voltage will affect the draw of electricity into the inverter to make it function efficiently. Next, consider the appliances you will be powering. Will they be requiring a heavy draw of electricity? The total wattage capacity of the inverter you will be purchasing will have to be larger than the sum of the wattage requirements of all the appliances.
If you purchase a power inverter with a cigarette lighter power source, you can be sure that larger appliances won’t get the power requirements it needs. Set your expectations if you plan to use a power inverter at a campsite and only use it for essential appliances like lights and charging navigational and communication aids.
Powering a living room in the wilderness isn’t ideal. What is the point of spending time in the great outdoors if you’re not going to appreciate nature? There are overlanding solutions which can be charged and supply power to certain appliances. Check out our article on the ten camping solutions for you to have an idea of certain items you can consider for your trip. Take extra precautions when using power inverters with your vehicle. You can easily create a spark and set fire to your surroundings. Instead of looking to power all your gadgets when camping, perhaps it’s the best time to just get off the grid and enjoy the company of family and friends.