May 20, 2022

How to Charge Your Electric Vehicle in an RV Park While Camping

We Charged Our Chevy Bolt EV Overnight

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Appears in this episode

Devin Thorpe
Gail Thorpe
Follow our journey as we buy a Rivian R1T electric truck to pull a travel trailer equipped to run exclusively on solar power!
Episode details

RV parks and campgrounds make camping and traveling with an electric vehicle easy. Here’s how.

We’ve been driving electric vehicles since 2017. Road trips in an EV are easier than most people without EVs realize, but it isn’t easy to find an affordable hotel with an EV charger. When you do, there is often competition for it.

Camping is a whole different story. If there are RV hookups, you can likely get a full charge on your EV overnight. Traveling this way is so much simpler than tracking down the nearest charger and waiting 30 to 60 minutes for a fast charge.

Virtually all EVs come with a charger that will work in the RV park. A vandal destroyed our original charger during Devin’s Congressional campaign back in 2020, so we bought a replacement.

We bought a Duosida level 1+2 (120-240V, 16A, 25ft) portable charging station at that time. We’ve been using that as our at-home charger ever since. Although the charger is capable of using a 220 volt, 16 amp power source, we’ve never had one in our garage and didn’t find one in the RV park.

Using this charger, we can add about 1.4 kWh or about 6 miles of range in our Chevy Bolt EV per hour. Over a twelve-hour night, we can add about 16.8 kWh or 72 miles, about a quarter of the battery capacity in our car. When we return from a road trip with a nearly empty battery, it takes almost a week with our typical daily use to get the battery full again.

Of course, if we’re not immediately doing another road trip, there’s no problem. When we have back-to-back trips planned, we find a public fast charger.

On our last camping trip, we used this charger to top off the battery overnight. We were so close to home, about 24 miles, that we didn’t need to charge but decided to test the process in the field so we could share what we learned with you.

In the campground where we stayed, we had three power options. We had two 110-volt plugs, the sort you use at home for your vacuum or laptop. There were also two 220-volt plugs, one a 30-amp and the other a 50-amp version.

We had our Aliner Scout popup trailer plugged into the 30-amp plug, which worked out perfectly, leaving the 50-amp plug open.

Last year, we visited family in a remote part of California without a public charging station in town. The Airbnb vacation rental where we stayed had a 220 volt, 50-amp outlet in the garage, so we bought a corresponding charging station to use, allowing us to get a full charge every night. It was great.

The Duosida level 2 portable EV charger has a 50-amp style plug but draws only 32 amps at 220 volts, allowing for a charging rate of about 6.7 kW. We can charge our Chevy Bolt EV from empty to full in about 10 hours with this charger.

Even with our trailer connected, we had the option to use either charger. If you’ve got a big trailer you’re towing with your EV, and it uses the 50-amp port, you’ll want a charger that will work on the 30-amp port like this one.

Pro tip: we’ve learned by blowing a fuse that it is important to plug the charger into the power source before connecting it to the vehicle you want to charge.

At least for now, we’ve not heard of any campgrounds or RV parks charging extra for EVs. What you’re paying for your stay typically includes the cost of electricity, so getting a full charge for your EV is essentially free!

Note that we have not received any compensation or free product from any vendors. We chose these products purely on the merits. Having done that independent research, we have used affiliate links to the products in the descriptions that allow us to earn small commissions if you make a purchase. The links do not result in an increased cost for you.