How do you get electricity in your van?

I have two golf cart batteries that are charged by the alternator when I’m driving.

I believe the other options are shore power, or solar - maybe there’s more that I don’t know about

I’m curious about what y’all use to power electronics inside your van?


Some people carry gas generators to run appliances or charge up batteries, although they take up space and it’s not always practical to use them. They can be loud, especially the cheaper ones. Most campgrounds have restrictions on using them at night.
We already have solar on our skoolie so we can go off the grid, but you might check the Goal Zero line of solar panels and inverters. Their smaller packages might be good for a van. Plus you can get pro discounts through Expert Voice.

We have shore power, briefcase solar for the van, and a generator. Plus, we carry a bunch of small battery blocks for recharging phones and small devices, small solar panels to recharge the battery blocks, and a larger portable power station that we can use to charge our larger devices, such as laptops. We are never without a way to power or recharge something, which is crucial given our remote jobs and our YouTube channel. -Ari


I don’t have a van yet but I was so inspired by Shari and Hutch’s solar setup that they explained on our Facebook live earlier this year. I definitely will want solar panels in my future van!

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We use a battery that charges either plugged in to an ac/dc outlet or when the van is running. It was installed in a way that we could use solar panels to charge also; but it turns out we use way less electric than we thought we would so we haven’t added those yet.

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In the planning process of making our van into a camper, step one was window covers, step two we put together a portable kitchen camp box, step three is portable power, I bought a 300 and 500 watt battery pack we can charge via 100watt solar panel or as we drive, this will more than power our electronics and my cpap at night on our road trips.

I plan to do a video for the power stuff for our youtube channel soon but I have tested both batteries out here in the house extensively on laptop, cpap, lights, fans, this combo to me seemed to make the most sense and totally portable.

Stacey & Bill’s Adventures

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I camp in my minivan, and I have a solor setup that I use. I charge my batteries with the alternate when I drive, and have a solor panel for when I go boondocking. With this setup, I have all the power for my needs. ie lights, charging phone, even a 12 v tv.

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Goal Zero 1400 lithium battery here. Connected to 260w of solar (would add 320w if had to do it again as you never get 100% of rated watts), connected to van battery to charge while driving as needed (rainy days), connected to shore power outlet as needed (when hookups are available or at a friends house). My electrical needs are minimal; no hot water, Dometic cooler, 2 roof fans, 6 led lights, 700w microwave, and charging ports. Hope this helps. ~ Vanpe Diem

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I use every way possible… trifecta of power…
Solar (325w panel, MPPT, 2x 100AH LiFePO4s), alternator (Sterling 30A B2B) and shore power (Magnum MS2012)


Where did you get your golf cart batteries and how did you get them hooked up to your alternator?

Well, the easiest way to get electricity is to install a solar panel. That will enable you to get off the grid and have your own power supply. It’s a super cool set up and totally worth the investment. Plus, you can get out and explore without worrying about where you’re gonna find power.

I can bring power in with Shore Power that supplies power to my AC outlets by either plugging it in at a campground or a Yahama 2000w inverter/generator while dispersed camping. There is also a 20A Xantrex Marine battery charger that charges my 2 group 31 AGM house batteries while on shore power or the genny.
Next is what is called an ACR (auto charging relay) This is connected between your trucks batt or alt. and the house batteries. When you start the truck the ACR connects and charges the house batteries with the trucks alternator while driving down the road. When you turn the van off it disconnects from the house batteries so you don’t have to worry about running down your start battery.
Next is solar to charge house batteries while camping or basically anywhere.
The house batteries power all a DC accessories and a 2000w pure sine wave inverter for all the AC ……microwave, fridge, TV, coffeemaker, George Foreman grill………

We have a Jackery and solar panels if we need to charge it we also have power cords for shore power and to recharge the Jackery when needed. Most of our power things are in the kitchen all the lights have rechargeable batteries. So they too get charged up whenever we stop somewhere with power. we are fair weather campers so never use a heater much, but we have one that is also our fan. We plan to do something different this next time out we plan to take small electric blankets just to snuggle under at night if we want to. Has anyone else done this? What does it do to your power?