Between our wedding at Doe Lake and the 2015 FT Hiker Kickoff, we spent more time in Primrose without access to electrical power than we had ever done before.
We’d become accustomed to just turning on the fan or a heater with just the flip of a switch, and charging our phones and camera batteries by plugging them in to Primrose’s 110 volt system. We’d switch on Primrose’s built in interior light without giving it any thought at all.
These last few trips were different. We had no access to electrical hookups at Doe Lake in the Ocala National Forest, or at Trail Lakes or Midway Campground in Big Cypress. These trips were “off grid” in group camping areas.
Two pieces of equipment made this transition easy. Using a Dorcy LED lantern – the same one we reviewed in 2013, and still using the same D cell batteries – Primrose was wonderfully illuminated. We never use the lantern’s brightest setting, which is why I’m sure explains our long battery life. The lowest setting provides all the light we need, and the amber night light gives us just enough light to slip in and out of the camper without disturbing others.
The other item is a portable Duralast jump starter around the size of an old lunchbox, and designed to be used to help start cars with weak batteries, or for vehicles that are not started regularly. When we bought this one at AutoZone, I noticed that it had both a 12 volt socket and a USB plug in. I avoided the one with a built in-light, wanting to plug in a small LED lamp instead.
We use the USB port for the lamp. By plugging our phone’s double car charger into the 12 volt socket, both of our phones stay fully charged without any worry of draining the charge from Primrose’s own battery. In the future, we will try running a small 12 volt fan off the jump starter as well. Because even during the winter in Florida, it can be over eighty degrees, and a gentle breeze can make sleeping just a little nicer.