It’s really quite a skill to be able to live off grid and require nothing from anywhere else. When you master this lifestyle, it is so rewarding and cost saving to be in the most remote locations with a stunning backdrop and complete faith in yourself and your setup to stay for longer and be self-sufficient. Below is a few of our top tips that we feel can help you stay unplugged a little longer.  

Being Water Conscious

Every setup, no matter the size, will experience some form of water restriction as you can only carry so many litres in your car or caravan. Our family of four have three tanks totalling 240L and we can manage a week comfortably without filling up again. How you ask?? There are many techniques you can use! Simple change of habits including navy showers, washing up only once a day, getting restricted flow tap and shower heads, turning the tap off between teeth brushing and using a composting toilet are just a few ways you can save litres every day. You can even use an alternate water source such as river or rainwater for duties like washing up or hand washing if it’s available.  

Another option is to carry a pump so you can draw water into your van from a clean water source nearby. Be sure to use a suitable water filter just in case there are any nasties you can’t see in the water source getting into your setup. 

Getting Full Sun

When we pull up to a new off grid campsite, we always check where the sun will rise and set of a day. We also look up to see if anything will obstruct the sun and lay shade over our setup. This is important when off grid as you need to maximise your solar panel sun exposure during the day to recharge your batteries.

Parking in a shady area for heat relief will also shade the solar panels on your roof so you need to be prepared with an alternative solution such as a portable solar blanket that can be laid nearby in full sun. Although a large battery is helpful to provide multiple days of power, the same battery will require days of charging if conditions are not ideal. Solar panel obstructions will slow your charging time and bring you back on grid if not managed.

off grid campsite - zone rv
Utilising an open area to get full sun exposure

Learning your Power Usage

So you are getting full sun during the day and charging your batteries but do you know how much power you draw and what uses the most power? Some appliances in your van can have a large draw of power and may catch you out if you don’t have ample solar to recharge. Here are a couple to look out for:

    1. Manage Power Usage Overnight

    I have heard of some fridges can draw up to 6 amps per hour! Overnight that could be up to 80 amps usage to cool your food while you are asleep! It could even higher if the weather is hot, and your fridge works overtime to stay cool. Most fridges have a power saving option so be sure you read the manual and find out how to turn that setting on your fridge.

    2. Manage Your Appliances

    Using your inverter to use 240V appliances can also be a big draw of power, especially on a smaller battery system. Any appliance that generates heat (kettle, hair dryer, toaster, induction cooktop, air fryer, coffee machine) will have an especially high draw of power that could drain your battery in a short period of time if not managed. For a smaller battery system, only turn your inverter on when you need it and work out what amp hours your appliances draw so you know what to expect. When possible, use high draw power items during daylight hours so you can utilise excess solar power rather than drawing direct from your batteries of an evening.


    As much as being off grid is wonderful, most of us need to be connected to the world via internet or phone at some stage and that is why our next tip is around connectivity.

    Having a reliable internet and phone setup will keep you connected to family, friends and possibly work if you need it. As we work online on the road we like to cover all options so we use a 12V modem with external antenna on the roof of our van to access internet. We also have a Starlink satellite modem for when the 3G/4G network is out of range.  

    Star Link
    Star Link

    Finally, we also carry a Zoleo texting/SOS device which we take with us at all times both in the van or car that runs via satellite in case there is an emergency. It’s one of those things that you don’t know you need until you need it, kind of like an insurance policy. We started our travels without this device and after having a 2 year old with a high temperatures on a remote desert track, 2 hours from home with no help, we decided this was a necessity going forward.


    The final and most important fact that can make or break your remote camping experience is your car and caravan setup. It’s so important to have a kit that has been built properly and assembled with the end user in mind. If you are buying new, choose quality gear with good reviews and happy customers and if buying second hand, look for a setup that has been loved and maintained. Learn your setup, keep a few handy spare parts on board and service and maintain your gear. Learn how to change your bearings and check the basic running mechanisms, check bolts are tight and visually look for any inconsistences. If something is going to go wrong when you’re remote, it’s reassuring to know you can fix it or at least get to safety because you know your gear.

    The off grid lifestyle takes a little bit of learning and practice but it’s so rewarding to do. Start small and just try it for a couple of days to start so you can build your confidence in your setup. The end goal is to stay off grid for as long as you’re capable and comfortable. Take your time and learn the ropes as you go! We really hope that these tips have helped you to start planning your next off grid adventure and hope to see you out there in one of the remote corners of Australia.

    Big oz Explorers - Zone RV
    Big oz Explorers

    All the best for your future travels! Chris, Sian, Jada & Jack – Big OZ Explorers!