RVs have the ability to dry camp (parked without any hookups), meaning they have running water, propane for heating, hot water, cooking, and 12 volt lighting. On board water tanks supply water and holding tanks hold the waste water. The frig can also run on propane. Everything you need except for 120 volts. Lots of 12 volts appliances are available so the only thing you really have to have 120 volts for is air conditioning. Your rv can be miles from an electric line and you can live a very normal life.
Our rv holds 40 gallons of fresh water, three 40 gallon holding tanks. One each for shower, kitchen, and toilet. That translates into about a week before our tanks need attention. The 12volt battery will also need charging after about 2 days.
An inverter with take power from your 12 volts and turn it into 120 volts. Still can't run you a/c but you can run things like your tv, microwave, hair dryer, and other small appliances. This is limited by the size (wattage) of your inverter and the size (amp hours) of your batteries.
To further complicate this, there are two types of inverters. Most are modified sine wave (almost like the electricity at home) and will run most things. A pure sine wave (just like your home electricity but more expensive) for your high-end electronics. A simple solution is to buy a larger wattage modified sine wave inverter to run most applications and a smaller pure sine wave inverter to run high-end electronics. Most tv's will run on a modified sine wave inverter but I don't want to risk a $1000 tv on a cheaper inverter.
One other solution is just buy a generator to run everything. A small one will run microwave, tv, and ect. A larger one will also run one a/c and still larger one will run both air conditioners.
The options for dry camping with all the amenities are:
No need to upgrade batteries or buy an inverter
Fuel costs and maintenance
Their use not also permitted (or restricted hours of usage)
Will extend your 12volt usage
Have enough power to add on inverter for limited 120volt usage
Weight (battery weight adds up fast)
Space requirements (may or may not fit you present battery compartment)
Need a way to recharge
Will supply most 120volt needs
Deletes batteries (they have to be recharged)
SOLAR PANELS(solar panels are really just battery chargers that use to sun to obtain their energy)
Recharges batteries to supply battery and inverter needs
Free energy after purchase
Cost (isn't that always a con?)
Now I would like "all the above" but for me the generator seems the logical first step as the one purchase will do everything (at the expense of the cons). Also it is the option that will have the best resale value if I choose to sell it.
I wanted a generator that would run at least one of my air conditioners ( the only real reason for a generator). Something in the 3000watt range would do the job fine. Purchasing used would be a wise choice in case I wanted to resale.
I always check Craigslist for my used purchases.
I found a gently used Yamaha 3000iseB generator at an excellent price. It is among the quietest on the market and very fuel efficient and a reasonable power to weight ratio. Weighting in at about 150lbs.
It came with the optional cover and a new battery.
I will place it on the rear bumper of the travel trailer and thus one of the pieces of the puzzle will be in place.