Towable RVs are an excellent option for full-timers or those who like to partake in the occasional outdoor adventure. They are praised by the community for their ability to trek to some of the most breathtaking areas out in the boondocks that motorized RVs cannot make it to.
No matter where you plan on going for your next adventure, you’ll want to make sure your battery bank is capable of supplying you with enough power when you are off the grid. And Battle Born Batteries is here to help you!
What is a Towable RV?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a towable RV is a rig that you tow. It’s a camper trailer that you pull behind your car, truck, or SUV.
It’s important to note that a towable RV is one of the two main RV categories, the other being motorized RVs. You might also know these self-contained units as motorhomes.
However, not all towables are the same. Let’s dive into the different types!
Types of Towable RVs
No matter which sub-category they fall into, all towable RVs have the same basic characteristics. But there are some differences, too, so we’ll describe the four main classifications. They’re all pretty common and you’ll probably see some of each at any crowded campground.
When you think of a classic RV that a vehicle tows behind it, this is probably what you have in mind. Travel trailers are essentially a box on a frame, typically with sleeping quarters, a living/dining area, a kitchen, and a bathroom. They use a standard-style hitch and vary greatly in size and weight from small teardrop campers, to folding pop-up campers, to 30-foot pull-behinds.
Fifth wheels are the biggest of all towables and get their name for the way they connect to the truck that tows them. A fifth wheel uses a special type of coupler that you install directly in the truck’s bed. This way, the rear axle handles the bulk of the trailer’s weight for better stability. Fifth wheels are usually larger than travel trailers and are often roomier. They usually contain sleeping quarters, a living and dining area, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Some have multiple beds and bathrooms. The raised section right above the hitch is usually a bedroom but is sometimes a living room. There’s another class of the fifth wheel called a toy hauler. It’s an extra-large fifth wheel with living quarters in the front and a “storage room” in the back for hauling ATVs and other outdoor “toys.” The back door usually pulls down into a ramp so you can drive vehicles in and out.
Advantages of Towable RVs
Towable RVs are so popular because they’re practical, but they may not be for everybody.
Great for All Campers
There’s a good reason the basic design of a towable RV hasn’t changed for decades. We love travel trailers for helping get more people out adventuring and camping. They’re affordable, first of all, especially if you already own a vehicle that will tow it. Some are tiny, but many provide plenty of space plus your basic conveniences. Depending on the model, a towable is usually perfectly suitable for weekenders as well as full-timers due to a large variety of sizes, shapes, and floorplans. Travel trailers range from 14ft up to 30ft. Teardrops are smaller and fifth wheels can be even bigger to accommodate a couple of people or a whole crew. Some have large residential-style kitchens or toy-hauler configurations to bring your adventure accessories like motorcycles and ATVs. Whether large or small, all of these campers can provide the comforts of home while exploring the great outdoors. With the right electrical systems, they can power everything from small electronics to TVs, microwaves, and even residential fridges.
No Second Engine to Maintain
When you have engine trouble with a drivable RV, your camping plans shut down instantly. With a towable, you can focus on keeping your tow vehicle in good shape. There’s no motor in the RV, so that means one less thing to maintain.
Drawbacks of Towable RVs
No type of RV is perfect for everyone, however, so towable RVs have their downsides, too. There are a few other things to consider, so we’ve put together a shortlist of other frustrations that owners of towable RVs experience.
Towing Experience Sensitive to Weight Distribution
It’s a problem if you don’t distribute weight properly. To avoid swaying or bucking, you want a relatively even distribution with a little more weight towards the front. Judging the weight is something you can only learn through experience, but there are some things you can do to help. Installing a weight-distribution hitch or a sway bar, for instance, can help to balance the load. You can also make the switch to lithium. Since lithium batteries can be installed anywhere and don’t require venting, they are great for adding to your travel trailer in the best spot for weight distribution. They also weigh half as much, so you’ll be towing more safely overall.
May or May Not Have an On-Board Generator
While motorhomes all have built-in generators, they often aren’t standard equipment on a towable. Adding a generator is not only an extra expense, but it means extra weight, too. It’s something else to think about when calculating what you can afford – and what you can safely tow. Our lightweight Battle Born lithium batteries and their silent energy storage easily outperform the addition of a heavy, loud generator from the factory.
Why Towable RVs Work Great with Lithium Batteries
The standard lead-acid batteries that come with most towable RVs usually just don’t have enough juice to power your camping trip. That’s because you’re asking a lot from the same battery. It has to power your appliances plus all the lights, inside and out. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to upgrade. In fact, it’s common to replace conventional lead-acid batteries with lithium ones. Lithium batteries have considerable advantages for travel trailers. Battle Born Batteries can provide you with two to three times more power than a lead-acid battery which allows you to stay off the grid longer without having to hassle with a noisy generator. They weigh half as much as a lead-acid battery and last up to 10 years or more. Ours come with an industry-leading warranty so you don’t have to worry about replacing it every couple of years as you do with a lead-acid battery.
Along with the longevity of your battery, you can count on more consistent power from 100% to 0%. Battle Born Batteries are also capable of being charged up to five times faster than a standard lead-acid battery. You can even fully discharge it without causing damage. So when we say our batteries will last 10 years, we mean it. Also, you can place the lithium batteries pretty much anywhere in the trailer, giving you more flexibility with weight distribution. For many towable RV owners, switching to lithium is the wisest choice. Now you can put your battery anxieties to rest and finally focus on your next RV adventure!
Last 10 Times Longer than Lead Acid
Even after 3000 – 5000 life cycles Battle Born Batteries retain 75 – 80% of their original capacity. For most users, it will take 10 to 15 years to reach this amount of life cycles.
2 to 3 times more power
Our batteries will supply you with two to three times the power in the same physical space of a lead acid battery.
Charge 5 Times Faster
With a high charge rate of half of your total bank and short absorption times, your batteries will charge in a fraction of the time of a lead acid. This faster charge rate allows you to use your generator less which means less fuel consumption, less noise, and less pollution.
High Discharging Capabilities
Our 100 Ah batteries provide a continuous 100 amps of power, surge of up to 200 amps for 30 seconds and even higher loads for a ½ second.
Efficient and High Performance
Our batteries have virtually no internal resistance and will not heat up or swell when charging or discharging. We also have a real power rating so whether you’re using 1 amp for 100 hours or 100 amps for one hour, you will receive the full amount of power your batteries are rated for. With a very flat discharge curve, power remains much more consistent with Battle Born Batteries even at a low state of charge.
Environmentally Safe and Non-Toxic
One lead acid battery can contaminate acres of municipal waste, but Battle Born Batteries are not toxic and are made with the safest lithium chemistry on the market. This allows you to place them anywhere in your rig whether it’s under a bed, a dinette, or even a small enclosed area without the fear of our batteries “off gassing” like lead acid.
Our batteries are ½ to ⅔ the weight of a standard lead acid battery with more deliverable power.
Battle Born Batteries have a built-in management system to help protect you and your investment in the batteries in any strenuous situations such as high/low temperatures, high/low voltages, current surges, and short circuits. They also can be placed in your system with zero maintenance, so you no longer have to worry about adding water to your batteries or cleaning corroded terminals. Our batteries also have a very slow self-discharge rate so they can be left in storage for over a year without requiring you to hook them up to a trickle charger.
Designed and Assembled in the USA
Our batteries are designed and assembled in Sparks, Nevada. This makes it easier to receive support for your battery system and makes returns hassle-free.
We employ a team of experts at Battle Born Batteries to help with your customer service, sales and technical needs. Our industry-leading team utilizes clear communication via phone and email, along with product knowledge and problem-solving skills to assist with any questions you may have along the way. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your batteries, a complete power system or anything in between our team can provide the expertise needed to guide you through a lithium conversion. Feel free to contact our team at (855) 292-2831 or [email protected].
We believe in our batteries and we want you to believe in them too. That’s why we ship every battery out with a 10-year warranty. If you have a problem, we want to fix it as quickly as possible so you can go on your next adventure!
Excellent Solar Systems
Battle Born Batteries allow you to take full advantage of solar by creating fast charging and fully sustainable power systems with a variety of applications.
Many RVers run into trouble when deciding which solar charge controller to choose. There are many models with varying voltage and amperage ratings. Which one is right for your application?
Victron’s “Blue Solar” model is a set and forget controller without readouts or internal Bluetooth.
Victron’s “Smart Solar” is a Bluetooth version with viewable information on the “Victron Connect” application from your mobile device.
Second, decide how many watts of panels you want in your solar array and take a look at our compatibility table to determine the product that best fits your system here.
Upon request we will program your Victron solar charge controller for the number of Battle Born batteries in your bank at no charge.
Answering this question can depend on the amount of space you have on your vehicle and how fast you want your bank to charge.
As a general guideline we recommend 200 to 250 watts of solar per 100 amp-hours of battery. This will give you the ability to charge from nearly empty to full in a six to eight-hour time frame.
Many factors can change this calculation and you are invited to call at (855) 292-2831 or email us at [email protected] if you would like to discuss in greater detail.
To determine whether your devices are compatible with BB batteries, take a look at the manual for each component and look at the specifications. If the specs in the manual match up with the charging voltage: 14.2-14.6 V and the float voltage: 13.6 V or lower, they are compatible with our batteries.
If you can adjust settings (such as a custom profile) on your devices to various charging and float voltages, then simply change the settings to match ours.
You are also more than welcome to give us a call at (855) 292-2831 or contact us at [email protected].
In some cases, you might have to replace the current converter/charger that come stock in the application due to the output voltage of 13.6 V. Some very common WFCO and Progressive Dynamics converters will rarely get to their higher boost of 14.4 volts when a lithium battery is connected.
Although these converters will charge your Battle Born Batteries (very slowly), they may never get to a 100% state of charge and will not trigger the passive balancing effect that starts at over 14 volts.
In addition to their standard models, many converter manufacturers now offer LiFePO4 chargers and most are highly compatible with Battle Born Batteries.
Our charging parameters consist of the following:
- Bulk/absorb = 14.2 – 14.6 V
- Float = 13.6 V or lower
- No equalization (or set it to 14.4 V)
- No temperature compensation
- Absorption time is 20 minutes per battery (if it’s an option)
Bulk/absorb 14.2 – 14.6 Volts (we usually recommend 14.4) float 13.6 Volts or lower
No equalization (or set it to 14.4 V), no temperature compensation and absorption time is 20-30 minutes per battery (if it’s an option).
Bulk/absorb 28.4 – 29.2 V (we usually recommend 28.8 V) float 27.2 V or lower
No equalization (or set it to 28.8 V), no temperature compensation and absorption time is 20 minutes per battery (if it’s an option).
To view the chargers in our Battle Born Shop, please click here.
If you need assistance with charging parameters or settings for a certain device, give us a call at (855) 292-2831 or email us at [email protected]
When considering cable sizing there are a few factors to consider.
First, what is the size of the load you are powering with the battery bank?
Second, how far away from the battery is the load? You can do voltage drop calculations to see if you need to step up your cable size.
Here is an easy reference chart:
As a rule of thumb, you can use these numbers as a guideline.
-4 AWG wire approximate max rating is 157 amps DC
-1/0 AWT wire approximate max rating is 291 amps DC
-4/0 AWT wire approximate max rating is 456 amps DC
Alternator Charging for a Lithium Bank
Before discussing this topic please note that when connecting to a towable trailer (such as by a 7-pin connector), you typically get a low amount of charge into your lithium (aux) battery bank and an isolator or current regulating device is usually not necessary.
In motorized RVs, vans and skoolies, very often the alternator will charge lithium batteries at the proper voltage (14.2 to 14.6 V), but we recommend not to exceed a 50% charge rate, this means a max of 50 amps for each 100 Ah battery.
An example would be a high 220 amp alternator putting out its full charge to the electrical system. An alternator charging the starter battery, running the electronics in the vehicle, and if wired with thick enough cables, might have around 150 amps leftover to charge your Battle Born Batteries. In this instance, three of our batteries would be a good match for the alternator’s charge.
Some things to consider when connecting a starter (lead acid) battery to a lithium battery bank:
- 2 lithium batteries or less, you will probably want to use a battery to battery charger such as the Sterling product on our website:
- Higher amp units charge the batteries faster. These devices will not only regulate the charging current but also replace your existing isolator.
- For 3 or more lithium batteries connected to a starter battery we recommend our Li-BIM.
These are generalities, but if you give us the amperage of your alternator, the model of your isolator, and how many lithium batteries you are planning to use, we can give you a better suggestion as to what you may need. Call us at (855) 292-2831 or contact us at [email protected].
Yes, you can mount your battery in any position. There is no acid inside of the battery, and the small amount of liquid electrolyte is contained within each sealed cell.
You can decide what is best for your application. Our lithium technology gives you the flexibility to put the battery in places you normally would not have placed a lead acid battery.
Lead acid battery manufacturers will state: “do not mix old and new batteries. Doing so will reduce overall performance and may cause battery leakage or rupture.” They also recommend replacing all batteries within a bank at the same time.
A partially used lead acid battery will drain energy from a new one, reducing the total amount of battery power available.
This is not the case with Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries. You can add new batteries to your original Battle Born bank up to two years down the road without damaging, reducing lifespan, or harming them in any way.
Our batteries are drop-in replacements for typical lead acid batteries. This means that our batteries are designed to fit like a normal Group 27, 31 and GC2 battery in your bank.
This, however, does not mean our batteries are plug and play. Our batteries still may require specific components and programming to run your application.
To figure out if your components will work with our batteries, give us a call at (855) 292-2831 or send us an email at [email protected].
Our batteries are safe. All Battle Born Batteries use the safest and most stable components, including a LiFePO4 cathode and a built-in Battery Management System (BMS).
The BMS protects the cells against excessively high or low voltages, high currents, short circuits, and excessive heat or cold. These are the most common causes of battery failures, and we have taken every precaution to mitigate these risks in all of our batteries.
In addition, all of our cells are manufactured in a state-of-the-art automated facility, and each cell is cycled multiple times to ensure quality and consistency.
Li-ion batteries can be safer than lead acid batteries, which have no protection against ground faults. Our built-in BMS that protects against ground faults.
We strive to include all the best safety features into our battery, and this is what makes us a leader in the deep cycle replacement market. We are constantly developing new innovations to increase safety in our batteries.
Please watch the video above for more information on winterizing your Battle Born Batteries.
The storage temperature range is -10°F to 140°F (-23°C to 60°C). We recommend bringing the Battle Born Batteries to a 100% charge and then disconnecting them completely for storage. After six months in storage your batteries will remain 75 – 80% charged.
Storing batteries in subzero weather (-15°F or more) has the potential to crack the ABS plastic and more importantly could cause a faster loss of capacity, in some cases drastically more than the typical 2 – 4% per month loss.
Battle Born Batteries protect themselves from charging in cold temperatures and won’t accept a charge once the internal cell temperature drops to 24°F. At this point they will continue to discharge even down to -4°F. At this temperature we recommend no longer pulling power to avoid damaging the batteries.
Insulated battery boxes, heating blankets, and placing your battery bank inside your RV will help keep the temperature stable. On the high end of temperature range, the batteries will shut down once 135°F is reached.
You can use any standard charger, solar or wind charge controller to charge our LiFePO4 deep cycle battery. There are some chargers and controllers that are programmable to get full usage out of your battery, but most will have an AGM setting which normally bulk charges about 14.4 volts and floats at 13.6 volts. These levels are great for your Battle Born battery.
Our Battery Monitoring System, or BMS is rated to 3 different levels.
- 100 amps continuous (1200 watts at 12 volts) – this means you can pull 100 amps out of the battery when you need it until the capacity is all used up.
- 200 amps for 30 seconds (2400 watts at 12 volts) – if your device has a surge an individual battery can deliver 2400 watts for 30 seconds.
- ½ second surge up to the max capacity of the battery. If you have a high momentary over 200 amps the battery will handle this for ½ second.
*Keep in mind that when you have 2 batteries in parallel you will double these surge numbers. With 4 batteries in parallel you will quadruple these figures.
Check out our Customer’s Systems!
Battle Born Systems
About Less Junk, More Journey
Nathan and Marissa Moss travel full time with their kids, Hensley and JJ. Together they document their nomadic lifestyle on YouTube and share their experiences with others! Learn more about Less Junk, More Journey here.
Sean and Julie Chickery have traveled across the US in their Heartland 5th Wheel. This has given them the opportunity to go on exciting adventures across the country. Read more about the Chickery’s here!
- 4 – Battle Born 100 Ah 12 V GC2 batteries
- 1 – Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor with Bluetooth built-in
- 1 – Victron 3000 W MultiPlus Inverter Charger
- 1 – Victron Smart Solar Charge Controller MPPT 150/85
- 1 – Precision Circuits Battery Guardian
- 1 – Progressive Dynamics Power Converter PD9180LV
You can take a look at their bundles here!
About Keep Your Daydream
Marc and Trish Leach travel all around the world with their Battle Born systems. Marc and Tricia and their children are constantly switching up their rig and have been to so many amazing places! Read our blog about Keep Your Daydream here.
Below is a schematic of Karl De Jong’s Battle Born Battery system in his Airstream.
*Disclaimer: We are not Electricians or Installers. We simply provide these Schematics as an example for your own system.*