Meet the Russos
In 2015, Joe and Kait Russo decided to quit their jobs, buy an RV and travel around the United States for a year with their dogs. Five years later, their one year adventure has turned into a nomadic lifestyle with no end date in sight. They started in a Class A Newmar Bay Star motor home, but since this February have been living out of a Four-Wheel Hawk pop-up camper attached to a 2000 Ford F350 4×4. Truck campers are alluring to many people who are looking to get to harder to reach places, which really appealed to the Russos. When testing out rigs, they mostly looked at Class B vans with 4-wheel drive to get further off the beaten path. They enjoyed camping on Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, which is land owned by the government, and still prefer it over RV parks.
Many people helped out with the Russos’ journey towards their perfect “for now” rig. Along the way, when they asked about power, Battle Born Batteries always came highly recommended. Within the RVing and off-grid world is a tight-knit community that shares tips, tricks, and helpful reviews that many people rely on. Through their travels and appearances at various trade shows, they had met the Battle Born team. When the Russos’ installer, Four Wheel Campers of Woodland, California, recommended Battle Born Batteries, the Russos were overjoyed by this news.
The Move to LiFePO4
Joe and Kait both had experience with lithium in vehicles in the past and liked how the transition to all electric was seamless.
“We tested out another four-wheel camper before we decided to buy this one, and it had an AGM battery,” said Joe. “We really couldn’t run much off it and we didn’t like how that power system was working with our lifestyle. So, we were really excited when we got the Battle Borns and could go back to living like we do with all of our appliances.”
“Our expectation was that when we transitioned to our current camper with the Battle Born lithium batteries, we would be able to run all of those devices and not have to worry about power consumption, and so far it’s lived up to our expectations,” said Kait.
Setting out in the truck camper, they are able to charge from their alternator and knew they wanted 300 amp hours of lithium. Their specs include:
- 3 Battle Born 100 Ah 12 V GC2 LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Batteries
- Xantrex PROWatt 2000 Inverter
- 320w Overland solar on the roof, 120w portable Overland Solar Bugout
- Redarc Manager 30, which manages everything coming in to charge the batteries (truck, solar, and shore power)
More information about what’s in their system can be found on their blog here.
On the Road Full-Time
The Russos describe their lifestyle as “part work, part play.” Joe is fueled by at least 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day, thanks to his electric water kettle and burr grinder. Kait loves to experiment with cooking in their beloved Instant Pot. She runs it anywhere from a few minutes to almost 60-90 minutes at a time!
One piece of advice they wish someone had told them in the start of their own journey is to slow down! There’s really no need to rush and try to see everything. Stopping to smell the roses and explore a place is something they’ve only recently gotten around to doing. National parks, museums, and reconnecting with family and friends across the country are what drive them to travel.
During a recent trip to the Grand Canyon, the two were the only participants in their group with commodities like an air popcorn maker, electric water kettle, and showers.
“We meet a lot of fellow travelers on the road and they like to tell us about great places that they’ve camped at,” said Joe. “We’ll look at the map and say, ‘yeah, let’s go there!’” Not having to worry about your power opens the door for plenty of opportunities for adventure.
The Russos find lots of ways to be entertained during their down time. Kait has a cookbook coming out later this year! She shares her expertise with a wide variety of recipes for people living on the road!
“What we find is that when we really need to get away, a lot of times we will find a national forest or a place that’s way off the grid and hunker down for a week or so,” said Joe.
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, their travel plans to visit all 50 states this year was impacted. They are still on the road and you can keep up with all of their awesome adventures by visiting their blog, YouTube channel, Instagram and Facebook.