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Old 05-12-2019, 07:06 PM   #1
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Default Pet Concerns

Hi everyone,

I am in the process of downsizing my house with the plan to sell it and purchase a Class B in the Fall. There are two questions I have, one of which is a major concern.

1) I have two adorable Corgis who will be my traveling companions. As a single person, my biggest concern is how to deal with them when I need to leave them in the van (to work out, run errands, eat out, etc.). If I am in an area where the temperature is high or very low, how do I ensure the temperature of the van stays at a good level? I have heard about Volt Start and am hoping that, along with one of the pet safe temperature monitors and maybe a video camera, will be adequate. Feedback?

2) Does anyone know of a blog, website, or video that lays out the general list of what a person can and should pack for a Class B? I ask because Iím trying to determine what to keep for the van, what to store for a small apartment for future, and what to donate or sell.

Thanks for any information!!
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:57 PM   #2
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Hi everyone,

I am in the process of downsizing my house with the plan to sell it and purchase a Class B in the Fall. There are two questions I have, one of which is a major concern.

1) I have two adorable Corgis who will be my traveling companions. As a single person, my biggest concern is how to deal with them when I need to leave them in the van (to work out, run errands, eat out, etc.). If I am in an area where the temperature is high or very low, how do I ensure the temperature of the van stays at a good level? I have heard about Volt Start and am hoping that, along with one of the pet safe temperature monitors and maybe a video camera, will be adequate. Feedback?

2) Does anyone know of a blog, website, or video that lays out the general list of what a person can and should pack for a Class B? I ask because I’m trying to determine what to keep for the van, what to store for a small apartment for future, and what to donate or sell.

Thanks for any information!!

Welcome to the forum Pam!


We have taken my Wife's service dog with us, or else we don't go, so I have little specific to offer about leaving an animal behind alone. But just consider the van as much like a car that can heat up quickly on hot and sunny days. Only consider leaving them for more than 15 minutes in hot weather if you can park in shade, crack windows, run ceiling fan, and monitor the inside temperature.

As far as what to take with you, a very general suggestion is minimum week of clothing, minimal cooking utensils, a few cleaning supplies, as small broom and dust bin (it's surprising how much you can track indoors), umbrella, jackets, and rain gear. Don't worry too much (like we did at first) since you'll find adequate stores to replenish supplies.

Do take comfort items for yourself and your pets. Your own pillow, their dog beds, and few of their favorite toys. We also carry a sound machine that we use at home which tends to override outside sounds to some extent since noises will be different in different locations.

Take a few short 1-2 day shake-down cruises and it will help you immensely to figure out what works for you.

Safe travels.
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:44 PM   #3
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Thanks! Since I’ll be living full time in it, I need to find a way to leave them for an hour or so. Obviously, I will be trying to avoid hot temperatures but it was my understanding that if I leave the A/C on and have Volt Start, the engine will start when the battery gets low, thereby keeping the A/C on. Is this true?

Good feedback on how much stuff to take with me. I’m considering trying to buy before I sell the house so I can park it in the driveway and just load up what I can. But it will depend on whether I can qualify while still having a mortgage.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:45 AM   #4
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Obviously, I will be trying to avoid hot temperatures but it was my understanding that if I leave the A/C on and have Volt Start, the engine will start when the battery gets low, thereby keeping the A/C on. Is this true?
This system is not reliable enough.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:58 AM   #5
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Thanks for responding. Then how do single people with pets travel full time in an RV? I know they do so surely there is a way to deal with it safely. Otherwise, I cannot make this life decision for the future.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:00 AM   #6
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Even when thermally soaked my Sprinter doesn't get dangerously hot with the roof fan thermostat set and a side window vented. With water available, I would be comfortable leaving my dog in it all day. Of course I would leave it in the shade if at all possible too.

Of course that's in NC, not Yuma Arizona in August or something...
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:09 AM   #7
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Thanks, Felipe. Having previously lived in Arizona for 20 years, I would definitely be avoiding it from April through October or November. What have you heard about the reliability of Volt Start? If I have the RV Pet Safety monitor so I know the inside temperature and walk outside the grocery store, gym, etc., and use the remote to start the engine, wouldn’t that be a reliable and safe approach?
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:59 AM   #8
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If you are considering Voltstart, that presumes that you are looking at a Roadtrek/Hymer. I personally wouldn't trust it for more than an hour or two, but that is based on fear, not experience. To find the most people who are using this system, you might want to join the FB pages for "Roadtrek & Hymer Owners" and "Roadtrek Zion & Simplicity Owners" and "Hymer Activ Owners" ... There are varying levels of trust with the system. Personally if I had had to leave my dog for a couple of hours, I would have just left the engine running with its AC cooling... and locked the doors. (one has to go out the rear doors to do this in a Promaster) Anything longer than that I would have the rig in a campground hooked to electric... and taxi elsewhere.
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:12 AM   #9
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While we do not full-time, we have the same concern for our labs. I just discovered our Winne Era has a setting to start the generator if the A/C wants to turn on. I haven’t tested this feature but plan to.

So far we have relied on opening the windows and turning on the roof vent fan as it keeps a lot of air moving through the coach. Using the awning makes a huge difference when in the sun. Our solar panel easily powers the fan so we have no concern about running down the house batteries.

You can also buy inexpensive cell phone based monitors that will call you if a set temperature is reached. I plan to get one for our stick house when we head south next winter.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:31 PM   #10
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I've been traveling with my dogs in Class B's for the past 12 years (mostly to dog shows). Depending on the outside temperature, I've either just opened windows and had the roof fan going, or I've used the generator to run the roof air. Are you planning on buying a Class B without a generator? That was one of the reasons I wanted a Class B - makes it so much easier to leave the dogs in the vehicle with the generator running for the a/c. It would be great to have a newer vehicle where the generator starts up on its own to run the a/c. Another must-have are O2 battery operated fans. I have my dogs in crates while I'm driving or am away from the van, so I'll put a couple of fans on the bed opposite the crates. The fans are in front of the open window, so they help to draw more air in and direct the flow toward the dogs. If you're parked in the sun, the awning really helps to shade the interior, and I put silver mesh shade screens on the other side of the RV. A silver tarp could also help, as long as it isn't blocking the windows. I keep a thermometer in the back of the RV so I can check what the temp actually is, but I haven't gotten one of the remote systems yet.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:28 PM   #11
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Thanks, mumkin! I’ll check out the sites you mentioned and see what else I can learn. I think having the temperature monitor that I can check on my iPhone would be critical. And, of course, my intent is to avoid the heat because I’m darn tired of it.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:32 PM   #12
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Thanks, Pam. Yes, I would get a Class B with a generator and the Volt Start is designed to start the generator when the battery gets too low to run the A/C. And if I were parked just outside wherever I was running an errand, I could monitor the inside temperature on my iPhone. If it was getting too hot, all I’d need to do would be to run outside and start the RV.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:08 AM   #13
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Just to clear up any misconceptions. Typically the A/C will not run “off the battery”, an exhaust fan will, but a rooftop A/C unit requires the generator when off-grid. Of course the dash air can run if the engine is running.
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:55 PM   #14
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Just to clear up any misconceptions. Typically the A/C will not run ďoff the batteryĒ, an exhaust fan will, but a rooftop A/C unit requires the generator when off-grid. Of course the dash air can run if the engine is running.
You can run air conditioning off the battery if you have a capable inverter and high capacity batteries for a reasonable amount of time like going shopping, lunch, short touring and hiking. It is practical for about 4 hours if you have 800ah lithium batteries. Some say longer but I donít think you would want to leave a pet alone for much longer and you probably do not want to chance invoking auto start and idling unattended and attract more attention.

Auto starting (Hymer/Roadtrek Voltstart and ARV Autogen) is the least understood feature, IMO. First, you donít want to invoke it involuntarily while away from your van and two, you are still restricted to laws and campground restricted hours. For instance, if you depended on it to get you air conditioning overnight, it would startle you at 3 AM in the morning and go against campground quiet hours. ARV letís you program when it will not start and I program it for campground quiet hours though I donít use it. Itís a nice feature to have but mainly for high idle remote starting (like after you turn your seat around) and keyless starting. You can thus turn it off remotely or pressing the brake pedal. Though the van is running no one can drive off in it.

I have the 800ah lithium battery pack which negates needing auto start if you just pay attention to you battery SOC and plan accordingly. I could get away without it but as mentioned I do like the convenience. On my next campervan I am not getting solar panels. That is another unnecessary feature with 800ah lithium batteries, IMO. It is like filling a glass of water with an eye dropper compared to running a faucet.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:32 PM   #15
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Even when thermally soaked my Sprinter doesn't get dangerously hot with the roof fan thermostat set and a side window vented. With water available, I would be comfortable leaving my dog in it all day. Of course I would leave it in the shade if at all possible too.

Of course that's in NC, not Yuma Arizona in August or something...
What he said.

Had dogs in the motorhome for, I don't know, forty-six years. Never had a problem. I used the beejeezus out of our generators in the big rigs and had every confidence in them. Would come out of an amusement park to find them sleeping in 70 degree comfort while I had been baking in a queue.

Now a days I leave to eat dinner, get groceries, shop and find windows and the Fantastic Fan work great. My Roadtrek 190 has enough battery to run the air conditioning for three or four hours .. two hours more than I'll be gone.

If it's 100 degrees outside I'd come back and check often to find them sleeping in cool and quiet comfort, not really wanting to go out and preferring I close the door.

The dogs come with me. Sometimes I would take others, like the kids. But the dogs come with me.

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Old 05-14-2019, 10:30 PM   #16
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This is very helpful! I did not realize lithium batteries might be enough although I wonder if that’s the case for someone who will be primarily boondocking? What are your thoughts on needing both lithium and solar for primarily boondocking?
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:32 PM   #17
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Thanks, Steve. I’m feeling much more confident about traveling solo with the two fur kids after hearing about others’ experiences.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:33 PM   #18
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You can run air conditioning off the battery if you have a capable inverter and high capacity batteries for a reasonable amount of time like going shopping, lunch, short touring and hiking. It is practical for about 4 hours if you have 800ah lithium batteries. Some say longer but I donít think you would want to leave a pet alone for much longer and you probably do not want to chance invoking auto start and idling unattended and attract more attention.

Auto starting (Hymer/Roadtrek Voltstart and ARV Autogen) is the least understood feature, IMO. First, you donít want to invoke it involuntarily while away from your van and two, you are still restricted to laws and campground restricted hours. For instance, if you depended on it to get you air conditioning overnight, it would startle you at 3 AM in the morning and go against campground quiet hours. ARV letís you program when it will not start and I program it for campground quiet hours though I donít use it. Itís a nice feature to have but mainly for high idle remote starting (like after you turn your seat around) and keyless starting. You can thus turn it off remotely or pressing the brake pedal. Though the van is running no one can drive off in it.

I have the 800ah lithium battery pack which negates needing auto start if you just pay attention to you battery SOC and plan accordingly. I could get away without it but as mentioned I do like the convenience. On my next campervan I am not getting solar panels. That is another unnecessary feature with 800ah lithium batteries, IMO. It is like filling a glass of water with an eye dropper compared to running a faucet.
Davydd,

I am concerned about the dogs as well and we're getting ready to downsize to a class B this fall/winter after one more big trip. You made a good point about solar, you're not getting it for your next van. I am considering the Galleria with the Li3 system and was contemplating how much solar I really would need. I note that they are now claiming, with the ProAir 12v Air conditioner, 10 honest hours of runtime of the Air Conditioner with the 600amp LiFePo batteries. That sounds about perfect for my needs, and I would not need solar, either as I'd either be driving (quicker charge with the second alternator) or at a campground for most overnights (charging on shore power). I understand the LiFePo batteries can be turned-off and lose little charge when sitting, don't need watering and are relatively maintenance-free.

I want neither a generator or to over-do the solar. Looking forward to hearing more about what a van with total battery-powered systems would look like. The final thing I'd love to get rid of is the propane - a heating system powered by diesel would be better, but not sure how trouble-free those systems are vs the propane system that many coaches have.

Hope the OP is getting a good feel for what is available to meet her needs.

best,

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Old 05-16-2019, 05:29 AM   #19
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My SO and I travel with our dogs and I'm always concerned about their safety. My class B has a Fantastic vent and RV Pet Safety monitor but no generator and limited AH battery.

If it's hot and we want to go out to lunch we search for restaurants we can take the dogs too. Sometimes we can shop with them, they're pretty mellow. Sometimes we don't do things because I'm concerned about their welfare or we do different things where we can take them or I wait until a cooler day. We have rented a car before and left the dogs in the RV hooked up at a campsite with the A/C running. We returned hot and sweaty and miserable and the dogs looked all cool and refreshed from a long nap.

I like the RV Pet Safety monitor, it works fairly well but there are limitations. You have to have a cell signal for it to work (we've been places without cell service). If it doesn't seem to be working like I expect it to, I go back to check on them.

Recently we went to Carlsbad Caverns, clearly we didn't have cell service below ground, they do have kennels (but I didn't have proof of rabies vaccination with me). We did tour the caverns but only because I knew it would be cool and we got there when it first opened. We went through pretty quickly because I was worried it would rain and the rain sensor on my Fantastic Vent would close the vent and turn off the fan. It did rain and we returned to the find the vent closed, the fan off and the interior temperature 68 degrees.

Returning home through the desert it was very hot and I had to run the cab A/C the entire time which really didn't keep the back cool at all. I had one vent for me and one for the dogs, all of us were hot.

What I learned on this last trip:

- Travel with proof of rabies vaccination for my dogs
- Maxxair Deluxe fan is a better choice for dogs than the Fantastic Vent I put in 2 years ago. The Maxxair Deluxe will stay open when it rains and you can run the fan even when the vent is closed which may have helped keep the back a little cooler. I've decided to spend the money to swap out my existing fan before my next trip.
- Closing blinds on windows with direct sunlight does help but an additional product like warm window or reflectix may help more. I'm looking into making covers for my windows.
- I probably worry a little more than I need to because I always return to find them comfortable (except the trip home). My SO doesn't worry, he says I'm more heat intolerant than the dogs.

I do search for shade. I'm careful to close blinds on the side with direct sunlight, open windows on non sunlight side, open vent and turn on fan (which has a thermostat) and a full water bowl which replenishes as they drink and use my pet monitor if I have cell service. I always put window shades on the windshield and I keep track of how long I've been away too.

My dogs are older which usually means more heat intolerant but they're both healthy and fit and a double coated breed. We generally get to do and see what we want while on vacation but I do make some compromises on what time and which day.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:57 AM   #20
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We have plenty of experience with off-grid climate control. We explain the equipment required for off-grid A/C (800Ah-900Ah lithium and either rooftop or split DC A/C) to every prospect. 14-16 hours of runtime is typical. Aux alternator is recommended.
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