Dry Camping | Marathon Coach

Dry Camping

Open Up New Worlds with Your Marathon Coach

Dry camping – that is, camping done without water, sewer or electrical hookups – is not as difficult as you may think, and can significantly broaden your travel options. You can rest assured that your Marathon coach is well equipped for such excursions. We’ve collected information and sound advice from some Marathon owner/dry camping enthusiasts to help you on your way.

Particularly for extended road trips, dry camping can be cost-effective and provide deeper dives into some of the most beautiful destinations in America. It can also help you avoid crowds and lot reservations, offering the freedom of true exploration and personal adventure. Marathon coach owner Jack Cook and partner, Lois Hoffman, take dry camping trips 6-8 times each year. “Our Marathon allows us to be totally self-contained so we don’t have to rely on RV parks, which often have tree issues and are noisy,” said Jack.

Also veterans of the dry camping experience, Alice and Gary Nelson said they dry camp around 25% of the time they spend in their Marathon, and often choose to park off the beaten path because of all the space and opportunity it affords. “We have a lot more room when dry camping than when we are at most full-hookup campsites or RV parks. Sometimes, we dry camp simply because it is quieter and more convenient,” Gary said.

3 Ways Your Marathon Coach Makes Dry Camping Easy

Larger holding tanks. For obvious reasons, having larger holding tanks when dry camping is key to an extended stay in a remote area. For larger tank size – and therefore longer length of stay – you can’t beat a Marathon coach. Each unique bus conversion comes standard with a massive, 158-gallon fresh water tank. The gray and black holding tanks are also very large: gray – 91 gallons (H3) or 78 gallons (X3); black – 70 gallons (H3) or 50 gallons (X3). “Make sure your gray and black tanks are empty and your fresh water is full,” said Jack Cook. “The fresh water, gray and black tanks are large enough to allow us to dry camp for about 10 days.”

Advice: You can develop your own water-saving techniques with no real risk by practicing dry camping at a resort with full hookups. This way, you can disconnect your coach from the hookups, get a sense of your personal water and power consumption, and easily reconnect to the full hookups if needed. Marathon’s seamless, non-corroding, polyethylene water tanks make water conservation as easy as it gets, but always start with a full fresh water tank to ensure you have enough water for the duration of your visit!

Powerful Batteries/Inverters.

“Check to make sure your AC generator is functioning properly, and that your batteries are fully charged and in good condition,” said Gary Nelson. You’re in good hands with Marathon’s house battery system, which includes six 4D house batteries and one isolated group 24-generator battery, along with the “auto-gen” battery-charging system. There is also a battery charger in the engine bay that maintains the chassis batteries during long-term storage.

When you are dry camping, you are running everything off the house batteries. That means you are relying, in part, on inverters, which send the proper electrical currents to such items as your TV, microwave and air conditioner. Marathon bus conversions are fitted with a 20-kW turbocharged generator and two 4,000-watt, 24V inverter/chargers, plenty of power to have the air conditioner running while you set the salon to “Theater Mode” and microwave some popcorn. Jack Cook is well aware of the importance of a robust power supply: “The large, 20-kW generator quickly recharges the inverters, and this means we have power whenever we need it,” he said.

Advice: While your Marathon coach has one of the quietest generator systems in the industry, some people may be concerned about disturbing other campers or scaring away wildlife. Gary Nelson offers a way to minimize generator usage while still being able to use all the luxury amenities of your Marathon:

“We tend to charge our batteries while we run big equipment (e.g., stove, dishwasher) so we can use the spare capacity of the generator above what is used for charging the batteries.”

Advanced Leveling System.

When it comes to parking the coach at your destination – even on rough or uneven terrain – Marathon’s Trueline auto-leveling system can quite literally “flatten the curve” of picking the perfect spot. “Marathons have an excellent leveling system,” said Gary. “They accommodate up to about five inches of ground tilt.” Once you’ve arrived, the simple push of a button can get your Marathon quickly leveled so you can start enjoying your dry camping adventure right away.

Advice: Paying attention to weather conditions is always a good idea. Also, arriving during the day leaves you time and light to pick an ideal space to park, and it is advantageous to have a backup plan in case your first dry camping choice doesn’t work out. An owner’s advice on finding a good spot to dry camp: “Position your coach so it can be leveled properly, and so that your angle is advantageous to the sun and wind,” said Jack Cook.

With all the amenities of a Marathon coach and a little planning, dry camping can be as easy as it is rewarding. Happy adventuring!


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