Using a battery system, solar and even a generator all still require you to be aware of how much power they draw (or drain) from your available power.
I have listed just a few items just to give you an idea of the vast differences that various types of appliances and electronics typically draw.
Powering small electronics for example, usually takes little power, where plugging in a curling iron or hot plate would most often drain your power very rapidly (and possibly blow a fuse)! You will find many if not most people who camp quite often or live in their van/vehicle, become very familiar with power; available power and if additional power is needed.
What type one chooses to utilize, depends on needs, money available for set-up and ongoing costs of charging method(s).
Battery systems, solar power or generators are all commonly used in mobile dwellings; aka RVs/Campers.
Appliances with average Wattage draw: Electric Coffee pot - 200 Table fan - 10-50 Compact Fluorescent (CF) vs.
Incandescent Wattage: 40 watt Incandescent - 11 watt CF 60 watt Incandescent - 16 watt CF 75 watt Incandescent - 20 watt CF 100 watt Incandescent - 30 watt CF Coffee maker - 800 Microwave - 600-1500 Waffle iron - 1200 Hot Plate - 1200 Frying Pan - 1200 Electric Grill - 1200 Computer Related: Netbook/Laptop: 20 - 50 Desktop: 80 - 150 Printer/Scanner: 100 Plasma TV: 19euro;>- 70, 25euro;>- 150 LCD TV: 19euro;>- 20euro;> = 20 - 30 Popcorn popper - 250 Shaver - 15 Toaster - 800-1500 Water Pik - 100 Blender - 300 Electric blanket - 200 Blow dryer - 1000 Small electric heater - 1000 - 1500 Small A/C - 515 to 1500+ (However like the heater & other large wattage appliances, you must allow for a peak wattage of close to twice the wattage on start-up.
) From this sampling you can see that all appliances are certainly not created equal.
I never use my much loved 1200W hair polishing and styling iron unless I have access to electric hook-up.
However even a fan can be subject much to choice as to how much power it draws.
It can be negligible, or, especially on a medium or high setting, can drain power if used for more than a couple hours.
However, if you get a good low wattage fan, it can be run all night without much effect.
I use and recommend O2 Cool's energy efficient battery + AC power option fans.
This is the one I use & recommend highly: O2-Cool Model 1054 10" Indoor/Outdoor Fan You will find that if you are aware of the power draw of the appliances and electronics you plug in, you will be able to determine what is important enough to you to power and the amount of power you need to live comfortably as well as utilize the power you have more efficiently.
(The author uses a simple on board 3 marine style battery system for her primary power source and plans to add a solar panel in the near future.