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Old 02-19-2013, 06:22 AM   #1
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Full time RV wanna be needs some info

I have never owned a camper before, but I am thinking about buying a truck and slide in truck camper and becoming a full time RVer. The problem I am having is determining what the situation is with overnight parking. I read about people that boondock and pay nothing but I stop and think how I would do that and start running into problems pretty fast. I cannot really afford to shell out $30 or $40 a night just to park. I have talked to some RVers in Walmart parking lots and they have not been much help. They seem to rely pretty much on Walmart, staying in a Walmart parking lot every night - I would find that extremely depressing, although these people do it. Some even had directories of all the Walmart stores in the US. I need some hard information on what the true situation is with overnight parking in a truck camper as well as anything else you might think a newcomer like me that is going full time should know. I would not mind staying in one place for a couple or several months before moving on. I do not want to be on the road every day or even every week for that matter.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:12 AM   #2
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We have stayed at Walmart, rest areas, truck stops, Home Depot, etc. overnight and (knock on wood) have never had an issue. When you do stay in parks most offer a huge discount in rates for staying a month compared to their nightly rate.

Before we bought & hit the road as full timers we rented a variety of trailers & motorhomes, rental is expensive but much cheaper than buying and reselling an RV that's not the right fit for you. We also attended RV rallys (good sam, escapees, FMCA) to see if we liked the people and lifestyle prior to jumping in with both feet.

Good luck with your pursuits... i hope it all works out as well for you as it has for us!
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:50 AM   #3
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I cannot really afford to shell out $30 or $40 a night just to park.
We live in our rv 6-7 months per year. We never overnight in parking lots, boondock only rarely, and use public campgrounds (state parks, COE, city or county parks) infrequently. We typically park in commercial campgrounds for a month or longer, always with full hook ups. Our campground nightly fees average less than $17 per night. As we make almost no effort to reduce overnight costs, I suspect others can park for much less. Good luck on your venture.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:59 AM   #4
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There is all kinds of free camping suggestions on the web. You can start here: Free Campsites
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:05 PM   #5
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When I go camping the last place I want to be is in an urban setting. I do my camping in the woods. National Forests allow camping just about anywhere and you can stay usually for up to 30 days at a time. There are national forest campgrounds that are really cheap (like $5). That offer pit toilets and dump stations.
Of all the camp grounds I've stayed in $40 a night is certainly on the high end. It's not hard to find a spot for $20 range. I once stayed on a beach front campground in FL, right on the sand, for only $33 per night.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:22 PM   #6
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In addition to the free campground website one of the responders provided in my thread, I also heard from another source about this web site for free camping Free Campgrounds for RVs.... It looks like there are a lot more options for free/low cost camping out there.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:26 PM   #7
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Have you thought about a small class 'C' or even a van camper? Seems the van camper can park easier. It looks more natural. The small class 'C' motorhome is what I would pick. They usually have a generator built in.

What area of the country do you want to be in? Out west it is easy to find boondock camping. In the east not much at all.

State Parks are even kind of expensive to stay in - they do not have monthly rates. $25 per day usually.

You will need water, electricity, sewage dump facility, propane, drinking water, food.

I would head west and use the BLM land to stay on. There is BLM land in Colorado in the summer and BLM land in Arizona in the winter. I would do this in a camper van or class C motorhome. I would stay close to a State Park. They will have water and a dump station.

Good luck
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:13 AM   #8
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We're full timers and don't use close to those kind of fees on campgrounds. Many ways to save:

1/ monthly rates at private parks - these can be very attractive
2/ volunteering/Workamping - we do this in summer on the OR coast and get a free full hookup site in a lovely State Park in return
3/ free or low cost camping on public lands - this is especially easy to do in the SW. We camped for free on BLM land all of Jan this year, and will do the same next month. National Forest can also be inexpensive.
4/ state passes - not many of these around, but New Mexico offers the best deal in the country IMHO. You can buy a yearly camping pass for $225 that allows you to camp in any NM State Park. That's a whole year!

Many more....
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:24 PM   #9
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Scout out a free and usually private camping site in any National Forest. Some in the moutains have fantastic views. Great to watch the sun rise or set.

Same with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. Even if there is a fence and you know it is BLM lands you can open the gate and enter as long as you close the gate behind you. BLM land is multiple use land and though a rancher leases grazing rights it does not stop you from camping there. Just beware of the very wild cows.

If you are a seasoned citizen (62) you can get a senior pass for $ 10.00 at any national park and this allows you to camp for half price and gets you into national most anything for free. I saved $210.00 in 2 weeks in the Black Hills last year.

For about $ 50.00 per year join Passport America for 50% off about 2000 participating commercial CG's.

Just find a nice quiet place and park for the night. I have never been bothered but these places are out of the way places. Go up side roads to find them.

If you do not like firearms then carry a nice baseball bat for protection.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:40 PM   #10
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Very small rural towns are my first choice for overnight parking. I scout them out using the satellite view on Google maps. Church parking lots on any night except Saturday or Wednesday.

For longer term boondocking I prefer National Forests. You only need to be 1/4 mile from the paved road anyplace where there are not signs prohibiting camping. Private, peaceful and free.
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:39 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by okmunky View Post
Very small rural towns are my first choice for overnight parking. I scout them out using the satellite view on Google maps. Church parking lots on any night except Saturday or Wednesday.

For longer term boondocking I prefer National Forests. You only need to be 1/4 mile from the paved road anyplace where there are not signs prohibiting camping. Private, peaceful and free.
Is it less than a 1/4 mile or more than a 1/4 mile from the paved road ? Are they easy to find ? Thanks Aymeric
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:18 AM   #12
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You need to be 1/4 mile or more from the paved road. Many forest roads are marked with a brown sign with a road number. I can usually find a spot where others have camped before. Many have rock fire rings. Stop at the Forest Service office and ask for advice about good spots. Or, explore in your tow car, if you have one. Also, a fence with a closed gate doesn't mean you can't enter. It's only to keep livestock off the road. Make sure you close it after going thru.
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:06 AM   #13
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I would not spend the money to buy a truck and a camper or any other RV so that I could park in the parking lot of a business. How does that make sense? Better to take the money and instead of paying for the RV setup use it for a Motel 6 room instead.

We spend on average $12 a night on our travels. Some nights we pay nothing at a camping area on BLM land or in a national forest and other times we may pay $6-8 for a state operated campsite and 10% of the time we will be at a private RV park with hookups where we pay $35-45 for the night.

We do take the time to research places to stay both before we head out and while traveling and review the options. Most of the information is freely available and accessible online so all it takes is a little effort and a little typing to gather it. But you will have to exert yourself more than you have and put some real effort into it.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:54 PM   #14
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Are you ex-military by chance? They typicaly pay $10-$20 a night at military campgrounds.
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