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Old 08-04-2009, 10:38 AM   #1
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Boondocking with a diesel pusher

We are wanting to get a motorhome and start boondocking in the states & national parks & forrests and the public land out west. We have been looking at a lot of motorhomes on the web and have driven a few. We are leaning towards a 2000 - 2002 37ft diesel pusher. Would it be a mistake to get such a large and heavy motorhome for boondocking? What problems would this cause us? What is the max size that you would recommend?
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:04 AM   #2
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We have a 35' gas Class A. We have been able to go where we wanted. You will appreciate the extra room boondocking for extended periods out west. The diesel may be more maneuverable than our gas model due to the increased steering cut of most diesels. We spend all most all of our time boondocking, 3 months in the west on BLM land during the winter and 2 months in the summer in the upper midwest. Things to look at are solar panels, water capacity and holding tank capacity and space for batteries (at least 4 6 volt for the coach side.)
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:30 PM   #3
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We boondock regularly in our 40' diesel pusher and rarely find ourselves barred from an area because of size. It does happen, however, and you should have alternate plans if the area/campground you're going to visit may have size issues. We pretty much confine our travels to the western states and use a combination of state parks, BLM, Corps of Engineers, National Parks/Monuments, and Forest Service campgrounds. We've found that height clearance is more of an issue than anything. We had a 31' gas rig but needed to upsize our towing capacity, so we went to the diesel. We were a little apprehensive at first, but have found that we can still pretty much go anyplace the smaller gas rig went. As John Hilley pointed out, the larger rig actually has better manueverability in some respects. (I'll also second everything else John posted!)

We have 6 solar panels, 4 house batteries and have comfortably gone up to 18 days off the grid. You should do quite well in a mid-30's length pusher. The additional weight? No big deal. If you're going to get stuck in a 32,000-lb diesel rig, you're more than likely going to get stuck in a 22,000-lb gas rig. If in doubt about the ability of the soil to support your rig, don't go there!!

In terms of other factors, like tight turns, campsite lengths, overhead clearance etc., when in doubt, detach your toad and drive the road in to check things out. Become familiar with Google Earth - if you can get the knack of reading satellite imagery, it can provide a wealth of information. Hook up with other boondockers - most will be happy to share their knowledge.

We've included a couple of pictures of the kind of place you can find to boondock in if you do the research. Enjoy!!
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:44 PM   #4
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We've got plenty of room in our 35' Meridian and fit in easily at places like Yellowstone and Yosemite
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:01 PM   #5
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We have a 36 dp and the only problems we have is having enough batt. power as a lot nat forest and np cgs only allow short gen runs to recharge. There are fed cg that have limits on lengths but so far they have bent the ruls for us.
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the great info. Those are beautiful pictures. I look forward to camping in a place like that some day. I guess if you can take a 40' DP off the road like that I shouldn't worry about a smaller one.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:23 PM   #7
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We boondock (out west so far) with a 41 foot tag axle rig. Have four panels totaling 400 watts of solar which seems to work just fine. This includes running our TV and computer regularly. Only run the generator once a month just because it is recommended.

Height is an issue at many sites but also watch out for the curves in the access roads. Too tight and you won't get through without side swiping something. The above pictures show wide open spaces. We squeeze into forested areas normally. Have stayed in many National Parks which stated 30 foot limit.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:31 PM   #8
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Many of you seem to Boondock with large motorhomes so let me ask a battery recharging question. If I want to add a alternative method to recharge batteries which would you suggest for the average RV park and for boondocking, solar or wind?? Wind generators seem less expensive but I'm wondering what kind of steady wind one would get in and around trees, etc? And trees block the light from the solar panels also.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItstheTrip View Post
We boondock regularly in our 40' diesel pusher and rarely find ourselves barred from an area because of size. It does happen, however, and you should have alternate plans if the area/campground you're going to visit may have size issues. We pretty much confine our travels to the western states and use a combination of state parks, BLM, Corps of Engineers, National Parks/Monuments, and Forest Service campgrounds. We've found that height clearance is more of an issue than anything. We had a 31' gas rig but needed to upsize our towing capacity, so we went to the diesel. We were a little apprehensive at first, but have found that we can still pretty much go anyplace the smaller gas rig went. As John Hilley pointed out, the larger rig actually has better manueverability in some respects. (I'll also second everything else John posted!)

We have 6 solar panels, 4 house batteries and have comfortably gone up to 18 days off the grid. You should do quite well in a mid-30's length pusher. The additional weight? No big deal. If you're going to get stuck in a 32,000-lb diesel rig, you're more than likely going to get stuck in a 22,000-lb gas rig. If in doubt about the ability of the soil to support your rig, don't go there!!

In terms of other factors, like tight turns, campsite lengths, overhead clearance etc., when in doubt, detach your toad and drive the road in to check things out. Become familiar with Google Earth - if you can get the knack of reading satellite imagery, it can provide a wealth of information. Hook up with other boondockers - most will be happy to share their knowledge.

We've included a couple of pictures of the kind of place you can find to boondock in if you do the research. Enjoy!!
Wow love the pictures and area, but I'm not sure I'm ready to drive in there!
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:31 PM   #10
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Solar vs Wind

As stated before we have 400 watts of solar - 4 panels - and have found them to be quite effective for long periods. We have never tried wind generators but we have only been in two places where wind was constant enough to be reliable - or so it seems to us. This was in New Mexico in December when we were on the east side for a month or more, and lately on the No. Calif. and Oregon coasts where we are now.

As a whole I haven't seen enough consistant wind to peek my interest in wind power. Having said that for the last few days the sun has been covered over and a wind generator would be an excellent alternative. But personaly I don't think it would be cost justified to have both.

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Old 12-09-2009, 10:09 AM   #11
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Bryan & Susan,
Where are the pictures from. I'd like to go there.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:17 AM   #12
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We have a 36ft Alpine Coach and like to boondock. The size does limit us, and the ground clearance is a problem compared to our 32ft Aerbus - but doesn't stop us. We drive in first with our towed to check things out. Made two trips with the Alpine to Alaska - there are some great boondock spots. Also boondocked in Wyoming, Quartzite, Az. If not boondocking we prefer National Forest, State Parks, and National Parks/Monuments - but 36' limits where you can go.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:19 AM   #13
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We boondock all the time, I have 3 125 watt solar panels and 4 batterys. We are going to Quartszite AZ next month and will be boondocking on BLM land.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:23 PM   #14
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Hardy 1000 Do you have a Xantrex TM 500 meter??
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