Go Back   iRV2 Forums > CAMPING, TRAVEL and TRIP PLANNING > Boondocking
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-27-2013, 09:27 AM   #1
Member
 
raytronx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 79
My Boondocking Basics - from a relative newbie

As seen on my blog http://LoveYourRV.com




These last few months traveling the US South West we have really embraced dry camping without hookups or also called Boondocking. We thoroughly enjoy boondocking. Usually there are little or no camping fees, beautiful scenery, peace and quiet and as large as you want camping area. Nowadays getting out and camping in a remote looking area doesnít mean not being in touch. Many great boondocking locations have good cell and internet data coverage.
Iím not a hard-core dry camper by any means. Some folks I see are out there, stay for months at a time and have advanced setups for it. Iím more the 5-7 day type of dry camper then back to a full hook-up campground for a while before venturing out again. So from my point of view here are my boondocking basics.
Water

The more water you can carry the better. Iím glad when we were shopping for a trailer we went for one with a fairly large 60 gallon fresh water tank. We also have 3 drinking water containers totaling 8.5 gallons. When dry camping the longer you can conserve water the longer you can stay out there. Itís a compromise between convenience and conservation. For our tank to last for 5-7 days we can usually both take 2 quick showers and the rest of the days sponge baths. Dishes I do once per day and try using as little water as possible. We us our own toilet and just try to limit the water there also. There are many tricks to increasing your water saving and at the articles end I will post some links if you want to explore it more.

Craggy Wash BLM camping near Lake Havasu
Food

Pick foods that have a longer shelf life and meals that donít require a microwave. I have enough generator power to use the microwave but it is a bit of a pain to set up and run them just for that. Pasta , Chilli and Casserole type dishes are great. After the sun goes down and it gets cooler its nice to have a yummy casserole in the oven heating the rig, also the leftovers can stretch to the second and third days.

View from free campsite at Goosenecks State Park
Waste

We never have to worry about over filling our black and grey tanks as the capacity exceeds our fresh water by a fair margin. I do add a little Borax detergent and Calgon Water Softener to the black and kitchen tanks when dry camping. Because Iím using less water the concentration of waste is greater so the Borax and Calgon helps with odor control and keeps the waste from sticking too bad to the tank walls.
As far as garbage goes I collected it first in kitchen bags and then transfer those to a large heavy black bag. This bag I keep in a wooden storage box in the truck bed where critters canít get at it and it wonít smell up the rig. Then I dump it at the next full hook-up campground, city waste dump or a fuel stop. If Iím using the fuel stop dumpster I always buy my fuel and then ask to use their dumpster. After paying $100 dollars for diesel I find most say sure.

Free BLM camping at Quartzsite, AZ
Power

Our power is provided by a generator charging up the batteries. We donít have solar yet but most serious dry campers do have it. So far we arenít dry camping quite enough year round to warrant the cost. We have a set of nice quiet running Champion generators and 3 deep cycle batteries. The batteries are split into 2 separate banks. One bank has 2 six volt T-105 Trojan brand golf cart batteries. These are our main dry camping batteries that we use. They have a total capacity of 225 Amp hours. The second bank consists of one heavy-duty 12 volt deep cycle 85 AH battery that I keep charged up in reserve.
Itís great to have this reserve battery. Some nights when itís really cold the furnace will run more often and wear down the main bank. If we are leaving the next morning rather than run the generator to recharge I can just flip my battery switch over to the fresh reserve and have plenty of power for bringing the slide in and using the power loading jacks.
How much we have to run the generator depends on how power-hungry we want to be and night-time temps. We both use computers, mine is a laptop and Anneís is an IMac desktop, plus various other gadgets get recharged. We havenít invested in the low power LED lighting yet so try to use just one or two lights at night. Usually a couple of hours run time each morning and evening does the job, but if it is really cold at night and furnace fan will be drawing more power then it takes a little more time to get a good recharge in the morning. Also if we feel like watching a TV or a movie it can add to the time.
For those times when the generator is not running and producing AC power I have installed a 1000 watt inverter. It provides plenty of power for our computers, device charging and small appliances.

Free camping on private land near Yuma.AZ
Fuel

When boondocking we use LP gas for our refrigerator, stove, hot water and furnace. Also gasoline is used to power the generator. LP gas consumption varies depending on the night-time temps as the furnace is a big user of it. Generally though a 30 pound cylinder lasts a week and we have two on board so could easily go two weeks without a refill. The Champion generator averages a gallon of gas a day, so a five gallon jug and the gallon in each generatorís tank gives us a weeks worth.

Goosenecks State Park,UT dry camping spot
Picking a spot

For finding a good spot to boondock I generally go by the advice of others that have been there first hand. I research in forums, blogs and camp directories. Being that our truck is not 4 wheel drive and we are towing a mid size trailer I need to know the area really well before venturing down some gravel road. Last thing you want to do is be stuck in the boonies or damage your rig. I usually pick spots that are not too far from a paved highway and are not hilly and prone to the ground getting muddy. Satellite images can really be helpful also by giving you a bird's eye view of the terrain, I always scan these no matter where Iím heading.
When setting up at that perfect spot a few things to keep in mind.
  • Sun. What is the path of the sun? We have large windows at the slide side and back so how I orientated the trailer has a major effect on the inside temps. If itís cold weather I want the heat from the windows and if hot I want them on the shady side.
  • Wind. If the wind in an area blows mostly from one direction you may want to have the trailer blocking it for you so itís more enjoyable to sit outside.
  • Rain. Are you setting up in a dry wash area that may turn into a river if a storm hits. Does the soil have decent drainage.
  • The campers nearby. How are they powering themselves? If you see everyone is using solar donít camp real close and fire up your generator. move a good distance away.

Free Boondocking near Borrego Springs,CA
Safety

This is always a big concern for folks that have never boondocked. It seems like a scary thing to be out all alone and isolated in the wilderness but if you were to logically look at statistics many more things you do every day are far more dangerous. Driving down any interstate, taking a shower, walking down stairs, etc. are all more dangerous. Best thing to do is trust you common sense about things and if it feels strange in an area just move on. Usually when I arrive in an area I try to say hi to my closest neighbors and have a little friendly chit-chat. Once youíve spoken with people the fear of the unknown is dispelled and you may have a new friend. On thing about boondocking is you will meet a much more interesting collection of campers than in the average RV resort.
When leaving the trailer I put a beware of dog sign in the window, a lock on the hitch pin and ask a neighbor if possible to keep and eye out. We donít have guns and prefer not to but just think, the would-be bad guys donít know that.
Always tell someone were your going. We email family our destinations and the approximate time we will be out. you may also want to look into a satellite finder device.


Anza-Borrego State park area
Boondocking Links

Here is a some sites Iíve found useful for learning about boondocking and where to go.
The Good Luck Duck: Boondocking Resources

Wheelingit.Wordpress.com Boondocking section

Oldman2 -Nice info with lots of pictures

Coverage Ipad/Iphone app Ė tells me where I can expect cell and data availability
Allstays Ė great campground locator site with info on disperse camping as well.


Conclusion

There you have it, my RV Boondocking Basics. It's what works for me at this stage of my RV dry camping experience. In the future I hope to install solar, more battery power and increase my fresh water capacity. What are your boondocking tricks and tips? Places you have found?
__________________

__________________
Keystone Cougar 276RLSWE
1994 Ford F350 DRW
raytronx is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-27-2013, 09:42 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
baraff's Avatar
 
Winnebago Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 1,417
Wow, what a great read! You've obviously put a lot of time and effort into planning and it shows.
One of the reasons we bought a smaller motorhome was to boondock. Living in the midwest, boondocking is more of a dream than reality; we're restricted to vacations for now but hoping to get out west more when we retire in a year or two.
Our "boondocking" has been mostly dry-camping, at USFS campgrounds, Ocracoke Island, Grand Canyon, Colorado high desert. I've loved every minute though. Would like to do Utah next fall.
Thanks so much for your post!
__________________

__________________
Burns & Diane
2005 Winnebago Aspect 26A/2012 Subaru Impreza toad
Illinois! - Where the politicians make the license plates......
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
baraff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 09:48 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Buxton, North Dakota
Posts: 3,335
Good information. We spend 2 to 3 months boondocking in the Arizona deserts each year.
__________________
2003 Winnebago Adventurer 38G F53/ V10 605 watts of Solar
1999 Winnebago Brave 35C Handicap Equipped
F53/V10
1999 Jeep Cherokee & 1991 Jeep Wrangler Renegade
John Hilley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 09:57 AM   #4
Member
 
raytronx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by baraff View Post
Wow, what a great read! You've obviously put a lot of time and effort into planning and it shows.
One of the reasons we bought a smaller motorhome was to boondock. Living in the midwest, boondocking is more of a dream than reality; we're restricted to vacations for now but hoping to get out west more when we retire in a year or two.
Our "boondocking" has been mostly dry-camping, at USFS campgrounds, Ocracoke Island, Grand Canyon, Colorado high desert. I've loved every minute though. Would like to do Utah next fall.
Thanks so much for your post!
Thanks, I spent some time boondocking in the forests on Vancouver Island in my camper van, and loved it. But the American South West is amazing!
__________________
Keystone Cougar 276RLSWE
1994 Ford F350 DRW
raytronx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 10:14 AM   #5
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 208
Thanks for sharing. I have been considering giving boondocking a try for a while. May be time to take the plunge
__________________
gajd33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 10:33 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Kayjulia's Avatar
 
Tiffin Owners Club
Join Date: May 2010
Location: San Felipe, Baja,MX
Posts: 280
Boondocking

Very nice post and lovely photos you sure are a good at writing about your topic. I am sure you have wetted the appetite for this kind of camping with a lot of people! Let's hope they read and heed your advice.

I have boon docked for a month at a time and it is interesting and fun to see life without all the clutter. Just sitting there enjoying the view knowing you will have a comfortable place to sleep and can prepare a lovely meal in your rig then check in with the net before going to sleep to the music of the wild things. Yup, it's a great life
__________________
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness"
-- Mark Twain
Kayjulia is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 10:54 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: somewhere in the west
Posts: 1,168
As for heat, serious Boondockers generally have stopped using the heaters that use any power to operate.

I use a unit that uses technology called Blue Flame. It's propane of course and heats my 35 foot rig in prompt fashion. All thats needed is the propane, and a cracked nearby window, and they are ventless.

Ed
__________________
Ed-Sommers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 11:09 AM   #8
Member
 
raytronx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by gajd33 View Post
Thanks for sharing. I have been considering giving boondocking a try for a while. May be time to take the plunge
Yes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayjulia View Post
Very nice post and lovely photos you sure are a good at writing about your topic. I am sure you have wetted the appetite for this kind of camping with a lot of people! Let's hope they read and heed your advice.

I have boon docked for a month at a time and it is interesting and fun to see life without all the clutter. Just sitting there enjoying the view knowing you will have a comfortable place to sleep and can prepare a lovely meal in your rig then check in with the net before going to sleep to the music of the wild things. Yup, it's a great life
Thanks so much for the kind words, it is a great life!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed-Sommers View Post
As for heat, serious Boondockers generally have stopped using the heaters that use any power to operate.

I use a unit that uses technology called Blue Flame. It's propane of course and heats my 35 foot rig in prompt fashion. All thats needed is the propane, and a cracked nearby window, and they are ventless.

Ed
Yes those heaters sound great. wish I could convince my wife, she has a phobia about propane. Think it goes back to lighting a barbeque wrong and singed her hair and eyebrows. But she loves heat so maybe..
__________________
Keystone Cougar 276RLSWE
1994 Ford F350 DRW
raytronx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 05:46 PM   #9
Registered User
 
wincrasher's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Greer, SC
Posts: 670
Very nice. You make me jealous!
__________________
wincrasher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 06:37 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
WheelingIt's Avatar
 
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: On Wheels
Posts: 1,983
Nice write up...and cheers for he mention!

As for heating in the boonies we use a Mr.Buddy that has served us very well. Just need to make sure you crack a window and have some airflow. Uses no power and runs off small propane canisters that we can buy anywhere.
__________________
12 paws, 40 feet and the open road
WheelingIt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 07:17 PM   #11
Member
 
raytronx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by WheelingIt View Post
Nice write up...and cheers for he mention!

As for heating in the boonies we use a Mr.Buddy that has served us very well. Just need to make sure you crack a window and have some airflow. Uses no power and runs off small propane canisters that we can buy anywhere.
Thanks, cheers , I like the name, Mr. Buddy.
__________________
Keystone Cougar 276RLSWE
1994 Ford F350 DRW
raytronx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2013, 07:27 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
mikebreeze's Avatar
 
Thor Owners Club
Solo Rvers Club
Mid Atlantic Campers
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 705
Very nice write up. You've inspired me to do some boondocking. That is, as soon as it gets above freezing so I can un-winterize and carry lots of water.
__________________
2006 Four Winds Majestic 23A
mikebreeze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2013, 08:46 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Murf2u's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Near Toronto, Canada
Posts: 1,842
Quote:
Originally Posted by WheelingIt View Post
Nice write up...and cheers for he mention!

As for heating in the boonies we use a Mr.Buddy that has served us very well. Just need to make sure you crack a window and have some airflow. Uses no power and runs off small propane canisters that we can buy anywhere.
They sell a little fitting (@ CW & others) that allows you to 75% (or so) refill those 1lb 'disposable' tanks for a few cents from a standard propane tank like those USC on a gas grill.

A little more PITA, but a bunch less spendy and waaaay more convenient while boon docking. A 20 pounder will refill the little can about 20 times or more.
__________________
Ted 'n' Laurie, plus Jackson (aka Deputy Dog, the Parson Russell Terrier 'fur kid') and, Rylie (who crossed the Rainbow Bridge June 14, 2012).
Murf2u is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 12:24 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Walter5555's Avatar
 
National RV Owners Club
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Union City, Ca.
Posts: 523
And your asking us what we think?
I think that you have it down pat.
Just a thought.
__________________

__________________
Walter5555 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
boondocking, newbie



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:09 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.