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Old 10-19-2020, 11:01 AM   #1
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“Camping” in a 35’ DP in small/primitive camp grounds.

I moved from a 30’ Bay Star, which seemed to fit easily about anywhere, to a Ventana 3427 this year - 34’10”. I’ve put about 5000 miles on it since I brought it home in early June, all short trips, and in every case, I stopped at least once for a couple days in a small primitive camp ground - no hook ups, quiet, peaceful, beautiful places, and in each case my rig barely fit in my space.

In most cases maneuvering wasn’t that bad, and I managed to get in and out with, at worst, a couple light scratches in the clear coat - usually no issues. But I also encountered a few where I had to make multi-pout turns to get out, had to work at avoiding damage from rocks and logs, and have found that it doesn’t take much of a dip, rut, bump, or pot hole to max out my ground clearance.

So, much as I like dreaming about a bigger rig (38-40’), I don’t see it happening until I no longer want to camp in small out of the way CGs. And that may be never. With 100 gal of fuel and water, the Oasis system, solar, a big fridge, and a pretty conservative approach to camping, I’m set. And I enjoy the peace and quiet far from road noise, in CGs that are sparsely populated - sometimes I’m the only one there.

So for those considering a move to a DP, and wondering about this type of camping, my advice is to keep it under 35’. Also all-electric (or in my case, nearly all electric - I have a gas stove) coaches are energy hogs, and I found that without solar, I could only make it over night once without running the generator to recharge for the next 24 hours - about 2-3 hrs/day to keep up with the fridge and minimal other usage.

Guess that’s about it for now, just thought I’d post my findings as I travel along my RV path from truck campers 30 years ago, through TT’s, a Toy hauler, 5th wheel, B+, C, gas’s Class A, and finally here with my delightful and well appointed Ventana 3427 - for now...

Cheers and happy camping!

PS: I bought a life-time senior USGS pass for $90, and it has already paid for it self. https://store.usgs.gov/senior-pass . Very happy with the discounts, but unless you use the small USFS CG’s, it might be of little value. They say it gets you in to NP’s but not sure yet on the discounts at those.
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:14 AM   #2
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Washington State Parks has a lot of parks with no hook ups, but they are also good at letting you know what size of RV will fit in each spot (as far as I've noticed). Still some of the main roads through can be a bit tight and I've not noticed a lot of Class A's in some of them. Maybe though that's because most Class A owners want sites with hook ups?????
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:14 AM   #3
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Sounds wonderful ! I think you've got it figured out!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodspike View Post
Washington State Parks has a lot of parks with no hook ups, but they are also good at letting you know what size of RV will fit in each spot (as far as I've noticed). Still some of the main roads through can be a bit tight and I've not noticed a lot of Class A's in some of them. Maybe though that's because most Class A owners want sites with hook ups?????
I’m often finding myself feeling a bit out of place as the only Class A in the camp ground. And the only one with an obnoxious back up beeper. The generator is much quieter than the gas Onan on the Bay Star but I’d still rather not use it, hence solar. Here’s an example of hook-ups:
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:24 AM   #5
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Sounds wonderful ! I think you've got it figured out!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Yes for now MS, but maybe in 10 years, I’ll settle into a nice 40’ rig and stop working so hard at it. Right now, this works. Also I travel with two German Shepards so it’s nice to be out away from every one so they can run and don’t have a lot to bark at. it’s just easier and less stressful and they love it. If I ask “Want to go camping?”, they go nuts.
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:27 AM   #6
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We often take our 45' pusher to places that bring to mind this verse from Johnny Horton and the Battle of New Orleans:
"Yeah, they ran through the briars
And they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes
Where the rabbit couldn't go"

Once you realize a scratch or dent isn't the end of the world, a plethora of options open up.
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:36 AM   #7
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I understand what you are saying. Its one of the reasons we bought our 34' gas coach. I wanted to be light enough to cross the 10 ton bridges to get into some of our favorite spots, inexpensive enough that we didn't stress about getting a few scratches, but nice enough that we didn't get turned down at class A resorts.
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Old 10-19-2020, 12:50 PM   #8
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Thanks for the great post. We moved to a 36' DP a few years ago and our camping style seems very close to yours

For those considering a small DP who like to camp in smaller campgrounds or boondock the following are things to consider closely from our perspective;
  1. Tank Capacities (ours are 100F/100G/68B)
  2. Ground Clearance (We looked for one with the longest wheelbase which helps with rear overhang)
We can't go to all the places we could with our 32' 5th wheel but not very many we have to pass up either.

I agree that a good set of batteries and solar will make a huge difference. We spent 9 weeks this summer in campgrounds pretty much like you describe and only ran the generator a total of 4 hours even with a residential fridge.

It is an invertment to set up your coach this way and it's hard to justify financially but if you can camp the way you like............ Priceless!!

Thanks for sharing
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Old 10-19-2020, 05:22 PM   #9
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Well.... from the other side ... we used public parks and boondocking on public lands 90% of our full-timing years with our 40' motorhome. Many places had the hand pump as you pictured. Honestly, we never had a problem - even all summer in Alaska. We loved forest service campgrounds, national parks, even some national wildlife refuges and of course, the forest service and BLM public lands.
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Old 10-19-2020, 10:37 PM   #10
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I agree with "twogypsies".......where you like to camp and where you'll fit is a personal thing. We own a 40' coach and camp at both Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone and Upper Pines in Yosemite. I'm not interested into squeezing into a 35' site in the middle of nowhere.....we've been there and down that.

For every small, tight spot, that you like, a guy in a four wheel drive pickup truck with a camper shell likes something that looks more a turn out on the cliff side of a mountain road. Even that guy is laughed at by those staying in a tent.

So your point is well taken for someone seeking the SAME style camping as you, but it ALL depends on what/where each person likes to camp.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:13 AM   #11
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For many, many years we camped all over the Midwest and west in tents, pop ups, and a 17’ trailer. We enjoyed remote tiny sites that were a bear to get into. I still am known for staying in my 40’ Class A in no-hookup NFS sites, but I don’t stress it. If I can’t find a NPS or NFS or BLM site that I fit in, I shrug and stay somewhere else. I have no problem finding a site in the wide western boondock sites, and I can manage there for over a week without needing a dump or a generator. I actually prefer the open sites to the forest so I can get the full use of my solar instead of having to use the generator. The world is very large, and if I can’t fit in one spot, there will be another lovely place to stay that I can fit.
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:28 AM   #12
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I agree with "twogypsies".......where you like to camp and where you'll fit is a personal thing. We own a 40' coach and camp at both Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone and Upper Pines in Yosemite. I'm not interested into squeezing into a 35' site in the middle of nowhere.....we've been there and down that.

For every small, tight spot, that you like, a guy in a four wheel drive pickup truck with a camper shell likes something that looks more a turn out on the cliff side of a mountain road. Even that guy is laughed at by those staying in a tent.

So your point is well taken for someone seeking the SAME style camping as you, but it ALL depends on what/where each person likes to camp.
Clearly my camping style is clearly a bit unusual - I’m often the only class A where I’m camping, whether at the coast, in the mountains, or whatever.

I like remote areas, and my dogs alert on any other human or canine (it’s in their DNA), so I like to be “away from the maddening crowd” to coin a phrase. Even in RV parks, I always ask to be “out on the back row”.

So the point is that where I often find myself, anything bigger just wouldn’t fit. But I would agree that this could just be a function of my personal quest for solitude.
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Old 10-20-2020, 03:33 PM   #13
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Clearly my camping style is clearly a bit unusual - I’m often the only class A where I’m camping, whether at the coast, in the mountains, or whatever.

I like remote areas, and my dogs alert on any other human or canine (it’s in their DNA), so I like to be “away from the maddening crowd” to coin a phrase. Even in RV parks, I always ask to be “out on the back row”.

So the point is that where I often find myself, anything bigger just wouldn’t fit. But I would agree that this could just be a function of my personal quest for solitude.
Again.. with our 40' we stayed in the same types of places and many, many times all by ourselves. We'd travel 20 mi. on gravel roads to get to these spots.

Like you, when we used public campgrounds our favorites were in the rear away from everyone and where we wouldn't have a rear neighbor. We found that sites in the corner of the curve were perfect and most of the time, had the largest, private yard.

It sounds like we enjoy the same type of camping but one definitely can find the spots with a 40' motorhome. I guess you could call it a hobby of mine to delve into researching the very best place for us. I have a 300+ document that I listed all of our stops with details... and no, it's not for sale!
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