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Old 07-04-2020, 03:33 PM   #1
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Boondocking 101

OK, just got into RVing a couple for years ago and just now starting to get the hang of some of the do's & don'ts, but this boondocking thing to totally foreign to us. Got a generator & house batteries, but only run the generator occasionally to keep it operational. And once when a storm knocked out the park power for a couple of hours.
The fridge can run on propane, as the stove, so I can heat water for my morning coffee, other wise the entire thing is off without my morning coffee.
What's the main thing to keep in mind or be mindful of?
But of course any & all tips are gratefully appreciated.
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Old 07-04-2020, 04:14 PM   #2
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Don't run your batteries down too far and don't run out of water.
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Old 07-04-2020, 05:08 PM   #3
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Solar is real handy when boondocking. We have a little 120 watt portable panel -- it tops up our batteries every day, except in long stretches of cloudy weather. Where are you camping? If you are in the West, there is lots of sunshine.

And when it comes to coffee, we use the pour-over method -- coffee grounds in a filter in a basket or cone. No electricity! And easy water-free cleanup -- just dump the filter and the grounds in the trash.

We have found that our limiting factor when boondocking is gray water storage. We have plenty of fresh water, and we can always add more by refilling the tank with a jerry can. And the black water tank never fills up. (I suppose it would if we tried to use it for two weeks without dumping, but we dump every weekend.)

But the gray tank fills up after five nights of showering -- so we sometimes drain the gray water into a bucket and pour it into the toilet.
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Old 07-04-2020, 06:48 PM   #4
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Boondocking is just camping with a really nice tent, and mattress, and cooler, and a few other "and's" If you just do what you did doing rougher camping you'll be fine!

What's the old line? 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food

My #1 rule: If it's not fun, leave!
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Old 07-05-2020, 01:40 PM   #5
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I'm a full-timer that mostly boondocks in a 30 foot Arctic Fox fifth wheel for the last six years. I boondock comfortably and can stay out until my holding tanks fill up. There's a few things that make my boondocking life enjoyable, comfortable and I wouldn't want to live without.

The first thing is solar panels.... I have six 140 W solar panels that provide all the electricity I need to live comfortably, indefinitely.

A decent battery bank.... I have 4, 100 amp battleBorn lithium iron batteries, which gives me all the power I need even on rainy days when my solar panels aren't working very well.

A propane radiant heater.... A normal RV furnace is loud, annoying, sucks up propane like it's free, and quickly uses up your battery power. And at the same time dumping a large percentage of its heat outside. A propane radiant heater is absolutely silent, sips propane, uses no electricity, and is 99% efficient.

The last thing is location.... The Southwest is loaded with boondocking opportunities and is a great place to spend the winter. In the Summer I'm in Colorado. If it's too hot where I am at I can go up in altitude and cool off. If it's too chilly I can go downhill for an hour and be fine.

There's a lot of other things that help me to boondock for long periods of time in comfort. But without the things I've mentioned I don't think the other things would matter.

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Old 07-07-2020, 04:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Solar is real handy when boondocking. We have a little 120 watt portable panel -- it tops up our batteries every day, except in long stretches of cloudy weather. Where are you camping? If you are in the West, there is lots of sunshine.

And when it comes to coffee, we use the pour-over method -- coffee grounds in a filter in a basket or cone. No electricity! And easy water-free cleanup -- just dump the filter and the grounds in the trash.

We have found that our limiting factor when boondocking is gray water storage. We have plenty of fresh water, and we can always add more by refilling the tank with a jerry can. And the black water tank never fills up. (I suppose it would if we tried to use it for two weeks without dumping, but we dump every weekend.)

But the gray tank fills up after five nights of showering -- so we sometimes drain the gray water into a bucket and pour it into the toilet.
Buy a portable waste caddy. They sell them in multiple sizes up to 36 gallons. Rhino tank makes one very solid sturdy feel. Easy to use. Not messy at all. Even hooks right on to the back of the TT Bumper. $200
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:52 AM   #7
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Dmeyer, I do have one of those waste totes -- but when I am boondocking way back in the boonies, there is nowhere to tote the waste! Often, we are 30 miles from the nearest dump station. And I can't pull the tote behind the truck -- the forest roads are very rough and rocky, and the plastic tote tank would never survive the journey.
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:09 PM   #8
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Know your limits and economize. Minimize water usage, which in turn helps minimize waste. Minimize power use, which in turn helps minimize fuel consumption of your generator. You'll soon develop frugal habits and you'll learn how long your resources will last and when it's time to come in for a restock and refresh. Boondork's suggestion of a radiant heater is spot on. I use a WaveIII on my little TT.

It is no fun if all you do is worry about not using anything! The big trick is to live in comfort while at the same time stretching your resources. But use what you need to stay comfortable and healthy. Above all, have fun! The wilds are calling.
I have never plugged into a power ped or a water line. I'm sure I will eventually, but for over 25 years it has been nothing but boondocking and dry camping.
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:14 PM   #9
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Tank and water. management. Most folks can go a week to ten days on tanks for two people.

We use bottled water for drinking and cooking. Which of course extends the fresh water tank.

Macerating toilets as found in rear baths of bath and a half models are big water users. So minimize their usage.

One adage for reducing toilet water usage is 'if it's yellow, let it mellow' to reduce flushing.

Sponge baths every day. Navy showers a couple three times a week. Moist towletts are good to use.

We don't use dish washer or laundry when dry camping.

Capture extra water with a dish pan in the kitchen sink and a pitcher in the shower - then use that water to flush the toilet.
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:15 PM   #10
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Battery maintenance and management is king. Ensure batteries are in good condition.

Assume using genny only for battery charging. Usually a couple hours in the morning while prepping breakfast and again while prepping supper. Two hours or so before quiet hours (usually 10pm) check battery voltage and run genny again if needed. After some experience you will find what cadence works for you, but this should provide a starting point.

Many folks will recommend to use AGS. I'm not a fan unless using it in conjunction with temperate setting for air conditioning support for pets while you are away. Better to learn how to manage your batteries.

Google for a battery SoC (state of charge) chart. 12vdc is about 50% SoC - the target for max discharge for battery longevity. However if I dip below this occationally it doesn't break my heart.

Minimizing electric consumption should go without saying. LED lighting uses 1/10 the power of incandesents.

Furnace/heating fans are a big 12v power consumer. A good down comforter on the bed is one of the best things to save energy.

If the batteries have gone too low to start the genny - just use the aux switch to jumper in the chassis batteries to get it going.
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:15 PM   #11
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And a good down comforter on the bed is the best way we've found to minimize heat requirements overnight. A big fuel and battery saver.
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:16 PM   #12
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We typically dry camp for a week or so at a time. Then while moving to another location, we duck into a FHU camp ground for a day or two or more. There we catch up on laundry, long showers, fill/dump tanks, etc.
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:49 PM   #13
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Most places are darn hot in the summer... except in the high mountains. I couldn't survive in the heat without A/C. And come to think of it, I need power for my CPAP machine too!
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Old 07-11-2020, 09:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
Tank and water. management. Most folks can go a week to ten days on tanks for two people.
What size gray water holding tank? Thus far it is only limitation we have incurred. We have 61 gallons gray water tank, so we would think we would run out of water first but we don't. We have 70 gal fresh water tank.

I would guess that we can get about 5 days before having to dump.
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