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Guest Author: Kimberly & Jerry Peterson

Why We Boondock?

Boondocking out WestWith the price of gas and diesel skyrocketing we are all looking for ways to save a buck and even though boondocking has never been one of our favorite ways to camp, we are learning to enjoy it. There are several ways to alleviate the high costs of fuel, we could stay put in one place longer but that has been our way out now for the past few years which takes us further away from our dream of following the NASCAR circuit. We made the decision that this year the best way for us to supplement our fuel fund while continuing to travel more miles was to take from our camping fund and the easiest way to do this was to boondock more often. Our plan is to boondock for 3 or 4 days and then 1 day at a campground, then repeat continuously. This is challenging for us since our rig is not setup for long periods of boondocking but we are learning everyday how to stretch that time and have fun doing it.

The Different Types of Boondocking

The true meaning of boondocking is camping in your rig in a remote area with no amenities at all but there are also other ways that we consider boondocking as well. There is partial boondocking, which would be having one but not all of electricity, water or sewage available where you park. We have parked in the desert for an extended period of time but were hooked up to an electrical outlet, this we consider partial boondocking because there were still challenges with the electrical usage, as well as limited with our water and sewer. Another form of boondocking is Blacktop Boondocking, this is usually done at a Wal-Mart or Casino parking lots which is why blacktop was added to the name, this form of boondocking has entirely different rules.

Blacktop Boondocking

Blacktop boondockingWhen you take of blacktop boondocking, understand that this is not a privilege, it is a courtesy that they provide to us and is not “free camping”, please be aware of the guidelines to follow. Do not open up and camp, this means no awnings out, no chairs or barbecue grills, no jacks on soft asphalt, obtain permission from an authorized individual, give the place some of your business, thank them for allowing you to stay and always leave the place cleaner then when you arrived. Even though there seems to be a new trend developing, especially at the Casinos where they have a designated area just for RV’s where it seems to be acceptable to be a bit more comfortable. But, if too many begin to abuse this courtesy, they will be forced to discontinue this great opportunity that they give to us.

There Are Times When Boondocking Is Your Only Option

Most of the race tracks do not offer hookups unless of course you are a driver, owner or are able to pay high dollar. We do not fit into any of those categories so we have learned how to survive a week without electric, water or sewer. They do offer mobile services that come to you, such as water and sewer but the price is a bit steep, usually around $50 per fill up or dump. This has been the best type of boondocking for us since being at the races and around like individuals always make it a great adventure.

Boondocking Is Growing On Us

But is still not our favorite way to camp, the main reason for this is that our rig is really not set up to boondock comfortably for more than a few days. Many rigs can go weeks comfortably without hookups, but we have very small tanks so our capacity for waste and usage is very low but through the years we are learning to get more out of it. Being thrifty with not only our water supply but our grey tank is so small that if we are not conservative we would have to dump by the 3rd day so we have learned how to expand our usage for at least one week.

What We Have Learned

Boondocking group of RVsWe never dump our grey water tank onto the land as many other boondockers have confessed they do regularly. We have dumped some of our dish rinse water without any food particles at times when we knew we were going to be expanding our boondocking for more than a few days but to open our grey tank and let loose has never been and will never be a part of our way of boondocking.

A Solar panel is by far one of the greatest things we have for boondocking. It allows the sun to recharge our battery for all day usage without running our generator at all.

Being conservative with our generator is not the answer, through our experience we now know that while boondocking we run our generator at least two hours daily, it rejuvenates and brings it all up to full charge.

Through the years we have purchased many sets of “Sunshades” and use them a lot to make it darker in our rig at night. This is especially the case when blacktop boondocking since for the most part you are in a parking lot with bright lighting.

Replacing coffee pots, crock pots, fans, and any electrical appliance with a 12-volt plug item is a great way to save your power, we now purchase these type of appliances whenever possible.

Hooking Up

Something that never changes is the day we hookup after a long boondocking period is so exciting and refreshing. Not only does our rig get a thorough cleaning but a long shower is always a sheer delight along with being able to turn on two electrical things at a time without hearing beeps going off is simply heaven.

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