A few RV boondocking tips to help you enjoy your travels
Many years ago, I was glad to have the RVers who started long before me, pass on their RV boondocking tips or "lessons learned".
The pleasure we derive from the tasks and activities of dry camping, have been greatly enhanced when we have listened to the rving ideas of the voices of experience.
I suppose the first thing a lot of new RVers wonder about is how do you go about finding campsites for RV boondocking?
Some of us, like George and Tioga at www.vagabonders-supreme.net avoid paying for campsites to an awsome degree! Others, like myself, don't push it to that level of boondocking skill and discipline!
Boondocking Tip #1 - Finding a campsite.
My wife and I pull into an area where we want to set up a longer term RV boondocking camp. We'll generally start out dry camping two or sometimes three days/nights in a National Forest Service campground. The rates there are generally very low, usually from $6 to $12 a day or so. Not too bad. Even for dry camping.
Luckily for me, being a Disabled Vet, we receive a 50% reduction in our camping fees. I don't recommend getting your back broke in the Army to save $3 a night, but, since it's there, for me, I use it!
We usually don't set up much of our dry camping equipment in this camp, as we only plan to stay here for a couple days.
During those days, as we wander around exploring, backroading and such we keep an eye out for likely "dispersed camping" possibilities.
*Side Bar*For more information on dispersed camping go to the National Forest Service home page (www.fs.fed.us) and do a search for the particular National Forest you are going to camp in and then search "dispersed camping" on that forests home page! See also (www.blm.gov/nhp/directory/index.htm) for searching for dry camping opportunities with the BLM. (search term is dispersed camping)
When we locate a likely spot we run the Ol' Dodge back to our temporary campsite, hitch up, and haul over to the new site.Now we can set up our full camp, as we will be planning on staying in this area for 10 to 14 days. That usually gives us plenty of time to get to know an area pretty well. For RV Fulltimers staying put for ten days to two weeks makes for a healthy reduction in monthly mileage,saving fuel and dollars!
You don't have to stay in established campgrounds on NFS or BLM land. As long as dispersed camping is permitted in that particular area you only need abide by their local regulations regarding camping in undeveloped sites.
Boondocking Tip #2 - Wildlife Safety!
It is relatively uncommon knowledge that more people are killed and injured by the Moose, Buffalo and Elk in the National Forests and Parks than the Bears have ever even conceived of!
Folks have seen far too much of Bambi and animals talking philosophy in Walt Disney's creations than is beneficial for common sense. They have simply lost a realistic sense of the natural world. 20+ years of working cattle and horses in open country has given this old cowboy a pretty good sense of how to get along with the critters that inhabit it.
Harassing a young bull moose, gruntin' and squealin' at him, while he grazed his breakfast down in a bog outside of Yellowstone, one morning some 30 years ago, when I was bored and couldn't locate our horse herd, sure taught me not to harass young bull moose!
He got tired of chasing me after about two hundred yards, and I was sure willing at that point to accept the lesson! I was giggling glad I had picked the fastest horse in my string that morning!
Do not try to feed or approach grazing wildlife! They can be on you in a blink, and I guarantee, a 600lb Elk, doing a tap dance on your kidneys is not going to enhance your trip!
Watch them. If you see them start to wring their tails, flip their heads or ears, or if they face toward you with their heads down low they are feeling stressed. - YOU ARE TOO CLOSE ! Sorry for yelling.
Back away slowly. Watch their heads, ears tails etc. You'll see the flipping and wringing stop as if you flipped a switch!
As you are photographing or observing any wildlife watch for those tell tale signs of nervous distress and avoid some nervous distress of your own!
Wildlife seldom, if ever, charges without warning. It's just that most folks have simply lost the understanding of what that warning is.
Be watchful and exercise wildlife safety!
Boondocking Tip #3 - Keep a clean camp!
Get in the habit of cleaning up your camp immediately after preparing and eating your meals. Put away all cooking utensils. Place all trash in critter (Bear) proof containers (dumpsters if available). Do not leave burned foil, food scraps etc. in a campfire. Good camp hygiene goes a long way toward avoiding conflicts with the "resident tough guys" before they start! The best boondocking tip I can give on this subject is to adopt a "do not attract trouble in the first place mentality".
Though it isn't exactly camp hygiene, this next boondocking tip does fit into the not attracting trouble mentality.
If you are in Bear country, and most country for that matter,(Considering the frequency of stray dogs) it is a bad idea to leave the family pup tied up, unattended in camp.
If Ol' Ursus Horribilis comes a calling, little spot the Beagle is at a distinct disadvantage, tied to a Motorhome. Cut the pup a break. Leave him inside if the weather is permitting,(RV's get pretty hot all closed up in the sun) take him with you on a leash, or leave the little guy at home.
Boondocking Tip #4 - Campsite Security
This next RV Boondocking tip is about the most unpleasant to talk about for me as I simply cannot abide a thief. The best way to avoid a thief is also to not attract the vermin's attention in the first place.
Don't leave valuable camping equipment, fishing tackle, bicycles etc. laying about, unsecured in an un-attended camp. It's just asking for trouble. Keep your gear stowed and secured when not in use. Most of the vile little beggars are smash and grab artists who will pass you by if you make taking your property a piece of work.
So humor them and make it as difficult as possible to steal your hard earned property.
If you have any RV ideas, RV tips, or boondocking tips you would like to share please go to my contact page and send them on. I will do my best to add all the useful boondocking tips contributions that I can. I am sure the RVing visitors of this site will also appreciate your experience.
This is the Place to Share the Tips You've Learned
There's a lot of brand spankin' new RV Boondockers that visit this site looking for information. Along with them, there's the rest of us that have been pushin' a rig down the road for a lot of miles...
...and there's never a time that we couldn't use juuuust a couple more ideas!
So out with it! Share the hard won RV Boondocking Tips you've got squirreled away in that hat rack of yours! :-)
Just put your mouse on this lil' link right HERE! and you'll be whisked, slicker'n a greasy boot on a frozen step, over to the page where you can, quick and easy, share that hard won knowledge with your Brother and Sister, RV Boondockers!
Come share your story 'round RV Boondocking's internet campfire! :-)
Jeb Taylor Western Series