Outdoors Information

Boondocking America


Boondocking is fun! Boondockers go anywhere they want, at any time they want and at any speed they want! If you are a member of Loners on Wheels (LoW) or any other single RV'ing group you will want to boondock at least some of the time.

Boondocking provides an almost perfect way to see America for little housing costs. I have parked on streets in small towns and explored all the town had to offer. (Get me to tell you about the two weeks I spent in Williams, Arizona, one night!) I've enjoyed libraries, bars, restaurants, parks and who knows how many retail stores. The towns benefit from my spending and I benefit by being able to see the out-of-the-way spots across this country.

Boondocking does take some planning, however.

Electricity is the first need. Most of us have solar panels on the roofs of our RVs. These panels serve one purpose and one purpose only - to recharge our house batteries. As a general rule you should plan on one solar panel for each house battery in your rig. Be sure you do not add batteries without adding solar panels. If you do, your panels will not provide sufficient recharging and you'll always have low batteries.

In addition to solar panels, many of us have a generator in the back of the pick-up or installed in our rigs. This makes it possible to sometimes run the air conditioner or microwave and to recharge batteries. The problem, of course, is that generators are noisy and drive your co-campers nuts.

After you have portable electrical output, you need propane for the space heater, water heater, stove and refrigerator. All rigs are equipped with the necessary propane tanks and most have a refrigerator that runs on electricity when you are connected to a land line and on gas when not connected. Check the propane often. You'll find that you only run out of propane on the coldest of nights at 1:00 A.M.

Finally, water must be carried. Many full-timers try to travel with a minimum of water to save weight. I prefer to have a full tank when I pull off the highway for an undetermined period of time.

Now, where will you camp?

Almost anywhere you want! K-Mart or Wal-Mart parking lots are my favorite on the road RV stop-overs. Some cities have ordinances against the use of such lots but the stores themselves generally like to have us. They have the space and don't like empty parking lots. We all spend a bunch of money in them when we stop and we provide an unofficial guard service for the stores. Please, if parking in one of their lots, don't unhook your rig or extend your slide-outs.

I often spend a night or two at a truck stop. They always have plenty of parking space but my problem is that I always park next to a diesel whose driver, for some unknown reason, keeps the damn truck running all night. (If anyone knows why they do that, please let me know.) If you can put up with the noise, there's always good food in their restaurants and plenty of air, water and fuel for your travels.

Roadside rest areas are also good stopping places. I've talked to lots of boondocking women and almost all have expressed fear of rest areas but none has ever experienced a problem. After trying the rest areas they all found that they enjoyed the fact that other travelers are around for company and protection. Clean restrooms and nice places to walk their dogs are high on their list of reasons for using highway rest stops.

Many of us are members of fraternal organizations which provide inexpensive camping for members. The Elks, Moose Lodge and VFW are a few of many such organizations. Use them! They want to meet you and have your patronize their clubs.

Finding a place to dump can be a problem for some. Not me, though! I have many times pulled into an RV park and asked if I could dump. I've never been turned down! Usually they charge about $5 to dump and refill the water holding tank. One dump a week is plenty.

Finally, I enjoy caravanning when I travel. Sunsets are prettier when you share them! I like the company and the protection of having friends with me when I'm traveling or staying overnight at some far removed spot. Get with some fellow LoWs and try boondocking for a week or two.

You'll love it!

Jack Matlock is a senior and single full time RVer who is enthusiastically endorsing the RVing lifestyle. He started his RVing with a small pick-up and a Coleman tent camper. He presently has a 33 foot 5th wheel with three slide outs.

As a single Jack quickly learned that we live in a mated society. Even the RVing society was based on couples. He wanted to escape into a world where he could socialize with other singles. He looked for a group of single campers who would share his coffee hours and fishing trips. He found Loners on Wheels, a singles only RVing club dedicated to enjoying the single lifestyle and retaining the independence and travel each RVer enjoys. For the past seven years he has enjoyed this group. He plans to enjoy it for the rest of his life! http://www.lonersonwheels.com/


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