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Old 06-21-2015, 04:10 PM   #1
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Dry camping

Looking for people who have done a lot of dry camping. We are looking to do a week in the smokey mountains next June. We have been camping for about 11 years now and have never dry camped. Need some advice and tips on how to ration water and battery life. It will be a family of 5. Oh yea I almost forgot the 2 parks that we have in mind do not have shower facilities just toilets. One of the parks we have in mind (smokemount) does not have a dump station or potable water nearest of both will be 6 miles. The other campground we have in mind (elkmount) has both dump station and potable water fill station. in the park. Any suggestions?

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Old 06-21-2015, 04:30 PM   #2
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Love Your RV - RV Boondocking Basics - Water,Waste,Fuel,Power,etc

I did a Google search for RV dry camping and saw a lot of links. This article sums up what I have previously heard and read about boondocks camping.

Good luck, Ron

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Old 06-21-2015, 04:59 PM   #3
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I might have dry camped a time or two. (full-time boondocker)

If you could provide more information about your current capacities and such it would be helpful to give you the best information.

RV tank sizes, battery type and amp hour capacity, available payload capacities once fully loaded, LP tank size, etc. Solar? Generator?

Any which way, with a family of 5, a week is going to be a challenge, but doable with a little preparation.
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:03 PM   #4
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I'd go with the camp ground with the dump and water. With 5 folks on board at knowing the tricks to conserving water can be tricky. I'd also buy a gen as your battery will not last long. I've done a lot of dry camping over the years and I learned to get some extra things to help out. You could also buy an extend a stay portable waste/gray water carrier. You drain your trailer into this and then haul it to the dump station. It has wheels and just hook to tow vehicle. Later RJD
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:18 PM   #5
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Here some suggestions of things we have learned. If the parks have toilets then use them for the heavy stuff during the day & then use the RV toilet during the night. Instead of showers take some baby wet wipes & do a baby wipe wipe down to clean up. (do not put them in the toilet!!!) (Big water conserver.) Use paper & plastic utinsels to cut down on dish washing, not the best choice environmentally or economically but less water usage. As far a battery usage it is best if you have 2 batteries that are matched, 2 6 bolt will give you a little more power. You can probably get about 3-4 days on the two batteries before having to put a charge on with a generator or with solar. Take at least 2 5-7 gallon bottles extra of water or that you can fill up to put in the RV tank. If they have potable water in the campground the take a water jug to fill up & use that to drink out of. Some of that mountain water is dang good.
Get a 15-20 gallon dump tank if you need to dump water so you can take it to the closest dump station without having to move the rig. Usually it should be just the gray you may have to dump & can get by without having it use it for the black tank.
Dry camping is not difficult to do & can be very enjoyable as it opens up a whole new vision of the camping experience. Get out there & do it.
Example: this past week we were at a Forest Service campground that had toilets & potable water, but no dump station. 1 nights we had 4 adults, 5 kids. 1 nights we had 2 adults, 3 kids. 2 nights we had 4 adults , 7 kids. 1 night 5 adults, 7 kids. 30 gal gray tank--2/3 full, 30 gal. black tank-2/3 full. Had to add 14 gallons water to 30 gallon fresh tank. I use CPAP running off of 2 6 volt tanks & so charged batteries 2 times with a generator just to make sure I had plenty of power for that.
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:20 PM   #6
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we dry camp almost all the time(used Calif. state parks, which have less than 1% of campsites with any hookups).

we have two 12v deep cycle batteries, 6 gallon FW water jug, 15 gallon blue tote tank(for gray water), Oxygenics shower head, 400w inverter wired to batteries and Honda 2000w inverter generator.

we have to recharge the batteries, every 3-4 days, for a couple of hours with the Honda.
we also are experienced with taking Navy showers.

we have been doing this for over 8 years with our HTT.
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:45 PM   #7
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One Honda eu2000 generator would make the trip a breeze!
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Old 06-21-2015, 06:27 PM   #8
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I have been dry tent camping since 1953 (according to my mother). I have backpacked a lot. I have dry camped with a TT for 5 years with 5 adults. Here is some of my experience:

In the Boy Scouts we were able to get 3 showers from a 5 gallon jug. I have found this to be true in the TT.

My daughter and DIL have long hair, so they want to wash it every day, especially after riding ATVs in the dust. I allow for one navy shower for everyone every other day. For the days in between all you get is a sponge bath. Anyone with long hair gets to wash it in the sink with a sprayer on the in between days.

I keep two basins of water on a table outside. one to get your hands wet and one to rinse the soap off. When the soapy water is too soapy it is discarded and what had been the wash water is now the rinse water. The wash water is replace. I try to replace the water not more than once a day but have not been successful at that.

For planning purposes I plan on 5 gallons of water per person per day. I suggest you run a test in a park and just do not connect to water, power or sewage. Try to ration everything. Then you will know how long you can last.

I had 2 Interstate RV/Marine group 24 batteries. I could last a 3 day weekend, Friday evening until Monday afternoon, on just the batteries. I always had my generator, just in case we unexpectedly became stranded.

Backpacking teaches you water conservation.

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