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Old 05-05-2016, 08:15 AM   #1
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Where to start

I apologize upfront if this topic has already been covered but I'm really excited about starting to boondock.
For the last 12 years all we have done is to go to private campgrounds with full service hook ups. I've heard pro's and con's to generators and solar,etc but I'm just not sure where to even start and what to expect when it comes to using the rig (e.g. Water supply, can i run the a/c, etc).
Any advice or direction for a newbie is greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:37 AM   #2
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Most boon dockers do not use the AC. The AC requires a pretty good size generator to operate so most just pass on using AC. You have to learn to conserve your power and water supplies if you are going to boon dock. Most use a small generator to charge up the batteries and such. Solar helps to also charge the batteries and will prolong how long you can go without running a generator. You may want to boon dock (trial run) in a campground someplace until you learn the ropes of boon docking, just a thought.
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:54 AM   #3
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Make a list of must run and nice to run items then check the specs on the power usage on each. Next estimate the amount of time you will be using each item daily. Now multiply the # watts for each item by the usage in hours and you will know your requirements. If running on batteries, you will need roughly twice that capacity so as not to drain batteries too low. Now you can figure how you want to replace that energy ( solar or generator). When making the solar /generator decision, you should consider where you will boondock. Clear sky view or full shade, neighbors or not, generator restrictions or not. You can do the same with water. While at the full hook up , fill water tank and disconnect public water, Drain waste tanks and close valves. Now you can judge how long your water supply and waste tanks will last.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bmbdcj View Post
I apologize upfront if this topic has already been covered but I'm really excited about starting to boondock.
For the last 12 years all we have done is to go to private campgrounds with full service hook ups. I've heard pro's and con's to generators and solar,etc but I'm just not sure where to even start and what to expect when it comes to using the rig (e.g. Water supply, can i run the a/c, etc).
Any advice or direction for a newbie is greatly appreciated.
That is a pretty big question. A lot depends on how many days you want to be "off the grid" and what you have and how you use it. If you want to talk about running the A/C, a generator is really the only practical option. Considering your location, the A/C is probably a necessity so I would start there.

It would really help to know what you have.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:20 AM   #5
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As a boon docker you first need to understand EVERYTHING needs to run on either 12VDC or propane. Anything run from 120VAC you will not want to run. Next you need to figure out how to replenish the batteries. For basic battery charging a 500 dollar 1000 watt Honda generator will do just fine. If you insist on peace and quiet, solar plus a large battery bank is the best option. But this can be cost prohibitive for the budget minded camper.
How remote you want will somewhat dictate water useage. We used to camp a lot in NF campgrounds that had water available. Then we simply carried 5G water jug or enough hose to fill the on board tank.
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:31 PM   #6
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Wow! Apparently there is a lot of things to consider ( and some math ) when boondocking. I think for the most part I would only be looking for extended weekends to get away however with summer coming on and being in South Florida it may not be in the cards again until next winter when I can go without the a/c.
I really appreciate everyone's comments and thoughts on the topic
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:51 PM   #7
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We don't boondock but we do dry camp most of the time.

We have two 12v deep cycle batteries, a Honda 2000i generator, a Barker 15 tote tank, a 6 gallon water jug and a 400w inverter.

We can go a number of weeks straight without any services.

So we would need these things if we decided to boondock.
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:29 PM   #8
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We designed around 4 nights dry camping with our little A-frame. Stock water tank and hot water heater (15 + 6 gal) will give us more than enough water if we bring milk/juice/soda/wine for meals (and drink water the rest of the time).

We have 2 6V 232 AH golf cart batteries to keep the heater going for 5hrs per night without taking batteries below 50%. With the 2 battery setup, no generator or solar to worry about or carry for the 4 night stay.

A couple of ice-efficient medium size coolers and the fridge, plus a cardboard box or two of dry goods takes care of food and ice for that duration.

Reality is that we never spend more than 4 nights in one place, so the 4 night plan works for us. Too much to see and do to stay in one place that long. And the A-frame is so easy to setup and take down.

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Old 05-09-2016, 08:44 PM   #9
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We don't boondock but we do dry camp most of the time.

We have two 12v deep cycle batteries, a Honda 2000i generator, a Barker 15 tote tank, a 6 gallon water jug and a 400w inverter.

We can go a number of weeks straight without any services.

So we would need these things if we decided to boondock.
Hey, Dan. Maybe I don't fully understand the definition of "boondocking," but several weeks without services sounds like boondocking to ME!
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:22 PM   #10
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Generally:

Dry Camping is camping in developed campgrounds that don't have any hookups.

Boondocking is camping in areas that have no developed sites, such as deserts, BLM land, national or state forests, Walmart and so on.

This is how it's generally defined on most RV forums, that I've been on for the past 12 years.
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Old 05-10-2016, 08:34 AM   #11
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The views about "Boondocking" and or "Dry Camping" will vary from person to person. We have been "Dry Camping", we call it "Rustic" for years. We do not have a generator. Will not own one either. We have a large Deep Cycle Battery and a solar panel. If you manage your power; LED lights, limit pump usage, Camp in the shade so you don't need AC, etc. you will have no issues. We camp generally for 2 week periods without ever needing a generator. Control use of water. We have several 7 gal jugs we carry and fill when near a water source. Limit use of the trailer toilet and sinks to avoid filling the holding tanks. (Wash dishes in tubs that fit in the sink) The best camping is Rustic for us. Larger sites, less noise, more solitude. Don't over think it. Learn to live without the 120V conveniences. Charge your phone in the car. Enjoy!
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:08 AM   #12
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Generally:

Dry Camping is camping in developed campgrounds that don't have any hookups.

Boondocking is camping in areas that have no developed sites, such as deserts, BLM land, national or state forests, Walmart and so on.

This is how it's generally defined on most RV forums, that I've been on for the past 12 years.
So I guess the difference is boondocking means no refilling water tanks or dumping grey/black tanks.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:29 AM   #13
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I think it's more developed vs undeveloped.
For example, California state park campgrounds have less than 1% of their campsites with any hookups.
So you're not in the boondocks but you have nothing to hookup to.
I've also camped in California state forests, where there were no numbered campsites and you simply parked out in the "boonies ".
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Old 07-05-2016, 04:49 PM   #14
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Wow! Apparently there is a lot of things to consider ( and some math ) when boondocking. I think for the most part I would only be looking for extended weekends to get away however with summer coming on and being in South Florida it may not be in the cards again until next winter when I can go without the a/c.
I really appreciate everyone's comments and thoughts on the topic
IMO, the most important issue is maintaining your batteries, so the more Amp/ hrs you have the more safety factor and longer you can go. There's some very sophistitcated ways to measure charge rate and draw from your battery but for me a $50 DC clip on amp meter (and volts) tells you just about anything you need to know about your battery condition. This is what I do. It's not very high tech but works well.

https://youtu.be/ZWshTRjsqHY
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Old 07-05-2016, 05:05 PM   #15
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I boondock at race tracks sometimes alone and sometimes with a friend. I have a small motor home and with it 3 days is the limit on the tanks unless one wants to pay for water and/or sewer service. Of course this is less of an issue with larger rv's.

I'll run the generator now and then (or the chassis engine) to charge the batteries and or run the a/c briefly to cool things a little.
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:26 AM   #16
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Generally:

Dry Camping is camping in developed campgrounds that don't have any hookups.

Boondocking is camping in areas that have no developed sites, such as deserts, BLM land, national or state forests, Walmart and so on.

This is how it's generally defined on most RV forums, that I've been on for the past 12 years.



Regular camping w/electrical hookup, but no water or sewer

Shoshone NF


Dry Camping No Hookups (Redfish Lake campground)


Boondocking:
Nothing but what you bring with you...




I can go for 4-5 days when the temps drop down into the 20s with 2-series 27 12V batteries, with all LED lighting. (Of course a lot depends on how warm you want the trailer at night; I prefer it cool.)

Also take along a small Honda generator to re-charge batteries if needed.

Also have a few inverters, and when out driving around, I'll use the TV to charge phones, tablets, etc., using 12 Volt of the built in 120V plug.
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:42 PM   #17
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Regular camping w/electrical hookup, but no water or sewer

Shoshone NF


Dry Camping No Hookups (Redfish Lake campground)


Boondocking:
Nothing but what you bring with you...




I can go for 4-5 days when the temps drop down into the 20s with 2-series 27 12V batteries, with all LED lighting. (Of course a lot depends on how warm you want the trailer at night; I prefer it cool.)

Also take along a small Honda generator to re-charge batteries if needed.

Also have a few inverters, and when out driving around, I'll use the TV to charge phones, tablets, etc., using 12 Volt of the built in 120V plug.

Sorry, but I don't see any difference between your dry camping and boondocking. Both look like you only have what you brought with you, to me.

Only difference I see is your dry camping appears to be in some kind of "prepared campsite" while your boondocking is on some kind of "undeveloped" ground.

If so, then boondocking would seem to be "no hookups and no developed campsite."
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:39 PM   #18
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That campsite is so beautiful, it looks like a painting.
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:18 PM   #19
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Sorry, but I don't see any difference between your dry camping and boondocking. Both look like you only have what you brought with you, to me.

Only difference I see is your dry camping appears to be in some kind of "prepared campsite" while your boondocking is on some kind of "undeveloped" ground.

If so, then boondocking would seem to be "no hookups and no developed campsite."
Did you read the quote that I quoted from bikenden" "Dry Camping is camping in developed campgrounds that don't have any hookups.

Boondocking is camping in areas that have no developed sites, such as deserts, BLM land, national or state forests, Walmart and so on.


So yea, what you imply is correct and I guess the distinction is narrow. However, there is one other major distinction that has not been mentioned. Dry camping is in a developed campground where there were probably 20 or more campsites, and you have to pay to camp.

Boondocking is just that "in the boonies," and there is NO fee to camp (free) and if lucky, no one but coyotes, mountain lions, lizards, etc., withing a mile or two.
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:27 PM   #20
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That campsite is so beautiful, it looks like a painting.
Thanks...
Wapiti Campground about 30 miles west of Cody, off Hwy 14. Might be my favorite, but been asked to leave a few times due to grizzly bear activity and the fact I have a soft sided trailer.

Kicked out last year before setup due to a lot of grizzlies hanging around eating choke cherries, they moved me to Rex Hale about 6 miles further west and was assured no grizzly activity. About 3AM the dogs got really antsy and growling, and a lot of shuffling going on outside, so I grabbed the 12 gauge, just in case someone popped in the tent and sat there till the noise went away and the dogs calmed down. Went back to sleep, next AM almost stepped in a grizzly turd about a foot from the bottom of the step.

The North Fork of the Shosone river is behind the campground...
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