Saturday, December 9, 2023


Your thoughts invited: Have Walmart ‘campers’ changed?

In this feature, we ask our readers a question to see what they think about a particular issue. Today, we’re asking about Walmart.

The stores have long been a favorite overnight stopping point for RVers who either found staying there in their RVs very convenient, or they just wanted to catch 8 hours of sleep and didn’t want to pay $50 or more for a campsite in an RV park where they didn’t need any of the services.

In our editors’ meetings, the subject of “Houseless RVers” has come up. By that, we mean people who live in their RVs, not just travel with them for recreation. Now, most of these folks, we realize, live this way by choice — they travel with very comfortable RVs and love the freedom of moving about on a whim.

But there is another, growing group of full-timers — those folks who can’t afford any other way to live. About the best they can do is to somehow acquire a free or almost free RV, often in terrible shape, and then live in it on vacant lots or along city streets. Some of these folks stay in Walmart and other big box store parking kits, at times for days or weeks on end. In some cases, the crowds have grown so large, stores have resorted to posting “No overnight stay” signs.

If you are a regular Walmart camper, we’d like to know if you have seen a change in the type of people who stay in the parking lots. Is it pretty much as it always has been, or have you noticed more people who appear to be barely getting by, living in old or beat-up RVs.

We encourage your comments. Please use the form below. We may quote you in a future article.


RV Travel
RV Travel
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Pursuits (@guest_201839)
1 year ago

The Walmart in our small town closed. Didn’t take long for the parking lot to become an overnight campground/truckstop. Didn’t take much longer for the signs to go up and the police to encourage folks to move along. I assume insurance/liability plays a large part. Otherwise, just ask the all-night convenience store across the street to take payment, split the difference and make money for the local coffers!

Sally (@guest_201688)
1 year ago

What I am alluding to is this, the math is way off, Probably a majority of these people, have never even been in an rv, let alone know rv Etiquette, park rules, wal mart rules, safety ect…

Much of this is being done, it is not just happening.

So the normal day to day rv crowd regardless of income, or reason for rving, is purposly being displaced by the injection of homeless in rvs. The result is closing of parks, refusal to rent long term, making year rules, lack of spaces available, and situational problems that surround these newfound rv users, that have no Business even being in an rv. sounds harsh. but there is alot to rving, you must know all the safety, the fridge, the lp system, the battery maintenence, there is so much safety knowledge.

The lawsuit mentioned below was not an rv. It was a minivan. The man was using a cookstove in his minivan. Still, He was camping at wal mart, cooking at wal mart, and this too will get lumped onto the day to day rv crowd.

Sally (@guest_201684)
1 year ago

Someone from rv trvel should call this 501c and ask them if they are placing people in walmart.

The website proudly displays dilaptdated rvs parked in public spaces.

Which begs the question, how much of the dilapidated rvs we are seeing in the street, commercial district, neighborhoods, wal marts, ect, are intentionaly put there through programs like these. And how many more programs like these are going nationwide injecting the homeless into the parks, wal marts, ect..

The donated rvs are not functional, they have tarps, and piles of belongings that are proudly displayed in these pictures on this website, that they are injecting into the fabric of what was

And this is not the only issue, pay 1$ for an rv at impound, bringing it to a street parking it and renting it out.

Billinois (@guest_201681)
1 year ago

What is going to permanently kill free overnight parking is litigation. Given the current lawsuit against Walmart by a woman whose child was killed by a fire from an RV parked next to her at a Walmart, I suspect the bean counters will determine the risk is not worth it.
This will affect most businesses that allow overnight parking. Thank our “sue everyone for anything” culture for that.

Sally (@guest_201691)
1 year ago
Reply to  Billinois

I agree. The story says the daughter was locked in the car. I wonder why she did not sue the vehicle manfacturer. It does not make sense why a person would sue a retailer for their child being locked in their own vehicle without a way to get out. So would this be their child proof automatic door locks? The Minivan caught fire, the child was locked in the vehicle.

So the homeless man was camping, in his Minivan, it was not an rv, but it does not matter it is the camping part that is going to slam the door shut on the wal mart parking for the day to day rvr even if it wasnt an rv.

Homeless rv user, or homeless in their vehicle, the same problem applies here. and non of this has anything at all to do with the day to day rv crowd. Yet, it is all being lumped on.

Steve H (@guest_201639)
1 year ago

In the Denver metro area, every Walmart I have seen is posted with no overnight parking signs, which are enforced by the police. Not so for Sam’s Club and Costco, but there are far fewer of those than Walmarts. And the police have begun “moving on” long-term, older Class C’s that have overstayed their welcome on city streets in both Denver and the surrounding suburbs. But why any homeless person would want to spend a winter in an elderly Class C in Denver is beyond me. There are far warmer places in winter than Colorado!

Skip (@guest_201541)
1 year ago

I’m not a Wal-Mart fan. But did noticed when driving pass one it had some old campers hooked up and inhooked with generators outside them and grills. Just looked trashy and I would not have stopped just by what gave the impressions of a rough bunch. It’s obviously that group that individuals are talking about on RVTravel that are ruining it for those that do lay over in Wal-Mart parking lots. Reminds me of some of the Gypsies while living in England. I can see Wal-Mart shutting it down. Or will start charging an amount to keep that sort of appearance away.

Richard Hughes (@guest_201524)
1 year ago

I spent one night in a Walmart when I drove from Colorado to Indiana to pick up an Airstream. The noise was so intense, I got no sleep. Now I see “No Overnight Camping” signs in our local Walmart lot. The reason is clear if you look at the parking lot at the shopping center next door. Derelict campervans and various other rigs are packed in like sardines.

Jeff A (@guest_201522)
1 year ago

All Walmarts in and around us do not allow overnight parking. This includes several cities and haven’t for years. In our travels it’s extremely rare to see and some that did no longer do & for quite some time now.

Drew (@guest_201485)
1 year ago

This is another thing that happens when people allow it. You need to make your feelings be known to all your police departments and local governing agencies- and let them know as soon as you are aware of someone squatting in your neighborhood. I have zero tolerance for it.

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