I’m not sure what it is about the nature of full-time RV travel and boondocking, but the lifestyle seems to encounter sketchy (i.e., unreliable or unsafe) people from time to time while camping. Throughout my travels, I’ve run into several people that just seemed to be “off.” I suspect that other RVers here can say the same.
While I’m used to meeting plenty of enthusiastic campers and fellow travelers on the road, there have been multiple times I’ve been peacefully at camp only to be interrupted by a shady person. These interactions always left me a bit on guard, but luckily always ended smoothly. Here are some of my most memorable situations.
Stories of encountering sketchy people while camping
“Is your camper door secure?”
This was one of the only times I was left a bit scared, and my fiancée and I promptly packed up camp and left. We were boondocking out in the National Forest just north of the Columbia River Gorge. It was early in the morning, we had just finished breakfast, and we were peacefully sipping our coffee outside.
A newer Jeep Wrangler came ripping up the dirt road, flew by our campsite, and suddenly slammed on the brakes. We watched the driver throw it in reverse and pull down the little side road that our camp was at. The individual got out of the vehicle, somewhat stumbling, and approached our camp.
He asked us if there was a trail around—a normal question—but quickly became disinterested in his hike as soon as we gave him directions. He proceeded to ask us detailed questions about all our expensive possessions, including if we have a generator, if we have batteries, and, alarmingly, if our camper door was secure or not.
The weirdest part was that the man refused to take off his black leather driving gloves the entire conversation—even though the weather was well into the 80s. We informed him we were just packing up, and fortunately he drove off, but in the opposite direction of the trailhead directions we gave him.
“Can you drive me 20 miles into the National Forest with no service?”
Outside of Mt. Rainier National Park, there’s a nice little forest road that’s sprinkled with tucked-away pullouts perfect for boondocking campers. My fiancée and I had been camping there for a few days as we explored the park. One day while driving back to camp we noticed a disheveled individual walking alongside the road. We didn’t pay much attention to him and kept driving on.
While sitting at camp about two hours later, I heard someone shouting, “Helloooo?” The individual we saw walking earlier had apparently noticed our camper from the road and came up to approach us. He seemed absolutely exhausted and asked for water. I grabbed him a gallon from inside and my partner made him some pancakes.
He informed me that he had been walking for two days from a city miles away and was trying to get to “a family friend’s house further down the road.” I found this odd, as we were on a National Forest road and there were no houses. He asked me to drive him the rest of the way—just 20 miles, according to him.
As concerned as I was for the individual, my wits reminded me that I was out in the forest with zero cell service and it probably wouldn’t be the smartest idea to drive a stranger deep into the woods. I gave him another gallon of water for his journey, more food, and wished him well on his way. Reluctantly, he kept walking down the barren forest service road.
Have any stories?
I always try to assume the best of people’s intentions, but when you live full-time on the road sometimes you must be a little bit wary. After all, most of the time you’re out in the boonies without another soul in sight. It helps to be cautious.
Have you ever dealt with a sketchy character while camping? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.