Friday, December 8, 2023


Don’t get stuck — Have a ‘Plan B’ when boondocking

By Bob Difley
If you are reading this you might be either (A) a boondocker, or (B) thinking of becoming a boondocker. The very fact that you are/may be a boondocker could also be one of your problems. If you are a boondocker, you are by definition adventurous, curious, bold, a little bit devil-may-care, impetuous, sometimes daring, possibly eccentric and, of course, good looking.

Except for the good-looking part, the rest can often get you in trouble when you discover a dirt road that just MUST be explored, or a beach that is calling out your name. Before you know it, your rig, having a mind of its own, is following the vaguest of tracks and eventually in your boondocking life you will find yourself in a sticky situation.

Like when I got mired in sand on a beach on the Gulf in Louisiana; or a quarter-mile down a narrow, winding, single dirt track in Washington state when I reached the end and there was no turnaround; and the time I tried to cross over a hump separating the dirt road from a terrific campsite — and got stuck like a seesaw under the middle of my motorhome with no traction to my rear wheels.

Tips for Plan B

All of these dilemmas — and some I won’t mention — taught me something, all of which became the basis of  “Plan B.” To solve any more mired-in-sand problems, I now carry a couple of flat rubber mats and some traction mats to slip under the wheels when in mud, sand or snow. I also carry a folding shovel (an entrenching tool in Army lingo), a heavy iron mallet (a rock once became wedged between my left rear duals and luckily a trucker came along with a mallet and knocked the rock out) and a stout rope for towing (the pickup truck driver that pulled me out of the Louisiana sand happened to have one).

I also unhitch — even when I don’t feel like it — before driving down a strange dirt road or even paved roads where I am not sure of what lies ahead (it’s very difficult, at least with my rig, to unhitch the dinghy if the rig is headed downhill or uphill and if it is cocked at an angle). If the distance is not great, I walk in on new roads to check out conditions before entering.

I take all these precautions and carry the extra gear because I know I will still venture into unknown places even when caution warns me against it, because I’m a boondocker — except for the good-looking part.

You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Tommy Molnar (@guest_186412)
1 year ago

I carry a “snatchem strap” but I see technology has left me behind. They now have stretchable straps that allow the ‘saving vehicle’ to yank on the strap and it reacts like a rubber band.. Cool stuff. I don’t have one yet.

Tom 2424 (@guest_186707)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Watch “Matt’s Off-Road Recovery” on YouTube. He uses what’s called a “kinetic rope”, which is what you describe. Very cool. He operates out of Hurricane, Utah. Lots of interesting rescues!

Tommy Molnar (@guest_186750)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom 2424

I have watched several of these videos. Good stuff.

Sharon B (@guest_186386)
1 year ago

I thought I had everything, but I forgot those traction mats. Definitely my next purchase.
Don’t know what I’d do without the readings from Russ and Tina. Learned so much from the many years of following these two and their group way before it became the RV Travel Newsletter.
Thank you so much for your hard work throughout the years. I am sure you may even have saved lives reading your hundreds of articles.

Neal Davis (@guest_186379)
1 year ago

Good advice; thank you!

Thomas D (@guest_186373)
1 year ago

Just wondering how overweight you might be? Ever scale it.
All that recovery stuff is njce to have,but?
Been there, stuck in sand in the desert. Had come a long. Nothing to attach it to. Be surprised how much sand you can move with a saucepan and griddle.

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