How to prepare for boondocking

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By Bob Difley
You can boondock as long as your on-board resources hold out. Basic equipment for dry camping (without hookups) includes:

•A house battery separate from your starter battery.
•Holding tank for fresh water.
•Holding tanks for waste water from shower, sink and toilet.

Fortunately, all modern RVs have these features and most have separate holding tanks for water from the shower and sinks (gray water) and from the toilet (black water).

Adding a few optional items can extend your boondocking stays. For instance, a single house battery will not last long if you don’t practice effective energy conservation, like turning off all lights and appliances when not in use, turning off your porch light, restricting use of high amperage appliances and avoid using high voltage AC appliances that require an electrical hookup, inverter or generator. Running AC appliances through an inverter will quickly drain your house battery.

You can, however, run a generator for short periods to operate a microwave oven, blender or coffee maker; to recharge your batteries or operate an air-conditioner would require many long hours of operation, not what most of us want to listen to while camped in the quiet of the forest or desert.

Easy options: Practice energy conservation and install another house battery – which will double your electric power. Carry extra water in Jerry jugs or collapsible plastic water containers. If you’re really serious about boondocking install solar panels and carry a portable waste tank that you can drive to a dump station to empty without moving your rig.

##RVT894

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Fred

Hauling around plastic jugs for fresh water can be cumbersome & take up precious space. Consider a vinyl water bladder. The company that makes the 45 gal bladder for Camping World (New World Mfg. in California) will also make a custom size bladder for you. I had an 85 gal bladder made of heavier vinyl to fit the space between my fifth wheel hitch & the front wall of the truck bed. When not using the bladder, it folds into a 15″square by 5″ thick package for easy storage. They’ll put bleader air spouts & fill spouts anywhere you want them on the bladder. It’s also baffled so the water won’t slosh around. I then carry a 35 gal waste tote in the space between the hitch & the tailgate. I use a water pump from Harbor Freight to pump the fresh water in & a macerator to pump the waste water up into the waste tote in my truck. I have a permanent macerator, but you can also buy portable macerators, like FlowJet, that hook up to the 3″ waste outlet on your rv. That way I can haul the waste longer distances than I can if I’m towing the tote on the ground. We sometimes winter in the SW desert North of Yuma, AZ at Imperial Dam LTVA & I never have to move the rv during out stay. Being fulltimers, I don’t want to have to deal with the 55 gal drums or water jugs that snowbirds use to fill or empty their rvs, when we’re not boondocking.

Dave J

while set up in the desert near Quartzsite, we have a pair of 50 gallon barrels. One rigged for black and grey waster and another for freshwater, along with a macerator to fill the waste and a small pump to empty the fresh water barrel into our on board tanks. That way we don’t HAVE to move the rig until we are ready to leave. We used to just set them into the back of the pickup bed but soon got tired of moving then in and out of the bed so we bought a small “harbor freight” trailer mounted the barrels and the water pump thereon. This saves quite a bit of hassle until we get ready to redeploy back to our sticks and brick home near the Black Hills. Then we have to store the trailer.

Denny Napora

We freeze about 4 gallon milk jugs with tap water from home, carry them in the freezer until evening. Then I move them into the residential refrigerator in the Class A. Keeping the refer colder with these jugs of ice, prevents it cycling too much. If I leave the door closed, and run the inverter, the 3 year old, 4 X 6 volt batteries last all night, and then some.
Next day, We run the generator for a few hours, put those half melted jugs back into the freezer, and recharge the batteries. On the last day, we still have 4 gallons of nice drinking water when thawed!