Thursday, December 8, 2022


RV survival techniques: Summer weekend camping chaos



By Bob Difley

RVing in summer can be one of the more pleasant aspects of the RV lifestyle, and also one of the more stressful. As a full-timer or on an extended vacation you have to camp somewhere on busy weekends.

But if you’ve ever spent a weekend in a state park campground or a popular family RV resort – if you can even get in without a reservation – you know that it will be crowded, there will be lots of kids having lots of fun (and making lots of noise), excited dogs barking at all the stimulus of being surrounded by strangers, campfire get-togethers with conversations (sometimes just a few feet outside your bedroom window) rising in decibels in relation to the amount of alcohol consumed and sometimes lasting into the wee hours.

And don’t expect rangers to come by and quiet things down after the unenforced 10:00 quiet hour arrives. They don’t have enough rangers with the budget cutbacks to even cover daytime shifts, let alone after 5:00, when they all disappear.

Maybe all this doesn’t bother you. Great for you – I commend you on your tolerance. But for some of us senior folk, we would rather opt for a quieter, less-crowded camping experience. And there is an answer, a better option, and that is to find boondocking spots in the national forests or on other public lands where most of the time there will be far fewer campers and they will be spread out, unlike the sardines-in-a-can layout of most established campgrounds. And in many cases, there will be single, isolated campsites, nestled in a forested grove out of sight of any other campers.

In order to take advantage of these quiet, uncrowded campsites, you have to put out a bit more effort. You can’t phone in a reservation to hold your site, there are no comprehensive lists of boondocking locations (or dispersed camping areas, as they are called), there is no way to check whether the boondocking campsites are full before you drive in to actually check, and you will have to have learned some boondocking skills before you wander into the woods.

But the rewards are many. Once you find a good boondocking campsite, and record it on your GPS or notate it in your campground book (don’t forget to record explicit directions – your memory may not be as good as you think it is), you don’t have to search for it the next time you want to use it. Over time you will have collected several favorite boondocking sites, as well as discovering many that you passed by without staying in – a regular treasure trove of escapes from chaotic state parks and family destination RV resorts.

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


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Michael McCracken
5 years ago

Tommy, with us senior’s buying more and more RV’s these days, it is becoming very difficult to find a place to stay. Yes, when the kids are out of school it adds to the problem but the over sold RV’s and RV’ers on the road are the real problem. Not enough parks to accommodate the masses. I started full-time RVing three years ago. In this period of time things have drastically changed. I hate having to make reservation for long term stay when I travel. This obligated me to be a certain place at a specific time. Also I must rely in many cases that the park is as it seems on the internet. I think in the long term this is going to force a lot of the full-timer to give up this life style.

Mark Gaunt
5 years ago

We, also, camp during the cooler months & when school is in session-much more enjoyable.

5 years ago

I agree completely. As retired seniors, we try to camp during the work week, when kids are in school. During the summer, we take a break, and leave the busy campgrounds to the noisier people. I know we are missing some fun times, but the noise and rudeness is something we cannot have fun with.

Tommy Molnar
5 years ago

Bob, you’re preaching to the choir here.

I think a lot of folks, especially those new to RV’ing, think this side by side, back to back, sardine style ‘camping’ is what it’s all about. Good. That leaves we boondockers with more seldom visited places to count on being open to us.