Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Slide-outs “out” okay at Walmart?


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Walmart “overnighting,” has its attractions. Low costs, easy in and out, handy to shopping, the list goes on. Of course, it’s not without its detractors. And not everyone who looks down on “Camp Walmart” owns or manages an RV park in the same town as a Walmart. There are RVers who think that RVers who overnight at Wally World bring other RVers into a bad light.

Photo: R&T De Maris

Some time back a list began circulating among RVers (you may have even found it stuck under your windshield wiper on awakening at a Walmart some morning) that tried to encourage proper etiquette among pavement campers. Here’s one version of the list:

•Stay one night only!
•Obtain permission from a qualified individual.
•Obey posted regulations.
•No awnings, chairs, or barbecue grills outside your RV.
•Do not use hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces (including asphalt).
•Always leave an area cleaner than you found it.
•Purchase gas, food, or supplies as a form of thank you, when feasible.
•Be safe! Always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel unsafe.

The principle behind these suggestions was to not burden our hosts, nor “stick out” in the community. Most of the suggestions make sense, certainly not dumping your trash on the pavement or damaging the parking lot with levelers should be pretty obvious.

We have heard of some who would add to the list. “Don’t put out your slide outs, just keep them in,” is one we frequently hear. But what about that? Why keep the slide-outs in? Some think that if we put out the slide-outs, we’re going to look like we’re camping on the lot. True, but as one seasoned RVer put it, “The minute you park your rig on the lot after the sun goes down, isn’t it rather obvious that you ARE camping?”

Perhaps it’s a matter of perception. Putting out the BBQ and smoking up the neighborhood gives us the impression of permanence. It’s a fair blush farther than sticking out the lawn chairs, and it certainly could lend the thought of something way beyond, “just passing through.” From an RVer’s perceptive though, putting out the slides isn’t like setting out property line markers, and for some, it may make the difference between being able to get from the kitchen to the bathroom, or not, unless you’ve been practicing the Limbo recently.

PUTTING OUT THE SLIDES might be more “acceptable” to passer-by when we can park the rig somewhere not stuck out “in front of God and everybody.” Many lots have borders where when sticking out the slide, the slide isn’t transgressing out over parking lot, but rather a grass verge. Along the same line of thought, if you can give some thought as to how you park (and where), may go a long way to better “public relations.” Obviously parking in an out-of-the-way area is far less “offensive” to some than putting your rig up close to the front of the building, and blocking off “choice” parking spots.

If we all just give a little thought when rolling in, before we “drop the hook,” perhaps some of the seeming “bad press” would tone down a bit.


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6 years ago

Perhaps Chuck,we could ask Wal-Mart exec? Or ask the store in question,rules may vary store to store,also rv folk who break rules will probably be asked to fix problem or told to leave,the rv.s I have seen,most are setting good examples.

Dennis Johnson
6 years ago

We were asked to leave a Walmart in New Mexico, they said they checked and if jacks were down and slide outs – out , then you were camping and please leave.

This is really common sense when dealing with an issue with one stroke could make corporate decision to end the 1 night stays, why do we want to ruin this. Some people are terrible, we have seen cookers and tables and chairs and them takin up at least 8-10 spots.

6 years ago

Try ASKING the store manager what they feel is okay with them. Personally, I prefer to stay in Sam’s Club parking lots. They tend to be quieter and the security is better. We have even been “locked in” with the security keeping an eye on us for our safety. I have been invited to stay a week at a Sam’s Club so that we could attend the town’s centennial celebration. Invited to stay multiple nights at other Sam’s Clubs. I’ve been encouraged to break out the grill and cook up steaks or burgers as well as set out in my lawn chairs. Huge difference I guess. But based on what I have been told by Wal-Mart store managers, they really don’t care as long as we leave our area clean and park on the far edges of the lot. Currently in a town where RVs park overnight anywhere from a single night to a couple of weeks. They really don’t care as long as a mess is not made.

Cindy Trombley
6 years ago

When we use Walmart we always look for a spot about as far from everyone as we can. And I need to put my slide out to get to the kitchen/fridge. Our preferred spot is one Where we can open the slides over a curb or grass. But not always possible. I have no problem bringing it in when we’re ready to go to bed. But if we’re going to eat that chicken we just bought the slide is going out!!

GG Lawyer
6 years ago

If we don’t put out our slides we can not get to the bathroom or fridge or much else. Really I don’t think people care, nor WalMart either!

6 years ago

Our 5th wheel needs the LR slide out if we are needing the furnace. The slide covers the rear register. Park next to the curb and use pads under the jacks. No issues or complaints.

Bonnie Cuddihy
6 years ago

We often stay at Walmart while en route. We park at a far side or corner away from their main customer parking. I always go inside and check in with management and note that person’s name….just in case. Usually they will ask where we are parked. And do some shopping. We, if the surrounding area is clear, will put out the short bedroom slide only. We leave early the next morning and are on our way.

Pamela Hill
6 years ago

I too agree with those who think slide outs should remain in while Wal Mart camping. We’ve stayed at a Walmart on a few occasions when extremely bad weather made it impossible to look for an RV park. When buying an RV purchasers should make sure the bathroom, refrigerator and bed is accessible. Wal Mart does us a huge favor by allowing over nite parking at all. The only ones that don’t are governed by city or county ordinances that don’t allow it, usually at the behest of vocal RV park owners who attend City Council meeting to make sure their financial interests are protected. The rest of the suggestions are common sense which is often hard to come by.

6 years ago

I always try to run my slide out over the “grass verge” but woke up one night to find I had my slide directly over a broken sprinkler head! We didn’t get wet but it sounded like a fire hose hitting the bottom of the slide. A rude awakening to be sure!

Ralph P
6 years ago

trouble is with a Class A or Class C you would likely have to put down the jacks before opening the slides in order to have a level coach. I always use boards under my jacks but WalMart might not realize that and be afraid I’m hurting their pavement ( very understandable ) Anyhow, as yet, I haven’t used a parking lot overnight but when I do I will not extend my slides. One less hassle and avoid spoiling a good thing.

6 years ago

Think I might print this article and leave it “under the windshield”

Bob Hoffman
6 years ago

RE: WiFi at campgrounds; In their defense, I think it’s almost impossible to provide service to more than a very few people at one time without going to great expense. I worked for a couple of years for a company called WiFiRV and did a lot of maintenance on WiFi systems. Even if the park owner installs 2 or 3 cable modem connections, the system can still get overloaded very easily. And even then, people complain if you try to charge for it, and others complain if you include the cost in your camping fee and they don’t use it. We did a lot of work in many campgrounds, installing repeaters and checking service all around a park, only to hear loud complaints when the park started to fill up. I don’t believe there’s any way to provide reliable WiFi at any but the smallest parks and agree with your suggestion of paying for Verizon service instead.

Curt L Coffee
6 years ago

Also remember to park in the back of the parking lot, not the middle or the end, in the last parking spaces of the lot.

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