We’ve just finished our first week of Boondocking and have learned  new lessons and faced new realities as well! Overall we’ve found that we, and you, can do this. We can survive not being hooked up to shore power, or having endless water, and are learning to manage resources. Let’s discuss the 5 things we learned during this first week!


This week we learned about:

1. Water needs

2. Dump Stations

3. Showering and Cleaning

4. Generator and Electricity

5. Dragging and Driveways

 

1. Water and Boondocking!

Water is constantly on our minds our first week of boondocking. Our Grey Wolf Travel Trailer holds 35 gallons of fresh water, 40 gallons of grey water, and 40 gallons of black water (we’d be overweight if we hauled 115 gallons of water with us). We knew after leaving Thousand Trails in Orlando (great time, great people), we would be boondocking, but made the rookie mistake of waiting to get paper plates, cups, and plastic cutlery. So two days in we were washing dishes over and over and generally misusing our limited fresh water. (Full disclosure: we Moochdocked at Jessica’s parent’s house for two nights – we stayed in their driveway and hooked up to electric). Out came the hose, and we refilled the fresh water tank. The speed at which we used up our fresh water was shocking. After those two days we again pulled up stakes, found an RV Dump station ($5.00 at Lake Monroe Park in Volusia County, FL) and headed over to our friend’s driveway for another two night stay (with electricity). We were more cautious with our water usage this time, but were still using it too quickly and filled up with fresh water again and did the dump station tango one more time.  The last several days have been spent on 40 acres in the middle of cattle country Florida where we’ve finally been sitting out on our own (no electricity or other amenities). We’ve had the company of cows, horses, gopher tortoises, armadillos and a bison or two. It’s time to get serious about water consumption.

2. Dump Stations!

Dealing with Grey and Black water in our first week of boondocking has been directly related to our use of fresh water. We’ve downloaded two Dump Station locator apps to our smartphones for help, but they have so far provided limited results other than RV parks, or a false report of a dump station location. Our black tank indicator is pretty useless, so we listen for changes in the sound of water flow to know when it’s really getting full, but we know we can get close to 7 days of use between 2 adults and 2 kids before we MUST dump. They grey tank however, is what gets full faster. We’re fortunate to be in a location where we are permitted to dump grey water discretely. If we had a composting toilet, we could use the black tank as an additional grey water tank. This would make it possible to dump our tanks at maybe every 14 days, instead of 7 days.

We have been boondocking (aka wild camping, wild camping, RVing without water, electric, or sewer hookups) and have learned so much about water, electricity, and our overall needs. Check out the post to learn from our mistakes.

3. Showering and Cleaning!

Showering:  Noooope! Just kidding, sort of. There are a few ways to work showering – if you’re Moochdocking, get the ok from your host and run inside and take care of shower needs, shaving needs, etc. Be discrete and do not take your host for granted! For the kids, if we can find a swimming pool, well, there we go! However, if you must shower regularly, do so. Just conserve water. If you’re rural enough, as we are, we can use the outside shower on our RV to avoid adding water to the grey tank!

The best option to save on water when showering is to use wipes in between showers. Wipes you say? They’re too small; you have to use too many, and it’s just a pain! Well now, we have a solution for you:  EPIC WIPES!!!

Use Epic Wipes “THE MASSIVE WET WIPE” and use the Discount Code “Local10” at checkout. It is perfect for Boondocking, Outdoor activity, Sports, Medical, Military, and other cleanliness needs when a shower isn’t available. We’ve been using Epic Wipes for several days and they are indispensable, and HUGE! They measure 31.5 inches by 19.7 inches and it’s “almost too big” according to Jessica! Try Epic Wipes. You will like them – and enter code “LOCAL10” at checkout for a 10% discount!

First week boondocking
Enter “Local10” at checkout for a 10% discount!

We don’t have any great solutions for washing dishes other than using recyclable or easy to clean products. Wipe down excess grease or food before washing and use fewer dishes and cups and be miserly with your water usage. Water, it’s a big deal and being smart about its use will help extend your time out in the wilderness. You can also set up an outdoor sink. Set up a plastic container with soapy water and another with fresh water. Keep a hose near in case you need a little bit extra to rinse stuff off. You can dump that water and avoid filling up your grey tank and keep your overall water use down.

4. Generator and Electricity!

Power is complicated. There, I’ve said it. It is a big problem. We purchased our FANTASTIC Champion Dual Fuel Generator a few weeks ago, (BLOG POST HERE) and started using it 5 days ago and it has been awesome! We’ve been conservative with its use, but have already put 30 hours of run time on it. We haven’t had to run the air conditioner off of it at all (Perfect Weather) and our challenge has been keeping our electronics charged! Jessica’s work computer, the two kids tablets (with one working charge cord) two cell phones, Jessica’s crappy personal laptop, and my crappy little laptop that won’t hold a charge.

Champion Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

Additionally, when we run the XBOX, television or microwave, we have to start up the generator. Again, it’s an amazing tool, but I am extremely conscious that we’re burning propane or gasoline, simply to convert it to electricity to be run by our electronics. Talk about inefficient! Our next step will have to be to develop our solar and battery options. That’s all there is to it, we have to go solar. Don’t know how, and we’ll have to start serious research, but generating electricity is smelly and costly.  Our first week of boondocking has been great but eye opening!

5. Driveways and Dragging

Hey stay with us for a couple days! Sure thing, we’d love to, but expect our RV to leave a mark on your driveway, the street leading to your driveway, or both! Our Grey Wolf 26DBH is a bit of a low rider and Forest River made sure to include a couple “skids” welded to the frame just in case.  So far, we’ve moochdocked at two homes, and have dragged two times! No damage to the TT, but we’ve left our mark on the road. We learned at our in-laws that we’d have to angle across the entire front yard, (and it’s quite wide) to avoid scraping, but we had little choice at our friends home. The damage isn’t bad at all but it’s a little embarrassing. Be sure to research terrain elevation when you plan your next destination and avoid the below if you can!

So what’s next?

We are heading to North Florida and the Panhandle in the next two weeks, and we’ll be doing more boondocking as well as mixing in RV parks as well (mostly using our Thousand Trails membership. Click here to read about how to save on RV Parks & Campgrounds). We’ll build on these experiences learned in our first week of boondocking and we’ll update you as we go along so stick around and check back weekly, or subscribe to our blog and receive notifications when we post a new article!

One last word:

Are you new to RVing or planning to buy a Travel Trailer, Motorhome, or other RV? Checkout the following link at RVing Planet for 3 RV Buying Lessons in 3 Days! If you make any purchases from RVing Planet following that link we do receive a commission.

HAPPY RVING!

Robert – who has written posts on Exploring the Local Life.


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2 thoughts on “5 Things we Learned Our First Week of Boondocking

  1. Robert, like you I find that at times I must run the generator. The worst is when I happen to be someplace that has specific hours for the generator. I just purchased a Go Power portable solar unit. Will let you know how it does. This may be an option for you if you are hesitant about diving deeper into solar for your trailer.

  2. I have car chargers for my tablet and our cell phones. We just charge from the house battery without converting to AC. It is slower than charging on AC but it gets the job done.

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