Advantages and disadvantages of dry camping

One of the key benefits of traveling with an RV is that all that is needed to get started camping is to throw the car or tractor in the Park. Because most vehicles are highly self-sufficient – even away from the power grid and water connections of the average campsite – any stretch of land can become an improvised overnight camp. Secluded place to flow. An empty field or a deserted parking lot. Yes, even Aunt One's alley if you're so inclined.

Features such as a built-in generator and / or inverter, LP tank (s), fresh water supply and tank retention make such a reality possible. That is, assuming you know what you are doing. Certainly the temptation to dry up a camp or bunker, where the passenger camp is one way or another away from standard campsites and ports, appeals to the gypsy spirit in many of us at some point and time. There are other reasons.

Me, my mercy and I

The sense of community is always pleasant, but sometimes being thrown into the mix at a local campsite is not exactly what you are looking for. Larger campsites can swell up to thousands of camps on a busy weekend; Poorly exposed parks stack RVs one right on top of each other. Where do all these people come from? While no one can deny the benefits of full connections, hot showers, a games room and a mini-march, frankly, established campsites are not for everyone. Even five-star RV resorts that do everything from back to RV for a foot massage can sometimes miss the point. You want to get out of it all, and that means clearing your own path. Setting up the trailer in a secluded fishing hole. Maneuver a car dealership through the deepest areas of dense forest until you find the perfect spot. Ah, now that's more. There are no sounds of empty diesels in the neighborhood, no children playing frisbee through your camp. Only you, your team and nature. Isn't that how it should be?

Location, location, location

Traveling with an RV is not always in popular destinations where camping is plentiful. Some people who take the concept of a second home seriously choose to set up their platform for a long stay in a place where no established camp can be found. For example, this folded camp can work great in Grandma's back yard during your long visit. The best part is that the grandchildren are nice and close. Or maybe it's part-time work that made you work in the Christmas tree, volunteer at this state park, or sell your wares at a regional show that requires live wireless contacts? Patients' families are known to "camp" at the hospital to be close to their loved one during a crisis. In addition, those whose hobbies take them away from the highways – like motor sports enthusiasts, rock climbers or boats – often won't find better nights than their RVs. Different situations require different accommodation, and the RV is ready for each.

Drastic times require …

The couple was absolutely numb from the up and down vacancies on the Pennsylvania Interstate-80. They looked everywhere, by the end of the night, hoping for just some camp, everywhere. Unfortunately, this was the fall season on the leaves and every spot was reserved. Does it sound familiar? It is getting late and everyone is exhausted? Someone forgot to make reservations and things look a little grim. Any RV maverick heading to a first-class tourist destination during the season knows very well how quickly campsites can be filled, often forcing a decision on where to sail on the runway for the night. The truth is, sometimes ignition is a necessity – even if you don't like the idea of ​​dropping into a Wal-Mart parking lot or a deserted field. If you will not be attached to making reservations, it is best to pre-develop dry camping skills before using them.


Compared to even a moderately priced motel, most RV parks, campsites – even RV plush resorts – are great deals. A night spent in a state or national park is still cheaper, backed up by the kind of stunning views you won't find in any old place. However, there are those from the Rwington sect who say they are up to the whole idea of ​​paying for camp. After all, they've already raised $ 100,000 for the motor home, which is the largest full-time camping machine. By thinking, every night spent in the park in the woods or at a friend's house or at the pleasure of the cabin is money in the bank. Of course, campers do not like this philosophy of free riding, but you can't beat the price of a dry campsite.

The spirit can be made

Many RVers started out as tent tourists, so we're used to the idea of ​​doing so. And just because we have made the transformation from a wet sleeping bag to digging comfortably does not mean that we are no longer embracing – or at least fighting – the pioneering spirit. Many of us still embrace our in-house explorer and get a thunderous sense of pride from the camp where a few car tires have gone before. We're talking about a place that is so rural that even the expensive satellite dish doesn't work. Creating your own energy, carrying your own water, feasting on fresh trout or a pantry full of canned goods is a surefire way to restore volatility – whether in a $ 5,000 truck or $ 500,000 diesel. Free camping can be found in many of the millions of acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management and National Wildlife Refugees.

Before you go …

However, contrary to popular belief, the world is not your oyster. One cannot just park your car where you wish and throw away the welcome mat. There are laws that need to be considered, labeled and safety considerations taken into account. In addition, different RVs offer different closure capabilities. Many smaller trains lack the ability to generate their own power, lack a built-in generator, inverter or even solar applications. Smaller fresh water tanks will limit the travel time – and length of shower, for that matter – of any extra-urban adventure. Is your RV responsible for the challenge? Are you? Here are some things to consider before camping offline.

Safety first

The problem with camping in the Unknown Parts is just that – you just don't know. Is it safe or not? While not every camp is necessarily Fort Knox, the renowned are well-lit, fenced in and offer confidence that they will not make you stop in a truck or in the darkest of forests. For me, any tear off of a tree branch sends me into deep, paranoid panic when I park in isolation. For others, it is part of the natural experience. However, one should never compromise on the safety factor. If it's just about spending the night before moving in the morning, we gravitate to places that are well lit, quite busy, and ideally located close to the common links of another RV or two. Parking under street lighting may not contribute to the best night sleep you've ever had, but it still provides some safety guarantees. Also, make sure that the doors and windows are locked, the property is closed overnight, and you know where the keys are in case of a much needed escape. That, and Louisville Slugger, in case things turn out to be interesting.

Legal issues

While Wall-Mart has made it well known how much they love to wear RVers for the night, many potential landlords don't give as much. Nor are some cities that think that squatters may not be the best thing for the community – or local businesses that make money from overnight guests. The fact is that the land you climb – whether it's in the backyard of a mall or up a stream of wood – belongs to someone. And that someone is probably not you. At the very least, we should always try to get the owner to recover before activating the take-out and sending the TV antennas for the big game. Otherwise, the knock you hear from the window at 4am may just be friendly to point you back down the highway. As a rule of thumb, it is always nice to support a business that has allowed you to camp at night.

Is your stand decent?

The axiom is painful, but still true: the smaller the RV, the less there is. Smaller fresh water tanks mean less aqua drinking and washing, while miniature dictation tanks require fewer days spent in the wild before having to be cleaned. Keep this in mind before planning a two-week odyssey away from civilization. As mentioned, your car may or may not have the means to generate electricity on board, forcing owners to invest in a portable generator or inverter to get the job done. On the flip side, a smaller unit is better when it comes to maneuvering you and your crew into quieter places. A truck van or lorry truck is a superb off-road machine that can squeeze through narrow aisles that only a 40-inch motor or 60-inch trailer can dream of. In short, do not write checks that your RV cannot cash. Know and respect the limitations of your RV and plan accordingly. Moreover, what is the state of the RV? Is everything working well? Better be sure that before you get within 20 miles of an asphalt road with a tire or a dead battery. As you would before any trip, inspect the unit completely and stay on all preventative maintenance and routine maintenance.

Ready, Seth, Camp

Even if you never intend to spend a single, lonely moment away from full rigging and predictable camp fun, it's still a good idea to at least know what the RV's ability is – just in case. The best advice is to test your campsite skills in a safe environment. The smartest way is to get camping (or get full attachments and not use them the first night or two) to see how you are doing. Or just try things out on the driveway. You'll learn all-too-fast you and the RV learning curve. How fast does your family go through water? How much LP do you need for a weekend or more? How much can you cook over campfire if gas runs out? How much can your generator handle at one time – or how well do you take care of electricity conservation? Ah, yes, conservation, the backbone of the dry camping experience. Here are some ways to get the most out of less.

Power restoration

If you run out of electricity, you'll run out of power. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this, namely by using a generator or inverter to keep the batteries from rising. Portable models are not cheap, but they are available to extend your outdoor stay. Otherwise, you will need to take an extremely disciplined approach to squeeze out any portion of battery juice. Turn off all unnecessary lights and appliances when not in use. A few guilty parities are the water pump, the electric step or the outside lights, all of which subtly consume the amps. Give up hairdryers and air conditioners, which are big consumers of electricity. Park in the shade on hot days so you don't overload the fridge, but still keep things cool on board. Do not continue to play slides or spend all afternoon watching TV. Monitor the monitor panel. You do not want the batteries drained to zero. Remember: In one case, a decent-length device may partially recharge the coach's battery when the readings begin to decrease.

Water World

Not everyone has a 100 liter water tank. For all those who don't, it's time to save, given that water is critical to cooking, cleaning and hydrating the crew. How else would you do Kool-Aid? Fortunately, fresh water is quite easy to maintain and recharge if you need to escape (Quick Mart, anyone?) Still, shorter showers (remember the style of "Navy" shower) and minimize handwashing (use means for hand sanitizer whenever possible) You should maintain water levels. Do not leave the water even when brushing your teeth or brushing. If there are shower facilities and such nearby, use them. And just think – the less water you use, the less it goes into the tanks. This is profitable. One last thought: Just because no one can see you, it does not entitle you to discard tanks during your adventures. We are at our best, right? Fifty gallons of gray and black water is not a way to repay someone for using his or her property.


LP gas is a pretty durable resource, which means it's hard to run out of if you have decent sized tanks. However, our conservative approach should be used here as well. The best way to stretch propane is to cook outdoors. Campfire is still the most fun and flavorful way to prepare food, a method that simply cannot be reproduced in an RV oven, no matter how you try. Removing the pilot light when not in use will extend your delivery even further. Otherwise, go easily to the furnace and the boiler.


RV overload is a bad thing. Avoiding the Mac N 'Cheese 30 miles from the nearest town is also not very good. Dry campsites should walk the line between loading and congestion, which we hope is something that comes with experience. Spare cans, firewood and portable cooking appliances can go a long way in ironing them out – provided they do not tilt the car in excess weight. If floating plans just call for a night here and a night there, you probably won't run out of food or supplies. However, if the camp is of epic variety, be realistic about how much you may need and how easy it will be to get more. Bring extra food and water if needed as the hungry group quickly goes into riot mode. A few other possible items include: portable grill / grill, charcoal, fishing rods, extra blankets, alkaline batteries, cell phone, first aid kit, tool kits, axes, hand openers, cooking tools and bug spray. And don't go in the woods with the "E" fuel tank. Chances are your generator will be chewing on some of the fuel and dry camping is not the time to run out of gas.