Friday, January 4, 2013

Long term boondock'n

See, I tole ya. Them weather forecasts ain't always right. It were supposed to git down to 36 degs last night an' it didn't. When I get up this morn'n it were a comfortable 43 degs. If'n ya wanna call 43 degs comfortable.
Weren't no sunshine again yesterday, so I been hav'n to run the Onan (generator) bout 2 hours a day to keep the batteries over the 50% mark. A gallon a hour.....yikes. Propane is hold'n up with run'n the Mr Heater like 10 hours a day. Just tak'n a wild guess....I'm think'n bout a gallon a day.....or so.

We got a lot of visitors to Billy Bob's Place what own RV's and stuff like that. Most of 'em camp in RV parks and State Parks where they have access to electricity, water and sewer connections. That's all fine an' dandy....I've done that too. But today we ain't gonna be talk'n bout none of that kind of camp'n, we go'n boondock'n.....yeee ha. Long term boondock'n.

"What the hell is boondock'n Billy Bob"? Well that can be answered in different ways, but it all boils down to camp'n with out the conveniences. You know, electricity, water  and sewer.....rough'n it 2013 style. We ain't talk'n bout no one night stay at the local Walmart....which is considered by some RV'ers as boondock'n. A better term for Walmart camp'n would be dry camp'n.....for one night. Everbody does it. It's the American way.....something free. I might add at this point that most Walmart campers will spend upwards to $100 and more for the free camp'n at Walmart. Sounds like a good deal to me.

Ok, back to boondock'n. Ya find ya a nice little piece of property way out in the "boonies" where ya want to spend a few days. For free. Usually BLM land or National Forest areas what allow such things. Ya pick out a nice camp site and set up camp. Where the hell is the electric plug? There ain't none. Where the water spigot? There ain't none. So how ya gonna camp for a couple weeks or more with no electric and water. Simple, ya either take it with ya or ya make your own.

Now there's more than one way to make electricity. Ya can either go back to town to a rv park an' plug in, or you can produce your own out in the sticks with a generator or a solar system. For boondock'n, it's gonna be generator or solar panels. A short time boondocker....you know, only go camp'n a couple times a year and for only a few days, can get along just fine with a generator. Most RV's (motorhomes) have one built in for that purpose.....or they can be purchased right cheaply if'n ya got a 5th wheel or travel trailer. With the generator comes the noise element, gasoline consumption, run time and maintenance. Everbody hates a generator run'n all hours of the day. It all adds up to $$$$.

Speak'n of $$$$, have ya ever priced a solar system? Not cheap by any means. But a very good investment for long term boondock'n. A good solar system what will meet your electric needs will consist of somewheres around 200 watts PLUS of solar panels, a charge controller and a big ol' battery bank of a whole bunch of amp hours. In my case, 470 of 'em (4 deep cycle 6 volt Interstate golf cart batteries wired to 12 volts). Along with all the required heavy wiring of course. My above numbers are for "long term" boondock'n, not a piddly 3 or 4 days camp'n trip out in the middle nowheres. With a good and properly sized solar system, you can camp indefinitely and still have plenty of electricity....if'n ya conserve. And ya gotta have plenty sunshine too ya know. A complete DIY installed solar system will run ya right bout $1000.....plus.

Ok, so ya want to go long term boondock'n. We discussed mak'n electricity...right? But what about the second most important item....water. Again, most or all rv's have a fresh water tank. Some bigger than others. So how much water is enough? There is never enough. The fresh water tank will only hold so much, so ya gotta conserve....same like what ya gotta do with electricity. Forget the shower a day routine, it's ok to stink a little while boondock'n. Before head'n out to your boondock'n spot, fill the tank.....plumb to the top. Now....ya gonna run out of water sooner than you expect. You have two choices when ya run out, go back to town with the rig and refill your tank or have water jug totes. In my case, I carry two 7 gallon jugs. Quick trip to town in the toad, fill the jugs an' ya got 14 gallons more water. Sell 'em at Walmart for bout $15 each. Ya may make a note here that you're gonna be go'n to town anyhows to restock groceries. Two birds with one stone ya know.

Speak'n of groceries. Stock up before you are a hunnert mile from the grocery store. Plan your grocery shop'n on one pot meals. Use paper plates....cheap at Walmart. Water conservation ya know....wash'n dishes and stuff. Dry goods last a long time. Consider pastas, pancake mix, oatmeal, dried beans....stuff what ain't gonna rot wait'n to be cooked. Do ya like Spam? Fill that freezer to the brim. In my case, 5 or 6# pork chops, 5# hamburger meat, whole bunch of chicken an' a few steaks for special occasions. A couple big ol' bags of froze assorted vegetables....you good to go.

By all means, arrive at your long term boondock'n site with empty black and gray holding tanks. Take my word for it. There ain't nuttin worse than hav'n to go to town and empty tanks. In most places ya camp, it's perfectly legal and acceptable to run the gray water on the ground. But don't even think of dump'n black water on the ground. Illegal, stinks and absolutely unacceptable no matter how ya look at it. In my case, being a single camper, I can go for over a month before dumping the black water tank (42 gal.). Of course I've been knowed to pee in the bushes from time to time. Conservation ya know.

I know I missed a bunch of stuff here, but with what we've discussed, you can go long term boondock'n with no worries. Any help from the readers gladly accepted.

Ok, let's go boondock'n.   

That was fun, but I really wanted to tell a funny story......


  1. Good job BB. My only addition is that I use a small inverter from Wal-Mart to charge my computer and cell phone. Gotta keep connected to the grand kid ya know.

  2. Since all my tanks black, grey, and fresh water are 100 gallons each, I can go a long time without refilling or dumping. In fact it is not good to dump until at least three quarters full. I always dump the black first and then the grey to clean out the sewer hose.

    1. WOW DD that could be over 1600 pounds of waste to haul around! I'm impressed.

    2. My GVW is around 35,000 pounds, so 1600 pounds is just a fraction of the GVW. A drop in the bucket (tongue in cheek). 8.35 pounds times 300 gallons (if all tanks are full) would be 2500 pounds and the fresh water tank would be used as the others fill so 8.35 times 200 gallons would only be 1670 pounds.

  3. Hey BB I use a 45 gal water tank (Tractor Supply)in the back of my Jeep when I use the Geogie-Boy at the races (Nascar) of course.. and don't forget those little blue totes for the poop, nasty little job..

  4. great post! thanks for posting this information .. we've been looking at doing some boon docking but we are a bit on the leery side as we've mostly been where we have hook ups. Yes .. the end of this month we've been full time 6 yrs and the longest we've boon docked is 3 days and did fine with one battery and a generator but i think we'd love it if we would get setup correctly. It could open so much more up to us instead of paying for an RV Park.

  5. Almost makes me wish I still had an RV so I could go boondocking! Good post, and good information.

    1. When did you get off the road Gypsy? And hope ur feeling better.

  6. One of your finest post to date and very informative. Thank you.

    1. No No No MsB, don't be go'n say'n stuff like that. That weren't me what wrote all that stuff....it were Mr. Bill. Ya do 'member Mr. Bill, Billy Bob an' "the popster"....right?

  7. I only use my 4000 w generator to run the roof AC if it is hot and humid. I bought a 1000 w last year that I keep in a storage compartment....slide out,start, hook up battery charger to it and then direct to batteries. They charge much faster that way.

    I only use the fresh water tank for a quick shower and shampoo hair about every 2 days. I have 3 gal water jugs for drinking,dishes etc. I bought 2 5 gal water jugs and I also just bought a tiny water pump to transfer water to small 1 gal container (has spout) that I am able to lift. I am a lady who has had neck surgeries so not able to lift much.

    Just my dog and me so only dump tanks q 3 weeks.

    I have to figure out how to put a male plug on my new tiny water pump wires. I can't figure out which wire goes where.

    I have 270 watts of solar panels on the roof and just use a 400 watt inverter which is all I need. 2 deep cycle batteries which are fully charged by noon on a sunny day. Battery lanterns for emergency back up.

    10000 btu blue flame gas heater and my little Buddy for emergency backup.

    Last winter I spent over 4 months boondocking in Texas. Always free up and down the coast from Port Lavaca to the National Seashore. This winter I am still in my house in Minnesota. It is well insulated and warm. I am not fighting the cold in Texas in my motorhome.........will probably not be down until Feb. Andrea

  8. Boon docking long term sounds like a good way to go, providing you are prepared as you suggest!

    Nice post!

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