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Old 10-24-2006, 03:54 PM   #1
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How do you Boondock???

The Boondocking forum has a lot of "where to" but not much on "how to".

I would like to suggest a small expansion to the Boondocking forum. There is ample geographical sections (sub-forums) but not a specific opportunity to post threads related to tips and strategies for successful boondocking. An additional sub-forum category might encourage discussion, sharing of experiences & tips, etc.

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Old 10-24-2006, 04:19 PM   #2
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Don't think we need a sub-forum for this...just start a new thread in the "Boondocking Forum" asking any questions you want.

I've moved this thread there...

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Old 10-24-2006, 05:01 PM   #3
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This is a big question, with as many answers as people that like to boondock..
But, some of the issues apply to everyone, I guess.
It boils down to the capacity of your trailers systems, the length of your stay, and your ability to conserve.
You can make your coach batteries last long by usig gas lights, and limiting the use of fans and other 12V users to the absolute minimum.
Water is a critical item, both fresh and waste water. It is often easier to refill a depleted fresh water tank from outside sources, than dumping your waste water once the tanks are full. Conservation is key here as well.
Propane is probably the least of the problem, as it usually goes a long way. ( Unless you winter camp and need to run the furnace a lot)
e.g.: We boondock in Baja at a beach with no services but a dump station and occasional water..My 55gal fresh, 52gal grey, and 25gal black will last us ( 2 adults) for about 4 days. 2 group 27 RV batteries will go 4 nights with fantastic fans on slow, and conservative use of lights. If we run the stereo a lot, or a TV, then we use our Honda Generator to refresh the batteries every 2 days or so.
I am sure that other members will share their tips and tricks.
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Old 10-24-2006, 05:13 PM   #4
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I have a Honda EU-3000 generator and a big scrubber battery (212 Ah) for AC/DC power. Lot's of propane for the furnace, water heater, fridge and stove/oven. Several 6 gal Jerry cans for water and a stand & siphon hose to help load it into the trailer. (See my photo gallery.) A 10 gal Blue Tote Cart for gray/black water. The 10 gal is manageable and I can pick it up to carry in the bed of my P/U to the dump station. We try to use pit privies, bath houses for showers, to reduce use of trailer water. I do all of my utility work in the AM so I don't have to mess with it and can have fun the rest of the day.

My P/U has a high top truck cap so I can carry and secure all the stuff we need to live autonomously. We've Boondocked up to 2 weeks like this, only needing additional food provisions and ice for the beer.
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Old 10-24-2006, 05:35 PM   #5
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Not my original intention for thread.

Thanks but I did not post the how to question.

If you start with the Airstream Community Forums page it has a forum titled "Boondocking". The caption under that reads:

"Share your best "no fee" camping sites"

This seems to be redundant when it is immediately followed by all the same info. specific to geographical areas (southern, mid-atlantic, mid-west, southwest, etc.)
Other forum titles have numerous references for what topics are to be found in that forum (i.e. interior restoration has 10). I was suggesting that the main Boondocking forum might have one or two other references: Boondocking strategies, Tips for getting back alive, How to conserve your resources, Boondocking on the first date, etc. Something more than "best no fee camp sites".

Thanks "uwe" and "rseagle" for your responses. It just wasn't were I was going with my original post. The title was changed for me. I will do some PMing before posting Admin. suggestions next time.

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Old 10-24-2006, 05:42 PM   #6
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You are right, I did re-name this thread...

The entire Boondocking Forum can accept threads on any boondocking topic that comes to mind. Just click the "New Thread" button right below the location sub-forums. If there are a lot of similar topic threads, then I (or any other admin) can add sub-forums.

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Old 10-24-2006, 05:55 PM   #7
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Okay...so I added "How to's, Tips & Suggestions" to the description.

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Old 10-24-2006, 06:53 PM   #8
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Boodocking means many different things to a number of different folks but it all seems to boil down to conservation. One of the ways I have found to save on water is to use a squirt bottle to wash my hands, rinse dishes, brush my teeth and any number of different tasks requiring a minimal amount of water. You will be surprised how long a regular squirt bottle of water will last.

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Old 10-24-2006, 07:37 PM   #9
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Additional tip

I carry a 35 gallon potable water barrel, and a 12 volt transfer pump (Harbor Freight) with a suction pipe (3/4" PVC) that extends from the pump (which I place on top of the barrel) to the bottom of the barrel. the pressure side of the pump connects to my water hose to get it into the trailer. I can refill my trailer's fresh water supply from this barrel. I don't usually carry the barrel full, the barrel usually gets filled close to, or at the destination - sometimes 2 or three times, depending on use or length of stay. The barrel rides in the pick-up truck.

You of course have to either dump waste tanks/Blue tote or be in a location where you can "recycle" your grey water to a gopher hole.
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Old 10-24-2006, 08:14 PM   #10
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Water conservation

I really like the squirt bottle idea.

We always take several gallon containers (Walmart $.69/gal.) for drinking, coffee, cooking. This also reduces chance of getting a bug from the fresh water tank. I drain the fresh water tank but don't always remember to add a bit of bleach between trips.

The squirt bottle would also reduce the number of times in one day we have to hear the noisy 12v pump operate (and that makes the batt. last longer).
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Old 10-24-2006, 09:33 PM   #11
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Boondocking for 1st time

Going boondocking for the first time this weekend, Llano, Texas on our maiden voyage, me and my 15 year old son deer hunting. One battery, two 30# tanks of propane and cooler for food as we have no power for frig, and however much water I can fill into holding tank. We will see how the new radiant heater works as it is supposed to be in the low 40's. Plan on not using any power until night except minimal for water pump during day. The only electric will be lights at night. I will post a follow up on Monday.
Nevermind, what happens in Llano, stay's in Llano.
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Old 10-24-2006, 11:59 PM   #12
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We often camp in older state and federal parks with no hook-ups....usually from 10 to 14 days. We have two solar panels (Kyocera 120watt panels)...one permanently mounted on the roof and one that can be moved around. The two batteries that came with the trailer we replaced 4 Interstate AGM batteries (no liquid). Unless it stays cloudy for days, this more than takes care of our electrical needs (we can always start up the tow vehicle to re-charge the batteries, as well). We carry an Olympian catalytic heater, in case it gets cold (used with a gas line plumbed in under the dinette)....since the Airstream heater uses electrical to run the fan. And, as was mentioned before, the propane takes care of the refrigerator and cooking on the stove. Like flyfshr said, it all boils down to conservation! Most times, it's the gray water tank that is our worry....fortunately, the control panel on our trailer enables us to monitor the status!

I remember boodocking with my parents in the 1960-70's while deer hunting. My dad installed a couple of gas lights in his trailer, we did our dishes outside, dug an outdoor latrine, and kept warm with lots of wool blankets in the trailer when it was too wet to be outside and by the campfire otherwise.

Airstream boondocking is heaven!
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Old 10-25-2006, 12:03 AM   #13
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btw....I really like the squirt bottle idea!
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Old 10-25-2006, 12:27 AM   #14
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Conserving resources

So much depends on where you are... and how far from fresh water and disposals... so, let's assume you are in the middle of nowhere. No water, no dump station, no Starbucks, no Wal Mart....

Water. We use the squirt bottle routine. It also works well for the toilet. Put a squirt of dish soap into a empty bottle, fill with water and it will rinse the bowl nicely. Used this in our boat when fresh water was a real premium.

One can also recycle water. Use your gray water (you can "strain" it through a cloth if fussy...) to use for flushing the black tank... squirt bottle or just a jug to pour in...

We usually wash hands, dishes, etc. outside and don't throw the water away immediately until we know we won't need it for something else. If you can toss the gray water outside it will really help the black tank or gray water tank from filling too soon.

Carry extra. We usually carry several flats of bottled drinking water. Also can carry extra water in a large blue tank.

Wash your hair, etc. in a bucket. If you fill the bucket with warm water you can stick your hair in, wet and wash your hair... rinse with the water in the bucket! You will even have a little left if you rinse back over the bucket to use to flush with!

Propane. All of our appliances are "original" so they run on propane only. No electricity needed. Propane stovetop, propane heater (no fan), propane hot water, propane refrigerator. No fans in any appliances. Unless we are heating everything in the cold weather, our propane will last way longer than our water or need to find a dump station.

Lighting. In the summertime, it stays light outside for a long time. We found we don't need much use for our batteries. Watch the campfire, visit, read during the daylight hours, do dishes make beds, etc. before nightfall and you will use less battery energy. We always bring a good old Coleman lantern and flashlights. We also have those wind up flashlights (Costco) so if all else fails our batteries can be recharged with a few cranks of the handle! I also have a nice little yacht lamp (West Marine) that burns a liquid parafin and will burn for a looooooooong time on the smallest amount of fuel. It provides enough light to actually see what you are doing, but not enough to read by, etc. Don't use your battery power unless you absolutely have to!

Well, these are a few of the things we do when Boondocking and wanting to stay as long as we can... our biggest need is usually the black water tank. We use other available bathrooms (pit toilets, etc.) when available and "save" ours for the middle of the night uses. When the blackwater needs to be emptied, then it is time to find a dump.

Have fun! Keep on camping!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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