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Old 06-27-2018, 12:20 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BraveheartAZ View Post
I'm a pre-newbie. This is my first 'toe in' to the forums. Have been lurking and learning for a few months. My wife and I are close to retiring and THINK we want to spend 'a month here and a month there' away from the AZ summers. And THINK that sounds like fun in an Airstream. Renting a Sprinter a handful of times is in the plan before we take the plunge. Boondocking, whether by tent or trailer, doesn't hold much interest.
Welcome to the forum!

Sounds like you're leaning toward a class b. As far as boon docking goes, I'm of the same frame of mind and don't plan to intentionally stay 2 or more days in a place without hookups. So far, we've only stayed a single night at any one spot.

That being said, you'll want to be able to spend at least a full night without hook-ups and have sufficient battery capacity to run fan, lights, furnace, fridge, and tv.

We spent 8 of 12 nights without hook ups in our first trip this past May. Not because we planned to, but because we went without reservations or a schedule and ended up in some nice but primitive parks that included the Chisos Basin campground in Big Bend & Bridge Bay campground inside Yellowstone (and even two overnights at Walmarts).

The flexibility to do this meant we stayed wherever there was space and never had to "drive on into the night" to get to a campground with hookups. Of course, this was done in cool climates when we did not need a/c overnight, but did run the furnace multiple nights.

We did this on cheap new Sam's Club Duracell lead-acid wet cell batteries, not AGM's (charging them while driving) and no solar. We got into most sites after 6:00pm so were only off-the-grid for 12 hours max. We never used the inverter. Batteries never got below 70%, so I was very pleased with the drain-reducing tips I learned on this forum.

If I ever decided to increase my off grid capability, I'd put the money into a set of lithium batteries before I'd consider more solar.
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Old 06-27-2018, 11:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
Please provide your source for the 21 gallon water bladder.

How are you venting your cat heater to make sure that you actually do wake up?

Thanks, Dan
I can't remember exactly where I got the water bladder but something like this could work: https://www.amazon.com/Wheelbarrow-W.../dp/B0027U95UW

This is closer to what I bought (I don't recall the brand of mine and the trailer is off-site) but I certainly didn't speed more than $100. https://www.globalindustrial.com/p/s...llon-cap-black

As to the catalytic heater, keep in mind it's a catalytic process, not open flame so it requires minimal venting and to get the best results to warm the entire coach, you depend on a slight bit of air current to circulate the warmed air and that amount of opening is more than sufficient to ensure that you have enough fresh air. I raise the roof vents (manually) about an inch on each end of the coach and I leave the shower and bathroom vents open. Optimally I'd have one of the vents close to floor level but I don't have any such provision in my trailer for that.

If you haven't already, I'd highly recommend listening to the VAP (Vintage Airstream Podcast)--on many an episode they've detailed the benefits of the catalytic heaters and I think you'd find that a whole lot of boondockers use them as the primary heat source. While their focus is on older trailers, a whole lot of the subjects they discuss applies to all trailers.

We added a second 120 watt solar panel and now fresh water and gray water disposal are our biggest concerns. I'll bring the generator along if we're going for more than a couple of days, just in case or if my wife wants to use a hair dryer or curling iron but boon docking is definitely our preferred scenario, particularly on NFS or BLM land and no one else in sight.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:49 PM   #17
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Hi All,

I think I'm talking myself into the 25'.... but I've got time to decide. If anyone has thoughts on those AS models, I'd be interested to hear.

Happy trails!

Dawn

Dawn, great first post. Keep us informed if you get another AS.

Looks like you joined in '2009? Don't wait so long for your next post.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:36 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
Boondocking is a... life style, by choice. Boondocking should not be chosen and then the life style learned.

Nancy and I tent camped for as long as many Newbies reading the Airforums are OLD, BEFORE going to a travel trailer. We both enjoyed the solitude and the challenges of going where few have traveled. We also loved our dog, which became dogs, two Australian Blue Heelers. High energy like ourselves and not afraid of Bear, snakes or... chipmunks.

Our Blue Heelers loved camping. Sunrise, open the trailer's door and they were off. Soon, laying on the mats in front of the trailer protecting our common den... our Airstream.

If you have tent camped very little or never... you had better ask yourself some serious questions...

Why do YOU think now is a good time to spend the money on an expensive Travel Trailer? Usually it is from an advertisement showing a couple wine and dining on the Laguna Beach, California. Candles. A nice carpet, table, two comfortable chairs and... maybe a smoke jacket and pearls for the wife.

W. R. O. N. G. commercial. Rewind and start over to Primer 101. This is before Boondocking 101 and 102. Way before...

Both husband and wife have to agree, at least to try it out. Maybe rent a trailer for three days... a RV Rental is much easier. If either of you do not find the RV Rental to your liking... well, why?

How many kids, dogs, birds... toys do you plan to haul?

Do you have a tool? Better get in the fixing mood with a trailer, tools needed.

Do you realize that your Porsche is not going to tow a 28 foot trailer. The tow vehicle may be a F150 pickup that is too tall to clear the height of your garage and once in the garage... neither door can be opened.

I WANT first time Trailer owners, who NEVER tent camped to chime into this thread.

Obviously, if you are on the Airforums... it was a success. Tell those Newbies how you managed to work this out to your satisfaction, tow vehicle choice and trailer length and model.

I can bring up some examples of great transitions.

I can bring up some examples of grief, distress and regret.

Where do YOU begin? Why not just start with a sentence with I or WE, and go from there.
Well, one-half of us has done both. I tent camped before trailering. Scoffed at those RVers as not real campers, but interlopers bringing the city to the outdoors. Time changes things, the wife is not an outdoorsy person. Hates bugs and cold water to brush teeth. So...what's a fella to do? Buy a trailer, of course, if you want to go camping and bring the wife with you. Otherwise it's a solo activity. Our first trailer was a 22' Prowler. Used it for park camping with the wife and boondocking by myself. Found out that even in the best of boondocking conditions, the trailer was more comfortable than the tent. Hmmm? maybe just getting older. Later on we bought a 25' AS Safari. Whoa. What an improvement. More comfort yet. Kinda sounds like I was beginning to bring the city with me when boondocking .Shame on me for disparaging those earlier RVers. With the 30' AS FC we have only boodocked one time. I have found that as long as the wife is comfortable, so am I. Like in the days I tent camped your comfort in boondocking or park camping depends upon being prepared. Knowing the conditions before you arrive at a spot is important. I try to scout ahead when going into the unknown. Helps prevent towing the 30' AS into a dead-end trail that is impossible to back out.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:44 PM   #19
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Oh, no problem folks. If boondocking isn't for you, it just makes the back-of-beyond spaces a bit less crowded for the rest of us who love them.

**No offense intended, and I hope none taken.**

But really, to us, having stayed in many RV parks where we were surrounded by acres of massive motor homes and 5th wheels with slide-outs, we fail to even see the point of RVing with this type of RV park as a destination. Frankly, it would just be nicer to stay home.

Bondocking is what gets us into the beautiful places. We're just back from 4 nights in this campground http://riondelcampground.ca/ where we had our own unobstructed section of beach. No hookups, but there is drinking water on site, showers and a sani-dump. The cost was $CAN 25, or roughly $US 19 per night.

We were hoping to go solar, but with a smaller roof area, our AS mechanic talked us out of it. Instead, we bought an auxilliary set of batteries (2 6-volt.) Normally running the generator for a short while (Honda 2000,) however, allows us to recharge most of our electronics.

Why boondock? Maybe Robert Service said it best:

"It’s the great, big, broad land ’way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace."
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Old 06-29-2018, 06:44 PM   #20
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I just completed 10 days boondocking in the Adirondacks at an NY State campsite with my new FC25FB. It was at a campsite area that I have tent camped many times previously, but this was first time with my Airstream. Wow. Everything was easier and more enjoyable than tenting. Just to make it clear, there was no water, electric, sewer, cable, WiFi or even cell phone coverage.

1. I do think that having previous tent camping experience, certainly allows the boondocking Airstream owner to manage expectations. It becomes a more fun experience.

2. The Airstream trailer then becomes home-base for all activities, like hiking, canoeing or visiting any local attractions.

3. My Airstream has rooftop solar, but was almost useless because all campsites were under heavy shade trees. Add in normal cloudy and rainy days and solar was not effective. A small Honda generator I packed, maintained battery levels during certain hours.

4. Normally this campsite has always been fully booked during peak season from June 1st to September. It was 92% empty the day I checked out on June 27th. According to the campsite caretaker, they have noted major attendance declines over the past 5 years due to most "camping people" wanting full hookups.

Sadly, I am wondering if many people are passing up quality campsite locations, because they want to avoid the boondocking experience.

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Old 07-09-2018, 08:10 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Martee View Post
I just completed 10 days boondocking in the Adirondacks at an NY State campsite with my new FC25FB. It was at a campsite area that I have tent camped many times previously, but this was first time with my Airstream. Wow. Everything was easier and more enjoyable than tenting. Just to make it clear, there was no water, electric, sewer, cable, WiFi or even cell phone coverage.

1. I do think that having previous tent camping experience, certainly allows the boondocking Airstream owner to manage expectations. It becomes a more fun experience.

2. The Airstream trailer then becomes home-base for all activities, like hiking, canoeing or visiting any local attractions.

3. My Airstream has rooftop solar, but was almost useless because all campsites were under heavy shade trees. Add in normal cloudy and rainy days and solar was not effective. A small Honda generator I packed, maintained battery levels during certain hours.

4. Normally this campsite has always been fully booked during peak season from June 1st to September. It was 92% empty the day I checked out on June 27th. According to the campsite caretaker, they have noted major attendance declines over the past 5 years due to most "camping people" wanting full hookups.

Sadly, I am wondering if many people are passing up quality campsite locations, because they want to avoid the boondocking experience.

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Glad that you enjoyed your first boon docking experience with your Airstream.

I agree that most campers,want full hookups. That is what makes the ability to camp without hookups so great. You can actually find a campsite and the the campers are quite a bit different than those that you find at a full hookup campground.

Dan
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Old 07-10-2018, 04:48 PM   #22
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I just completed 10 days boondocking in the Adirondacks at an NY State campsite with my new FC25FB. It was at a campsite area that I have tent camped many times previously, but this was first time with my Airstream. Wow. Everything was easier and more enjoyable than tenting. Just to make it clear, there was no water, electric, sewer, cable, WiFi or even cell phone coverage.
Do you mind sharing the name of the park/site?
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:39 AM   #23
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I have camped most of my life. Mostly tents, some trailers, mostly with no source of anything I couldn’t carry.

Then I found my bride who had no interest in camping. City girl. But then, at a car show in DC of all places, she had her first chance to get up close and personal with an AS. But we were city people now. I had a 911 so a trailer made no sense.

Fast forward five years. The 911 is gone and an F-150 is in. And then a chance trip to the AS dealer on a lazy weekend. She said, as we walked around, “we are not buying anything today.” An hour or so later she said “I want that one” and we crossed a new threshold in life with a 25’ International Serenity.

We had several practice camps. Close to civilization with full hook up and all. Lovely. And we began to become more adventurous and looked to get further away. I did buy a generator and we do have solar so we have a safety net of sorts.

On our first real boondocking experience we realized we missed one important thing. Fresh water. We figured we could find some along the way, but that was a bad assumption. So I found a grocery store and bought 25 gallons of drinking water (the checkout guy was clearly baffled) and we used a cut open water bottle as a funnel.

Now we have a real funnel only for water and five 5-gallon collapsable jugs we fill at home and carry in the truck (trailer is stored in VA, we live in DC). No more water concerns.

And to my surprise, the city girl let go. Bathing is generally a swim in the river or lake. Showers are rare. This is all surprising to me. We go out 3 weekends per month and one week per quarter.

And she’s now ready to sell the house and travel for awhile to see everything she’s been missing her whole life. So we have next spring set as our “leaving DC” time (daughter graduates from college in May).
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:55 PM   #24
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Jeff, a big "wahoo!" to you and your lovely bride.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:07 AM   #25
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This is a good thread - thanks Ray. The ironic thing, for us, was that we had finally been able to buy some camping equipment, went out camping over a week in the eastern Sierras, and on the way back came up behind an Airstream on Highway 395. While I was waiting for a chance to pass, I remembered how I had always wondered what an Airstream looked like inside, and right then made a vow to look at one when we got home. Within three months we had returned our REI tent, traded it in for cold weather gear, and hit the road for good.

Once we got a winter under our belts while safely working as camp hosts in a state park, we felt boondocking was the next step. The important thing was that we knew that all our appliances and trailer functions were operating. We also had accumulated the necessary gear for a prolonged stay beyond the extension cord: water and gas cans, a Honda 2000i generator, a shovel, and solar lamps. We bought a portable gray/black water tank so that we didn't have to break down the trailer to make a dump. We fill the portable tank to the point where we can still lift it into the truck bed; even a couple trips was more desirable than packing up our trailer. The longest we've stayed out in one spot has been 38 days and the farthest out away from a highway was 25 miles. We stayed for free in three different spots in the Sawtooths over 45 days. Now this doesn't mean we were self-sufficient for the entire time - we often made visits to a nearby small town to get supplies. We boondocked one week without replenishing the time we were out 25 miles; we could have stayed another week but we fished out the little spot we had found.

I think Len and Jeanne pretty much nailed it a few posts previously. Everything we learned was from this forum or off YouTube. There is nothing like opening the trailer door to find an unobstructed view of the outdoors, stepping out and not hearing or seeing anyone except for nature's call. You can start small and go a couple nights with just a solar lamp and a good book, and then push your comfort zone a bit each next time. Adventure isn't necessarily "going big". It's just crossing the line in the sand you marked for yourself.
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Old 07-14-2018, 02:45 PM   #26
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RICE COOKER FOR BOONDOCKING

I was in Walmart a while back and a rice cooker caught my eye. It took a while but I finally found out that it only needed 350 watts of electricity and was sufficiently small and light weight for the Airstream. Our inverter is 1000 watts so the power is covered. I didn’t buy the one in Walmart because it didn’t have the steamer but went on Amazon where the selection is huge and ordered one for $19.

I generally don’t want to heat anything with electricity while boondocking, but we have 200 watts of solar and so we are just using the sun to cook with. Now I haven’t made any rice yet, but have found that the rice cooker works great for heating up just about anything. I generally just power it on the 5-10 minutes and then just leave it covered heating the contents for a few more minutes. Another advantage is that we can use it on the picnic table and not add any heat to the interior of the Airstream.

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Old 07-15-2018, 08:30 AM   #27
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Touring Dan... what time did you say for all of us to arrive?
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Old 07-15-2018, 05:17 PM   #28
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Every Airstream owner should have at least a basic understanding of how to survive in a trailer without full hookups.

I’ve camped almost every way you can. When I was 14 and completing my Queen’s Venturer Award, my dad dropped me and two friends off in front of a public forest and picked us up two days later. We thought we were spoiled because we had sleeping bags, matches and a can of beans each.
I’ve also stayed in luxury RV parks where they’ll deliver groceries to your site with a golf cart.

On the Canada day weekend we booked a site at a “camping resort” near African Lion Safari Amusement Park. Highly recommend African Lion Safari, we all loved it.
The site had full hookups but Saturday afternoon the power went out to the whole park. The park was on a well so no running water and they closed the pool too.
It was a sweltering 35c in the shade and extremely humid. Us Canadians can’t handle that weather.

The RVr’s across the road announced an ultimatum to all campers and park staff that if power was not back on within the hour they would be leaving, which they did.

I calmly unplugged my shore power, switched the fridge and water heater to propane, turned on the water pump and connected my small solar panel.
I also issued each of the kids a squirt bottle and filled some buckets with water. I spent the afternoon sitting in the shade with a cool beverage watching the kids squirt each other and dunk their heads in the water buckets to cool off.
We cooked over the open fire and read fairytales by solar lantern light, then had warm showers and drifted off to sleep to the sound of the crickets outside our many open windows.
In the morning the power was back on but we didn’t need it. Bacon and eggs tasted great on the propane stove and the kids picked up the squirt bottles and resumed their water war from the previous day.

I feel bad that I didn’t try to stop the campers who packed up when the power went out, they have no idea the fun they missed out on.
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