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Turtle 05-04-2005 10:33 AM

Boondocking Horrors
My wife and I are running out of official destinations to visit and are now ready to get off the road a little. But my wife is a bit nervous and I'm a bit oblivious. I've searched this site for stories and advice on boondocking safely and there is plenty of advice but what I want now are the stories! In my youth while camping with friends we bailed on a campground in the middle of the night as the only other group there started getting a little rowdy with each other and we think the knives were starting to come out. Something to do with a dispute over who was the woman's boyfriend.

I know there are no guarantees in life but as they say, "Knowledge is power". I also know we'll be fine in that lonely campground in the middle of the Oregon desert far far away from everything...

Have any of you out there had to use or show your weapon or had any incidences you'd like to share?


68 Overlander 05-04-2005 11:03 AM

Seeing where you live, I think you can holster your weapon out in the boonies but I'd have it ready on the freeways!
Honestly, no problems boondocking here except for the occasional bear.

markdoane 05-04-2005 11:14 AM


Originally Posted by 68 Overlander
Honestly, no problems boondocking here except for the occasional bear.

Randy, where is "here"?

Silvertwinkie 05-04-2005 01:43 PM

1 Attachment(s)
In over 20 years of camping mostly boondocking, we have never had an issue where we needed to tuck tail and run. Of course, that doesn't mean it could never get I offer this thread to view:

Not that this is a scientific poll or anything, but of the 97 Streamers that voted, over 56% pack their handguns with 'em. Though I've never needed it yet (except for recreational shooting, if you can call it that with this elephant handgun :) ), here is a likeness of what I have with me when I go out boondocking deep in the woods...and sometimes when I'm in the concrete jungle as well....and yes, it's a .50cal. ;)

jcanavera 05-04-2005 02:00 PM

The closest we have come to this is in a state park in Kentucky one year. Nobody there except us and one female camper in a sleeping bag on the ground. We were in our pop up days and Patty was awake all night unzipping the flap to see if that lone person was still sleeping on the ground. I think she had visions of the Psyco shower scene with the pop up being the shower and the canvas being the shower curtain.


rseagle 05-04-2005 03:45 PM

Yea, I've got a story! We were camping in a National Forest campgound during and after the Fourth of July weekend of 2002. It is our favorite NF campground because of it's remoteness (hard to get to and no cell phone service) and its open park type setting (you can park wherever you want). We're even going there this Fourth.

But in 2002, everybody else had just cleared out on Sunday afternoon and we were the only ones left. We had just started a fire to cook our chicken dinner, when this creepy dude walked up to us from out of nowhere. He was muscular, tatooes on his arms, neck and chest, shaved head, Fumanchu goatee and wearing a muscleman shirt. He claimed that his buddies had left him stranded there and needed a lift out of the forest. My hair stood up on my back that we were surprised like this. I told him that I didn't give rides to strangers and that we were preparing our dinner. He understood and walked off. But I wanted to make sure I was ready, in case he came back. I quickly put some protection in my pocket. Fortunately he didn't come back.

Two hours later another weird old guy drove into the campground. We were in the trailer getting ready to watch some DVDs. He got out of his car, popped open his beer, then walked over to the picnic table right across from my window, sat down and stared right into our trailer. Out of all the picnic tables scattered around the campground, he chose the one closest to our trailer window. When I noticed him staring at us, I pulled the blinds. He finished his brew and then left.

Just before sunset a couple drove into the campground in a beat-up Ford Futura. They got out and went around to all the trashcans collecting all the aluminum cans. Not really that unusual, and I even expect to see them again this Fourth. But by this time my wife was really edgy and was even talking about us leaving. But I calmed her down.

Well, about 2 AM, car lights and loud talking woke up my wife. She quickly woke me up and alerted me. We watched people walking outside our trailer (a Jayco KIWI with canvas bunk ends at the time). At first, I was apprehensive and even located my deterrence, but after awhile they appeared to have set up a tent and quieted down. We had neighbors again.

We went back to sleep, but the next morning we assessed the previous nights activities. While these events made us edgy, they were fortunately, innocent. We decided that we would contact the NF Law Enforcement Ranger to about these events and asked him to check on us from time to time. We've practiced this every year since. It's their job and they're glad to do it.

When you're "Boondocking" in a remote location with no means of contacting help, you are on your own. You may have to take care of business by yourself. I'm glad to say that most campers are friendly and the horror stories are rare, but there is always the chance that trouble may find you. So as with any situation, it's better to be prepared.

68 Overlander 05-04-2005 08:35 PM


Originally Posted by markdoane
Randy, where is "here"?

Last weekend was the Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho. Man if that is not God's country (down here), I don't know what is!

AKflyfisher 05-04-2005 09:04 PM

Idaho is very nice...but you might want to try the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. I was station in AK during my last assignment in the military and I fell in love the camping, the hunting, the fishing and the views! And the people are very nice, never had a problem. My dream job is to retire from the military and guide on the Kenai river with my drift boat....staying in my airstream! I dream about it every time I am deployed to the "sand box" flying aluminum that is only 2 years newer then my 1962 Tradewind!

Pick 05-04-2005 09:23 PM

We have boondocked many times in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. Before our Airstream, we would do "boat access only" camping on the reservoir with a tent. No roads to the campsite, only water. Once we came back, and someone stole the crank handle off of the boat trailer winch. I had to crank the boat on with a pair of vice grips. I slipped once and almost broke my wrist. The new crank handle was spot welded on.

Silvertwinky 05-04-2005 10:20 PM

I really can't say we've done very much "boondocking" as such, but several years ago I had an incident somewhat like Pick. I was camping with a group of men from our church and we also went by boat to a camp site. The next day after returning to my car, I noticed that someone had broken into it and if my memory serves me correctly, I believe they took some gospel tapes. Hope it did them some good!

eubank 05-04-2005 10:24 PM

One thought that is a little comforting is that bad guys are up to no-good, often involving drug manufacture/sales, and would just as soon NOT have any attention directed to them. By bothering boondocking tourists, they wind up increasing the chances that The Law will come in and bust up their illegal (but lucrative) business ventures! Bottom line for them: Be quiet, be secret, don't do things that attract much attention. Bottom line for the boondocker: A little bit of comfort.

68 Overlander 05-04-2005 11:32 PM

"I know there are no guarantees in life but as they say, "Knowledge is power". I also know we'll be fine in that lonely campground in the middle of the Oregon desert far far away from everything..."

Now that I have re-read your post, you have answered your own question. Get out there friend.

67caravel 05-05-2005 07:12 AM

A couple years ago we camped just outside Pagosa Springs, Colorado in a vacant state campground (too early in the season for the other folks, I guess). Anyway, we were the only folks in the entire campground and there were two or three different loops. About dinner time, a truck pulled in to the spot next to ours and setup camp. Go figure. They sat at their picnic table looking in our general direction until I walked over and invited them over for some company. I just couldn't stand having them there looking so lonely.

Anyway, they turned out to be a nice couple who were probably a bit uneasy. They were enroute cross country to visit kids and though we didn't have much in common, we shared a drink and exchanged stories and we left them with, hopefully, a good impression of Airstreamers. They were quite curious about our "vintage".

norbert 05-05-2005 08:07 AM


Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie

....and yes, it's a .50cal. ;)

you need to get rid of that blunderbuss, and get a nice .357, or 9mm......
norby ;)

Silvertwinkie 05-05-2005 08:28 AM

That's the beauty of this weapon's currently in .50cal form...however, if I buy a barrel and clip, it's then a .44.

If I want to spend a few extra bucks beyond the .44 conversion and get a bolt as well as a clip and a barrel, I can also convert this to a .357.

So in reality this gun can be 3 guns in one and can be changed on the fly. Matter of fact the .50 to .44 takes only a few seconds, though the .357 change might take a few minutes.

Though I will admit, the cost to go to all three cals is equal or greater than having 3 separate weapons.

Either way, it's not there to pull out to scare off someone, when it comes out, if it ever comes out, it won't be a decision that is taken lightly... be it on the road or in the home (always a defensive weapon). At any cal, it only takes on hit and it's all over, and something one has to live with since you can't take it back once that trigger has been pulled. Though I will admit, if all my range shooting with the .50 doesn't score a hit, the mere shockwave will knock any would be bad person to the ground. At the range the guy shooting with me said the shock wave this thing produces feels like a mule kicking you in the chest when you are off to the side of it...of course I couldn't get him to see if it was the same in front of it. ;)

Peter&Denise 05-05-2005 09:50 AM

Deliverance anyone?
I can't help but wonder if the whole 'fear' of boondocking stems from the way Hollywood has portrayed the supposed dangers of camping and being in the bush. (ie: Deliverance, Friday the 13th. etc.) They are just playing on the fears of a primarily urbanized population. Truth is you've got a far better chance of being the victem of violent crime the closer you are to other people be it in a city, suburb or campground. I'd worry more about getting rolled in the Walmart parking lot or the Interstate rest area than out in the bush. Unless you plan on carrying concealed all the time (which could create more problems than it solves), a safely-stored small caliber long gun (.22 semiauto rifle) would be a far more sensible choice for boondocking tool. At that it's unlikely you'll ever get it out for anything other than recreational use. P.

Silvertwinkie 05-05-2005 12:16 PM

I don't think for a second that there are great fears out there about boondocking. I for one only carry my gun with me just cause I have one, if I didn't already have a gun, I prob wouldn't be looking to get one to bring since we've never had any issues. Now that I have one, it gives me added comfort that I have something for the "just in case" type senario.

That said, some places have some fairly large wildlife, bears, etc. A .22 would be similar to shooting a BB gun at it and storing a rifle in a average RV isn't as easy as securing a small firearm (handgun) IMHO. A 9mm is a very good weapon to have. Small, powerful, accurate, can hold dozens of rounds in a clip (thanks to the assault ban law not being renewed), and is fairly inexpensive. I'd be the first to admit what I have is WAY overkill, unless of course I was on an African Safari Rally, but you work with what you have and in my case it's the Mark XIX platform from Magnum Research. ;)

Hippo 05-05-2005 01:49 PM

My wife has a gun permit and carries one with her on camping trips. We also take the dogs. Shelby is a golden/chow mix a good guard dog. We have never had any problems camping in 30 years in the Pacific Northwest. We haven't done Walmart yet.

rluhr 05-05-2005 02:10 PM

If we've ever had a "boondocking nightmare" it was when someone else showed up in a spot we formerly had all to ourselves ... :)

Don't sweat it. Boondocking is great and you're less likely to encounter a problem than you are in a crowded KOA, in my experience.

Sav'h Steve 05-05-2005 03:02 PM

I'm a little surprised that over 1/2 of respondents carry a weapon.

I have never had one and not had the urge or need.

But then I stay away from 'high risk' areas. I do feel that when you are really away from it all that it probably makes sense to have something to scare away the potential bad guy.

At some point I may invest in something inexpensive such as the 9mm that Eric mentions. Any brand to recommend (or stay away from)?


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