To Dry Camp or Not to Dry Camp?
A year ago, heck even 4 months ago, I would not have thought that dry camping would be our favorite way to camp. See, I am a huge fan of, get ready for this, warm showers and running water. Crazy, right? I agreed to 4 days of boondocking before planning the next leg of our journey. We stayed the night before in an RV park with a full hook up to make sure the batteries were charged, the gray and black tanks were empty, the fresh water was full, food was prepped, and the laundry was done.
Once we parked out on the BLM land and got set up, it was fairly early in the day. Because of this, we didn’t have any need for electricity other than keeping the fridge running. We chose to have a residential fridge in our RV rather than a propane one because the capacity is so much greater in this limited space. The only thing we found ourselves needing electricity for, besides the fridge, was to recharge our phones. For those four days, we ran the generator intermittently to keep the fridge cool and recharge our devices.
We had prepped food to keep our cooking to a minimum with the goal of keeping dishes to a bare minimum, gotta make every drop of fresh water count! As night fell, we found ourselves sitting outside watching the sunset rather than being plugged into the tv. During this 4-day trial run, we were barely inside! Luckily, the weather was perfect and we didn’t need air conditioning in the day or the heater at night.
We initially had a Champion 3750 Generator and found it was pretty loud. We set it up in such a way that the trailer or the truck would block most of the noise and we walked around in the direction of our neighbor’s camp and thankfully couldn’t hear it. It was, however, quite noisy at our camp. We justified the cost of a new generator by listing the old one immediately online. Our new Predator 3500 Inverter generator is much quieter and is more fuel-efficient. Overall, it was a great experience to try out living off the grid.
I did miss regular showers but when both of you have only had baby wipe showers for the past 4 days, it’s not too bad. We now try to camp near cities where we have a gym membership. I have found that the shower at the end of the workout is a great motivator to get me to the gym.
A majority of the food we prepped went to waste. We overestimated our consumption and ate out more than originally planned. Now we don’t prep as much and try to cook only using one pan. Eating on paper plates and using plastic ware saves on dishes.
We have 2- seven-gallon jugs for potable water. Not only did this remind us to stay hydrated, but it also helped keep the fresh tank fuller longer. I quickly realized that as a Washingtonian, our tap water is unique in the fact that it’s delicious. The rest of the country, not so much. I’ve come to really value good drinking water. We also added a Nahla water filter under the kitchen sink to filter our cold water so it’s drinkable.
The Cost (or the Lack Thereof)!
Let’s think about it this way: on average we noticed that RV parks charge around $20 for a day. So $20×5= $100. That’s a $100 that we can use for savings. Or maybe go see a museum or an event that we really want to see, or even play Bingo once a week. I know, we’re such old people here, but it is fun to play Bingo and socialize with people. Between the two of us, we can last about 5 days boondocking before we need to find a place to dump. Generally, we still have fresh water and our gray tank is at 1/3 when we need to dump. Maybe TMI, but in a trailer, that’s important stuff to know!
So, for 5 days we are not paying anything to camp! We have found that many parks offer overflow parking that you can dry camp on. The prices are usually under $10 and you have full access to the park amenities. Yes, like hot showers. Every day.
Meeting new people on the road has been amazing. A vast majority of the people we have met boondocking have been really cool, down to earth people. We share places that we have loved to go, apps that we use religiously on the road, and those I-can’t-believe-that-happened stories we all have. Admit it, there was one time you forgot to put the stairs up or completely close the black tank. This rarely happens at an RV park and it’s something we really appreciate.
The learning curve was a pretty easy one. We never realized how little electricity we really need and to be honest, it’s refreshing never having the tv on. We have spent so much more time outside enjoying our new surroundings and having meaningful conversations with each other as well as share tips and stories with neighbors.