We're starting this camping season off with some tips and tricks for boondocking in a travel trailer
There’s nothing like backpacking and going off into the back of beyond, kicking back and relaxing in the wild embrace of off-the-grid nothingness. However, as enticing as it may sound, camping in dry campgrounds, without the commercial amenities and hookups, might seem a tad bit disconcerting to first-timers. With a plethora of paraphernalia to pack, technicalities to take care of and ensuring safety on the road, you already have enough on your plate. Here’s our list of the ultimate tips and tricks for boondocking in a travel trailer to make the most of your secluded picturesque ambiance for a memorable excursion.
1. Picking a Boondocking Spot
Look up pertinent online forums, blogs, and discussion threads to get an idea of viable boon-docking locales. Get to know the area before venturing down the secluded paths. Analyze detailed maps and get more information on each terrain that grabs your curiosity. The main intention of campers is to roam around freely and visit places so make an itinerary of the places you want to see and search for the nearest boondocking locations.
Once at a boon-docking locale, climb to high ground to get a bird’s eye view of the site to pick a perfect spot. When setting up the rig, watch the direction of the sun and orient your trailer to make the most of it. If the weather outside is chilly, you might want to align the trailer to allow maximum sunlight to heat the rig. To alleviate the sultry heat waves, keep your trailer on the shady sides. Also, park your trailer to block sharp winds, so you can sit outside comfortably.
To extend your stay as long as possible, you have to be mindful of water usage. The more water you carry, the less exasperating it will be. It is better to purchase a travel trailer with a bulky water holding tank and to conserve the water by exercising prudence. Here’s how you can safeguard water:
- Capture the water runoff from doing the dishes or showering and use it to flush the toilet.
- Use paper plates to minimize the washing.
- Switch to a low-flame showerhead and a shutoff valve to close off water while leathering.
- You might run across a water source on your way. Keep a water distiller to turn water from any source instantaneously into drinking water.
- Invest in water gallons to increase freshwater capacity in the travel trailer.
Take quick showers and occasionally switch to sponge baths.
- Never dump your black water tank on the ground and wait until you find the nearest dump station to empty it.
- Your gray water tank fills up the fastest. Instead of creating puddles by dumping it inadequately, attach a dump cap to a garden hose and direct this water to a nearby thirsty bush instead of wasting it.
3. Powering the Travel Trailer
Saving power while boondocking in a travel trailer is tantamount to ensuring your survival. Batteries are the lifeblood of a camper. Even when using a generator, you need an outlet to store power. Most travel trailers come equipped with a 12-volt battery. This battery has to be recharged constantly and wouldn’t last a chilly night with the furnace running. It is prudent to add additional golf batteries to supplement the main power bank, lest you do not have the resources to recharge.
Without shore power, you lose the ability to use the AC appliances available to you onboard. You can use an inverter generator when dry camping as it satisfies most of your power needs. Run a microwave, charge your phone and other devices or use your coffee maker safely while on generator power. Tech-savvy campers have installed solar panels on the roof of their travel trailer to make use of the sunlight they receive and reduce their dependence on a generator. On a sunny day, the solar panels are almost identical to a generator and keep your appliances functioning. Here are a few tips on conserving power.
- Switch to LED lights inside the travel trailer instead of the power-thirsty incandescent lamps. The average bulb wastes a large amount of heat.
- On torrid boon-docking days, install a low power roof vent fan that can run on the 12-volt battery power of the trailer for some extra air circulation.
- Avoid boon-docking if the temperature is lower than 35oF or higher than 90oF as you don’t want to waste unnecessary power on air-conditioning or running a heater.
- Turn off all the lights and appliances when not in use.
- Keep your trailer cool by keeping the nightshades down throughout the day to deflect the sunlight.
- Open up the windows and make the most of the cool night breeze instead of firing up the AC.
- The air heating mechanism depletes the batteries hastily. Keep catalytic heaters that operate by chemical actions and use no electricity to keep the travel trailer.
- To heat water for showers, invest in a solar shower bag. This vinyl bag, with a shower nozzle attached, has a holding capacity of up to 6 gallons and when left in the sun, the water warms up on its own.
Unlike camping grounds, the wilderness promises no garbage disposal. Since there are no garbage cans in the vicinity, it is not a license to litter the scenic grounds. This incorporates a pack in, pack out routine for campers. It is imperative to build a garbage storage compartment where the pungent smells can’t permeate the rig and rodents can’t get at it until you find a suitable place for disposal.
For the sake of all boon-docking brothers, dispose of your trash responsibly. Do not cram the next gas station bin you come across or at somebody’s lands. Ask for acquiescence before you use their bin or offer a small amount in return.
These are some tips and tricks you should follow when boondocking in a travel trailer.