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Cool Ghoul
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Not having RV'd before in my life, this is a potential new territory for my wife and I.  Watching YouTube or reading forums, it seems like there's a definite culture around the RV lifestyle.

We're used to living in a major city, and security is constantly an issue.  My questions:

  • Has anybody had security issues while boondocking?    Or even while staying in a campground area?  Issues of theft?
  • In campsite situations, is it common for other campers to join you?  Frankly, this seems to be an easy way of being set up.  Particularly if someone wants to see the inside of the trailer or requests to use the restroom.   
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I've never had any  such  issues either  while boondocking in dispersed camping  spots  or in established  campgrounds. Including never having  had anything I'd left in the camp site for the day stolen  (folding chairs, stove connected  to 1 gallon refillable propane tank, etc.). 

I  do know a few  people who  have  had some minor but scary harrassment at night while in  dispersed  camp sites. These very few cases across  a great many camping experiences amongst all the  people I know sounded like other  very drunk  campers  out for some nasty "fun" more than  trying  to  steal or physically hurt anyone,  but in  the moment they did  not sound great. One was  somewhere  in southern  AZ in  a very remote spot, and two  were  just out at the end of old logging  road spurs in WA; all three well  into night time.

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

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I worry more about bear and sometimes bison and elk (depends on where we're camping, and the season,) than I do people. I've never had anything stolen from my campsite.  (My first solo rv trip was summer of 78.) We do make a habit of putting expensive items out of sight, and lock the trailer when we're gone for the day, but that's about it.

It is basically considered rude to ask to use someone else's bathroom.  Unless it's a potty training child's mom, you'll probably never be asked that question. If someone does, just say your tanks are full....

As far as showing your camper, it's easy  and perfectly ok to say "not right now," or just "we don't feel comfortable with that" especially during covid times. Campers are usually really ok with that response. In today's world, we don't have the same concept of sharing as previous years.

 

 

 

 

Edited by SeaDawg
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There have been a couple of recent threads about security.  If you do a search for “security” you’ll find some.

There is a kind of RV lifestyle culture.  We’ve found mostly very nice people while camping, some outgoing and some not.  We have not had any security issues in any type of camping.  We feel more secure when we’re way out there boondocking since there just isn’t much in the way of people around.  But even in campgrounds we’ve felt safe and do not worry about security. No theft issues.

Don’t try to engage someone in conversation if they are setting up or tearing down to go.  Most of us have a routine that we don’t want interrupted and end up forgetting something.  Once I had a guy stop me as I was backing my trailer in, Carol standing on the site giving me directions.  I politely but firmly told him to give us an hour or so.  Don’t be that guy!!

In general, the vast majority of fellow campers will not just walk up into your site.  We’ve had folks get to where they could announce themselves but not just walk up cold.  Friends are different, of course.  Some want to ask about the trailer or ask what part of Texas we’re from if they are too.  Nobody has ever asked to use our bathroom, to me that would be rude.  I have showed interested people the inside of our trailer, but not often and I am very careful about who I would let in.  You can usually tell the difference between genuine interest and passing curiosity.

In general, the RV life is pretty safe and people are generally friendly and helpful. We’ve met some great folks on the road.  Mike

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That said, we've enjoyed campfires and conversations with people from all over the globe. My Christmas card list includes camping friends across the US,  Canada, Germany,  the UK, Iceland, and Australia (and elsewhere.)

Most campers are people just like you, but from somewhere else. 

It's still ok to just say "not now," or "we're just getting settled in", or "we're not into visitors right now."  

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11 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

I worry more about bear and sometimes bison and elk

Yeah out at the coast we have learned to be super careful about  leaving things  unattended  that the racoons, and crows might have interest in. The racoons in particular often come in organized groups. Crows and squirrels are the day shift and  the  racoons come on toward the end  of twilight. During one racoon event, where we'd had several around  and above us (they travel quite fluidly in the evergreen tree canopy from  tree to tree), after I thought that with the help of  our big dog we'd motivated them  all to move  to the next site, I walked over from the picnic table to  our van where my wife was doing some food prep up at the  counter inside. There was one racoon  with back  feet on the ground and front up  on the  step into the van, cooly watching her and deciding whether there  was  a  move to  be made. Seeing me, it decided to follow the rest of the gang to try to find easier pickings.  Crows and ravens are  SMART  and definitely watch  what's  going on and  swoop in when the opportunity presents. I pretty much assume anything we leave out on a picnic table or fire pit grate  or whatnot is going to  be investigated by  these  birds when we're not right there. 

Bears are no joke in some areas! Down  in CA they  know what  coolers look like and  will break into locked cars to get into them. Up in WA they're not that bad (yet - our  population  is growing and a lot more  newbies are getting out which may train them in unfortunate ways. It's sad because a fed bear usually ends  up a dead bear  as  they become troublesome and trapping and moving usually just sends the problem elsewhere. In WA we mostly just have to be smart about food storage - in a hard sided container (a  camper like  the Oliver counts! but so do  "bear canisters"  while backpacking etc.) or carefully  hung from  a tree  (i.e. while  backpacking where  bear canisters aren't required).

Yeah we think  way  more about  that than  about security  from people but for sure  we lock  our bikes  if we  are leaving them unattended and I'm  careful with camera gear and such.

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

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16 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

That said, we've enjoyed campfires and conversations with people from all over the globe.

While I love remote backpack trips and boondocking in a spot we have all to  ourselves  I  also  love the social  aspect of car/camper camping in  campgrounds or shared dispersed sites. We definitely  have  a growing network of camping friends with whom we  are staying somewhat  in touch. Not everyone wants this but it's  pretty  easy to find the people who do if you're at all outgoing - e.g. exchanging pleasantries while  walking near  the campground etc.

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

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2 hours ago, Jim_Oker said:

While I love remote backpack trips and boondocking in a spot we have all to  ourselves  I  also  love the social  aspect of car/camper camping in  campgrounds or shared dispersed sites. We definitely  have  a growing network of camping friends with whom we  are staying somewhat  in touch. Not everyone wants this but it's  pretty  easy to find the people who do if you're at all outgoing - e.g. exchanging pleasantries while  walking near  the campground etc.

I can't possibly count the fun times we've enjoyed with camping neighbors.

We don't necessarily seek out the company,  but it often evolves.

Meeting new people in remote places has brought joy and warmth to some cold and crazy spots.

Sherry 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Cool Ghoul said:

Not having RV'd before in my life, this is a potential new territory for my wife and I.  Watching YouTube or reading forums, it seems like there's a definite culture around the RV lifestyle.

We're used to living in a major city, and security is constantly an issue.  My questions:

  • Has anybody had security issues while boondocking?    Or even while staying in a campground area?  Issues of theft?
  • In campsite situations, is it common for other campers to join you?  Frankly, this seems to be an easy way of being set up.  Particularly if someone wants to see the inside of the trailer or requests to use the restroom.   

Hmmm, I am sure, somewhere,  at some point, there has been  a nefarious human lurking around in an RV park - and maybe even in a remote boondocking  site. but in my 45 years of camping - from tent to Oliver,  all over this country - I haven't found them yet. A few rude, obnoxious, or just out of it - but never any that were anything I worried about. Now there was this bear in Yellowstone who didn't like tents, and a large Moose - who was just - well big. A very smart and strong racoon gave us fits on a rainy night in Ark many years ago - the only marked bandit I can remember. Jim O has it right - wildlife are probably the the real worry.

As has been stated - the vast majority of RVer's are friendly people - and getting to know the other campers is part of the culture - well for us anyways. Some of the best people I know - I met while enjoying the outdoors -  camping. If you want solitude - it s there for the taking, and if you want to be left alone  - its really easy.  Probably should not come too far south if your one to be warry/shy of strangers - we say hi to everyone, will make eye contact, and generally just be nice  -  to strangers.  ????? 

As or security issues - I'm usually on point at fuel fills, in town for supplies, and when around non  campers.  Perhaps at rest-stops - I have seen some really strange stuff at 3 am in a west Texas rest stop =  off  -I ????  well you pick one. 

Relax - the other rv dudes - they left the city for the same reason as you!  The bad guys are behind you - doing their thing in a more target rich environment. 

 

Good luck.

RB

 

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7 hours ago, BackofBeyond said:

As or security issues - I'm usually on point at fuel fills, in town for supplies, and when around non  campers.  Perhaps at rest-stops - I have seen some really strange stuff at 3 am in a west Texas rest stop =  off  -I ????  well you pick one.

My friends with the big combo horse trailer camper mentioned that what they hear of in their circles (and they boondock a lot with their horse crew) is theft mostly of brake controllers at truck stops and horse shows. They use a removable controller and always take it with them when leaving the truck at such places. They also liked the design of my controller, with the main box hidden behind the dash and a control integrated into the dash face.

Edited by Jim_Oker
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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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8 hours ago, Cool Ghoul said:

Not having RV'd before in my life, this is a potential new territory for my wife and I.  Watching YouTube or reading forums, it seems like there's a definite culture around the RV lifestyle.

We're used to living in a major city, and security is constantly an issue.  My questions:

  • Has anybody had security issues while boondocking?    Or even while staying in a campground area?  Issues of theft?
  • In campsite situations, is it common for other campers to join you?  Frankly, this seems to be an easy way of being set up.  Particularly if someone wants to see the inside of the trailer or requests to use the restroom.   

Have never had another camper ask to see our RVs without an invitation.  Covid situation is a good excuse to not accept visitors.

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RV Culture: a state of mind that requires a funny hat. The hat may not be funny to you, but one so nice and comfortable that you don't care what other people think. It is probably a hat you wouldn't wear at home where your friends are.

RV Culture: a place where you can stand in PJs or sweats, a bag of dog poop in your hand, and be talking with strangers. And no body thinks anything of it.

RV Culture: if you have an Oliver you want to pack referral cards everywhere. I have had people gather at a gas station. I had to pull off to the side, after filling, the line was that long. As they peeked in I would hand them  a card. Told them it had the web site listed. Rest areas can draw a crowd too. I have had them waiting outside the restroom, but they only want to ask about an Oliver. 

RV Culture: standard basic courtesy observed. Do NOT walk through others sites. Wave at other campers as they walk by. Say "Hi" if they are close enough. If you see another camper struggling with something ask if you can help before stepping in. Pick up after your pet. Pick up after yourself. Leave only your foot steps.

RV Culture: Security? Never had a problem. No food or scraps left around. Door locked when leaving the site, out of habit. I do have a pistol cable lock around my Progressive EMS system and power cord, because of the moving lights. Just lock it so it doesn't get borrowed while somebody looks to see what the lights are. Again..never had a problem...

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Cool Ghouls' original question got me to thinking. 

As many others have reported here, I too have never had a "bad" human interaction while camping.  Even my wildlife interactions have not been "bad" even though my heart rate and/or adrenalin levels at the time were probably somewhat elevated. 

However, I recently installed a new window in the Oliver's door so that I could see what was happening out there without having to open that door.  As I do in even in my non-RVing life I virtually always have personal protection of some sort close at hand.  Why?

Perhaps the answer to that "why" question is seeded in my early Boy Scout training - be prepared?  Perhaps the answer can be traced back to my parents that taught me to be able to take care of myself and those that depend on me?  Perhaps it was from my military training?  I like to believe that while all of those are probably true, I also believe that law enforcement is usually not immediately available to assist me in the event something were to happen.  I try to not live my life being paranoid and I do believe that most people (and animals) do not mean me any harm.  But, for many of the same reasons I wear a seatbelt (even though I've never been in a serious accident) or get a flu shot (even though I've never had the flu - that I know of) or, or, or ... I chose to prepare myself (within reason) to either prevent or to handle situations as they arise.  Of course, this includes leaving any area I don't feel comfortable in and locking my door (my home and camper and tow vehicle), locking or putting away camping stuff - just like I do at home.

Just as you have (hopefully) done in the city and elsewhere all your life, trust your instincts.  At least your Oliver will have wheels which allow you to "get out of Dodge" - if necessary.

Bill

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We've had a single incident where we got a knock on our door while out in the middle of nowhere.  As it turned out, it was an innocent poor guy who'd gotten caught in the cold after sundown with just a t-shirt and shorts, freezing to death and still three miles on foot from home.  We let him use our phone and with the assurance of having overheard his conversation, offered him a ride.  He was grateful and I was happy to help.  Weird, but harmless.

Other than that, nothing to report.

For general security, we just make sure to lock up and not leave easily stolen items out in the open.  I have no plans to ever do anything else.

As for campground friendliness, we've found that you're most likely to find friendly neighbors in national park, blm, or forest service campgrounds.  As a rule, the more services in the campground, the more people tend to lock themselves into their bronze striped boxes.  Just the glow of the TVs to let you know they're occupied.  Boondockers are just friendlier.  Even then, we've found that some campgrounds are somehow more inducive to social interaction than others.  I haven't figured it out, but there are CGs where we won't talk to a soul and others where we'll make friends with three or four couples.  

Edited by Overland
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We have never had a problem camping in camping grounds and that's where we camp 99% of the time, the other 1% is at Walmart when we just can't get to a camping ground. We tend to stay away from campgrounds that the pads are close together, these are mainly found in private campground, state parks and other U.S. parks are mostly spaced farther apart which we find much more desirable. We do like to spend time with other campers, but then again you find out real quickly if you have things in common, or not, if not move on. As far as letting someone use our bathroom I would not be in favor of that and if they asked I would probably say, No, your camping and your trailer should be near, or there is always the woods. Since we don't Boondock I would think that more safety precaution might need to be taken, but then again I find campers most of the time to be considerate of each other. I would rather camp where law enforcement is present and this does tend to control those who drink and become rowdy, we drink, but to old to be rowdy anymore. Today dealing with covid all the rules have changed and many things may not go back to the way they were.

trainman

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6 minutes ago, Overland said:

As for campground friendliness, we've found that you're most likely to find friendly neighbors in national park, blm, or forest service campgrounds.  As a rule, the more services in the campground, the more people tend to lock themselves into their bronze striped boxes.  Just the glow of the TVs to let you know they're occupied.  Boondockers are just friendlier.  Even then, we've found that some campgrounds are somehow more inducive to social interaction than others.  I haven't figured it out, but there are CGs where we won't talk to a soul and others where we'll make friends with three or four couples.  

In general, I agree with this. National and state parks, BLM, FS areas attract folks more into being outside exploring nature.  FHU campgrounds are geared more to those out to enjoy their mobile house with more amenities than at home!

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1 hour ago, Overland said:

offered him a ride

Well done! I have given a few rides out from remote  forest roads - most recently when coming across a poor guy  who was starting to walk out after blowing  out two  tires (he wasn't sure  how but  after  getting him  to the main road and  cell reception I went back to  where  I was  originally headed and discovered a VERY sharp edged piece of split firewood in the road near his  truck which I think was the culprit). In both cases I briefly pondered the  risk but in both cases my vehicle guests were  nothing but grateful.

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

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It seems like every trip, we're helping someone out of a jam.  I figure I'll need the return favor someday, so I'm banking the karma.  This trip, we helped a woman who'd locked her keys in her Sprinter, gave someone a spare lighter for their stove since they'd forgotten theirs, and righted a side by side that had been flipped (no injuries).  Last time, we pulled a stuck tour company truck out of some ruts (embarrassing for them, I'm sure) and a ride to a pair of hikers who'd miscalculated how long it would take them to get to their planned campsite.  

 

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Your choice of campground has a lot to do with the quality of your neighbors and the general “feel” of the place. If you choose a fishing access spot on the weekend near a big city, expect a bunch of jerks who drink, play loud music, hoon around on jet skis and drive too fast through the campground. If you find yourself there, just move on the next day, it is not likely to improve. 

When I see a campground full of picnic tables packed with gear, blue tarps spread for shade, a bunch of kids bikes lying all over the place and older cars, I just move on. Generally that crowd is there to meet up with family, drink and party.

More remote spots usually don’t have those kinds of issues. Certainly boondocking sites don’t.... and the price is way better.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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On 11/24/2020 at 8:11 AM, Overland said:

As for campground friendliness, we've found that you're most likely to find friendly neighbors in national park, blm, or forest service campgrounds.  As a rule, the more services in the campground, the more people tend to lock themselves into their bronze striped boxes.  Just the glow of the TVs to let you know they're occupied.  Boondockers are just friendlier.  Even then, we've found that some campgrounds are somehow more inducive to social interaction than others.  I haven't figured it out, but there are CGs where we won't talk to a soul and others where we'll make friends with three or four couples.  

We find this to be true, as well . . . . Boondockers are out to enjoy the outdoors which is our camping mantra; if we wanted to sit it front of a screen, we'd choose to do so from a comfy sofa with our 40" (I know, pathetic) TV and surround sound.  Likewise, we don't often set up a living area at our campsite, unless we are camping with family and friends.  Nor do we routinely have a campfire, unless needed for warmth or cooking (my husband dislikes trying to sleep when smoldering fire smell infiltrates the RV).

Our camping enjoyment comes from experiencing nature - hiking, biking, kayaking, exploring, and photographing nature at it's best.  I guess you could say we are basically "unsociable, solitary campers" 😃

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Ray and Susan Huff

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On 11/24/2020 at 12:10 PM, John E Davies said:

Your choice of campground has a lot to do with the quality of your neighbors and the general “feel” of the place. If you choose a fishing access spot on the weekend near a big city, expect a bunch of jerks who drink, play loud music, hoon around on jet skis and drive too fast through the campground. If you find yourself there, just move on the next day, it is not likely to improve. 

When I see a campground full of picnic tables packed with gear, blue tarps spread for shade, a bunch of kids bikes lying all over the place and older cars, I just move on. Generally that crowd is there to meet up with family, drink and party.

More remote spots usually don’t have those kinds of issues. Certainly boondocking sites don’t.... and the price is way better.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Its the  kids bikes - for sure. Us grumpy old men and all.

Blue tarps, older vehicles - well there was a time when I practiced tarpology, in fact - I have a PhD in Tarpinism. WW kayaking is camping way back in, with lots of cool gear , usually when it is raining, has rained, or is in the forecast. Tarps bring back good memories....

I hate to admit - fondly - there may have been a party or two, maybe some imbibing, and perhaps a lullaby or two wafting through the trees.  But, as I look back, there was rarely anyone else around but us nut cases, with plastic boats, breaking ice to get in our gear. Ahh, that's why I like boondocking - the memories. 

And big campfires, Was usually plenty of downed wood to choose from. Smell, what smell. Certainly not the musty, moldy smelling, wet, polypro hanging on the bush, drip drying.

Ok, your right, I'm a little grumpy these days. - its those darn kids and their bikes.

But if you spy a a yellow n purple Kayak, laying next to an Oliver, shoe horned into  a spot, near a swiftly running creek, or river - It is probably me - sans a blue tarp. 

Good tidings all.

 

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
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