Define boondocking...

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by dbhost, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

    Sep 19, 2018
    League City, Texas USA.
    I have found in the RV community the term boondocking actually means different things to different people. For most if not all, the basic definition is...

    Camping while fully self contained. No outside water, sewer, power, or fuel is available for the period of your stay. You have to haul it all in, and the waste out.

    But to others, and its no small number of folks, there is an added element that I just can't see a pop up working well for, and that is where the location is not in a campground, or wilderness area of any sort, but rather on pavement. I.E. a Walmart Parking lot, curbside, or just getting a few zzzzs at a rest stop so you can keep on driving safely.

    Yet, I know that pop ups would give me the willies in a Walmart parking lot for example, but not too long ago, I came across some folks that were obviously staying in their pop up, curb side on a fairly empty hunk of road behind a truck stop. Roof popped up and bunk ends fully out and secured.

    This has always been my biggest hesitation to a pop up vs. a travel trailer. Although an Aliner I would at least feel more secure. Any other "pop up, hard sided" campers out there anyone care to share?
    Overland likes this.
  2. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2017
    Maplewood, MN
    To me, boondocking is the same as dry camping - No water, sewer nor electric hookups. To many it means the same, except it's out in the wilderness (boonies) somewhere. I accept either because the result of supplying your own water, sewer (toilet) and power is the same.
    Arlyn Aronson, BillyMc and Katskamper like this.
  3. MsMac

    MsMac Active Member

    May 19, 2016
    To me, boondocking is camping outside of an established campground, with no ready access to flush toilets, garbage disposal, hot pizza and whatever one might have forgotten at home. So, a Walmart parking lot would not fit the bill for me. :smiley:

    I refer to camping at an established campground without hook-ups or running water as "dry camping".
  4. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    DFW, TX
    To answer your question - there are trailmanors and hi-los, both variations on a pop up hardside trailer. A couple companies made some that had the roof pop up about a foot or so, sort of like a 3/4 TT, with the expansion being canvas. Palomino made some, and I think about was Sunchaser?

    My favorite is a one year wonder, Fleetwood Tacoma. A true hard side popup with no bunk ends. If I ever find one I would give serious thought to biting it.

    Of course there are the old Apache pups too.

    Palomino and Rockwood both made hybrid hardside pups with the main cabin hard walled and the bunks canvas.

    Hi-Lo did make a hybrid for 2-3 years that had canvas tip out bunks.

    That is all I can think of for now.
  5. Overland

    Overland Active Member

    May 1, 2013
    Bristol, Pa
    This is how i'v always thought of the term boondocking also.

    In the backcountry without showers, bathroom, snack bar, gift shop, others kids etc.. we just call that Camping.
  6. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

    Mar 16, 2011
    Elkins WV area
    Camping in the middle of nowhere, a landing on an unimproved logging road.
    Along a remote forest service road. Where you can listen to the whippoorwill's sing all night. Most CG's are nothing more than parking lots. I don't enjoy a neighbor chopping wood at 6am
    gladecreekwy likes this.
  7. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2018
    South Carolina
    When a newbie comes up to the dock, under full sail, at the last moment releases the mainsail sheet, cuts hard to miss the dock, and drags the boom across the dock scattering everyone on it. No wait, that's boom docking. Wrong forum.
  8. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

    Dec 22, 2002
    Malvern, PA
    A mountain top in North Central Pennsylvania, miles from the nearest community, no cel signal. That counts as boondocking.
  9. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2013
    Boondocking is free
    dbhost likes this.
  10. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    To me, boondocking is what you said, and the second is dry camping.

    I wouldn't pop-up at a rest stop (I'm sure it's not even legal) or a Wal-Mart. But the security of a hardside is only marginally greater than a pop-up. You could enter most any travel trailer with a good swift kick or a box cutter. Anyone prepared to do a "home invasion" of an occupied pop-up is probably not going to stop short of doing this to a harder rig.
  11. Dingit

    Dingit Active Member

    Mar 8, 2017
    I always thought the people referring to sleeping at Walmart as "boondocking" were making a joke, at least the first ones to call it that were. It's not a campground. You have to provide your own everything. It's free. It's wild. Get it? HAhaha I'm boondocking at Walmart!

    I wouldn't sleep in a parking lot. If there is a Walmart, there's probably a motel. In a sleep-deprived emergency, I could see maybe sleeping in a rest stop in my car or in my truck camper but not in a popup. And I don't have that sort of emergency cuz I'm a grownup! I guess some people actually plan to do it to save money and time, but I'd rather spend the money and time.
    nineoaks2004 likes this.
  12. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2018
    For me, the definitions are:

    Campground - in the wilderness.
    RV park- in an urban or suburban area.
    Dry camping - camping without hookups in a campground.
    Boondocking - camping without hookups outside of a campground.
    Overnighting - sleeping overnight in a parking lot or rest area.
    Stealth camping - NOT camping; overnighting in an urban/suburban area where it is illegal to be overnighting (usually on neighborhood streets).
    RVing - staying at an RV Park with or without hookups.
    Katskamper likes this.
  13. Katskamper

    Katskamper Active Member

    Nov 21, 2015
    Fort Worth, TX
    My favorite is a one year wonder, Fleetwood Tacoma. A true hard side popup with no bunk ends.
    tell me about this one. sounds like the idea i have for a no pull out popup.
  14. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2015
    DFW, TX
  15. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2018
    My FNR is a Hard sided popup. Just raise the roof (hydraulics) and then walk inside and push the two side walls up. For a quick night's sleep, you can leave it at that - bed is already made and accessible. To set it up fully, there are two internal walls that fold up. In the down position, one lays over the couch and the other lays over the sink and stove.

    When I start traveling in it, I expect to do a few overnighters while enroute to a destination. But my plan is to stay at an RV park with hookups every 3-4 days to empty the grey and refill the fresh. At my destinations, I will spend 3-4 days dry camping with 1-2 days at the RV park in between.
  16. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2018
    @Sneezer my FnR is very similar to the Tacoma. It looks like with the Tacoma, you manually drop the front and back walls and then the hydraulics lower the sides and roof. With mine, you manually drop the sides, then the hydraulics lower the front and back and roof.

    My interior has a short couch, and an upper and lower double bed at the front. Table in front of the couch, but it's so big, I took it out and use a TV tray. I don't have an oven... Mine is shorter than the Tacoma by a good few feet.

    When a friend sent me the link for the FnR on sale, I tried to ignore it for about 5 days. By then I was in such a tizzy, I just had to have it and was so worried it'd be gone. Fortunately, the guy who owned it was particular and didn't let anyone buy it who didn't have a vehicle that could safely tow it (it's a lot heavier than the average popup).
  17. dbhost

    dbhost Active Member

    Sep 19, 2018
    League City, Texas USA.
    FWIW, I haven't and I don't camp in parking lots, or on any curbside anywhere, but I can see a LOT of circumstances where it would be desireable, or even neccessary.

    Not everyone has the luxury of the extra time or financial resources to just spend the money and time as you say.

    There are other reasons as well though. Not sure many here are doing this, but I have seen LOTS of TT folks that travel selling home made wares in various craft shows, renaissance festivals and such. $30.00 a night for an RV park cuts deep into the budget if you are on the road 6 months out of the year.

    And many small towns, most I would imagine, don't have camping facilities nearby. And some simply chose to live a nomadic lifestyle where they are basically living out of their RV full time. Again $30.00 / night rate (and up it seems), cuts deep into that gas budget to keep it moving...

    A good example would be let's say would be a young-sh family. I will use the following as an example.

    Mr. and Mrs. Jones live in Galveston Texas (You'll see a LOT of Galveston County references from me, sorry!) They have 2 kids, and a 3 day holiday weekend to go see Grandma and Grandpa in, oh... let's say Grandpa's hunting cabin in the woods vaguely near Little Rock Ar. Now Grandpas hunting cabin is just an old Canned Ham Trailer big enough for Grandma and Grandpa. So the Jones family drag their pop up with them. Drive time towing, which typically is done slower than unladen in a sports car, is 10 hours. Mom and dad have the SUV and PU packed and ready to go. They pick the kids up from school at 3:30 - 4:00 depending on the school district. So let's say you want to maximize Grandma and Grandpa time for the kids. Leave at 4:00 on a Friday, in Houston, rush hour.... Get through Houston to say the Livingston TX area by about 7 PM and the kids by then are getting hungry, need a potty break etc... Stop and get a bite to eat, bathroom break, and back on the road let's say by 7:30. Your trip due to rush hour, and that break just extended another 2 hours. So you have total travel time at this point at 12 hours, you make more progress down the road, driving carefully of course, by the time midnight rolls around you are probably going to about an hour away from Texarkana TX. The smart move is to find a place to pop up, get some shuteye, and hit the road refreshed. (I know of several spots in that vague description area that are perfect). Get everyone up and going again by about 7 AM, and be in camp with Grandma and Grandpa by lunch time with the grandkids right? The other option is for that same struggling family to keep going for another hour, stop at one of the hotels in Texarkana, being on the road with their kids when the drunks are out etc... Not the best option.

    Now of course if Grandma and Grandpa could have on their retirement time, come down to see the kids, maybe had everyone meet at one of the beautiful Texas State Parks, heck even Lake Livingston, they could have had Friday night dinner and hot chocolate together!
  18. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2018
    Overnighting at Walmart, etc., are useful for a quick sleep.

    Some us them extensively as a cheap way to live. You can find youtube videos showing how to shower with an outside shower in a walmart parking lot, and other such things.
  19. BillyMc

    BillyMc Active Member

    Mar 25, 2018
    South Carolina
    The wife and I are planning to get a Trailmanor 2720QS or 2720QD when the kids are out. You can pop them up without unhitching and they are hard sided. The 2720QB has more sleeping room, but less floor space. This is the smallest version with two larger version being available. The largest is 31' when opened.

    edit-with the QS or QD models you loose fresh water storage 20 gallons as opposed to the QB 40 gallons.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  20. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2014
    Boondocking = camping in the boondocks where hookups don't exist

    Drycamping = camping in civilization without hookups

    Overnighting = overnight parking in a parking lot, it is NOT camping
    joet likes this.

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