Boondocking Roadtrip with Kids

Discussion in 'Let me tell you about my trip' started by MeaganS, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. MeaganS

    MeaganS New Member

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    So dh just found out he'll have 11 days off before and Thanksgiving week. I've convinced him we should take a trip with the popup (it's definitely more my baby than his). He has a cpap and it will be chilly, so we want to have access to electric and are seriously considering purchasing a generator for this trip to top off batteries daily. Given that I didn't plan this months ago, most in-park campsites are reserved for Thanksgiving week, so we may boondock or stay at private rv parks. Leaning towards boondocking, although we have never done that before. From my research, there are lots of options for it near most locations we plan to go.

    Day 1- Driving Arkansas to Albuquerque (possibly boondocking overnight there. Oherwise hotel).
    Day 2- Albuquerque to Walnut Canyon for a few hours then to boondocking near Grand Canyon S. Rim.
    Day 3- Grand Canyon
    Day 4- Grand Canyon to boondocking near Zion NP
    Day 5- Zion NP
    Day 6- Zion NP
    Day 7- Zion to Mom's house in Utah
    Day 8-11 Mom's house for Thanksgiving. Also DH flies home.

    After that I will stay at Mom's house until I feel like heading back, which will take 2 full days of driving including one night at either a hotel in Kansas or boondocking at a rest stop in Kansas, depending on how I feel and how cold it is. We homeschool, so I have a lot of flexibility for the kids. 4 kids, ages 11-3yo. They are expert road trippers and long days in the car don't phase them. But we've never boondocked before and it makes me a tad nervous. Any advice? I've found several promising places on freecamping.net
     
    sstressfl likes this.
  2. NMroamer

    NMroamer Well-Known Member

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    There is a KOA in Albuquerque.
     
  3. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    My advice is don’t worry. It’s easy and your camper is designed for it. Lots of sun where you’re headed so maybe a portable solar panel? Lots of info on this site. Much cheaper than a generator Tons of free boondocking possibilities in the Moab/Zion area
     
  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    For me boondocking would be as easy as pie, but for my family, a lot harder. It entirely depends on your family. I can dry camp with my niece as long as she is able to charge her phone, has swimming or something like that, and a hot shower. If it doesn't meet all of those needs let's just say she will make everyone miserable. classic teenager :laugh:. Every family is different. I would personally give it a trial run first so you can get a better idea about how well your family does. Do they know how to conserve water? Do they require something that makes them happy that may not be found in the middle of the woods? A generator is good as long as you are boondocking some campgrounds may limit the usage time so you may be more reliant on onboard power.
     
  5. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea how much battery a cpap will use, but without the cpap a good battery should easily go two nights more if you conserve power. If you have a furnace and use it full time it will take a big chunk of your battery reserve. With a decent portable solar and the TV charging the battery you should be fine. That said, a quiet inverter generator to charge the battery while using the coffee maker and maybe a couple other home comforts is kind of nice sometimes.
     
  6. MeaganS

    MeaganS New Member

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    Yeah, we live near places that are usually shady when camping. This particular trip won't be, but that's not the norm for us. I considered solar, but I think we'll go with a WEN 2000W generator or similar for that reason. We've dry-camped before for several days, but we've never boondocked. Usually when we camp we do it more as a means to an end than for camping itself. We like to tour and visit and do other things rather than hang out at the campsite. So the kids are used to camping, just not outside of a semi-developed camp ground. DD11 has a National Parks Access pass, giving us 1/2 most camping in National parks or forests, so that's what we've preferred in the past.

    We plan on running the heater a fair amount since it will be late November. DH will probably use one of our emergency jump-starter things to power his cpap. I've read that they should last about a day or so for that purpose. With a generator, we could charge it back up daily and it shouldn't be an issue. So the popup battery (we have deep cycle battery. I can't remember it's size, I think it has to do with 27?) will run the built-in gas heater, LED lights in the camper, water pump for the popup, and that's mostly it. We've camped 2 nights being careful and the battery lasted for that long. Charging daily, we should have no issue at all I'm hoping. We also have a 20 gal tank that I plan to fill up before setting up at each of our locations. Any tips about where to do that?

    I've seen lots of youtube videos and articles about boondocking or free camping in other ways, but those people never have kids. I'm guessing there's nothing special about it, just to be smart about safety and whatnot. But yeah, I'm hoping it works out for us. One of the biggest reasons I got the popup was to be able to travel cheaper because dh works 7on/7off and we homeschool, leaving us with tons of time to travel. Boondocking just ups the savings even more. This trip will essentially cost us gas. Which is amazing. I mean, I guess this trip will cost us the price of a generator, but hopefully we can continue to use that for future trips.

    Oh, and we have a small porta potty, so that part won't be an issue either.
     
  7. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Well-Known Member

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    I'd suggest you get a quality built and quiet running generator. They are worth every penny.
     
    Be-Ce likes this.

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