It’s the little things that make a boondocking lifestyle – Part 2

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August 5, 2011

By Bob Difley

Last week’s post (of the same name) triggered the unlikely discussions of electric blankets and the CPAP (sleep apnea) problem for boondockers. But it was more than that, it was a discussion of what is important for our personal enjoyment. So let’s dig some more into how to cope with our individual quirks and idiosyncrasies (Qs & Is) when boondocking and exploring those destinations way off the beaten path.

I’ll start with my wife’s Qs & Is (since I don’t have any). As a health and fitness nut enthusiast, a most important requirement for her is access to fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV). Let me emphasize fresh here. It was never a question of whether we would orr would not continue to eat FFV when boondocking, but how would we accomplish it off in the depths of the primeval forest way out in the desert where we liked to camp–miles from the nearest organic food or farmers market.

Supermarkets were few and far between in most of the places we explored and they usually left her dissatisfied and the local stores were usually deficient in the FFV category–especially the fresh part–if they had any fruits and veggies at all.  The longest we could eke out the FFV supply before they withered into the inedible class was five days. As a result we had to build into our schedule and finances long trips to the nearest urban center for restocking.

So off we would go, driving sometimes as far as 50 miles one way, and taking the better part of a day to re-supply. Canned goods, frozen food, dried goods would have lasted us for a month, two months, even more, but that was not an option. You couldn’t make a green salad out of a can (she wouldn’t even eat iceberg lettuce, preferring those greens with more nutrients).

But I knew that this regimen was also good for me (that’s why I stayed so young looking) and put up little resistance. Over time, we worked out an even better solution. She tired of my grousing about how much organic produce cost, and why we had to shop at the more expensive (read that, better and fresher FFV) than the discount grocers.

So it worked out that every fifth day she would take the dingy for the day, drive to the nearest city where she would scout out the best markets (also having researched on what day the farmers market was), spend a wonderful time feeling, smelling, chatting with the farmers, selecting, and tasting the offerings (without me there to try to rush the process), then making her selections.

This was followed by finding the most interesting local coffee house where she would indulge in a double non-fat latte, and relax for a half hour or more  reading a book, take a walk in a local park or visit a museum, then return to our campsite where she would prepare a delicious dinner of the freshest and healthiest food she could find.

And you know what? She was happy–the drive was inconsequential–and looked forward to “her” days. That made me happy (and healthy, too), and she even enjoyed boondocking more because she satisfied a deep desire that was important to her.  And we got along much better after we worked it all out and, as they say in the story books, we lived happily ever after (so far).

Check out my website for more RVing tips and destinations and for my ebooks, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public LandsSnowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts, and 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang out of your RV Lifestyle Dollar.

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  1. Chooch

    Hi there,
    Not sure how this blog works but another health issue is that most DON’T exercise while on the road. Causing aches and pains in their lower back, arms, legs. I started a web site and just got back from a 48 day RV adventure putting on 10,400 miles. I am NOT looking for anything, just once I go fulltime to educate RV travelers on the exercises I do to keep in decent shape, check it out at


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  12. Donna and Fred

    HELP! What does Cathy McPeek’s plate RVSWTRV stand for?

  13. Roland

    You said (cpap) ,Yes I use one boondocking,No problem. A 12v car battery,a inverter,and I recharge the battery every 3rd day with my 10 amp charger conected to my honda 2000 inverter. Ive done this foe three months in the summer for the past 3 years and I am 69. It can be done,easy.

  14. Barry & Monique Zander

    Our solution to the FFV and other food items that must be kept cold is a block of ice in the cooler, which can last 4 or 5 days. We may be 30 miles from town, but we can almost always find a bag of ice within a mile or two to keep it cool enough until our frige has emptied out enough to move food from the ice chest.

  15. I’ve been watching your series on Boondocking and have found it most interesting. See I have lived in Alaska for 50yrs and love to RV and Ive known nothing but Boondocking when RVing. I may be 100s of miles to the nearest to town or farmers market if the town has one. The wife and I can wing it with what ever we have till when ever we need. To think of it there are very few things we need or have to have to make us “comfortable” or enjoy our experience. To us boondocking is all about doing with out yet overcoming needs and making due with what we have on hand. Dont get me wrong there are things like TP you gotta have! But Boondocking is all about being in the boondocks away from everything and still being comfortable with what you got. When we retire from Alaska maybe you can a series on how all those hook up things work on the RV!

  16. Gary W

    I am not a boondocker, but do dry camp on my way south or north for up to 14 days. I use a CPAP. My coach is a 2002 and does not have an inverter. What I did was have a 12 volt plug installed in the bedroom that is hooked to the coach batteries. I can also use that to power a small inverter to keep my cell phone and laptop charged. My CPAP comes with the appropriate plug.

  17. Cathy McPeek

    I grow sprout in my home and when I take off in the RV, I take them with me. The front window is a natural green house. I enjoy juicing my fruits and vegetables and I can fill a cooler and it lasts me a week. I have seen full time boondockers set out potted Sweet Basil, salad greens and cherry tomatoes. I have even seen a pair of hens in a 4′ high portable dog pen enjoying the bugs while in their porta-coop. Their pet carrier was perfect for travel and laying eggs in. I have yet to take my hens with me or my beehives, but I do enjoy fresh juice, fresh eggs, homemade bread with honey from my hives while sipping my Starbucks latte made by my little espresso maker. When I get away, it does not include shopping or wasting fossel fuel but I do have my creature comforts in my home away from home. My vanity plates read: RVSWTRV.

  18. William Fincher

    Not too sure if i am on board with the traveling miles for ffv,s. We do stock up on healthy nutritional foods.The less we have to depart from camp in the tow vehicle,the better.We are very active while out there as well as relaxation.
    Personally,i compromise with my lil wife while boondocking for 5 days at a time.
    I like to eat healthy as possible,but as well, understand if need be ,in a emergency,we
    could live on the water purifier,food for life(10 year storage) to survive for a couple months.This we hope never happens,but we never know what he future holds.
    God bless America,and our troops.

  19. Renee

    This is an excellent example of living a quality life. I have to identify with this article, but since we boondock one week at a time, we pack all our FFV – all prewashed at the house those that can be and still remain fresh for the long haul. For us, fresh meals directly affect how we feel and feeling good is so important to enjoying this lifestyle.

  20. You Mentioned about the CPAP (sleep apnea) problem for boondockers. Well Our son has sleep apnea and it does not stop him from hunting fishing and camping for extended periods. He is also a artist and taxidermist.He takes a portable CPAP Machine with him and a 150 watt inverter and 12 volt battery. They make portable units so sleep apnea is no problem. He does a lot of dry camping in a tent trailer. So sleep apnea should not stop anyone from dry camping.

  21. Jim Imholte

    My partner Mark researchs all the area that we are going to be at for the local farmers market. He knows that I love fresh fruit and vegatables. We both enjoy shopping at the local farmers market. Local fruit and vegatables are the best. Some times we find local restraunts cooking breakfast or lunch while we are shopping. Gives us a great place to visit for meals. Keep up thre good work.

  22. butterbean carpenter

    Howdy Bob,

    Thatz exactly why we have two vehicles… One for her to burn up as and the other
    sitting there with gas for me to go nowhere… I don’t…

    Smooth roads, clear skies & balmy breezes !!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Dean Tecklenburg

    any chance of getting her to go shopping more often…just thinking of you both!

  24. Gary

    The comment just above mine is definately one of the people that don’t really understand about life. The wife (my wife hates the term) really does need to have her way too. And the peace and quiet of being away from the male can do some good. Plus she gets her FFV exactly as she wishes. I am the same, ” come-on thats enough” or “too expensive” . But alone, on her own time is the time for you to also relax, knowing that when she gets “home” you will have a better meal, healthier, more tasty and with a relaxed woman. I am glad you realize how important that some of the little things really are. Good on yah!!

  25. Randall Zimmerman

    Egad… just a little over the top, don’t you think?

  26. catchesthewind

    Your eloquence with the written word is legendary. As always it is a pleasurwe to read your postings. Mike Wader