What is space? A philosophical discussion

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March 6, 2010

By Bob Difley

deep_space_2Space. The last frontier. How big is it? Last week astronomers found another hundred million galaxies in a far, unobserved corner of deep space. But here I’m talking, instead, about your rig’s storage space. That cubic area of contained air that we displace with our stuff,  that cavernous locker into which things disappear forever. It forces one to re-define the concept of what space is: the seemingly infinite deep space where entire galaxies disappear into its vastness, or the basement locker/cubicle large enough to rent out to a passing Japanese businessman to spend the night.

Space is relative. If you are a boondocker, or intend to become one, space becomes even more relevant. For many of us who have been boondocking for a while, if we could dehydrate or de-atomize all our stuff and load it onto a flash drive to restore as needed, we could get by with a much smaller rig.

A smaller rig would allow us to do more serious boondocking. Think driving a 40-foot motorhome over a rustic desert track or down an abandoned forest logging road. Then think again only substituting a 4WD truck camper. A no brainer. All those neat roads we could explore. All those  small nesty campsites tucked into a forest or hidden at the edge of a meadow full of grazing elk. Settle in, plug in the flash drive, type in “folding chair,” “cabernet sauvignon” (don’t forget to include a wine glass), and “cheese and crackers”, and you’re all set.

basement lockerAll too easy. Missing one slight problem. Our personal space. Remember when you bought your first fulltiming rig. Thought you needed something close to the size of the house you were moving out of. Lots of space to roam around, not get under each other’s foot, a quiet corner to be alone, two TVs, outside kitchen. That all changes with the time you spend boondocking.

If you are an adventurous boondocker, you will start visualizing back roads you know a larger rig wouldn’t fit. Probably found out you didn’t really really really need all that space–especially if you also visualized being outside, hiking, biking, exploring much of the time, rather than slouched in front of the TV,wife tripping over your big feet, taking mid-day naps in the same chair.

But . . . What if you and your significant could reach an agreement. Downsizing. Smaller rig = better gas mileage, lower repair bills, smaller footprint, easier access to the great outdoors, explore all those places you could only dream about before.

Makes one think about space, how to define it, how to use it, how much of it you truly need, how much it will define your RV Lifestyle. And that’s the trick. Figuring out what is right for you–and taking full advantage of it. Happy boondocking.

If you think you would like to try boondocking, or expand your boondocking horizons, please consider my eBook, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands, the results of more than 35 years of RVing and boondocking.

Leave a Reply


  1. keebler

    (portable solar panels) check out Harbor Freight.com—there was a coupon in Highways 2 months ago-
    i have 2 sets–

  2. Judy

    I’m with tige, where is the “flash drive”

  3. What great comments. When I get your comments, thoughts, true life experiences, suggestions, complaints, kudos, and even your disagreements and frustrations, it is that kind of involvement that keeps me writing. Thanks to all of you. Bob

  4. Gary

    I’m looking to rid myself of some “stuff” in the house but I better not mess with the “styff” in the 5’er. We are at the age where all those photo’s and stuff of our parents is just gettting hard to keep dusted. Packed up a bunch of that just today to send off to the eldest niece. She is like we used to be. The RV though we have been careful to take things we use and need to have. My wife does like her cast iron but she seems to keep it all in one spot and has nothing that she doesn’t use. She does have a huge stash of storage containers but when I need something, she usually has it. I hate that stuff though. Everytime you open a cupboard you get bombarded by falling lids.We do have an amazing asortment of travel guides and they never seem to go away. I can’t find my bird book in that cupboard so maybe that is where I will start. If I don’t get caught that is…

  5. Thomas Becher

    Remember “Nature Abhors A Vacuum” so no matter how small or large a space to store “stuff” in it will become and remain Full. Tools, cold weather gear, warm weather clothing, the air compressor to adjust the tires ,the” I might need this thingy” that is never used. I’m out of room and according to my GVW I could still carry another 1300# Oh my, ‘What to do’?

  6. After r.ving for 30 or so years I finially decided I didn’t need to haul so much stuff
    around in a 40 ft. M.H. We bought a 31 ft. m.h. last year and now we get by
    with less stuff. There by we have less weight to carry around.Also it takes less gas to drive a late model fuel effiecent M.h. She and I are happy campers.
    Good article on less is best.

  7. Liz Bard

    When I first saw your title, my first thought was – he is near my husband and my ages, so is he going to quote something and expound on it from Bill “The Cos” Cosby or George Carlin? I still liked your article though.

    We have always had room problems with all of our “stuff” but I can’t see us boondocking for long periods of time due to my husband’s health issues. I am wanting to look into the portable solar panel I saw somewhere (maybe here) where you can set it up outside and it looks to be the size of a card table (going by the size of the person holding it). The VA will let me boondock in the parking lot when he is in the hospital since we don’t have a toad and I thought that might help in some way when I am with the rig. Of course it would be inside when I am away.

    Love your articles.

  8. Ronald


    We are continually fighting the battle of the “rv bulge”!! Still being tempted by a Kindle to reduce the number of books on board, but really not satisfied with their regional selections. Oh well, could reduce some weight by reducing my own “battle of the bulge”!

    Good article

  9. As always Bob, great blog. We are seriously thinking about heading out for a year or so on the road and are seriuosly thinking smaller. More to think about! Thanks!

  10. Tige

    Great thoughts Bob,

    Now, if I could get one of those flash drives. Are they at Camping World?