By Bob Difley
There are few RVers that hit the open road for days or weeks at a time that haven’t dry-camped (without hook-ups) at least a few times. If you’ve stayed in a Walmart or forest service campground you’re done it. Weekenders probably spend most of their camping trips hooked up since it takes more time to find or get to a good boondocking site which cuts into the actual camping time on an all-to-short weekend.
However, less than 25% of RVers boondock, preferring to stay in organized campgrounds. I would guess that the reason is that convenience trumps all else. Why else would RVers prefer to pay for a campsite rather than stay at a free or cheap one? Or be shoehorned in with other campers when you could have lots of space and privacy instead? And why prefer a campground with almost incessant noise from the other campers, running vehicles,and late night partiers around a campfire, when you could have peace and quiet and solitude?
One reason is that most RVers are sociable types and like meeting other campers and being part of a campout community. There are other reasons also, like access to a swimming lake with a lifeguard to watch the kids, park campfire programs and talks put on by rangers, amenities offered by RV resorts like Wi-fi, cable TV, heated swimming pools, hot tubs, recreation rooms with programs, games, TV, and potlucks, proximity to cities, restaurants, golf courses, and shopping.
Otherwise, choosing organized campgrounds or RV resorts seems to be for convenience. Campgrounds are listed in campground guides and online and are easy to find, convenient to main roads and highways, easy in and out, have hook-ups so you don’t have to monitor your state of battery charge and your water and waste tanks, or having to drive down a dirt road and get your rig dusty.
Are those advantages more important to RVers than physical open space, private campsites with few if any neighbors nearby, scenic settings with long views, star-filled skies not dimmed by campground lights, access to hiking trails and wild areas, the sound of rustling leaves or a babbling brook instead of noisy vehicles, kids, and barking dogs –and all at little or no cost? It seems that about 75% of RVers do feel that convenience or amenities are more important.
Or is boondocking in the wilds–as differentiated from dry-camping at a Walmart–just too much of an unknown, alien to their normal way of camping, just plain scary, or does being out in a natural environment not appeal to you? Not that I would like all RVers to suddenly decide to boondock and I find all my favorite places always occupied. What are your reasons that only one in four of you boondock?
Check out my website for RVing tips and destinations and for my ebooks, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands, Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (now available for $6.99 and as a Kindle version), and 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang out of your RV Lifestyle Dollar.