I frequently see posts about staying at National Parks without hookups. I have suggestions as we do this every year and have a large fifth wheel and no generator.
1. Remember you are "camping". Do you really need to watch TV and run the microwave? We stay outside as much as possible. The northern NPs have daylight until 10 or 11 at night. We go to campfireshows or sit around the fire at night.
2.We take an extra rv battery with us. If I want to read after dark I use a Coleman LCD lantern. The one I have has removable side panels. I also take several push lights for inside the trailer. We also have a battery cd player for music.
3. The parks we stay at have restrooms and dumps. Many are near or have laundries. They also have water taps around the campground. We use the restrooms during the day to conserve water. We use paper plates.
4. Many parks have pay showers or are near enough to pay to use a shower at a private rv park.
5. When we leave we stay at a private park to recharge, do laundry, and shower.
Most of our camping is in the western US. If you have specific questions feel free to pm me.
I'm with you on this. It helps to understand that RVs offer some lifestyle flexibility.
I use my RV for RVing, as a hotel room on the road, and as a home away from home when moving seasonally or visiting people who have no guest room, but have parking.
But sometimes I use it for "camping." Just a hard-walled tent with a kitchen and lighting. I do not expect full use of every facility in the RV, I will use what is available in the campground.
These uses are different lifestyles. On long trips, I will alternate between the hotel and camping modes as facilities dictate, but camping for me is always a short-term use, one or two nights in a row.
If I am staying somewhere for a long time, or need air conditioning to deal with the climate, I will not camp, rather go into "home away from home" mode.
When I stay in National parks there is ALWAYS a ton of things I want to do and camping isn't one of them. The RV is used as a place to stay overnight so I can get back out and see MORE of the park. Very FEW of the national parks have great camp grounds anyway but there ARE some exceptions. With MOST of them the park itself is the attraction.
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Lucy - glad you posted this. We too have a big fifth wheel but we do have a generator and satellite dish. In spite of the latter two conveniences, we prefer to dry camp and use our unit as a hard sided tent. Often when I tell tent camping friends we camped at 8000 feet they get excited until they find out we have an RV. In spite of the conveniences of an RV:
1. We conserve on water by catching the warm up water for our shower in a bucket and use that to flush the toilet.
2. We run the fridge on propane and cook outside as much as possible. If we are in a FS CG with electricity we use the fireplace to heat our rig instead of our furnace, to conserve on propane.
3. We set our furnace to 40 at night and sleep under a sleeping bag for extra warmth.
4. We use the campground toilets (if we're in a CG) during the day and use our own at night.
5. We use paper plates as you do and wipe off all other cooking utensils before putting them in the dish pan to wash to be able to reuse the soapy water. We use a dish pan so that we can carry out to the fire to drown in before going to bed.
6. We conserve on our black tank too by not only using public CG toilets when available, but also putting the "tinkle" paper in a separate bag and burning it along with all other paper items in our fire at night.
7. I plan foods that easily bake all together or can be cooked outside. For instance, I will pack cut up marinated meat by double bagging in zip loc bags and assemble them in camp or I will take dehydrated hash browns that I only have to add hot water to, to reconstitute rather than whole potatoes that have to be peeled, washed, then you have to wash your hands, etc. I wash and dry lettuce at home, then pack in paper towels in zip loc bags. I pack my bread or cake mixes in zip loc bags, then add the liquids at camp. We carry both a stove top percolator and an electric coffee pot. I precook bacon at home to save on clean up.
8. We pack bottled water and separate jugs of water for our dogs drinking so that the tank is used for the toilet, shower, and dishwashing.
9. We will often use our gray water to put out our fire at night for safety - this makes sure it's completely out.
10. We open the windows during the day to absorb the warmth of the sun and close them early in the evening to conserve on that warmth to get us through the night so that we don't have to use the heater as much.
11. We pack LED lanterns to play cards at night by and to read by in bed.
12. We pack a Heater Buddy for spot heat.
13. We go to bed with the sun and wake up to it.
14. On cool mornings, after baking biscuits or cinnamon rolls, and after I turn off the oven, I open the door and take advantage of the residual heat.
15. We keep large pump bottles of hand cleaner around for keeping our hands clean to save on water.
16. We have a mini broom and dust pan to clean up with rather than use the onboard vacuum.
17. We use our awning to keep the inside cooler and close the blinds on the sunny side to keep thinks cooled down, using the Fantastic Vent to circulate air.
18. We carry waterless hair "shampoo" to use in between full showers; we also carry body wipes to use in between full showers which we do every other day or two, depending on the day's activities. If we are out hiking, then we shower, if just hanging around camp and reading, then no.
19. All dog food is pre-measured before packing for the number of days we will be out. This conserves on space and weight.
20. We pack all sight seeing lunches and take them in a little cooler to save on money!
21. We have funnels and buckets on hand for refilling from various fresh water sources. We also have a "water thief" should we need to refill from a threadless faucet.
As you pointed out, even though the RV has all the bells and whistles, dry camping or boondocking is one of the advantages of this lifestyle so why not use our rigs to their full potential and be flexible however you are camping.
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we have extra batteries and solar panels on the roof to help keep the batteries charged and we run the genny in the a.m. and again before quiet hours in the p.m.
we conserve on water by using the camp toilets and showers.
the two of us can easily go about 5 days without more water and 10 days without dumping.
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I am a strong advocate for camping in the parks whenever possible. I realize some people need electricity for CPAP machines and other medical necessities, but otherwise, I think park CG's are the way to go. Whether at the Grand Canyon, Arches, Bryce, or the like, there's nothing like being able to walk to a great view of the sunset right from your campsite. For other parks like Mesa Verde, Lassen, and Yellowstone, one can save quite a bit of time everyday by staying in the park rather than commuting in. That's just more time for sightseeing. And as mentioned above, the majority of RV's have fully functioning water and septic systems. Why not use them?
Allison and I still recall with amusement a SP CG we stayed at in Iowa around the 4th of July. We camped in a site w/o hookups, but most sites had FHU. We took a walk through the CG that evening. Many, many of the campsites had RV's with their a/c's running, yet everyone was sitting outside around campfires!
Great ideas from others!!! We, too, choose public campgrounds over private ones and even with our 40' motorhome we fit and many times get the best spot in the house! We love the natural settings and more space around us. We also boondock on BLM land or on dispersed national forest lands. We can go about 2 weeks without re-filling with water and dumping. Conservation is the key. Happy 'camping' to all!!
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Its all a question of effort. With minimal conservation I can dump tanks into the tote every few days and replenish water via portable tank every few days. A 430 amp hour battery bank and small generator can go many days - without AC and the trailer has two propane tanks that are portable.
That being said, following some of the tips up above can minimize the work of restocking "infrastructure" supplies.
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