Tag Archives: RV camping tips

Series: 5 lessons I learned from boondocking: Part 5 of 5

Five lessons I learned from boondocking cover, with picture of RV camped in front of mountains and the RV by Campfire logo.Lesson 5: If the water looks iffy…

Campgrounds with one water source

While at the campground where the buffaloes roam and tent campers hate boondocking motorhomes, there was also one water source. For everyone.

The first inconvenience this creates is that you have to move your RV to go get water when you needed. This is the fresh water that you use for showers and washing dishes, but also potentially drink.

Buffalo eating grass
While we wanted to camp where the buffalo roam, it didn’t mean we wanted to drink questionable water. Photo credit: Christina Goebel, rvbycampfire.com

When we pulled up to the water hose at this campground, it was a hose hanging in the air, that you pulled down to fill your water tank.

The first thing I thought when I saw it was . . . gee, that looks like something someone might try to flush out their black water tank with if it’s not dumping well. It just looked really convenient for that purpose.

When you travel with your own hoses on board, I hope you’re planning to have one for clean water and a Different One, preferably in a Different Color, for the dirty water.

Man stands on a water hose in the street.
Since Dad’s already standing on it, let’s just call this one the Dirty Water Hose. photo credit: Jebensstraße via photopin (license)

Here was this hose that everyone in the campground was using for their RVs. If they didn’t think anyone was looking, who knows what they did with that hose?

Woman holds water hose with thumb over water.
Is this water hose clean? Who knows? photo credit: Summer evening via photopin (license)

Before you think I’m worrying too much, I’ve seen plenty of people handle their black water hose without using any gloves. That’s handling waste water with some of the worst germs you can touch.

I guess then they get back inside and put their hands on the door, the steering wheel, pat the baby’s head…

So, another tip–handling waste water or dirty hoses should be done with disposable gloves. Many people keep those in the same compartment with their hoses, so they’re right there when they need them.

Now that I’ve taught you how to avoid wiping out your entire family with lethal germs, back to wondering what the previous RVer at this this community water hose did right before filling up their tank with hopefully clean water.

This campground wasn’t in West Yellowstone, where finding a dump site is like playing the lotto. In fact, the dump site at this campground was right down the road from . . . the clean water.

Carrying antibacterial wipes and cleaning hoses can assist a bit with safety concerns over water, but I felt uncomfortable because this water hose was under high use.

So I took a turn at being an evil, generator-using troll, ran all over town looking for someone willing to take our poo, worried if someone else’s poo was going in our clean water tank, but you know what? I paid half price.

Pciture of an blue troll with fangs, raising a club
This is how we looked to the tent campers who camped next to us when we used our generator. photo credit: Evil Spirits via photopin (license)

Will we do this boondocking thing again? Will we even camp in the middle of nowhere with nothing, anywhere? Probably, but with a little more planning.

Consider the savings. If you are so lucky as to camp somewhere that costs $25 a day and you boondock at half prices without electric or a dump site, that could save a lot over time.

Boondocking at Wal-Mart for free saves people hundreds a year. However, not all Wal-Marts permit boondocking because other RVers convinced them it was a good idea.

If you boondock at Wal-Mart or another public parking lot that permits it, observe boondocking ettiquette. Don’t pull out the slides, roll out your outdoor carpet, chairs, and the grill, hang your laundry out to dry, and expect their employees to pick up your trash. Try not to draw attention to the free campsite you’re getting, and thank them by buying something at their store.

Picture of an empty parking lot with some shopping carts. May be a Wal-Mart parking lot.
Yes, you could camp here, but better make sure it’s okay. Nothing worse to be asked to vacate in the middle of the night. photo credit: Cart Return via photopin (license)

Here’s a Wal-Mart locator link to determine if the location you want to camp at permits RV overnight parking.

RVing presents challenges. Adventures aren’t easy and that’s why they’re memorable. If you have a rough time, just think: one day I will laugh over this–or learn from it. And you will have an adventure, no matter what!