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Author Topic: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!  (Read 11256 times)

Ray D

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Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« on: March 22, 2007, 12:47:11 PM »
Yeah, I’m just nosey.  ;D

We were asked several times last year at state parks, if we would be interested in “Hosting.” We would, but we can’t. Barely up to camping at all, physically, and not capable of doing anything that could be called real work. Eg: breaking camp - driving 200 miles - setting up camp - about does it, for us, for the day. Rewarding but exhausting. Like to just relax with no responsibilities, the next day. Day after that, OK to hit the road, again.

Interested, never the less. (Nosey!) What does a “Host” do? Any perks, over and above a “free camp site?”  ;D  Are income taxes involved - the value of the perks, for example?  :( Must one do this all summer - several months - or from week to week? Do some “Host” for a while at one site, then move on to another Host job, elsewhere, for a while? How does it work? Do different hosting jobs have different responsibilities?  ???

I have met a lot of hosts, over the years, including some out in the mountains in the near-wilderness mountain campgrounds. Now there’s a rugged job for real mountain folks!  ;)

Have met a number of camp hosts, every one of them very nice company, even the “rugged” ones!

Thanks for any comments, any at all!

Ray D  ;D
Boise, Idaho. U.S.A.F. Vet. Damon Challenger, Workhorse/Vortec, 2005 towing a Suzuki XL-7, 2003.

Wendy

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2007, 04:01:03 PM »
Some folks spend the whole season hosting in a park. Some go from park to park, spending a month or two at each. Some people go back to the same park every year, others go to a new place every season. Depends a lot on the park, their season, their needs and what you want to do as a host.

As for income tax, technically, the value of the 'perks' (i.e. free campsite) is income HOWEVER because you are a host, you are required to live in the park which makes the cost of the site deductible. Bottom line, it's a wash. Any per diem may be taxable.
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2007, 10:28:07 PM »
Volunteer hosts in state parks are generally just that - volunteers who act as hosts. They aren't required to do much, if anything, other than be there as a point of contact and don't get any remuneration other than the "free" campsite. Other workamping jobs, including some in state and federal parks, require more actual work (e.g. security patrols, registering guests, collecting fees, mowing lawns or cleaning out fire places) and often provide some pay in addition to a campsite. At the high end of the scale are workamping jobs that are essentially just jobs (part of full time) that pay for hours worked and provide a campsite too.  And any of these can have other perqs or rewards, e.g. store discounts, propane, firewood, meals, telephone, etc. That stuff will vary by location and whatever the campground has to offer.

This summer Nancy & I will workamp at the Suncrest Resort in Moses Lake, WA. We get paid and have a very nice site. I will take care of their swimming pools (5 of them) and Nancy will work on the office/store part time, handling registrations, reservations and store sales. Will probably put in 25-30 hours per week each. We also have fun, meet lots of nice people and reap dozens of new tales to tell around the camp fire [Priceless!]
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

mamestra

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2007, 01:46:33 AM »
Just wondering, in order to work in state parks do you have to be a US citizen? I am a teacher and my wife is an OR nurse, we would like to be camp hosts but we are Canadians.
Michael

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2007, 06:20:14 AM »
Work rules will vary by the organization doing the hiring, but for volunteer positions I believe the general answer is that US citizenship is not required. Some employers may require a US tax ID number, though, so be sure to ask. For most US citizens, their Social Security number is their tax ID. The US Internal Revenue Service also issues specific tax ID numbers for people who have a tax liability but no SS#, but I don't know how easy or hard it is for a Canadian to get one.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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mamestra

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2007, 11:25:37 PM »
Thanks Gary,
  This something that we both would like to do, so now we will look into it further.
Michael

Horse

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2008, 08:27:23 AM »
Hmm.... this is interesting.
Is there any kind of work I can get at a camp part-time?

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2008, 11:35:46 AM »
Most workamping positions are part time, with 18-24 hours being fairly typical but some may be 30+ hours.  Some are for a site only and some pay a little as well. If you join workamper.com you will have access to numerous ads describing all sorts of part time jobs. Or simply ask about possible work at every campground you visit - many of them need some part time help, even if just lawn mowing and such.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Dave Stringham

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2008, 11:55:09 AM »
Has anyone ever been a camphost with coach?  I was thinking the other day, that perhaps down the road that might be in interesting fun thing to do for a season, but then I thought about the hassel if I needed to break everything down because I was out of propane, or needed to dump and the site didnt have facilities. Especially if in a remote area and several miles to the nearest town.  I could see that if in a 5er or a TT, you could just drag the propane bottles out and get one of those large blue portable dump containers, load all of that up in your tow vehicle and head to town.....at the same time you could restock the margarita mix  ;D
Dave Stringham
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BruceinFL

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2008, 02:27:58 PM »
Most of the camp hosts are provided full hookup sites, even in COE, National Parks, State Parks, etc.. As far as propane, you could have a propane truck come to you and fill up.
Bruce A.
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glen54737

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2008, 08:49:07 PM »
My friends hosted in a state park in Missouri they got a site and mileage to the state park nearest home. I believe it was full hookup.
and usually hosts don't need to do much greet people and i've seem some have coffee and donuts on staurday or sunday morning.

 
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geodrake

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2008, 09:39:39 PM »
We were camp hosts at Turkey Run State Park in Indiana for the month of June.  We had Electricity, but no sewer of water hook up.  I showered in a park shower house to conserve.  We had to unhook the MH and dump weekly, and filled the fresh water tank at the same time.  This was a pain, but not all that bad.

Duties were to visit with campers informing them of park facilities, and stocking toilet paper.  Turkey Run expected 20 hr per person.  My wife helped out at the nature center to get her 20 hrs in.  Each evening I walked the campground visiting with campers, answering questions, and spreading good will. 

Having said all of that, we had a great time and look forward to returning.  We met lots of nice people and enjoyed a very nice park. Our main dissatisfaction was that we were expected to be in the park six days a week, leaving little opportunity to get out and see things.

We like it well enough that we are trying to find something like that in the Phoenix area for Jan - April. 
George Drake

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2008, 10:19:28 PM »
We workamped for seven summers with our various motorhomes. Chances of runing out of propane are slim in most campground job becasue you usually have at least good electric and often full hook-ups. And "breaking camp" is not all that big a deal anyway, especially if you are just going to town for propane. You can leave most of the stuff in place.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Horse

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2008, 01:07:41 AM »
Thanks for the info, RV Roamer.
I'm going to check out that site now! :)

goltac

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2008, 09:05:20 AM »
Ok, so where do I go to find a camp host position?

Is there a website?  I haven't googled it yet.

I'm heading to Savannah GA and maybe Florida.

Tom and Margi

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2008, 09:34:05 AM »
 Sorry, I can't seem to do the hyperlink insertion correctly, but here is the URL for Workamper News.

http://www.workamper.com/?gclid=CIOFz9ilrJcCFRMvHgodMHlZjw

Margi

Clay L

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2008, 10:13:59 AM »
We have been volunteer camp hosts at a state park in Idaho for the last couple of summers and are going back next summer.
There are 11 camping units (campgrounds) in the park and duties vary some from unit to unit.

In all the units the hosts are the eyes and ears of the rangers. 70 % of the hosts time is spent in PR work and explaining the rules. If a camper doesn't obey the rules after having them explained a couple of times we call a ranger on the provided base station radio and have him come do the enforcement.
Some units require reservations and the hosts handle that.
Some units require hoses to be drug around for watering the grounds. The hosts are expected to pick up any trash left behind and to remove trash left in fire pits. Seasonal employees clean the bathrooms and do maintenance.

Regarding propane, the local propane companies will not fill tanks on site. We have an "Extend A Stay" Tee that allows us to connect an external tank to our motor home.
We carry a 40 pound tank with us and take it to the local propane station and have it filled.
Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (Wife), Katie & Kelli (cats), Sali (toy poodle)
Settled down after full timing for eleven years and snowbirding for one year in a 2004 Winnebago 35N Sightseer, Workhorse W 20 Chassis. Honda toad

Buddy Tott

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2008, 01:59:38 AM »
I just came across this thread...which goes back a few months and noticed something which our overseas visitors might take note of... 

Gary, I noticed you said that you do not need to be a US citizen to camp host.  However, working for reward or remuneration,  would fall afoul of the INS Visitor Visa regulations, which prohibits work of any kind.     Certainly US citizenship is not required to work in the US but the appropriate work permit would be for non-US citizens and/or visitors. (Green card/H1-2 visa etc)  Unfortunately such a permit would be hard to come by because it would be way down on the list of 'Preferences' under INS regulation.  I doubt it would even be approved for such temporary employment which could easily be filled by a US citizen.  There may be a 'temporary' work permit available, but those are typically for seasonal agricultural workers and applied for by the intended employer on behalf of the hiree with, I think, strngent stipulations and requirements. 

I think that it would be more difficult to find hosting work in a a Government owned park because they are more likely to have stricter requirements, i.e. Proof of eligibility (to work), whereas private campgrounds might not be so stringent - yet still be illegal - if hired without qualifying documentation.

BT
nil-permita illigitemii personae carborundum.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2008, 08:48:03 AM »
Quote
Gary, I noticed you said that you do not need to be a US citizen to camp host.  However, working for reward or remuneration,  would fall afoul of the INS Visitor Visa regulations, which prohibits work of any kind.

You are certainly correct about the Visitor Visa restrictions on paid employment. However, not all camp host positions are considered to be work for remuneration. So-called volunteer positions provide a campsite but no pay and the campsite is considered to be for the convenience of having the volunteer onsite rather than pay for services. That's official Internal Revenue Service policy, though I suppose the Immigration folks could chose a different interpretation (can't be sure with the US gov't!).
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Buddy Tott

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2008, 02:57:27 AM »
Yes...In fact all three Government agencies involved - INS (under Homeland Security), Dept of Labor and Internal Revenue will each have their own interpretation of what 'work' or 'gainful employment' means.  That said, before any work - even that which might be 'un-paid', save for some quid pro quo  (free campsite etc.) would require authority to do so under INS rules first.   Without the lawful permission to work to begin with,  from the INS,  then subsequent employment becomes illegal.  It dosn't matter that tax obligations may be met, persuant to IRS regs. (they don't much care, the Feds just want the tax obligation to be fulfilled),  volunteering as a camp host for a free campsite, would likely be considered as unlawful employment under INS rules and terms of the visitor/entry visa.  The conditions upon which a visitor's entry is allowed into the US are unambiguous, "...shall not seek employment nor perform work..."   I don't believe there are any exceptions to that under the Visitor's /Non-Immigrant Visa.   Despite the well meaning of the 'volunteer' and need for such people, it would be hard to establish that  volunteering  as a camp host, was not 'work' - especially if given something in return for their services.   Furthermore, even volunteering would require some kind of Workers Compensation and/or Liability insurance to be carried by the employer on behalf of the volunteer, which further establishes 'employment'.

Of course entry (into the US) could be lawfully made under a 'work permit' visa or other visa which allows employment but as I said before, that would be difficult to obtain given the temporary nature of the position.  The primary issue is whether or not there are suitable and sufficient US citizens (or lawful residents) available to fill the post.

I would imagine the first line on the Camp Host position Application Form would be, "If not a US Citizen or legal resident, please provide proof of authority or permission to work."  The Visitor's Visa  will just not satisfy.

BT

nil-permita illigitemii personae carborundum.

Buddy Tott

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2008, 03:17:40 AM »
Just one additional comment...Visitors Visas are not required Canadian Citizens visiting the US (in most cases) as well as over 20 other countries, but an I-94 / I-95 must be completed on arrival (and turned in on departure) and the visitor must have a valid passport.   Neither of those items satisfy the 'proof to work' requirement.  The only way to legally 'work' is to change Immigration status from 'Visitor' to one of the many other categories of alien.  Typically a very lengthy process and much longer than the six months usually permitted for the initial visit. 

BT
nil-permita illigitemii personae carborundum.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2008, 07:11:44 AM »
You seem very sure that your interpretation is the official INS policy, but I haven't seen any evidence, pro or con, that INS considers unpaid volunteer positions to be "employment".   Employment is different than performing a personal service. For example, visitors do such things as assist  on charitable drives or cultural lectures and receive room & board, travel expenses, etc. and these are not typically considered "work".

Quote
I would imagine the first line on the Camp Host position Application Form would be, "If not a US Citizen or legal resident, please provide proof of authority or permission to work."

I've never seen such an application form in my 9 years of workamping experience.   :D  I'm sure there are employers such as the Corp of Engineers who have such a thing, but most campgrounds are small businesses that don't run to anything as sophisticated as an application form. But if there is any formal pay involved, they will surely request a social security number and that's a show-stopper for any non-citizen.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 07:19:56 AM by RV Roamer »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Tom

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2008, 08:43:45 AM »
Many small businesses hire folks who can't work here legally. It's not legal for those companies to do so, but it's easy to conceal and tough to enforce. Periodically, we hear of a case in the media, but that's the exceptional case where some employer got caught. My take is that the INS sensationalizes those cases in an attempt to scare other small employers into requiring proof of legality to work here.

Quote from: RV Roamer
.... they will surely request a social security number and that's a show-stopper for any non-citizen.

A 'minor' correction Gary, there is no citizenship requirement to obtain a SS number; All that's required is proof to work in the US legally, e.g. one of various work visas or a green card. I'd venture to say there are millions of non-citizens with a SS number and working legally in the US.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008, 08:53:46 AM by Tom »
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Wendy

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2008, 11:29:58 AM »
We had to provide a social security number when camp hosting in Death Valley where we received a free FHU campsite in exchange for a certain number of hours per month. IIRC I had to provide an SSN when I volunteered at Hovenweep, San Antonio Missions and Biscayne. At Biscayne, I got $6/day, at the other places I got nothing. Don't know if it's standard or not at federal sites to require a social security number.

Wendy
Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2008, 04:03:25 PM »
Most federal agencies scrupulously comply with the employment laws and no doubt err on the side of caution by requiring an SSN from everybody, whether "employed" or "volunteer". On the other side of the coin, I've had work camping jobs where the pay was cash under the table and the employment interview consisted of helping the owner cut timber for an afternoon. He figured if we could work together for an afternoon, we would do ok as employees.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2008, 04:07:50 PM »
You can also get a taxpayer ID number in lieu if an SSN, if you are employed and not eligible to be covered by Social Security, e.g. a non-resident international. I assume, but do not know, that someone on a visitor visa would have some difficulty getting either an SSN or a taxpayer id. On the other hand, illegal aliens can get SSNs and collect benefits, so who knows?
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Buddy Tott

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2008, 03:03:19 AM »
Gary
My reference to the issue is one of strict legality, first-hand experience and the opinion of an ex-labor law/immigration attorney (my son).

Sure there are any number of non-resident aliens working in the US both with SSN and without.  It's really up to the employer to check and run the risk of hiring an individual who does not have legal authority to work.    The fact that someone performs a duty for another and receives some benefit for performing that duty - even if cloaked in the term of 'volunteering' - is still employment pursuant to INS regulation.  That would be prohibited for the holder of a 'visitors visa' or one who enters the country legally as a visitor.   Of course ther are various hypotheticals and degrees of what might constitute employment Vs. Volunteering and that would be up to a INS hearing Judge to decide, if it went that far. 

Even if the 'visitor' came into the US and conducted business, i.e. made some kind of business deal which would benefit them either in their native country or in the US, they (legally) would be required to hold a B1 / B2 visa allowing such practice.  I'm sure when our Canadian visitors come to the US and complete the I-94 form on entry, it clearly asks "purpose for visit"  - "business or pleasure"    If the 'business' box is checked then the visitor would likely be asked to provide an appropriate visa in support.  Checking the 'pleasure'  box infers no employment or business will be conducted.     Though Canada and the US are conjoined by NAFTA, it is not like the European Economic Trade agreement, where workers are permitted to go to any number of countries and begin employment without visas etc.

In actuality INS Investigators are few and far between and have a lot more on their plate than to go after one or two 'visiting' individuals volunteering at a campsites in the middle of nowhere...but that doesn't make it legal.

BT
nil-permita illigitemii personae carborundum.

mariekie

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2008, 09:46:10 PM »
Buddy Tott, is absolutely 100% correct on this issue. Speaking of experience - jumping through all those immigration hoops. It is not a very easy process to immigrate to the USA and coming as a visitor is not a matter of just presenting a passport and voila everything is honky dory!!!!

As a visitor I would use caution and not get involved in a worker program - that is a very slippery slope.

Mariekie


ZuniJayne

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Re: Work Camping: Please excuse my nose!
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2009, 11:50:52 PM »
Greetings, gang!

All legalities aside, there are some ways to deal with some logistics without moving your rig while you are workamping. If you really, really want to stay someplace, there ARE options.

If you are towing with a rig that will do so, or tow a vehichle that can, carry a container (even up to 50 gallon plastic barrels like I can in the pickup truck) for fresh water and one for waste water.  You may be able to use a large propane tank on site, about 120 gallons, if you can have someone deliver.  Or haul a 40 gallon tank in your pickup truck.  Most states will not allow you to haul anything larger than a 7 gallon propane tank in an enclosed vehicle.  The "extend-a-stay" is good for motorhomes, since they have a permanently mounted tank.

Otherwise, haul all in the back of your tow/towed vehicle.  Some places sell a water bladder so you don't need a barrel for water.  You can use a water transfer pump set up with a regular 12v water pump to bring water in and a 12v macerator pump to take the waste out to an appropriate place if you do not have one on site. (These macerator pumps will pump waste through a garden hose about 300 ft and you can get 'em for $160) Or haul waste out in a "blue boy."  "Blue boys" are horrendously expensive vs plastic barrels, though.

I have workamped/hosted where all I got was my site and had to haul in/out.  My solar panels, batteries  and small generator provided plenty of power for running vacuum, power tools, big DirectTV, and satellite internet on a PC.  I was not "roughing it." <bg>
-- Jayne and Hero
    --  Working on a 1973 Four Winds pickup camper for my 1993 Ford F250 pickup so I can tow the 1988 Dodge Raider 4WD too!
        - Settled near Albuquerque, NM

 

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