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Author Topic: First boondocking trip--many questions!  (Read 772 times)

NancyM333

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First boondocking trip--many questions!
« on: July 14, 2017, 07:35:57 PM »
   My husband is working at Yellowstone NP this summer, living in our Jayco TT in an RV park with full hookups, and I have flown out to spend a couple of weeks.  This is our first RV experience and have owned this unit since April.  He has a few days off and we want to try out boondocking in a nearby Forest Service campground, but we are a little worried about how it will go. 

    We want to stay three nights.  What kind of conserving of water and electricity will we need to do to last that long?

    Our unit has two 41 gallon freshwater tanks, one grey and one black water tank that are 39 gallons each.  I have read on the forum here that we should mostly be concerned with the waste tanks filling.  Will the grey tank overflow into the black tank if we fill it with showers and dishwashing? 

     Should we totally fill those two freshwater tanks before we leave here?  Should we stop somewhere on the way back to empty the gray and black tanks?  If so on either count, what type place allows this?

     How can we make sure the grey and black tanks are totally empty before we leave here to boondocking?  The black tank gauge reads empty when my husband drains it, but the grey never seems to get there.  People at our current RV park say the gauges are notoriously unreliable.

      How careful do we need to be about electricity usage, and is there a reliable way to know how much battery power we have left?  We don't have a generator.

      Are there any problems that first time boondockers face that I am not thinking about and should consider?

      Thanks in advance for any advice you have--it seems so easy here in the RV park!

     
Nancy & Steve
Roswell, Georgia

Jayco Jay Flight 24RBS

HueyPilotVN

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 09:11:42 PM »
I think that you might have the ideal solution available to you with your current situation.

Just unhook from the water, sewer and electricity where you are already situated at the campground.

Most of your questions are related to capacity and how long things will last.  Everyone has different usage and on board capacities but you can test your own exact capabilities with a full backup in case you run out of any of the supporting services.

Good Luck and let us know what you find out about your boondocking capabilities while having the services just a circuit breaker or valve away.
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
34' Stacker Trailer, Trailer Toad
Jeep Commander
Mustang Bracket Race Car
35 years on the road

viceprice

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 10:24:19 PM »
Check out Long along Honeymoon on You Tube. They have a lot of good videos including one on boondocking.
Karen, Kyle and the K9s
1997 Chevrolet C2500 7.4L Silverado
2016 Cougar X-Lite 28RBS

Great Horned Owl

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  • Lake county, IL
Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2017, 12:06:11 AM »
You could go out the north east entrance, and about 7 miles east of Cooke City, Fox Creek is a nice Shoshone National Forest campground with electric hookups. They do not take reservations, but I have never had trouble getting a site there.

Joel 
Joel & Dorothy
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Isaac-1

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2017, 12:48:16 AM »
You should do fine with the water over 3 days,  my motorhome has nearly identical tankage (80 gal fresh, 40 gray, 40 black), and I have taken a couple of boondocking trips with my college age son since buying it last year.  Longest one was 3 nights (left home Thursday afternoon, returned home Sunday night) with no extreme water rationing, flushing toilet when needed, taking one 3 to 5 minute shower per day each, and we still made it home with around 30 gallons in the fresh water tank.  For reference a typical RV shower head will flow at 1.5 - 2.0 gallons per minute (I use an Oxygenics handheld shower, works great and really does give the feeling of more water flow than there actually is).



I can't help much on electricity as I have a generator, plus 400 watts of solar panels on the roof, if I have clear skies and don't over do using the electronics.  The solar panels provide more than enough to keep the batteries charged, provide ample power for the LED lighting, as well as the control electronics on the propane fridge and even the blower and controls on the propane furance in the winter (which is a big draw)
2002 Safari Trek 2830

NancyM333

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2017, 07:40:00 AM »
Thanks for all the helpful responses!  I think the idea of testing it before we go is genius--we are definitely unplugging today, taking a picture of our gauges, and seeing what happens with them over the next couple of days. 

We watched the Loloho video on boondocking, and it was terrific.  I want to watch some more of their series before we leave. 

Thanks for the Fox Creek tip, Joel.  We will definitely check that out.  We've only ever tent camped before here at Yellowstone, so we've never paid attention to the services.  Plus, this time of year there is not a space to be found in the park!

I had no idea about the 1.5-2.0 gallons per minute in the shower.  It really makes you think about your water usage!  The Loloho couple mentioned the Oxygenic shower head, too, so we will look into that.

Thanks again.  I'll let you all know how it goes!
Nancy & Steve
Roswell, Georgia

Jayco Jay Flight 24RBS

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2017, 08:53:09 AM »
As others have said, each of us has different water & power consumption habits. Mostly bad ones if you've never had to live with any constraints. Long showers, running water from the taps while washing dishes or brushing teeth, lights left on for convenience or decor,  etc.

82 gals of water is plenty for 3 days with only modest conservation, but the gray tank will fill quickly. And no, it does not overflow into the black when it fills. It will almost surely back up into the shower instead!  Most of that 82 gals of fresh water will head to the gray tank as waste, so use it wisely!

You didn't mention your battery capacity and that is probably the thing you are most likely to run out of, especially if you need to use the furnace a bit. The water pump and RV fridge in LP mode are insignificant users of 12v power, but lighting and the furnace fan can really suck it down. You probably have some sort of battery state gauge in the RV, but they are typically vague at best, e.g. Good vs Fair. When the gauge gets near its halfway point, you are probably near out of power. The battery voltage falls rapidly below that and besides, discharging the battery(s) more than about 50% begins to cause long term harm to them (the future capacity decreases).

Just empty the tanks before you leave your current campsite and don't worry what the gauges say at that time. They are unreliable as a measure of how full the tanks are getting, but it's better than nothing.  The black tank is fairly easy, since it will begin to gurgle or bubble air as you flush when it gets near full, and of course you can see it if it gets totally full. The gray is often a surprise when water begins to appear in the shower!  Since you have a full hook-up site when you return, you can dump then. If you would rather not carry the weight of the waste water on the drive home, chances are the boondock campground has a sewer dump station right there.

Unless you know that the destination boondock area has a fresh water source to fill the tank, bring your own water with you.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

tanglemoose

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2017, 10:32:09 PM »
You could go out the north east entrance, and about 7 miles east of Cooke City, Fox Creek is a nice Shoshone National Forest campground with electric hookups. They do not take reservations, but I have never had trouble getting a site there.

Joel

Sorry to add this bad news but Fox creek is closed for 2017 season and I heard 2018. Forest service decide to use our public campground for a road work crew... so closed the only hookup site in the whole highway 212 Bearttoth area ..
Donna and Mark
and our Golden Lexie
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tanglemoose

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2017, 10:39:42 PM »
I find that if i leave water pump off, we use a lot less water. I fill up some containers with water and use them when we need water. Saes water, especially tiluet and I believe water pumps use a lot of battery, turning on and off... we have 60 gallons of water, plus hot water, we go for week no problem. But try to use campground bathrooms during daytime.

Not a lot of dumps in campgrounds surrounding park. But is one outside cody at the state park. Have fun...
Donna and Mark
and our Golden Lexie
New 2017 TT Keystone Cougar  Same model... but NEW Features!
2015 Keystone Cougar 1/2 Ton Series, 21rbswe, 26'
2013 Toyota Tundra
Living in Cold Montana Country.....

viceprice

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2017, 06:30:57 AM »
Our TT has 43 gal of fresh water. 2 grey water tanks at 30 gal each and 1 30 gal black tank. As you can see, we have 2X more waste capacity than fresh water capacity so we have not had an issue with running out of waste storage when relying solely on our own fresh water supply. The DW and I have been at New Hampshire Motor Speedway since Wed afternoon essentially boondocking (this was written Sun AM before any use-I would call this 3 compete days of use). We are using a generator occasionally to re-charge the the TT (single) battery that has held very well, cell phones and a laptop my wife uses for her work. We have combined this charging with a couple of generator runs to run the AC when it became uncomfortable. My son and his wife joined us Friday night. We have prepared all our meals in the TT. We have saved some of the water from dishwashing to use for the toilet. We also saved  the "first cold" water in the shower when adjusting the temp and then using the shut of on the shower head to minimize water use. The DW and I have each had 1 "Navy" shower. We are careful not to run any unnecessary water for hand washing and brushing of teeth etc. As of this morning our fresh water gauge shows 1/3 left. It usually runs out soon after reaching that reading so I estimate we are somewhere below 10 gal. I have 5 gal in a Jerry Can I will add to the fresh water tank if needed today. We have used bottled water for drinking. I estimate we have used about 10 gal fresh water per day from the tank. Black tank shows 1/3 full and still showing "empty" on each of the 2 gray tanks (less than 10 gal in each?).  We are leaving Monday.
Karen, Kyle and the K9s
1997 Chevrolet C2500 7.4L Silverado
2016 Cougar X-Lite 28RBS

Len and Jo

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2017, 12:16:25 PM »
We Americans use A LOT more water then we really need to.  If you can spend some time thinking about why you really want to dry camp.  To us it is a chance to change our life style and enjoy doing it....for a few days or weeks.  You can do fine if each of you agree to LIMIT yourself.   My wife and I can while dry camping can go about 4 days on a 5 gallon black water tank and 18 gallons of fresh water.  That is all we carry in our 'B' and it works fine for us.  Our toilet consumes very little water - Port-a-potty with 2.4 gallon fresh water tank and 6.1 gallon waste tank.  We take birdie bathes every day and shower every 2-3 days depending on the heat.  Our showers are of the GI verity (wet down, soap up, rinse off) and consume 1-1.5 gallons per shower.  Wife more with longer hair, me less with losing hair.   We try to run faucets as short a time as practical.  Fill a cup and turn it off the faucet while brushing teeth.  Simple.  Use dishpans for cleaning dishes, washing dishes, and rinsing dishes.  Do not just run the faucet for these tasks.  In short with some thinking and planning you could be surprised how how little water and electrical energy you really need to feel and be comfortable.  IF on the other hand you want to "dry camp" while using a plugged into shore power and water mentality you will be surprised how fast you can consume your resources even with 40 gallons of fresh water and large holding tanks.   See the dry camping as an opportunity to learn new things about yourself and nature. 

An earlier post recommended giving it a try where you are now at.  Unplug, disconnect, see how you can do.  If you over use or get into trouble easy to re-hookup and recover.  Practice does not hurt.

« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 12:22:18 PM by Len and Jo »
Len & Jo
The Green Tardis
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73Camper

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2017, 09:07:52 AM »
Fill up everything and dump everything. When I leave just for a quick weekend i will all of the water tanks. it sucks to run out. haha i know i have done it.

Do you have a genset?
1973 Sports Coach Motorhome 28ft - Sold
2002 Fleetwood 22ft TT - Sold
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NancyM333

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2017, 06:37:28 PM »
Thanks for all the advice.  We did not run out of power, water or room in our gray and black tanks, but we were pretty careful with our usage.  Our gauges never seemed to read correctly, so we have no idea how close we came to running out.

It was a great trip to Earthquake Lake in Montana, and we were glad to be able to try out a campground without hookups--there are so many of them in beautiful places!

Nancy
Nancy & Steve
Roswell, Georgia

Jayco Jay Flight 24RBS

ArdraF

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2017, 06:39:31 PM »
So, in other words, all that worrying was for nothing??  ::) ;D Glad it all went so well.  And yes, we have many fabulous places to camp in the good ol' US of A.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Tom and Margi

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Re: First boondocking trip--many questions!
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2017, 06:59:23 PM »

It was a great trip to Earthquake Lake in Montana


Merle Edgerton, M.D. was our family physician growing up in Coalinga, California.  He died in the earthquake which created that lake.  As the quake news filtered in (before CNN and "instant news") the whole town hoped he had survived and was helping treat the injured.  They were devastated when they received the sad news of his and his wife's death and that of the Woods family, also from Coalinga. 

 

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