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RVing message boards => Destinations, RV Parks, Routes => Camping at Wal*Mart and other non-campgrounds => Topic started by: bklyncat58 on November 16, 2016, 07:13:45 PM

Title: how to boondock
Post by: bklyncat58 on November 16, 2016, 07:13:45 PM
we have never boondocked .we are planning a trip to myrtle beach s.c. in april .we live in s. jersey .I keep hearing how you can stay at Walmart .would we stay hooked up to the truck and just put the legs down. we have a 26ft travel trailer .how long will my lights work for can I put up my atenna to watch tv .can I make coffee in the morning. any help
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on November 17, 2016, 07:41:49 AM
Disconnecting from the truck or not is your choice. Most leave it connected for an overnight stop, but if you need to drive the truck somewhere, e.g. restaurant or the beach...

Your lights work off the trailer battery, but how long that lasts depends on how many lights and how long. None of your 120v outlets work without shore power, so an electric coffee maker won't work. A coffee pot on the gas stove does fine, however.

You can use your antenna, but the tv won't work without external 120v power.

Be aware that not all Walmart location allow overnight stays. City ordinances or shopping center policy may prohibit it. Nor should you plan to set out the BBQ grill or lawn chairs - it's not a campground.
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: Tom on November 17, 2016, 07:55:22 AM
Take heed of Gary's caveats. I can tell you from first hand experience (not at Walmart) that being loudly woken by law enforcement at 2am and being told to 'move on' is not a fun experience. The only time we were 'camped' where we shouldn't be, I drove to a nearby Marriott Hotel, checked into a room at 2:30am, and parked the coach in their back lot.
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: blw2 on November 17, 2016, 09:23:15 AM
.....Nor should you plan to set out the BBQ grill or lawn chairs - it's not a campground.

& I don't think it would be advisable to unhitch a TT for that matter, at something like a wal mart.
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: blw2 on November 17, 2016, 09:25:27 AM
Take heed of Gary's caveats. I can tell you from first hand experience (not at Walmart) that being loudly woken by law enforcement at 2am and being told to 'move on' is not a fun experience. The only time we were 'camped' where we shouldn't be, I drove to a nearby Marriott Hotel, checked into a room at 2:30am, and parked the coach in their back lot.

Tom, you've probably told this story before, but I don't recall...... so what sort of place were you when you were run off?


We done this a few times now, but have always been careful to ask if its ok.....
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: UTTransplant on November 17, 2016, 09:34:59 AM
We have stayed overnight in Walmart parking lots a few times while traveling (plus one night at a Cabelas). I do not consider it "camping." I always call the store first to confirm they allow overnight parking. I also ask where they want us to park. We pull in, level the trailer, and put out the slide (we look for a spot where the slide will be over grass, not stuck out into a lane). Most of the time we don't unhitched, but sometimes we do to get fuel for the truck, a much easier task without the trailer. We are well set up for boondocking with a stove top coffee maker (an Aero Press makes great coffee!), LED lights, big fresh/gray/black tanks, a 12 v TV and VCR, etc. As others have said, your wall sockets won't be powered. In the morning we take a shower, have coffee, pack up, and are generally gone by 8:00.

There are a few places we have seen where folks obviously stay for multiple days, but you won't find that allowed in popular tourist areas. I would be amazed if the Myrtle Beach area allowed parking lot overnights at all, but the OP may have been talking about his travel to the area.
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: Tom on November 17, 2016, 01:19:58 PM
Brad, it was the mid 80's, and I was dockmaster for a fishing tournament involving 80 boats. We'd rented a bunch of dock space from the Marriott at the Berkley marina, and I decided to bring the coach and not worry about our boat. Figured I'd be too busy dealing with all the other boats. Parked the coach on the street at the edge of the marina, overlooking the harbor.


I woke up to loud banging on the door and a very bright light. Thought I'd just lay there quietly, and they might think there was nobody home. That's when Chris woke and started yelling "Tom, there's someone at the door!". I tried explaining to these two large officers that "I'm with that boat club over there ...", but it met with a firm "move on". That's when we checked into the Marriott.
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: JosephGrey on January 11, 2018, 03:30:49 PM
The Walmart web site for each store lists if it allows overnight parking or not.  One of the rules is even if they allow it you have to ask.

--jg
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: Rene T on January 11, 2018, 03:33:47 PM
You can use your antenna, but the tv won't work without external 120v power.

Unless it's a 12 volt DC Television which there aren't many out there I don't believe.
Or if your TV was powered by a INverter.
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: Oldgator73 on January 11, 2018, 08:23:19 PM
Stayed at Walmarts, rest stops and truck stops many times. Never been asked to leave. If at a Walmart or truck stop we always spend some money there. We are destination campers. I just can't justify spending $30-$50 to pull into a campground to spend the night.
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: AStravelers on January 12, 2018, 08:24:04 AM
We have stayed overnight in Walmart parking lots a few times while traveling (plus one night at a Cabelas). I do not consider it "camping." I always call the store first to confirm they allow overnight parking. I also ask where they want us to park. We pull in, level the trailer, and put out the slide (we look for a spot where the slide will be over grass, not stuck out into a lane). Most of the time we don't unhitched, but sometimes we do to get fuel for the truck, a much easier task without the trailer. We are well set up for boondocking with a stove top coffee maker (an Aero Press makes great coffee!), LED lights, big fresh/gray/black tanks, a 12 v TV and VCR, etc. As others have said, your wall sockets won't be powered. In the morning we take a shower, have coffee, pack up, and are generally gone by 8:00.

There are a few places we have seen where folks obviously stay for multiple days, but you won't find that allowed in popular tourist areas. I would be amazed if the Myrtle Beach area allowed parking lot overnights at all, but the OP may have been talking about his travel to the area.
Excellent advice.  This is what we always do.  That is call the store for permission, park on the side of the lot if possible so opening the slides does not increase our footprint.
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: AStravelers on January 12, 2018, 08:41:29 AM
About using your TV/lights etc.  Assuming you have access to the trailer at home, test it out before you leave. 

If you have incandescent light bulbs or florescent bulbs swap them out for LED's.  Each incandescent bulb pulls about 1.5amps. 

TV depends on size and type for the amount of power it uses.   If it will run off of a 100watt inverter plugged into a cigarette lighter outlet you will be fine for an evenings use, assuming you will be driving for 6-8 hours to recharge the battery from your tow vehicle. 

BTW, trying to charge trailer batteries from the tow vehicle is not an efficient process.  The small wire size combined with the distance from the engine to the trailer battery, means it takes a long time to get the battery charged.   
Title: Re: how to boondock
Post by: AStravelers on January 12, 2018, 08:46:49 AM
By the way.  Parking overnight at Walmat is not boondocking.  It is overnight parking in a parking lot or rest stop.  Boondocking is staying in your RV out in the boondocks in a location with no defined parking/camping spots and no facilities. 

Then there is "dry camping".  That is camping in a spot with defined parking spots for camping but no hookups.  Such as many National Forest CG's and state parks.

Sorry, just being picky about definitions.  :)