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RVing message boards => Destinations, RV Parks, Routes => Camping at Wal*Mart and other non-campgrounds => Topic started by: samanthahhi on February 27, 2014, 04:43:12 PM

Title: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: samanthahhi on February 27, 2014, 04:43:12 PM
I've wondered if most of the posts about boondocking have been from people in RV's and not travel trailers. A lot of times, they state if they were ever uncomfortable, they would just get up and go. But, if you have a travel trailer, you have to exit your TT to get to your car to head out.

I usually am on the road with my son and my husband meets us somewhere along the way. Are there any women out there who would feel comfortable boondocking at a wal-mart or cracker barrell with a TT?

Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: Lowell on February 27, 2014, 04:59:10 PM
I don't believe I would consider staying at a Walmart or Cracker Barrel to be boondocking.   To me boondocking is camping out in the boonies, but that's just me.  I have only camped at campgrounds or actually out in the boonies of the state forest away from everyone in our TT.  I think that if we were to camp at a Walmart, I would go in and check with the manager to get their OK and ask about the safety of the area first. 
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: Wigpro on February 27, 2014, 05:01:07 PM
I do it in my fifth wheel all the time - but I do carefully look over the neighborhood before making the full commitment to stay. I also like to arrive before dark and relax outside for a while and watch the activity....but for the most part they have all been fine.

Good Luck - scoping out your area first it most prudent...

Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: Irover on February 27, 2014, 07:03:36 PM
You are actually talking about Overnighting!!! If you do a search on your browser fro it will give you campgrounds; store parking lots; Restaurants and many options. Walmart lisings have phone #'s you can call and maybe some others. I stayed in a few different Cracker Barrels but always asked the manager. I would pull in just around dusk or sometimes just after the evening rush. I only stayed and felt safe at a couple Walmarts; Sam's; ETc. I always would make sure i asked and i was out of the delivery area and as remote as possible!! Irover
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: samanthahhi on February 28, 2014, 08:18:09 AM
Thank you all for responding. I am sorry I got the definition inaccurate and I realize that can make a whole lot of difference to the answers I am seeking. I understand where to seek information about overnight stay and the like. My specific question is this:

I have assumed that most posts re: overnighting, referenced individuals who were in motorhomes.

Has anyone overnighted at a Wal-mart or such in a travel trailer and do you think - If This Was Your Daughter (lol), based on first determining the Wal-mart is in a good neighborhood (thank you, Jim), that it would be a wise choice? My son and I have to haul out to CO and yes, it is sometimes difficult to justify paying $25 for a less than 12 hour stay at a campground...though, in part, I realize one thing I am paying for is a tad bit of peace of mind.

Would love some feedback from women, too!  ;)

Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: SeilerBird on February 28, 2014, 08:27:20 AM
In the ten years I was a travelling full timer I spent hundreds of night in Walmart parking lots all over the country and never once felt unsafe. All Walmart parking lots have many security cameras and most have a security guard patrolling the place. How much safer could it get?
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: kjansen on February 28, 2014, 11:40:15 AM
I pull a fifth wheel and yes have stayed in roadside rests and Walmart.  If possible, just don't extend your slides.  In road side rests you will see no camping signs posted at times.  In Minnesota that is referring to tents.  Trucks, campers, and motor homes will be ok to stay the night.  I have even parked at gas stations beside the big rigs with no problems except the noise.
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: Lowell on February 28, 2014, 12:43:18 PM
Since you ar only staying the night, you wouldn't be unhooking your TT either.  So if you decided to leave , you could, although you would have to exit the TT.  I would just leave my TT hooked up to the tow vehicle and not put down any stabilizers.  The truck hitch makes our TT pretty stable.
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: ArdraF on February 28, 2014, 02:40:30 PM
I might add here that at commercial establishments we don't want to look like we're camping (local neighbors sometimes object) which is a secondary reason for not putting out slides, etc.  I was going to suggest not unhooking but didn't know if that was a reasonable suggestion (thanks, Lowell!) because we're motorhomers.  In your situation I would want to look as temporary as possible which means I would not unhook unless I needed to drive somewhere else such as to visit a friend.

Men might feel less threatened in some situations than a woman.  Before settling into a place like Wal Mart, look it over carefully.  First, you want to check for signs that say No Overnight Parking.  If you see those you want to move on and park elsewhere.  Second, look at the lighting and stay in one of the well-lit sections of the parking lot (taking into account you also want to be out at the edges where you'll be out of the way).  Third, look at the clientele.  If you see a lot of young people (sorry, kids) who just seem to hanging out, do they look like they might cause problems?  If so, move on.  If it seems they'll leave and the place will quiet down then you'll probably be okay.  In any case, I would close my curtains for privacy.  You don't need to have anyone looking inside and realizing you are a woman traveling alone with a son (is he a child or older so looks more able to defend himself?).

Most highway rest areas do not allow overnight parking and the reasons are first to leave enough room for people who need to stop briefly to use the facilities and second because there have been serious issues at some rest areas which you would not know about because you don't live nearby.  Many years ago we overnighted in a lot of places (including rest areas which were permissible in the 1960s) but as we've learned more about them, we've gravitated more to established campgrounds.  They don't have to be fancy but they may be safer and you might feel more at ease to get out and walk around.

It's great that you and your son are able to this and that you can meet your husband along the way.

Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: Ned on February 28, 2014, 03:06:11 PM
The most important thing to do when considering overnighting in a commercial parking lot is to go in and ask the manager if it's permissible, and if it is, where you should park.  Don't guess and find the police at your door in the middle of the night.  It's also common sense to spend some money at the store and make sure the manager knows you're a customer.
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: samanthahhi on February 28, 2014, 08:44:46 PM
Thank you all so much. Great advice! AndraF, I especially appreciate your comments from a women's perspective. You guys just don't realize how intimidating it can be, but I don't want to be unnecessarily frightened of doing something that a lot of rvers typically feel comfortable doing.

My son will be 14 and he is a take charge kind of guy, but still...he is on the young side. Did I mention I do have a a 3mil volt taser. However, I just discovered a "home" party group that focuses on women's safety and sell all kinds of will they think of next! So, I just may have to attend one.

I'd already read up on all the other rules of the road for over nighting, and yes, Wal-mart gets my money one way or the other.
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: Wendy on February 28, 2014, 09:25:19 PM
I see you got a lot of answers from the guys. Here's a female opinion. If I was traveling alone, I would not overnight in Walmart, rest stops, etc in a TT. I would in a motorhome. The ability to jump behind the wheel and leave quickly would be the difference.

Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: driftless shifter on March 01, 2014, 06:48:41 AM
Sleep where the truckers sleep.
Some may be coarse salt of the earth types but the majority are good family men, including the coarse ones. There are more examples of truckers rescuing people than harming people in the news, you just have to look for it. The bad ones get the press. The heart warming ones rarely make the national news.

Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: skyking1 on March 01, 2014, 09:14:01 AM
check out boondocker's welcome in my sig. If you can make a plan in advance you may have some good opportunities there.
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: jje1960 on March 01, 2014, 09:40:22 AM
Walmart has been our overnight location up and down the east coast on a number (maybe 50) of occasions.  We have never felt unsafe, have always been respectful and never been asked to leave or even questioned.  We have done this in two different models of TT's and our current 5Ver.  However, we have also found a couple of places where we used to use Walmart, now have found very close campgrounds off the highway for overnight without unhooking.
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: RLSharp on March 01, 2014, 04:44:05 PM
I would in a motorhome. The ability to jump behind the wheel and leave quickly would be the difference.


I have often wondered what I would do if a couple of vehicles pinned me in so that quickly leaving was not an option. I decided that there would be two or three greatly damaged vehicles when the police found us. Perhaps I could damage the perps vehicles to the point where they could also leave the scene either. Obviously, being in a motor home would make leaving much easier than having to get to your tow vehicle from a trailer.
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: ArdraF on March 01, 2014, 05:18:16 PM
There are more examples of truckers rescuing people than harming people in the news

Back in the mid-1960s I drove Jerry's grandmother's car from Illinois to San Francisco because she moved west.  There were a couple of truckers I felt were keeping an eye on me - a female driving alone.  They'd wave as one of us passed the other and I always felt that one of them would stop to help me if I got in a jam.  I didn't need to test it, but it was a comforting feeling.

Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: robertusa123 on May 26, 2014, 10:30:01 AM
I aggre boondocking is not camping at a truck stop rest area or wallmart.     I camp in the national forest.   But I do addmite I allway bring protection in form of my 9mm.   Never had to use it. But you never no
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: OLDRACER on June 03, 2014, 01:01:43 PM
PLEASE invest in a pump shotgun with number 6 load! That 9mm, 45  and other pistols and rifles will go through several camper walls and still kill someone, plus being a lot harder to hit what you aim at.
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: MN Blue Skies on June 03, 2014, 09:04:54 PM
Hi Samantha,

My background:
I'm brand new to RVing.  My current husband and I took our maiden voyage in our new TT on May 24.  On June 1st I set out by myself on a two to three week trip.  I have never spent a night in a Walmart or other commercial lot.  I learned how to handle guns before I was 16 and now own several.  I don't necessarily trust or distrust truckers.  (However I would never trust my ex-husband who was a trucker.)  I used to be a single parent. I currently work for one of Walmart's vendors.  I like to believe I have a few "street smarts" aka common sense.

What would I do?:
I would try an overnight in a Walmart or commercial parking lot.  (Except for economic reasons, this would not be my preference because I love being outdoors.)  I would choose a Walmart in a neighborhood that does not have a high crime rate.  As Ned suggested, I would talk to the store management (Store Manager or one of the Assistant Managers) and to the Walmart security employee(s) if they are on duty.  If you are pulling in after business hours or on a weekend the Store Manager will probably not be there.  I would keep my TT hooked up to my tow vehicle.  I would not extend my levelers.  I would not put my slide or awning out.  I would make sure that my cell phone is charged and has service.  I would have the phone number for the local police.  I would not carry my guns.  If I felt threatened I would not leave my TT to try to get to my tow vehicle.  I would call the local police and I would stay in my TT until the police arrive.  I would sleep well because I knew I had a good plan in case I felt threatened. 

Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: MN Blue Skies on June 03, 2014, 09:10:51 PM
So Keven,

It's okay to spend the night in our TT at a wayside rest in Minnesota?  I did not know that.  Thanks for sharing.  That's helpful info for our long trips to Big Falls, MN.
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: jglass on November 18, 2014, 04:47:10 PM
Cell phones are your best asset when it comes to personal security.    At night my cell phone is right next  to my protection.
Title: Re: Boondocking in a TT
Post by: blw2 on November 19, 2014, 10:24:13 AM
I noticed just a couple days ago that they put in a sign a mile or so south if the I-95 rest area near where I live, that has a digital readout indicating how many vacant truck spots there are at the rest area..... put it in right before the exit that happens to have 2 truck stops just a mile or two south of the rest area.

Anyway, this sign got me to thinking again about overnighting at an interstate rest area.....  How is it that it's ok for trucks but not RV's?