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The Quartzsite experience

by Tom Jones

Where exactly is Quartzsite?

Quartzsite, Az is located near the intersection of I-10 and US-95, 20 miles east of the Colorado River. The town itself is very small, but the population swells with hundreds of thousands of RVers camped in the surrounding areas for the winter months. This broader sprawl is what is being referred to here as "Quartzsite".

What's it like in Quartzsite?

Forum staffer Jim Dick wrote about his First impressions of quartzsite.

The photo at the top of the page, taken by forum member Bob Zambennini, shows a typical campfire gathering held every evening during the RV forum Quartzsite rally.

What's the attraction?

Numerous shows are held anually at Quartzsite, including rock & gems shows, arts & crafts fairs, swap meets, a classic car show and an RV show. Several thousand vendors display their wares and many of these are RVers themselves.

There are opportunities for off-roading trips.

RV Forumites come to Quartzsite to see old friends and renew acquaintances.


There are approximately 35 campgrounds in or around Quartzsite, but the vast majority of visitors camp on Bureau of Land Management land. The RV Forum Quartzsite rally is held in one of the Long-Term Visitor Areas, which requires the purchase of a permit at one of the BLM ranger stations.

This really is dry camping, or boondocking, with no hookups. The following are some tips from forum members on how best to last 10 days or more in the desert without electric, water or sewer hookups.

Boondocking tips

  • Arrive with empty holding tanks, a full fresh water tank, and lots of generator fuel and propane.
  • Do not let any fresh water run down the drain until it has been used.
  • Capture the initial cold water from the shower in a pitcher and use it for other purposes e.g. drinking water for the dog.
  • When taking showers wet down, then turn water off at shower head. Wash and then turn water on again to wash off soap.
  • Shower every other day and use a wash cloth the other days.
  • Since Az is a dry climate, wet wash cloths or baby wipes work good.
  • Use bottled water for drinking and coffee.
  • Since the grey water tank fills faster than the black water tank, use a dish pan to wash dishes, then dump the dishwater in toilet.
  • Use paper plates to minimize dishwashing.
  • When brushing teeth, use a glass of water to first dip the toothbrush in, then use half to rinse the mouth and the rest to rinse the brush. Don't run water while brushing the teeth.
  • During the day put some water in the hand bowl and use it to rinse the hands in; Just add to it when rinsing the soap off.
  • Have enough changes of clothes to be able to go two weeks without having to do laundry.

When and where is the RV Forum rally?

The rally is normally held the same week as the Quartzsite RV show which, in 2008, is January 19-27. Some folks arrive earlier, some stay longer, some visit for just a few days and some drive in just for the potluck on Saturday.

The rally is usually held on BLM land, in the La Posa Tyson Wash LTVA area south of Quartzsite, just off US-95 near mile marker 102. Click here for directions to the rally site, contributed by forum members Jerry and Ardra Fitzgerald.

Rally activities

In addition to socializing, rally attendees may participate in any of the activities, including:

  • Morning coffee brewed by a forum member.
  • Nightly campfire chat & happy hour.
  • One or more forum members lead an off-road trip.
  • Invariably someone comes up with an activity to highlight the week and will post info about their idea before the Quartzsite Rally gets started. In the past this has been everything from beach parties to Kentucky Derby races. Stay tuned!.
  • In 2005 forum members participated in the first geocaching trip held in conjunction with the rally.
  • Saturday is the traditional RV Forum potluck.
  • Additional activities will be announced during the rally, usually at one of the daily happy hour sessions.

Click here to see photos from a prior RV Forum Quartzsite rally.

Am I able to get online during the rally?

A small number of rally attendees have satellite internet capabilities and may make a network available for others to get online. You'll need a wireless card in or attached to your PC to connect to the network.

Most attendees use cellular Mi-Fi or mobile hotspot from their smartphone.

Who'll be there?

Expect to see a number of RV Forum regulars, including folks who winter in Arizona and others who make the trip specifically to attend the rally.