Newbie - a general question about RV campgrounds

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Hi.  Thanks for taking the time.

I'm new to this forum, new to the idea of "RV-ing", and have a very general question regarding RV campgrounds.

My "RV" is (going to be) my 2006 Chrysler Town and Country mini-van.  It's a standard mini-van with no modifications.  It's in great shape and not at all an eyesore.

My plan is to sleep in the van, cook on a portable grill, and spend a good part of next summer (2019) driving around the west coast hitting minor league baseball games.  In the past I would have had no issue doing some standard "van camping" at state or federal parks but I now am a CPAP user and need a reliable electrical power source.  Thus, I was thinking that RV campgrounds that offer 20amp service would be a great solution.

So, in doing some research I have noticed that some RV campsites state that they don't allow "homemade" bus or van conversions.  I'm guessing that the vehicles being referred to are those that have had the roofs cut off and a spray-painted plywood box calked and bondo'd to the top and are driven/owned by folks that look much like their vehicle.

This _would not at all_ be the case with me.  I am clean, organized, respectful, quiet, and would leave anywhere I stay in as good if not better condition than when I arrived.  As stated above my van is in great shape and my stays would be 1 night (2 at the most if there were multiple baseball stadiums in the area.) 

I guess my question is this: can anyone offer any insight as to if RV campgrounds in general frown upon or just not allow the type of use that I am looking for?

My goal here is to try and figure this out before I start spending a bunch of money on gear and time planning towns/routes/campgrounds only to find out that I'll be turned away once I arrive.

Thanks in advance for any info that you guys care to share with me.

Joe
 

SeilerBird

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I camped with a van for years in campgrounds. No problem at all. If it is nice looking and within the last 15 years no one will say a word.
 

donn

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All I can speak to is Oregon state parks.  But generally most parks have options.  Full hookups with 50A service plus water and sewer.  Or tent sites that can offer from nothing to 20A electric plus water at each site.  If you pick a tent or electric only site no one will care as long as your neat and quiet.  Have you looked into adding a second battery and a small inverter to run your CPAP?  That should again allow you to camp with no hookups. You should also look at your machine.  They all have a brick that converts 120VAC to a lower voltage for the machine.
 
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Hi Donn!

Thanks a ton for the input.  Yeah, I am looking into 1 or 2 solar panels, a controller, deep cycle battery, and an inverter.  What I neglected to mention is I also hope to run a small fan and small portable AC unit in addition to the CPAP.  So, I doubt that even two fully charged batteries would be be enough to power all three items for ~6-8 hours while I'm sleeping.  Thus, 20amp service seems to be the most reliable option.

Joe
 

HappyWanderer

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I wouldn't assume anything either way. To avoid disappointment, I would contact the specific campgrounds that you're interested in and ask them directly. Perhaps send a photo of your van, so they can see for themselves.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The more upscale campgrounds will likely frown, and maybe deny, but you probably aren't expecting to go there anyway, cause the sites will be 30A or 50A with water and maybe sewer, and priced accordingly. The places that have sites catering to smaller rigs  with only 20A electric  generally won't blink at van-camping at all.
 

Back2PA

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removalservices said:
My plan is to sleep in the van, cook on a portable grill, and spend a good part of next summer (2019) driving around the west coast hitting minor league baseball games. 

Sounds like a fun summer. Welcome to the forum
 
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Thanks for the info Gary.  You are right...I'm not looking for anything fancy.

And, thanks for the warm welcome Scott...I am very much looking forward to it if I can make it happen.
 

gravesdiesel

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I had severe sleep apnea and was prescribed the CPAP.  I could not stand the hassle of that thing, including the reasons you mention, so I looked for alternatives.  I ended up getting the surgery.  Best thing I ever did!  Maybe this could be a permanent solution for you also?
 
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Hello GravesDiesel.

Yeah, I talked with my ENT and my Neurologist regarding the surgery and they both thought I _wasn't_ a good candidate.  While I'm not stoked about using the CPAP it has improved my life greatly.  And, by greatly, I mean I am a new person.  So, I've resigned myself to wearing that dumb thing every night.  Here's to hoping "they" come up with a different and better solution.

Thanks.

Joe
 

donn

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Forget air conditioning.  You simply can not have enough batteries to run one.
Solar is reailly only useful if your parked in full sun.  If your driving and or moving every day solar is really useless.  You might be better off with a small generator.  Cheaper too.  Two batteries you could easily charge by a days driving.  You might look into a portable CPAP.  If you take yours with you be sure to turn off the heater function.  That will kill a battery really fast.
 

John From Detroit

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Some RV parks have basically no rules as to who/what can camp there
Some are "Snob Parks" and want only Class A motor homes that are fairly new. (5-10 years old)

Most are in between.  You need to make up your mind.
If in doubt ask. or "Is it better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission"

Now. without plumbing, and it sounds like you won't be putting in plumbing.  You may find COE parks and other Government campgrounds (County/State parks) to your liking. often cheaper than private parks and you should have no problems with those.. Reserveamerica dot com.
 

camperAL

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Hi,

I've seen a number of times in campground info or rules that your unit has to be "self contained" to be considered a camper. Self contained usually means a vehicle with bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and so on. While I see no reason to turn down business as said earlier some campgrounds might. I've camped in my van (with no modifications) at state parks, even used an electric heater to stay warm at night when it was cold, cook with my back pack items and used the camp restrooms to shower and clean up in the mornings. Just call ahead and let them know how you want to camp and there should be no problems.
 

SargeW

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Where ever we park it!
Sometimes the "self contained" rule is a good one. A little while back we were at a beach state park in Ca (Emma Wood) the rule is you must be self contained because there are zero restroom facilities there. There used to be until winter storms destroyed them several years back. 

A guy in a van got out of his rig in the morning and dropped his pants and took dump. He got back in and drove off, leaving the mess.  So sometimes it makes a lot of sense.  No reflection on the OP intended, just a "cause and effect" situation.
 

mel s

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removalservices said:
My goal here is to try and figure this out before I start spending a bunch of money on gear and time planning towns/routes/campgrounds only to find out that I'll be turned away once I arrive.

Thanks in advance for any info that you guys care to share with me.

Joe

removalservices
Generally public campgrounds, (municipal, state and federal), do not discriminate.
A advance phone call to the campground office will tell you if you will be excepted at any privately owned discriminating campground
 

JudyJB

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I would expect that any state or federal campground that allows tent camping will allow you to sleep in your van.  I have seen people sleeping in cars and vans in such parks.  There are places that require you to be self-contained, but as others have pointed out, those tend to be commercial campgrounds or places that advertise themselves as RV resorts, and a quick call will verify. 

Is your need to use a CPAP machine a handicap?  Getting a handicap sticker if you qualify might help.
 

garyb1st

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Before we purchased an RV, we did a two week trip in our Ford F250 CC long bed.  We slept in the back every other night.  We stayed at 3 campgrounds.  Two were state parks.  One had power, the other didn't.  We also stayed at an RV park with hookups.  Another park would not accept us.  But it was a high end park in Coeur d'Alene.  Any campground with a tent section would not be an issue.  Buy a pop up, set it up and everyone will assume you're sleeping in it.  While I'm not aware of any RV parks that would refuse to rent a site to you, I can understand why they might be reluctant. 
 
Joined
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Left coast
Thanks for all the input everyone.

I think that I'll focus on COE, Federal, State, and county sites and, when none of these options are available, calling ahead to privately owned parks.

Have a great summer!
 
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