Travel Trailer Length/Boondocking

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Tebpac

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 20, 2016
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73
Location
State College, PA
Currently looking at a TT that is 32'7".  Anyone out there boon docking with a TT that size or bigger?  One thing I noticed about the model we are looking at does not have a fresh water gravity fill. You have to depend on the water pump to siphon it in. 
 
Many of us boondock out west in places like Quartzsite,  IN the wide open spaces there is no such thing as too long or too big.  Now if you boondock where there are not open areas that are big enough it might be a problem.

One of the benefits to having a large RV is that you can fit more solar panels on it.

Here is a picture of the tiny rig that I have boondocked with.

 

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One thing I noticed about the model we are looking at does not have a fresh water gravity fill. You have to depend on the water pump to siphon it in. 
Not sure what you mean by that, since "siphon" is essentially the opposite of "pump".  Rvs that lack a gravity fill normally have a diverter valve that lets water flow from the city inlet to the fresh tank.  That can be a problem if you carry in water in a tank or bladder - you need some sort of external pump to provide pressure to the city fill.  Not a big deal - you just have to carry a 12v pump and a piece of hose with a standard 3/4" fitting on the end.  There was another topic  on this very thing a few days ago.
 
People boondock in tear drops that are 8? long and rigs like Bill?s that probably are closer to 70?. Depends on where you go. Forests with overhanging trees and narrow roads? Look small. Wide open desert areas? Big is fine.
 
Curious why you would consider a TT that doesn't have a gravity fill port when you plan on boondocking.
I guess I've never seen one that doesn't have it.
 
Pouring 20-30 gallons of water in thru a gravity port ain't all that easy anyway.  If I planned on carrying in any significant volume of water, I'd use a pump and the city inlet instead of gravity fill.

A "hose thief" is also a valuable tool to have.
https://www.amazon.com/d/Plumbing-Hoses/Camco-Connects-Standard-Various-Sources/B000EDOSKG
 
I also do have a suction port in my plumbing bay that allows you to attach a hose and use the onboard pump to refill the fresh water tank.

I will post a picture of the bay later.

 
Someone had answered my question on another forum.  The way to get water into the tank would be to use the on board water pump to take water from the collapsable tank to the fresh water tank.  There are 2 swtiches for the pump.  One at the pump for that very reason.  You obviously need battery power (or generator) to do this and if I didn't have battery power, I wouldn't be boon docking. LOL. I was taken back by the fact it did't have a manual fresh water fill.  Either way, we'll be spending more time learning our camper the first year or so before we attempt any boon docking
 
Tebpac said:
Currently looking at a TT that is 32'7".  Anyone out there boon docking with a TT that size or bigger?  One thing I noticed about the model we are looking at does not have a fresh water gravity fill. You have to depend on the water pump to siphon it in.

Sorry to raise a dead thread... Our 2019 Outback 328RL doesn't have a gravity fill spout either. There's a lever on the city supply that either fills the tank or allows for city water hookup. The solution we found was to use a hand water pump that was developed for pumping antifreeze into the water system...

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Camco-Hand-Pump-Kit-with-Fittings-36003/205518939
 
When we had rigs like that, I enhanced a portable 12v water pump with a water hose connection so I could pump from a pail or water carrier into the city inlet.  I used a marine wash pump but you could use any of several readily available 12v pumps, e.g. a spare RV water pump.
 
I guess that might work. We have a Grand Design that has the Nautilus system. I'm going to email them to ask the same question about the ability to pump water into the tank without electric.
 
Gary RV_Wizard said:
Not sure what you mean by that, since "siphon" is essentially the opposite of "pump".  Rvs that lack a gravity fill normally have a diverter valve that lets water flow from the city inlet to the fresh tank.  That can be a problem if you carry in water in a tank or bladder - you need some sort of external pump to provide pressure to the city fill.  Not a big deal - you just have to carry a 12v pump and a piece of hose with a standard 3/4" fitting on the end.  There was another topic  on this very thing a few days ago.

This is what we do in our boondocking.  We have a 60-gallon water bladder that fits in the back of my truck,  Once filled and at our site, I have a transfer pump that I can pump the water into our fresh water tank.  By the way our 5th wheel is 35' and have found many great spots to boondock.  So while it is doable to find spots with a 30 plus foot trailer, you will have more options the smaller you go.
 
Tebpac said:
I guess that might work. We have a Grand Design that has the Nautilus system. I'm going to email them to ask the same question about the ability to pump water into the tank without electric.

We have a Grand Design Solitude and pump water using our Nautilus system via a transfer pump.  It is electric but the wet bay where the Nautilus resides has a 120 receptacle, so convenient.
 
Gizmo said:
So while it is doable to find spots with a 30 plus foot trailer, you will have more options the smaller you go.
If you go smaller you will have more options for places to park. But you will have less storage capacity, smaller tanks and less closet space. It is all trade offs with RVs. Most people radically underestimate what they really need and end up upgrading to a bigger RV within a year or two. Go rent an RV for a weekend and go camping. You will learn a lot in a short period of time.
 
SeilerBird said:
If you go smaller you will have more options for places to park. But you will have less storage capacity, smaller tanks and less closet space. It is all trade offs with RVs. Most people radically underestimate what they really need and end up upgrading to a bigger RV within a year or two. Go rent an RV for a weekend and go camping. You will learn a lot in a short period of time.

It would seem from the OP's question, the concern is size and it's effect on finding boondocking sites.  RV's for sure all about compromise and it works both ways.  Many also overestimate size and end up downsizing.  I cannot tell you the numbers of fellow RVers I have met along the way who say things like "I wish I bought a smaller unit, or have traded, or planning to trade a larger rig for a smaller one. 
 
I downsized to a 26' travel trailer, Flagstaff superlight 26 RKBS, best combination of size and storage for me. I have had motor homes, 5th wheels and travel trailers. All are a compromise. This I am slowly setting up to be my retirement boondocker.
 
Many also overestimate size and end up downsizing. I cannot tell you the numbers of fellow RVers I have met along the way who say things like "I wish I bought a smaller unit, or have traded, or planning to trade a larger rig for a smaller one.
Probably about the same number that end up saying "I wish I bought a LARGER unit" or are trading up to a larger rig. Many newcomers to RVing badly misjudge both the overall size and and interior layout that will make them comfortable & happy. Just too difficult to re-imagine how to live in a severely downsized space. It's fairly easy, maybe even adventurous, to put up with minor inconveniences for a weekend, but they can get really old in a couple weeks.

We get the "how big is too big" question all the time, but there is no single answer. I've boondocked all over Alaska & Western Canada in a 35 foot coach and never felt too restricted, but there were always some spots that were just a little too small. The best I can say is that every foot added reduces your choices slightly. In some areas, the terrain or access road quality makes sub-30 ft highly desirable, but in many others it's not a necessity at all. Here's some big rig boondocking photos.
 

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I agree. We're 62' long when we haul our 38' TT. I KNOW we're too long to try and "see" if we fit.

Problem solved...
 
Reading these replies concerning storage, space to move around, enough water capacity makes me wonder how ever camped with a tent with a family of four, sometimes five if a kid brought a friend. In Japan we did it in a small Japanese car. Sometimes three kids sitting on sleeping bags, pillows and blankets in the backseat, trunk full, equipment tied to the trunk lid, top and one occasion the hood. But boy did we have fun. :cool:
 
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