Friday, November 11, 2011
Let's Discuss: Dry Camping (By Request)
Dry camping: To camp without power or water hook-ups; also known as 'boondocking' (e.g., camping out in the boondocks--can be applied to parking-lot camping as well).
We've had a request to offer some tips on how to camp comfortably in your travel trailer when no power or water hook-ups are offered.
This practice, known as 'dry camping,' may be called for when...you're traveling, and not able to stop for the night at a full-service RV park; you take your trailer out to the boonies for a period of getting away from it all; you attend a trailer-camping event at a venue that offers parking only, no hook-up amenities.
Ironically, the majority of vintage travel trailers were designed, to large degree, FOR dry camping. The whole idea of having one was to be able to go anywhere, anytime, with complete self-sufficiencey.
Lights, stove, and heater all ran on propane carried in a tank on the trailer. Showers and plumbed toilets weren't included so didn't need water or power. If a trailer did have a water tank, it was small, with just enough water for sponge baths and washing a few dishes. People did not have, nor rely on electrical appliances to the extent that they do now. (Which is why your typical small vintage trailer came with one electrical outlet, if that.)
* Many old trailers have had their propane systems removed, and been re-wired to all-electric.
* Quite a few women whose trailers still have a propane system are afraid to use it.
* Later and larger trailers were made more for comfort in an RV park than for boondocking on your own.
* And let's face it--we've let ourselves become dependent on the electricity that runs everything from our hairdo appliances to our toothbrushes and cell-phone chargers.
What to do, what you need, and where to get it:
* Pare down to basic needs--which amount to warmth, a nighttime light source, and (speaking for Self here) a way to make coffee. Bring more blankets, get an alternative-power lantern, skip the electrically-enhanced hairdo and wear a hat instead.
* Picture your trailer as a tent. Then visit a camping store. You'll be amazed by the variety of camping items made to run on solar, battery, or gas-canister power. We'll leave it up to you and your budget on whether to buy or borrow, once you pinpoint a useful item (battery-operated fan, let's say, or a single-burner backpacking stove that'll heat coffee/tea water and one-dish meals).
* Ask more experienced dry campers to share their tips and favorite gadgets with you. With as many camping/glamping groups and social-media sites as there are, you'll readily get some answers.
Speaking of which...
The Comments floor is now open for your own great tips. Girl Campers do share, and lots of the Newgals (we like that better than Newbies) will really appreciate the additional advice.