Frugal RVing In South States - Ebooks

Monday, November 16, 2009

Defining How We Accommodate Our Boondocking

By request, I am now posting details about how we are accommodating our boondock season.

As way of clarifying, we are full timers, but that is because we like to move around. That is not to say we are fans of roughing it.

That being said, where we are currently placed, with a bit of extra work, we are able to maintain a predominantly smoother form of roughing it. We are going to be here until early April to save on monthly pad and power costs.

If we leave our system as is, we can do all that needs to be done, but we will use a fair lot of diesel to maintain AC power when needed. To lighten that expense and using what would have been our afore mentioned monthly costs, we are investing in a solar set-up which can be used long term. It can provide a greater amount of flexibility even when back in Canada.

This is how we work the required resources such as water in, sewer out, and power:

Sewer is going to be the biggest challenge, as our blue boy is only 15 gallons. That being said, we wouldn't want to have one much bigger than that because the weight would be challenging to haul. Right now, I tow it behind the moped, using a heavy duty carabiner clip to attach the tow bar to its luggage rack. We have to get pneumatic tires to replace the plastic ones as the current ones can only handle a walking pace and the dump station is about 3 city blocks away.

Water in comes in 2 forms. First, at self serve water dispenser units all over Yuma, you can fill a 5 gallon jug for 50 cents (You have to be careful, as some are $1 so you need to get the right booths) For the holding tank, we have the rare fortune of picking a site that is close enough to a solitary tap that we can string out an extremely long line of hoses and top up every 3-4 days. Our tank holds about 89 gallons.

As for power, we are running 3 12 V batteries, and the 7500 W diesel generator. The generator is efficient on fuel, but it still runs into a lot of diesel over the season. We are therefore using the money we would have used on pad fees and power and some of the fuel budget to set up the rig for solar panels.

With that system, we will be able to keep the batteries, and with the aid of a good inverter (part of the package) provide our own portable AC power. It should be powerful enough to run small scale things in the evening without running the batteries down.

We also have propane which runs the water heater, the fridge and the furnace.

We will do a weekly run to Yuma for fuel and food, but other than that and an occasional outing, we hope to keep within this region for our explorations.

Well, I think that sums up our boondock processes, so I will bid you,



  1. Till April, wow thats great. Wondering if your in a area that requires air conditioning during the day??

    How many hours are you using the genset now? and how long to charge the 3 batteries.
    Adding the solar system would be ideal, interested in hearing your thoughts once it is up and running.

    At night time is it cooling off enough that you need the furnace.

    A older couple I know is on thier way to that general area, he is completely outfitted with a top notch solar system, as I said to him, wish I were going too.

    I am boondocking in my shop yard in Ontario Canada till next May, no hydro no water, kinda like you, but shortly i will be shovelling snow lol.

  2. So inspiring! If I keep upgrading my solar set up little by little, I might be able to afford taking a winter 'off' sooner than I thought.

    Are you dumping grey water on the ground or toting it? Since I'm at a private residence this winter and have permission from the owners, I've been dumping into their garden. Makes a huge difference in livability since I can go a month without worrying about the black tank but I need to dump the grey every other day.

  3. Coal: During October it goes into the high 90's and low 100's F. This year it has tagged that way most of the time in November so far too. If you are attentive and manipulate the blinds to maximize sun blocking, you can be fairly effective in keeping the heat level bearable.

    As for the genset, we usually run it an hour or two in the morning, but more for the AC usage than the recharge value. It lets me vacuum, we charge up the laptops and cell phones, nuke some milk for my morning hot chocolate. In the evening, we run it to watch a movie, so we never really notice how long it takes to charge our batteries, and we have rarely (maybe 2 times, and mostly in the early phases of learning to be without power)had charge issues with them.

    Furnace, I expect we will be wanting it in the mornings very soon, but even this morning which went down to the high 40's it was nippy, but we chose to leave it off as the day temp is going up enough that it will get there on its own.

    Having wintered in Oliver, BC last year and enduring the only Canadian winter that didn't have unseasonable highs as well as its unseasonable lows, I can honestly say I feel for you in your boondock Ontario winter pending. May it be gentle on you!!!

    Rae: I hope you can come down this upcoming year. It seems highly likely that we will be here next year as Ken is really warming up to the idea. (The warm being a good part of the vote swinger, and the view being another). As my mother put it, "Even if you break even in costs, would you rather break even and be warm, or cold??!" Wise woman, my mother!! :-)

    As for the grey water, we are hauling it as it is public land. I will take pictures later of the bike set-up for the "honey pot run". It isn't too bad, but it is a frequent effort, and although the black water is a big tank, the blue boy is only 15 gallons, and I would hate to have to try to stop the flow half way through a draining!!
    We will likely do a 2 - 1 ratio on grey to black water runs, and likely every other day.
    BTW, Love your kitchen renos!! (Travels With Miranda - linked on the right bar "Related Links" for others reading the comments)