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 > School me in public parks camping...

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Tvov

CT

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Posted: 09/12/19 05:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You may very well find that you enjoy the state and federal park much more than you might think. Around me, state parks have MUCH larger campsites - like 3 or 4 times larger... or more. "campsites" will vary greatly from park to park, and within the park itself. My favorite state park (Macedonia Brook in Connecticut) doesn't even have running water, it has old fashioned hand pumps in the park.

You will learn to conserve water, and may be surprised how long your freshwater tank can last - easily a long weekend with "navy" showers, a whole week if you are able to shower somewhere else in the campground.

It is very easy to do a 3 or 4 day long weekend camping trip on just battery. Treat the camper as a big tent, with a water pump and, joy of joys, your own toilet! Only use power in the camper when you really need to, like late night bathroom trips. We use battery camping lanterns in the camper when "dry camping".

Your refrig needs power even on propane (non-power frigs are rare campers these days), but uses very little electricity.

Be careful with hot weather camping - the vent fan(s) in the camper will drain the battery. We usually dry camp in the spring and fall when it is cooler at night, just leaving windows open is plenty for ventilation.

A lot of parks around us are putting in water and electric only campsites, which means you just have to be careful about filling up your grey tank too fast. You will learn how to conserve!

We love dry camping. Huge campsites, much quieter campgrounds, beautiful scenery.


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Thom02099

Loveland,CO

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Posted: 09/12/19 07:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A lot of good advice given with prior posts. A couple of things to add:

** As mentioned about state parks, check the state park website. You may find that some state parks are reservation only. That has become a trend here in Colorado that a goodly number of state parks require reservations, no walk ins allowed. I frequent the state parks here and noticed the change in the past year or so, from an experiment at some state parks to a requirement at all of the ones that I usually enjoy. All of the ones I go to have electric hookups, common water, and a dump station.

** Twin batteries can usually last a long weekend without the generator. Switching all interior lights to LED bulbs helps in that. I also carry LED lanterns if I don't need to turn on overhead lights. I like to listen to music, the on board stereo/CD player doesn't seem to draw too much electricity.

** As previously mentioned, carrying extra water in jerry cans of some sort can get you through a weekend. I carry a 5 gallon igloo for drinking water and use the on board water for showers/toilet/dish washing.

** The 2 main reservation systems (for SP/USFS/NP) are reserveamerica.com and recreation.gov. There are frequently pictures of campsites at the map level of the websites. Getting to them can be a chore, but can be done. Explore those 2 sites to get a feel for what they offer.

** USFS campgrounds, at least in this area of Colorado and Wyoming, almost never have any sort of amenities. There's the occasional CG that may offer electric at some sites, and even rarer, showers. There may be common water, but rarely are there dump stations. What they do offer is generally spread out campsites, and depending on location, less crowds.


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Busskipper

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Posted: 09/12/19 08:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mickeyfan0805 wrote:

I'm woefully embarrassed to admit that, after 10 years of camping, we have extraordinarily minimal experience with county/state/national parks. We've always done the 'rv park' thing. The kids are older now, however, and the activities and attractions of the commercial park doesn't have the same draw. So, I'd like to begin broadening our exposure. I am, however, utterly ignorant in the matter.

How do you find out what hookups they have and if they take reservations? Does any of this happen online, or is it all still a phone call? Is it realistic to look for parks with full hook-ups, or are those pretty few and far between? Where do I start when I know what area I want to hit? Is rvparkreviews good for these as well, or am I better off looking at other resources?

Don't shame me, it's just not been our bag to date, and I'd like to learn more. I don't even know what I don't know so, please, tell me!


Lot of good advice here;

SDcampowneroperator wrote:

We learned long ago to not be concerned with hookups in public parks. If the issue is hookups, we chose our unit with high capacities, or figureded out a way to maximize them such as more batteries, genny, waste tote, inverter. You must add, NO change your habits to conserve your power and water useage.
Sure, we own and operate a commercial camp with all the frills you needed for the family, Thank you for patronizing private camps when it was your need.
Now its time to cut or at least slim the cord and experience the many other offerings of outdoor hospitality travel. Most public parks do not offer full amenity, limit length of stay, may require purchase of a pass in addition to site fee, and many other variables. Might not be less costly or up your alley if your unit does not have larger tanks, one battery, etc.
The world is now your oyster IF you are the more adventurous and proactive type.


Look at the websites. Call for availability. Best yet, head out to the national forests and BLM lands, any federal land, find a spot. You can stay 14 days free. Check it out usfs.gov blm.gov come to us to refill, dump, launder and shower, perhaps be our guest for a pampered night before or after the experience.


This will require more thought and effort on your part;

Mickeyfan0805 wrote:

Lwiddis wrote:

Why be so concerned with hookups?


My wife enjoys camping, but has no interest in going without the comforts that hookups provide - the toilet and shower being at the core of that.


Thom gives more good advice;

Thom02099 wrote:

A lot of good advice given with prior posts. A couple of things to add:

** As mentioned about state parks, check the state park website. You may find that some state parks are reservation only. That has become a trend here in Colorado that a goodly number of state parks require reservations, no walk ins allowed. I frequent the state parks here and noticed the change in the past year or so, from an experiment at some state parks to a requirement at all of the ones that I usually enjoy. All of the ones I go to have electric hookups, common water, and a dump station.

** Twin batteries can usually last a long weekend without the generator. Switching all interior lights to LED bulbs helps in that. I also carry LED lanterns if I don't need to turn on overhead lights. I like to listen to music, the on board stereo/CD player doesn't seem to draw too much electricity.

** As previously mentioned, carrying extra water in jerry cans of some sort can get you through a weekend. I carry a 5 gallon igloo for drinking water and use the on board water for showers/toilet/dish washing.

** The 2 main reservation systems (for SP/USFS/NP) are reserveamerica.com and recreation.gov. There are frequently pictures of campsites at the map level of the websites. Getting to them can be a chore, but can be done. Explore those 2 sites to get a feel for what they offer.

** USFS campgrounds, at least in this area of Colorado and Wyoming, almost never have any sort of amenities. There's the occasional CG that may offer electric at some sites, and even rarer, showers. There may be common water, but rarely are there dump stations. What they do offer is generally spread out campsites, and depending on location, less crowds.


After following the aforementioned advice - I'll inject some of my own - You can Dry Camp - BUT - you just need to learn/Know your limits! My DW also requires a life that does not require sacrifices - so I have learned the limits of the Coach along with Her limits and make sure I stay within those[emoticon]

When we travel longer distances we have no issue doing a Wally*Mart stop for a day or two or even three or Four - but by day four we are reaching the limits of the Coach (And the DW) as we normally use it. So we will find a Commercial or Other Parks that has what we need - Dump - Water - Electric - refill and get ready to go again.

If you travel out of season - When Kids are in School - there is a much better chance at snagging one of the full service sites in a State or National Park - they are out there you just need to so a little searching.

Keep asking - Keep learning - we have done this in every way for 50 years and never stop learning.

September and October are IMHO the best months to explore - Pick you site try a few new things and if all else fails - just use the commercial CG's outside the Park you want to visit.

Best of Luck,


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troubledwaters

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Posted: 09/12/19 10:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My wife wouldn't camp without a toilet or shower either. However, she uses the public campground shower, as do I. The black water is not a problem, can easily go for 10 days±.

Bob806

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Posted: 09/12/19 11:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mickeyfan0805 wrote:

Lwiddis wrote:

Why be so concerned with hookups?


My wife enjoys camping, but has no interest in going without the comforts that hookups provide - the toilet and shower being at the core of that.


My wife was the same way, but found that virtually every public CG we've stayed at over the years had decent, even fantastic showers/restrooms.

Look at it this way...by using the public showers, your grey water tank won't fill up very fast and you should be fine for at least 4 days anywhere.

We've stayed almost exclusively at state parks CGs all over the USA. Honestly, only Oklahoma had substandard shower facilities and that was at two of the 4 state parks we've visited there.

Good luck with your travels.

Tvov

CT

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Posted: 09/13/19 05:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Many of the campgrounds we've been at that have "workcampers" have very clean showers. I always remember one of the campgrounds at Lake George New York, Evergreen family campground (something like that), had workcampers who cleaned the showers twice a day on weekends. They were great!

mdcamping

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Posted: 09/13/19 05:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes on campground reviews.com as a first place to check reviews, the review home pages have links to google earth of the campgrounds & most have correct links to the online reservations. Sometimes I will also check google & trip adviser if I don't see enough reviews on campground reviews.com.

Some of the public campgrounds are brutal on getting a reservations to the point where I have had "seconds" to book a reservation when the window opens, gets very frustrating. [emoticon]

For the most part I find private campgrounds do a better job on Overall campground cleanliness

IMO
Mike


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mowermech

Billings, MT

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Posted: 09/13/19 05:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

United States Forest Service campgrounds in Montana rarely accept reservations. There are a few near Red Lodge, MT that do, but they also have some sites set aside for first come, first served. Most FS campgrounds have vault or pit toilets, and one water faucet for each 5 sites. A "water thief" can not be used on most of those faucets; you will not be able to hook up a hose. There is no electricity. Most campgrounds do not have dump stations. In fact, the nearest dump station can be many miles away. Conservation of water is a way of life! Very few campgrounds will allow emptying your RV tanks into the vault toilets.

This is a very good guide to National Forest Campgrounds:

https://www.forestcamping.com/dow/list/nflist.htm


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profdant139

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Posted: 09/13/19 07:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mickey, you are smart to make sure that your camping style is in synch with your wife's needs and preferences! I'd rather be in an RV park with my wife than in the boonies by myself. [emoticon]

Years ago, I had a similar situation -- my wife was sure we needed full hookups. But I persuaded her to try boondocking for just a couple of days on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We brought extra water, a small generator in case we needed it (we didn't), and we agreed to take Navy showers every evening -- rinse, water off, soap, rinse.

Bingo!! She was hooked. The silence and the privacy and the stars were priceless. Plus, unlike an RV park or a campground, the bathroom is exclusively ours, and we keep it nice and clean.

That was 12 years ago, and we now search out boondocking whenever possible.

But start slow -- a couple of days at a time. Don't try a week of boondocking (or even dry camping) until you are both comfortable with the idea.

Once you have the hang of it, this method of camping will give you a lot more flexibility, and you can camp in some really remote and beautiful places.

Good luck!!


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SDcampowneroperator

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Posted: 09/13/19 10:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

profdant139 wrote:

Mickey, you are smart to make sure that your camping style is in synch with your wife's needs and preferences! I'd rather be in an RV park with my wife than in the boonies by myself. [emoticon]

Years ago, I had a similar situation -- my wife was sure we needed full hookups. But I persuaded her to try boondocking for just a couple of days on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We brought extra water, a small generator in case we needed it (we didn't), and we agreed to take Navy showers every evening -- rinse, water off, soap, rinse.

Bingo!! She was hooked. The silence and the privacy and the stars were priceless. Plus, unlike an RV park or a campground, the bathroom is exclusively ours, and we keep it nice and clean.

That was 12 years ago, and we now search out boondocking whenever possible.


But start slow -- a couple of days at a time. Don't try a week of boondocking (or even dry camping) until you are both comfortable with the idea.

Once you have the hang of it, this method of camping will give you a lot more flexibility, and you can camp in some really remote and beautiful places.

Good luck!!
BINGO! All rvs have tank and power capacities for at least acouple of days off grid. 14days is our threshold.

Persuade, convince, that your unit has capability. You can shower, do all on a lot less water and power than you thought. Welcome to rv world, where you are self contained only limited by the capacities of your unit and your conservation of them.
Give limited service or off grid a try!

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