For example, many PCT travelers who have been hiking or horseback riding all day plan to get to a water source at the end of the day. They unload their pack and equipment and set up camp near the water source — sometimes even only a few feet away from the water — and settle in for a relaxing evening. In many cases, the water source is no more than a small seasonal stream. If this is the only water source available for many miles, there may be several people gathered around vying for a flat camp spot near the water. Not only can this cause overcrowding, which is contrary to one of the reasons many people strike out on the PCT, the fragile ecosystems and plant and animal life around the water sources can be damaged.
It takes very little for humans to damage these places and a long time for them to recover, if at all.
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Carry a little bit of water away from the water source. Dry camping is a fantastic Leave No Trace tactic and it frees you up to find some stunning camp spots. As the PCT becomes more popular, the number of users increases.
Choosing an Energy Source
Conserving your gray tank capacity is just as important as fresh water conservation. You can find your grey tank capacity information in your RV manual as well. Keep in mind that your grey water tank is typically smaller than your fresh water tank. Be sure to arrive at a dry camping destination with your grey tank empty. You can empty it at many gas stations and travel centers, state parks, national parks, or private campgrounds for a small fee.
The Sanidumps app will help you find places to dump your tanks before camping. Watch your tank meters to monitor your grey tank fill levels.
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It is never okay to dump grey water, so be sure not to overfill your tanks while dry camping. If the tanks are filling quicker than you expected, cut back on water usage to ensure you have plenty of tank capacity left for the duration of your stay. Managing your black tank is similar to managing your grey tank. This tank is filled solely from toilet usage and is typically the smallest of the RV tanks. You can use the same dump stations for both black and grey tanks. Be sure to arrive at a dry camping destination with an empty black tank, and keep an eye on tank capacity throughout your stay.
Top 10 Most Important Boondocking Gadgets
Power is the trickiest utility to manage while dry camping. Your house batteries store power for your RV, and they can be charged through a variety of methods. Plugging into shore power and driving both charge your house batteries.
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If you are only planning to dry camp for one night, you may have enough power stored to last until you move onto your next destination. If you need to recharge your batteries while dry camping, there are a variety of methods. Many motorhomes and toy haulers come equipped with an on-board, gasoline-powered generator.
Running this will allow you to charge your devices and batteries. If your RV does not come with a generator, you can purchase one and hook it up to your batteries. Remember to be considerate with generator usage, since they are typically very loud while running. Ask permission from your host, and only run your generator during reasonable hours to avoid disturbing your neighbors. If you plan to do lots of dry camping, it may be wise to invest in a solar power kit. These can be installed by professionals or self-installed if you have electrical experience.
There is typically a large up-front investment, but you will save money over time if you dry camp often. The last utility to keep in mind is garbage. Since you will not have access to a campground dumpster while dry camping, you will need to find another way to dispose of your waste. Many gas stations allow customers to throw away their garbage if they are filling up. Likewise, some grocery stores do not mind if you throw away a bag of trash when you are buying groceries.
Be sure to practice consideration and ask permission when disposing of your trash. Dry camping has a bit of a learning curve. If you are new to this, it is best to start by practicing with short trips. A one-night stay at a Walmart or a Harvest Host location may be the best way to start out. The more you practice, the easier it will become.
This may be longer than you ever plan to dry camp, but with practice, most could easily last three or four nights. Dry camping may seem overwhelming and difficult if you have never tried it before. However, most find it very rewarding to forgo hookups for the opportunity to spend the night at beautiful Harvest Host locations, gorgeous dispersed camping areas, and the occasional, convenient Walmart lot.
We Survived Our First Full Week of RV Dry Camping
Practice makes perfect, and if you have never tried dry camping, these tips are sure to help you prepare for your first experience. Money saved, experiences shared, and memories made will have you planning your next dry camping trip sooner rather than later. Have you ever dry camped in your RV before? How did you like it?