How We Full Time RV and Boondock all the time
You can ask 100 different full timers, and get a 100 different answers as to how they full time RV. This is how we full time RV and boondock all the time. It’s neither the right way, nor the wrong way. It’s just our way.
When we moved into the RV in June of 2012, we were already doing a lot of trips, and camping. We were comfortable with the rig, knew where we could and could not go, and already preferred the back of beyond to any RV park. Our first RV was 33 feet, and we were in it about a year. We were having way too many problems with that one however, and purchased this 39 ft Bighorn in August of 2013.
We are a bit more limited on where we can go, but we still manage to get off the beaten path enough to be happy about it. We also needed the extra storage this RV has, since we are carrying art show supplies with us all the time.
The biggest issue with off grid camping, is well, being off grid. Our lives are powered by electricity. We need to charge phones, computers, and since this is our life and not a vacation, we like to watch movies at night. We have 2 solar panels on the roof, 4 6 volt batteries, and a 2000 watt inverter to keep us powered up. Generally speaking this is more than enough for what we need.
This is our current spot in the desert. You can see the panels on top are tilted towards the south so we can gather in as much power as possible. We only worry about tilting them in the winter when the sun is lower in the sky. We also have a generator for back up power if we need it. If it’s rainy, or god forbid snowy, the generator certainly comes in handy. Since we follow the weather like true snowbirds do, we don’t normally have to worry about heating the RV. But, there are certainly times we have been in bad weather, and our propane furnace keeps us nice and toasty. And our RV is well insulated which is a huge plus.
The other part of boondocking that you have to be prepared for is water. Obviously there is no water to be easily had, so conservation is key. We have a 75 gallon fresh water tank, and 80 gallon grey water tank. Plus the black tank for the potty. We always need to add more water before we have to go dump our tanks, so we carry these.
They each hold 5 gallons of water, and are easy to take somewhere and fill if we need to. We just pour them in, and it extends our time between pulling up stakes and dumping the tanks. We can generally go 2 weeks before we have to take a trip to the dump station. Army showers, paper plates, using as little water as possible for dishes all help in water conservation. We also have 8 separate 1 gallon jugs we refill with drinking water. We are definitely doing our part for water conservation.
Over the years we have made the inside of the RV our own. Since we both like art, and it is our house, we have artsy stuff on every wall, and any other place we can get it. None of the furniture is RV furniture. The kitchen table was the first to go, and just recently my mom gave us this love seat, and red chair. What a huge difference comfy seating makes. RV furniture is made with weekenders in mind, and wears out fast.
We have recovered the window valances, put curtains on the big back windows, and added other personal touches throughout the house.
This is my work space. The big cloth covered square thing is my photo printer. We have to move it to the bed every time we move, to keep it safe.
I’m lucky to have a fairly big fridge, and lots of cupboards. Our fridge runs on propane, or electricity if we are hooked up to a power supply. This is actually an important thing in regards to boondocking. So many larger, newer RVs have residential fridges that only run on electricity. This can be done, but requires way more solar, and battery power than we have. The big fridge, and ample cupboard space allows us to stock up on food, so we aren’t running to the nearest town very often. And it holds a great array of photography.
My rock collection. I would have soooooo many rocks if we had the space. And this doesn’t even cover the heart rock collection.
The dogs certainly like boondocking, especially here, look at all that yard.
We also get asked all the time how we can live in a small space and not drive each other crazy. The simple answer, we like each other. Al was gone to Seattle again for the past two weeks, and I missed him terribly. Being in the middle of the desert is much nicer when he is here with me. Thankfully, he came home yesterday.
How we handle mail is another question. We have mail forwarding in South Dakota because they are one of 3 states that allow you to be a resident, and not actually live there. You have to get a drivers licence, and vehicle registration somewhere, and in SD you can. I request the mail every so often, and they send it wherever I need them too.
I hope that answers some questions on our crazy lifestyle. If you have more questions, ask in the comments and I will answer. I need to thank Jan from Wag n Woof Pets for asking about our life in my last blog post. I have had this blog post in my head for a while, and she prompted me to get it out of there and onto the blog.
So many people are starting full time RV life, even lots of families. The ability to work remotely has helped, and people are finding other ways to finance their life. Home ownership isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anymore, and people want to see and experience different places. If you’re thinking about RV life, I say go for it!