My wife and I just returned from a three week RV trek through Montana. We had quite the adventure: high temperatures, low temperatures, an insect ladened campsite, forest fires, being invaded by cows, camping in a grizzly bear corridor and more (to be detailed in future entries!) In all, we spent 22 nights off the grid (no hookups) utilizing just three campgrounds along the way, boondocking the rest of the time. However, at a couple of our boondocking locations we found other RVers violating the rules which annoys me and spoils the adventure.
While there are few rules concerning boondocking on public land, two rules that are pretty constant across the board are you must not leave your RV unoccupied for extended periods (some rules state you must occupy it nightly or not leave it unattended for a specified length of time – varies from 24 – 72 hours) and you must not exceed stay limits (typically somewhere around 7-14 days). In other words no parking your RV in the best boondocking site all summer just to occupy it when you have a couple of days off. Remember, it is not your private piece of vacation property, it is public land to be shared with everyone. This must be coming more prevalent across the country as I recently came across an article from Salt Lake City where the forest service is pleading with campers to follow the rules or face having their RV towed for noncompliance.
I encourage everyone to play by the rules to avoid all of us losing the right to boondock on public land as one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel. In our case, we determined the RVs to be minus their owners and set up camp nearby.
Arriving at a boondocking site to find it occupied by an ownerless RV is one adventure in RV that gets my dander up! Remember, play fair and let everyone have a chance at the best boondocking sites.
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.