Are There Sites for Boondocking with a 40' RV?
by Sheryl Price
Q: What is the percentage, would you say, in all your books that this size of RV pulling a tow can get in and out of without difficulty?
My other question is what specifically do you mean by sharing a site? How can you do that with our size rig?
We have not traveled much yet in the western states so we haven't yet purchased any of your books. Is anyone doing these type of books for the areas east of the Mississippi River?
I enjoy reading and learning from your newsletter. We are workkamping and so just being on the road is not happening much yet but we don't go back to the same place except for one where we do a 3-4 month work period.
About sizes of RV for each boondocking site mentioned in the Frugal Shunpiker's Guides: I can actually give you a fairly accurate answer.
I use footnotes or endnotes at the back of each of my guides that give my opinion of approximately what size RV, small or larger (small being no longer than 24 feet long and large being from approx 24 to 35 feet long), can access each and every campsite that I mention in the book. With the ebooks, you'll have that information (based on me actually seeing the site) for each camping area I mention. I try to estimate on the safe side so most often even longer rigs can get access.
When I think the sites aren't accessible to larger RVs I also mention the reasons. For instance: could be difficult to get turned around, or the road is very steep, or has tight switchbacks, etc.
Because our RV is only 19' long I have to carefully estimate what larger RVs would need. Turning radius will be different for various set-ups and I don't want to make guesses that get anyone in trouble so, for your size rig (and anything over 35'), the guidelines I give for big-rig-friendly sites will be a guideline only -likely you will be okay but, since most RVs that length have a tow vehicle, please use the tow to drive in and check before you drive your RV in.
I just did a quick count of each index entry in my guides that says which campsites should be fine for larger RVs (35') and came up with these numbers:
80 of the 105 suggested camping areas in my Arizona book should be okay.
82 of the 93 suggested camping areas in my Southern Texas book should be okay.
68 of the 99 suggested camping areas in my New Mexico book should be okay.
65 of the 112 suggested camping areas in my Southern Utah book should be okay.
75 of the 104 suggested camping areas in my California Deserts and Eastern Sierra book should be okay.
73 of the 136 suggested camping areas in my California Mountains and Coast book should be okay.
Of course conditions can change over time and with each season, so you'll always have to use your own best judgement. Also, whenever I update each guide, I generally have found some new locations to add so these numbers may change.
About sharing a campsite: A lot of campgrounds allow an additional vehicle for no charge or a small extra fee. If sites have enough space, it's possible. And when other campers are willing to share - why not?
Personally, we've shared with people who were tent camping. They used the campsite's tent pad, table, grill, and fire ring, while we confined ourselves to the RV parking space. You'll have less choice in a larger RV of course but, in Yosemite Valley, the young tenting couple who shared with us had chosen a large site specifically because her parents (with a full-size fifth wheel) were joining them later in the week.
By the way, we've only resorted to site-sharing when the campground is full but if you were traveling with or meet other like-minded campers, it could also be a cost-saving idea.
About boondocking guides for the eastern states: I don't know of any and have no immediate plans to write them myself. Although I may add several guides in the future, I plan to write only for areas that I know we'll be back to visit again so that I can keep my promise and send out free future updates for all my guides based on those travels.
My aim is not to make travel-writing a job. I prefer to let our travels dictate the guides I write, not the other way around.