RV Daily Tips Issue 378. May 7, 2014 | RV Travel
Can you save money dry camping?
by Ray Burr, loveyourrv.com
We spent some time exploring the desert of Southern California and Arizona this winter. Spending a solid month dry camping, taking care of our own water, electricity and waste disposal, it seems like a good time for cost comparisons — dry camping versus full-hookup RV parks or campground.
We spent a few days boondocking with no camp fees in Anza-Borrego State Park. We then had a free RV parking overnight stop at a casino south of Palm Springs on our way to two nights of dry camping, at $10 per night, on Corvina Beach in the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. Next, on to Joshua Tree National Park for five days at $10 a night. The rest of the month was a split between the Plomosa Road free BLM area in Quartzsite, and another BLM area called Ogilby Road about 10 miles west of Yuma, Ariz. Results? Cost of 31 nights of dry camping: $70.
Ah, but what about those other costs? Fuel was the big cost for our dry camping. We run a generator daily for several hours to recharge our battery bank and intermittently provide for any heavy electrical loads like the microwave oven, toaster or extended TV viewing time. Over the course of the month we consumed on average one gallon of gasoline per day at a median price paid of $3.50 per gallon. Then there was LP gas (propane). Without hookups, we ran our refrigerator, hot water tank and furnace all on LP and used the stove more for cooking, rather than the microwave. Over the month we refilled a 30-pound cylinder four times at an average cost of $20 dollars per fill. Total fuel costs: $108.50 for gasoline and $80 for propane.
Without full hookup parks we had to locate water and dump stations. There are many free places to get water and dispose of waste. For example, the casino had complimentary fresh water and several free Sani-Dumps. In other locations it’s easier and likely more cost efficient to use the pay locations, rather than burn diesel dragging the rig all over the place to find a free tap. We ended up dumping the tanks four times at $10 a dump. Twice we paid for fresh water at $5 a crack. Total water and dump costs: $50.
We traveled during the high snowbird season, and estimate the average price for a full hookup spot would run around $30 dollars per night. Some savings may have been gleaned by paying weekly rates or using Passport America. But, frankly, at this time of year the parks are loaded and the deals are few and far between. If you traveled around like we did to the same areas, you’d shell out $200 per week in camp fees. We would still use LP gas as well. Granted, it would not be as much, but would still be at least two tanks’ worth for a cost of $40 dollars.
Tallying up the costs, we spent $308.50 for our trip. We estimate we’d have spent $840.00 had we gone the “full-hookup RV park” route for the same trip. That month we saved $531.50 by dry camping. I realize that RV parks offer quite a few amenities and entertainment options — but for us the freedom and scenic beauty we enjoy by boondocking more than make up for those.
Here is a great comparison on the issue of full site or boondock camping, so i hope you enjoy this and it might even help you out.
Posted on May 7, 2014, in The world as i see it as a camper and who loves his country and tagged boondocking, camping, full hookup sites, rv tips, rving, saving money, scenic, travel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.