Nearly all RVs are “self-contained.” That means you have the ability to live in it for several days without hooking up to utilities—and you paid lots of extra money to have this capability. With the normal systems in your RV, you can boondock (park one or two nights) or dry camp (stay several nights) without connecting to the campground water, sewer, and power.
It is important to note you do not have to deprive yourself of anything while boondocking. You live with the same comfort and convenience as you do when hooked up—the wine is perfectly chilled and, if needed, the furnace is toasty warm. When boondocking, you simply live a bit more conservatively without roughing it—I can assure you, we don’t rough it!
Living Well with No Hookups
Part of being able to live without hooking up to utilities is accomplished by an alternative electrical source on board. Most motorhomes and some towables have special “coach” batteries that will run many of the electrical things you need to live normally. Those batteries will not efficiently power high-amperage-draw appliances like your air conditioners, hair dryer, microwave oven, toaster, and others. A generator can furnish electricity to run those appliances plus charge the coach batteries. Many Class A motorhomes and some towables have a generator. Some Class C motorhomes, and smaller towable units may not have one.
The other part of being able to live normally without hooking up is a function of your RV water system’s “holding tanks.” Many RVs have three large plastic tanks—one each for fresh water (potable, or “drinking” water), “grey” water (the runoff from all sinks and shower drains), and “black” water (sewage). By taking advantage of your RV’s electrical and water system, you can live comfortably for several days not plugged in to electrical power (commonly called “shore power”—a term from the boating industry).
Good To Go Anywhere
You are self-contained, so take advantage of the capability. The next time you use your motorhome, practice the suggestions—have fun while learning how. Doing so, you can stay longer at places like Furnace Creek Campground in Death Valley NP and the Columbian Ice Fields in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, an occasional overnight somewhere convenient when you’re tired and need to stop driving, or in a service bay at the dealership. Plus, you can better afford to go. Travel safely and we’ll see you there.