Sunday, August 16, 2015
BOONDOCKING PART SIX OF A SIX PART SERIES By Larry Harmon fresh water / black water handling techniques Use of gravity to transfer fluids under boondocking conditions is not practical in many campsites. A couple of transfer pumps can make moving fresh water and black water simple. However those pumps need power and we solve that issue by using a battery jump start power pack on our twelve volt pumps. We clip the color coded power cables to the pump’s negative and positive wires and turn the pump on and off with the power pack’s front panel switch. Our FRESH WATER PUMP is a salvaged pump that had started leaking in the pressure cut off switch’s diaphragm. Instead of throwing it away we converted it into our transfer pump using twelve dollars of hardware store brass fittings, a bit of Teflon tape and our fresh water pump is ready for action. Using water hose fittings we connect our transfer pump and white hose to our trailer mounted tank to put water into our camping trailer. Our transport barrel, complete with brass hose bib to hook up to, cost $40, At a local farm and supply, making it the least expensive of the two pumps. Our BLACK WATER pump is a MACERATOR that we bought new off of EbAY. It and a “roll up flat” 5/8” hose designated for black water only, cost in the neighborhood of $200. Using the macerator pump we can pump black water up hill for short distances. Once again using the power pack and it’s switch for a power source. We chose a macerator that came in a plastic hard case for weight and storage considerations and the reel up, lay flat hose for the same reasons. Our BATTERY JUMPSTART PACK was purchased at a discount tool supply for about $60. We have hauled it many thousands of miles while constantly charging and discharging it under rigorous conditions. A quick word of advice about the power pack. It can have a small inverter and an air compressor built into it as well as a work/safety light and a 12 volt power outlet. This is a place where we felt it well advised to spend a little extra to get one with all of the features that we thought we might need. We even use this battery pack to power up our twelve volt impact wrench that we use during a flat tire change.
Monday, August 3, 2015
BOONDOCKING PART FIVE Of a six part series by Larry Harmon Extended stays and support methods When you are in your favorite primitive campsite and the ranger comes around to say that your twenty eight day stay will be up tomorrow, and you immediately think, “so soon ?”, you likely have a good system of extended support figured out. In addition to our camping trailer we pull a boat and a small support trailer to our favorite primitive campsites. That trailer has a black water tank and a fresh water tank on it and we will make a short trip to the nearest dump and fresh water fill station every couple of weeks. For many this just isn’t practical and they carry water in a roof top fresh water bladder or jugs, then tow the trailer to dump black water as needed. If your camper is a larger one that it isn’t practical to pull out to a dump station, black water tanks come in various sizes and brand names such as “sani tote” and weight can be an issue for transporting them, for example, at roughly eight pounds per gallon, a thirty five gallon “blue boy” might be more than one would want to handle. Putting the portable black water tank on a receiver hitch cargo carrier works well for dumping, but, may be too high to gravity fill directly. Macerator pumps can solve the problem of getting the black water from the camper to the portable tank and they may be powered from a Jump start battery pack or a trailer plug. We prefer the jumper pack for power because we use it to power up other things around the campground. Generator size can relate directly to your camping style and I tend to look at it this way. Need a microwave, air conditioning or maybe a hair dryer ? Then you need to bring a big generator and a big gas can for it. Most folks can quite readily camp for extended stays with a small quiet and fuel efficient one thousand watt generator that they run sparingly in the morning and maybe in the evening. Ours uses about half a gallon of gasoline in eight hours or roughly four days. Betty and I just completed an extended stay at a lake and it was ever so fine sleeping with the windows open listening to the loons calling across the lake was so wonderful !
Monday, July 20, 2015
USFS / BLM / USCOE AND SOME DIFFERENCES THEREIN. Boondocking in these areas is a very cool thing that allows us to enjoy Mother nature’s splendor in a up close and personal way. However each of those agencies have a set of specific requirements that cover the whole spectrum of activities during your stay. Many of the core values for those agency’s are the same, but, and now, that is a big BUT, each of the various Ranger districts can be ran as a small kingdom all unto it’s self, with the ability to adjust the regulations to suit the needs of that particular area. LENGTH OF STAY has a direct impact upon the area and may be regulated individually, but the general rule of thumb is fourteen days then you must move on out. How many additional days that you may stay for the remainder of the year can and often times does vary widely. ELEVATION will often dictate your style of camping because of wide temperature changes from season to season coupled with whether the area is arid, moist or maybe even in monsoon season. Each agency is good to post the individual area’s rules and regulations, so it is a good idea to spend a few minutes to pause and read how that may affect your visit. A quick check in with other campers in your chosen area will get you up to speed on particular’s about distances for dispersed camping and surface discharge of grey water and it’s various acceptable or non-acceptable, local methods. Each district office is a great source for maps, brochures and information about cool features in that area. Sometimes the USFS and BLM share offices in a given area.
Monday, July 6, 2015
Stretching your resources Just suppose that it is a holiday weekend, one of those cool three day holiday’s. You are used to boondocking for Friday night, Saturday and leaving back to civilization on Sunday. But now, you have an extra day to unwind and commune with nature. Most of us only have a limited amount of storage space in our camper and that means packing extra stuff can be a challenge. Boondocker’s have so many clever ways of stretching their resources that we could never cover them all in our limited space, so we will touch base with some of the more common ways and let your imagination be your creative guide.
Friday, June 26, 2015
IN IT’S STRICTEST FORM, WITHOUT SUPPORT. Many RVer’s perceive that this means staying camped in their chosen location as long as the stuff that they bring with them lasts. And often times this can come down to how much water you brought with you. Limited space for stuff seems to be the main controlling factor. Black and grey water holding tanks are usually fixed size containers that are installed by the camper manufacturer. Filling black and grey tanks to capacity usually depends upon their size and your stay time, but even one trip a day to a primitive campground’s vault toilet can really extend your stay.
Friday, June 19, 2015
BOONDOCKING PART ONE Of a six part series by Larry Harmon WHAT IT IS AND SOME OF IT’S FORMS Boondocking comes in many forms, so it’s not likely that we will be able to cover them all in this brief writing. So, let’s talk about the most common types of boondocking that comes to mind.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
A slightly rising lake during a fishing trip is generally a good thing ! The fish bite better and in a springtime fishing trip the air is washed clear from time to time by those wonderful and mild showers that are causing the lake rise.