The concept of an area where owners of housecars, what we now call recreation vehicles (RVs), would gather to hook up to electricity, drinking water, and waste water disposal, what we now call a campground, would have seemed like a bizarre notion when the first self-contained RVs appeared on American highways.
In fact, the whole idea behind the creation of these new-fangled RVs was to become independent of those hookups–to be self sustainable while seeing the wondrous scenic landscapes of this great and diverse country. The independence was the beauty and the attraction of RV camping.
Then campgrounds and hook-ups came along and the RVer evolved from wanting to be free of tethers to the RVer demanding campgrounds with these tethers wherever he wanted to camp. Campgrounds turned into resorts with amenities to match the luxurious vacation hotels and spas–with price tags to match. And many RVers, as if re-proving Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, lost their ability to camp without life-supporting appendages, just like early humanoids lost their tails when they stopped swinging from trees.
But unlike the humanoids that lost their tails, RVs themselves did not lose their ability to camp without the life-supporting tethers. In fact, they became even more adaptable, efficient, and practical for camping independent of support systems well beyond the dreams of the early adapters.
Giant water supply tanks and waste tanks, generators, solar panels, high efficiency electricity-storing batteries, full size refrigerators, massive amounts of storage and pantries, efficient heating and cooling systems–and many other improvements–now make camping without hook-ups–what we call boondocking–almost as easy as staying in a full hook-up resort or campground.
But many owners, though they know that their rig has these systems built in, stay wary of camping away from the grid, assuming that the mishaps of Robin Williams in the movie RV are typical of what will happen to them if they become too adventurous.
In reality, if you don’t venture out away from established overnight (I won’t call them camping) options, you are missing out on the most important feature of the RV lifestyle–the option to camp just about anywhere you can get to on America’s public lands–in its forests and deserts, by streams, rivers, lakes, on Indian Reservations and Fish and Wildlife properties, on state wildlife and forest preserves and water properties managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. And . . . you will save a ton of money when you don’t have to pay for RV resorts and campgrounds (check out my ebook below 111Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck, highly rated–thank you reviewers–and one of the best-selling ebooks in its category on Amazon’s Kindle).
But first you have to learn how to use your RV’s built-in systems that enable you to break free from hookups. That comes next week. But if you are in a rush or want to read in more detail than blog space allows, check out my ebooks on the subject by following the links below.
For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (PDF or Kindle reader version). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.