Blacktop boondocking etiquette

Blacktop boondocking etiquette

By Rene Agredano

From WalMart parking lots to visitor centers, asphalt camping is still allowed in most towns across America. However, property owners are increasingly prohibiting it thanks to the bad etiquette of sloppy RVers. To keep this overnight parking option alive, always practice good manners such as:

Remain Inconspicuous. Remember, you’re staying overnight, not setting down roots. Locate the most distant point in the parking lot, away from customers and delivery trucks. Don’t use awnings, patio chairs or barbecues. If you must use your slide outs, park alongside a wall so they aren’t sticking out into traffic.

Look Respectable. Let’s face it; first impressions are everything and nobody wants a homeless encampment on their property. Keep you and your RV neat, clean and respectable.

Try to Get Permission. If the parking area belongs to a retail establishment, go inside, buy a few things and ask to speak to the manager. If you’re parked at a restaurant, treat yourself to a meal. These are simple ways of saying “Thank you.”

Don’t Overstay Your Welcome. Keep your parking lot camping excursion to a maximum of two days to avoid a run in with the police.

Leave No Trace. From national forests to the urban jungle, the same code of camping ethics applies: pack it in, pack it out. Don’t put your jacks down (they dimple asphalt), and leave the area cleaner than when you found it.

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2 thoughts on “Blacktop boondocking etiquette

  1. D Cappel

    An excellant way to get in a bind with the local police or the store whose lot you are using and a very good way to make a bad inpression for RVers in general

  2. Fred

    An excellent alternative to Walmart lots, where cars and big rigs are coming and going all night, are parking lots of businesses that close at night. Examples of businesses that welcome rvers are Lowes, Home Depot, and KMart.
    Try to arrive just as they are closing or later and leave in the morning before they open or shortly after. These lots are much quieter though they may lack any active security patrolling the lot. You can typically find one of these lots next to or close to a Walmart.
    We typically do our shopping at the Walmart or other grocery store early in the evening and then move to the other lot close to their closing time. If I’m going to shop at that other store, then I don’t mind pulling into their lot earlier, but I still try to be gone before they open in the morning. We’ve found we sleep much better in these quieter, empty lots.

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