By Dave Helgeson
You’ve arrived at a selected boondocking site and are ready to set up camp. Unlike a developed campground with a predetermined space to park your RV, you likely have many choices on where and how to position your RV in the boondocks.
– Sun and shade: Will you want your rig in the sun to warm things up, or in the shade to keep it cool? Maybe a combination of morning sun to warm your rig during brisk mornings and shade provided by a tree or hillside to cool your RV in the hot afternoon. In scorching heat it’s best to face the patio awning to the south or west and to keep the refrigerator side of the RV facing north. For those of us with solar panels on the roof, we may opt for full sunshine even in hotter climates.
– Communications: Is there cell phone service where you plan to park? Many times parking around a corner or over a rise will make all the difference. Look for cell phone towers on distant hills. A line of sight typically assures service. Steep hillsides and mountains along with trees are also of concern if you utilize a satellite for receiving TV or Internet reception.
– Level: How hard will it be for you to level your RV at the chosen site? Will the entry steps be on the high or low side of the rig after leveling?
– Hazards: Is there anything that might damage your unit? Be aware of low hanging branches or dead trees that might fall during a windstorm. When parking along a steep slope beware of rocks that might become dislodged above you. Are there any ground clearance impediments that might inflict damage to the underside of your RV when maneuvering into the site?
– Drainage: Will your chosen campsite drain well if it rains? Which way (side to side) should the awning be sloped to keep rain away from the RV entry? If camping in the desert, will your chosen campsite be safe in the event of a flash flood?
Taking Advantage of the View
– Wind direction: Which way does the prevailing wind travel? Can you use it to your advantage? Things to consider are: Smoke from a campfire, cooling the RV, and using the RV to shield you from the wind when sitting outdoors. Aim your RV into the wind if high winds are expected.
– View: How can you maximize the view of your campsite? Many times it’s as simple as parking on the highest place available, or along the edge of a mountain stream, or the perimeter of a high plateau. Aligning views with the RVs picture windows and your favorite seat is always a winning combination.
Just like real estate, good boondocking sites are all about location, location, location. Enjoy!