Wife uncomfortable in remote boondocking spots – What to do?

Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
I don’t mind boondocking. We spend several months a year on the road and camp a majority of the time without hookups. My ex-Marine husband will camp anywhere, but I do not care to camp in remote areas by ourselves. My husband says I am being silly.

Recently we camped in Big Bend with a backcountry permit. We found several sites that we could drive our rig without doing any damage. I admit it was beautiful, no noise or light pollution, and we love natural settings and hiking. However, I felt we were too isolated at the end of a dead-end road.

Am I being silly? Should I develop an attitude like my husband and throw caution to the wind? I love the places he finds to legally park, but some of them keep me from feeling comfortable. —Apprehensive in American Outback

Dear App:
Caution is good, but safety has no guarantees. Many boondocking sites come with the disadvantage of not offering the margin of camping security that you expect from regular campgrounds. Most are not monitored on a regular basis by authorities and you are basically on your own. All campers have to make their own calls on these situations.

You should do what makes you comfortable, but don’t make yourself paranoid by reading too many newspapers. Rural America is not as dangerous as you might imagine. Many RVer’s find safety in numbers and hook up with other campers to share boondocking sites.

Quartzsite and BLM lands all over the West find groups circling the wagons together. Some groups form to stake a mining claim for no other reason than camping on it. The sites you mention in Big Bend are just large parking areas off unimproved roads that would accommodate several rigs.

It doesn’t hurt to “drive softly, but carry a big stick.” If you constantly camp alone in primitive areas you should consider some form of protection. I’m not suggesting you mount a .50 caliber on the roof of your rig. Although it might be intimidating, it’s way too heavy and will put a dent in your fuel budget. I recommend something more subtle. If you do not like guns, carry some bear spray.

Twenty years ago this might have been more of a problem. I find as we move more and more into this age of “The Boomers are Coming,” there are becoming fewer boondocking sites that are not already crowded when arriving – you just have to look harder for the uncrowded ones. In my RV Shrink practice I am dealing more frequently with the “Greta Garbo syndrome.” People are constantly occupying my couch and groaning, “I vant to be alone.”*

Find your comfort zone, compromise with your husband and enjoy the places that make you happy. There are thousands of natural campgrounds that offer peace, quiet and a shade more security than some of the boondock sites. Often the more familiar you become with an isolated site, the more comfortable you are occupying it. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

[*Editor’s note: “I never said ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be left alone.’ There is all the difference.” —Greta Garbo]

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13 Thoughts to “Wife uncomfortable in remote boondocking spots – What to do?”

  1. Tom

    Wasp and Hornet Spray with it’s 20 foot range is also a good choice. Aim for face.

  2. Leanne

    We have stayed at several parks in eatsern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, that I felt quite
    safe as the only thing moving after sunset were the four legged critters called bears.

  3. Robbie

    We feel safer in the woods boondocking than we do in any RV park.

  4. Storm

    Yes, you are being silly. That is the short answer. How fortunate you are to have a guy around that has your back. I am a woman often traveling solo. The more isolated the better. I feel safer out there than next to god only knows who! And the beauty of nature in these places just can’t be beat.

    1. Jann

      No you are not being silly. Ignorance is not bliss. I feel the same way because we experienced a problem once. You have to be cautious and not wander around after dark. Things have changed a lot in the last year and not for the better. That is sad but it is truth. Being in crowds is also dangerous-case in point New York. I am so glad that we were able to do our camping/travel in the 80’s when things were a little more sane.

  5. Gigi

    What I have found is that sometimes the fear comes from within me, not really the reality of where I am.
    Just lock the door when you sleep, the bad guys need the city to live life, they don’t head out to the wilderness.

  6. Tim

    I have never understood why people are fearful in an isolated area. Two legged varmints (people) are our largest threat.

    The more people around, the risk is greater.

    Less people around equals less risk.

  7. Drew

    Dear Apprehensive,

    Would you have traded your spot for mine over the past week? Some turd arrived at around midnight- started to bang around, slamming bay doors, hammering stuff, etc. Who in the heck raised these people?

  8. Brenda

    A good compromise would be staying at COE Parks. That way you get nature and usually privacy as the sites can be quite spacious but with the proximity of neighbors.

    1. Ted Denman

      I’m a new RV’r, what is a “COE Park”?

      1. RV Staff

        Corps of Engineers. And welcome to RVing, Ted! 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

      2. Alpenliter

        Corps of Engineers

  9. Tommy Molnar

    “Often the more familiar you become with an isolated site, the more comfortable you are occupying it.”

    I think this says it all. You just have to get over the initial stay (or stays) to a point where you feel like you’re “coming home” when you revisit a boondock site you’ve been to before.

    We have a number of fave spots we hit with regularity.

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