Truck Camper Magazine Blog

Boondock Until You Stink II

How long can you camp off-the-grid with the fresh water, battery, and food storage capacity your truck camper offers?  How long can you go without a real shower?  Welcome to Boondock Until You Stink II!

Six years ago we published a Question of the Week that received one of the wildest and strongest reactions we’ve ever experienced.  The question was:

“How long can you boondock off-the-grid with your truck camper before you need to dump your tanks or replenish your supplies?”

Since Truck Camper Magazine’s readership has grown over 500% since that time, we thought it would be fun to bring this fun question back.  As you’re about to see, this seemingly innocent question can quickly get quite personal, with hysterical revelations guaranteed.

Here’s our answer.  Please don’t read on if you’re squeamish, have a weak heart, or are prone to prolonged or uncontrollable snarfing:

With all-LED lighting, 150-watts of solar, and two Group 31 AGMs, our current truck camper allows us to stay off shore power almost indefinitely.  The only time we need to plug in to shore power is to run the rooftop air conditioner.  We would also need shore power for a microwave, but we don’t have, nor do we want, a microwave in our camper.

If we had a Honda EU2000i, which we are considering, we would almost permanently eliminate the need shore power all together.  At that point, only an extended heat wave would require us to connect to shore power.

What usually has us looking for a campground or dump facilities is our holding tanks.  After about ten days, at least one of our 35 gallon fresh, 35 gallon grey, and 35 gallon black tanks is full or empty.

Showers are a weakness for both of us.  I need a quick shower every morning just to wake up.  We both need to wash our hair every few days to avoid embarrassing full-paw, labrador-style head scratching.  This means we run through our fresh water tanks in no more than ten days, if we conserve.  The tenth day might be an old-school baby wipe bird bath.  Sorry for that image.

About the same time, our food stores and fresh water supplies (we only drink from gallon jugs, not our fresh holding tank) are getting very low.  Heaven forbid we run out of peanut butter, frozen yogurt, or beer (for me).  Any of those items hit zero, and we’re immediately heading for the nearest grocery store.

There’s one more critical variable; clean laundry.  I am a firm believer in bringing enough clean underwear to outlast a sudden ice age.  Mom always said wear a clean pair, so I bring about two dozen, or more.  Same deal with T-shirts.  Same deal with socks.  I pack enough pairs of rolled up socks to counter attack a snowball fight with the entire neighborhood.  Bring it on!  I’m ready, with clean undies.

So there you go, we can boondock about seven to ten days, no problem.  That means no shore power, no dump stations, and no grocery store runs.  We are fully self-contained, in the middle of nowhere, happy as can be with our peanut butter, beer, and mind-bogglingly massive underwear reserves (me again).

Now it’s your turn.

This week’s Question of the Week is, “How long can you boondock off-the-grid with your truck camper before you need to dump your tanks or replenish your supplies?”

If you have any unique techniques that allows you to camp off-the-grid for longer, please tell us.  If you can go for three weeks with nothing more than bird baths, please share.  If you have to have real showers, and need to do laundry once a week, we want to know.

Tell us how long your can camp off-the-grid until you can’t take it anymore.

See reader responses to Boondock Until You Stink II!

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