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Episode 157: How to find the perfect boondocking spot

| Updated Sep 13, 2017

Boondocking just may be the biggest trend affecting the RV Lifestyle these days. For one thing, with so many new RVers coming on the scene, it’s getting more difficult each day to find an open site at a campground. But for another, new technology like solar power, engine generators and lithium batteries are making it much easier to camp in the wilderness, with no hookups, off the grid.

So how do you find that perfect boondocking spot? In our interview segment coming up, we’ll hear from an expert – Nina Fussing, a fulltime RVer and the author of the popular WheelingIT  RV blog.  Nina, with husband Paul accompanied by a small a menagerie of pets, are boondocking experts and this week, she’ll share how to find the perfect boondocking spot.

Plus we’ll answer your questions, share a bunch of travel and technology tips and some great off the beaten path RV stops in the American heartland.


Show Notes for Episode #157 Sept. 13, 2018 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:


Episode 157: How to find the perfect boondocking spot 1We’re in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada today, as this episode is being released, covering the Grand Opening of a new manufacturing facility for the Erwin Hymer Group of North America. It’s in the next town over from Kitchener, Ontario, where Hymer has its factory to manufacture Roadtrek motorhomes. This new building will be used to assemble Hymer’s new line of towable trailers. It will also have a couple of dedicated bays for warranty work for all their products. We’ll be doing a live video from the new factory and you’ll be able to see it on our You Tube RV Lifestyle Channel.

We’ve heard from lots of friends from Florida who are in their RVs after evacuating their homes in the path or Hurricane Irma. With 5 million households out of power throughout the Sunshine State, having a self-contained RV has been a great convenience for so many. Hats off to the many state and local campgrounds in adjoining states that have welcomed the evacuees, many waiving their camping fees for the duration.

We’re getting ready to head to northern Michigan over the next week or so to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and the early color we’re seeing on the trees. It’s been spectacular so far this month, with lows in the 40’s for good sleeping at night and highs in the upper 60’s or low 70’s.

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 16 locations and growing


Last week, a listener named Bill shared how he uses cleaning vinegar mixed 50-50 with water in a spray bottle to wash the dishes in his RV, thus saving use of fresh water when out boondocking.

Mike and I were a little skeptical about the idea and Len, or “Vinegar Len” as he now calls himself, sent us in this follow up Tip.

He swears there’s no after taste and…best of all… he says the vinegar cleaner is a great way to clean your dishes on winter camping trips!

Thanks, Bill! You won us over with your suggestion on how cleaning vinegar will help during winter campouts, especially the one we have coming up in January at Michigan’s Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula. In winter camping, you don’t have running water. So we promise, we’ll try your idea and use cleaning vinegar – to clean the dishes we dirty during that event. We appreciate your tip!

And for the rest of you, be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

I love hearing from you!

For a complete list of all the products, gear and apps mentioned by Mike and Jennifer on their podcast, YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel and here on the blog, go to

Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping


Listener Sue has a question about the indicator lights on her black water tank showing that there is still stuff in there, even though she has dumped it. She’s tried a bunch of enzymes and liquid solutions sold by Camping World but still, the LEDs show it’s not empty. She asks if this is normal.

The best solution we’ve had is I use a half cup of Calgon water softener and half cup of dishwasher detergent in the tank. This is not foolproof nut it does the best job I’ve found in keeping the tank clean and the sensors to read closer to accurate. The Key is using lots of water to flush

Here’s a nice video from Pete’s RV Service that explains the problem and Pete’s idea on how to fix the problem:


We got a long email from a listener named Gary who writes with several questions: I've recently been searching for the next Rv. I enjoy watching your video clips. After various size campers, two used Class Cs, new 2004 Class A DP (11 years) and just sold new 2016 Class A gas; towing the jeep of course.  I'm 66, ready to down-size and simplify; Mike and Jen are good examples.
You mentioned on one of your videos about the air conditioning in the Adventurous CS E-trek, just turn on, no need for shore power or generator.  I understand batteries and inverters but you can actually run roof air and for how long?
Also, how does the under-hood generator work?
One recent video you took delivery of new 4X4 Adventurous. What did it cost you in mileage?
I'm coming from 8mpg world; I'm curious about the mpg difference.
I caught your discussion that the new Rv has a roof air again.  I'd be no fan of under-structure AC components.  We live in CA and have traveled all over the USA, hot weather happens. Does the roof air do the cooling job?
My final challenge is to convince my wife we no longer need 34ft Class A.  We started off in a sleeper camper shell, then 8ft camper. Ready to get back to simple Rv-ing. Our big Los Angeles RVshow is in October, I want to get good information from an experienced owner, not a weekend salesman they seem to float to shows.

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV in St. Louis, and their Partner Dealerships Creston RV in Kalispell, Montana, and Wagon Trail RV in Las Vegas. Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’s from three locations.a


Episode 157: How to find the perfect boondocking spot 2
Nina and husband, Paul

Boondocking just may be the biggest trend affecting the RV Lifestyle these days. For one thing, with so many new RVers coming on the scene, it’s getting more difficult each day to find an open site at a campground. But for another, new technology like solar power, engine generators and lithium batteries are making it much easier to camp in the wliderness, with no hookups, off the grid.

So how do you find that perfect boondocking spot? In our interview segment coming up, we’ll hear from an expert – Nina Fussing, a fulltime RVer and the author of the popular WheelingIT  RV blog.  Nina, with husband Paul accompanied by a small a menagerie of pets, are boondocking experts and this week, she’ll share how to find the perfect boondocking spot.

By the way, that's Nina's RV in the featured image up top and one of her favorite boondocking spots – un the desert near Quartzsite in Arizona.


Boondocking for Newbies

Finding your Boondocking Area

The interview of the week is brought to you by, where every new or used Roadtrek motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country


Georgia family gives their loaded RV to strangers left homeless by Harvey

Western National Park sites endangered by wildfires

Canada's popular Waterton Lakes National Park ordered evacuated because of wildfire danger

This portion of the podcast is brought to you by Alde,  the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV


By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

Episode 157: How to find the perfect boondocking spot 3
Steve Van Dinter

Wow the year is just flying by! But that also means we’re at my favorite time of year – when we see a whole bunch of new updates to our favorite smartphones.

And first up is the beauty that is the new Samsung Note 8.

Talk about an amazing piece of art…this phone and it’s 6.3” infinity screen feels absolutely perfect in your hands.

The larger screen means more viewing space for the latest videos or watching a presentation and taking notes at the same time using the multiwindow experience.

The beloved S Pen is back…and allows you to take notes, doodle and even leave notes on your lock screen so you don’t forget the memo.

And before I forget, more than ever people want a great camera…and the Note 8 has two. This means when you take a photo one lens is snapping a telefoto and the other a wide angle…you you won’t need to choose in advance. And with its Live Focus, you can choose to blur out the background or foreground of a photo after it’s been snapped, so you won’t have to worry about making a decision in the moment.

For our techies it features iris and fingerprint scanning, IP 68 water and dust resistance, has Gigabit LTE capability and is compatible with DeX – letting you plug your phone into any TV and turn it into a fully functioning computer.

Whew! And that’s just scratching the surface.

You can learn more at

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.


Listener Len has a nice Off the Beaten Path report this week about two attractions in rural Kansas.

In Concordia, he tells us about the National Orphan Train Complex, which commemorates a fascinating social reform movement that saw an estimated 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children were placed throughout the United States and Canada during the Orphan Train Movement from 1854 to 1929. When the orphan train movement began, it was estimated that 30,000 abandoned children were living on the streets of New York City.

About an hour away in Abilene, Kansas, hevisited the Eisenhower Presidential Library and the boyhood home of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.


Hershey, PA – America's Largest RV Show Sept. 13-17, 2017

Portland OR – Portland Fall RV Show, Sept. 14-17, 2017

Timonium, MD – Maryland Fall RV Show, Sept. 14-17, 2017

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2017-09-13

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

3 Responses to “Episode 157: How to find the perfect boondocking spot”

October 04, 2017at4:25 am, Liquid Roof Coatings said:

Very necessary info has been given but In experts view if you have Liquid Roof Coatings on your roof all your woes and worries regarding roof disappear.

September 13, 2017at11:10 pm, Tango Juli said:

Thrilled you had Nina on to talk boondocking! Her blog got me started 18 months ago and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Re: terminology when talking with National Forest, National Park/Monument employees and various visitor centers many employees, including newer, part-time employees and even folks in ranger uniforms do not know the older term “boondocking”. Five of seven uniformed officials I spoke with in the past 3 months in the Mono Lake, Lassen NF, Lassen NP, and Shasta area (McCloud, CA) did not know the term “boondocking” or “dispersed camping”. I was kinda surprised. I explained “free camping”, primitive camping. I had one guy with a beard down to his naval at a National forest office look blankly at me. If you ask for a more senior person on staff, those folks will know what you are asking about. I got great info on boondocking around Shasta from a lady in the Chamber of Commerce visitor center (coincidentally, back near the NF office with bearded dude) 🙂 Boondocking is a pretty uncommon thing, as probably more than 90% of RVers prefer RV parks or developed cgs with a sense of civilization around them. So non-RV people who are working in these (usually distant) offices/visitor centers often won’t know what you are talking about, so don’t assume there isn’t boondocking if they do not know about it. Also–as Nina’s blog addresses well–make sure the area you are heading to is sized for your type of rig. I will never forget driving between the jeffrey pines of Mono lake with literally an inch to spare on each side of my new travel trailer. Often a ranger or employee will tell you an area is open for boondocking but they don’t know the type of rig you have or if you have 4WD so ask questions.

September 13, 2017at10:38 pm, Tango Juli said:

“100,000” in Quartszite” desert in January…
Not anymore. This number is dropping quite a bit, since many going to Q-zite in January are there for the massive rock show–either as vendors or buyers (as well as enjoying all the sun). I am a vendor at Qzite, and have talked to many of the camphosts with the BLM, rangers with the BLM, and vendors at the various shows. This year-2017, camphosts in BLM areas immediately surrounding Qzite were seeing several hundred percent fewer campers/RVs than the 2016.* There are several reasons besides the dying off and aging out of the rockcollectors. This year, the dramatic decreases were also attributed to fewer Canadians coming down. Two of the larger RV parks in Quartszite told me they had a lot of long-time Canadian customers canceling for several reasons: weather–it was warmer in Canada, and changes to health insurance policy for Canadians in US. I confirmed this later in talking with Canadian vendors and customers at the big gem show in Tucson.
For those wanting to do Quartzsite tho–GO! Less people means more space for you in the desert! Go visit the amazing discount grocer at Tyson Wells who has doubled his floorspace. He sells dry groceries (coffee, cereal, etc) that are nearing expiration, or expired for less than half. Great place to stock up. The flea markets and RV part stores are also a lot of fun as is the big RV show behind Tyson Wells!

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