Boondocking & Quartzsite

The open road and the big sky inspire a lot of people to make their first RV trip.

Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

They ease into RVing by visiting a nearby (and beautiful) campground where they can hook up to water, waste, and electrical systems. Having this umbilical cord certainly makes RVing easier, but you may feel tied down.

As you become more comfortable with your RV adventures, the desire to go further off the beaten path and fully off-grid may inspire you to think about boondocking, according to Melanie Cullen, vice president of Operations and Marketing at Blue Sky Energy, Inc.

Boondocking or dry camping in a remote location without connections to water, power, or a sewer, can be a little intimidating when you are first venturing out.  It is just you and your RV alone in the world. It is so peaceful, beautiful, and refreshing to be out there away from it all. There is almost nothing better when things go smoothly and there is almost nothing worse when things go wrong.

The best first step to ease into boondocking is to head for Quartzsite for the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show which takes place January 18 to 26, 2014. Quartzsite (or Q) is the biggest show in the country for boondockers, dry campers, and RVers, and attracts over 150,000 attendees.

The show is heaven on earth for RVers. It’s a ton of fun with hundreds of exhibits, live shows, bargain products, and fellow RV enthusiasts. The fact that the desert is gorgeous and the temperature is in the low-to-mid 70s in mid-January doesn’t hurt either!

Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boondocking at Quartzsite is as easy as boondocking gets because you’ll be surrounded by thousands of boondocking experts, vendors, and RV tinkerers. There is even an installation and service area on the show grounds.

As you enjoy your time at Q, you can also prepare for your next boondocking trip by getting tips on techniques and hotspots from all the new friends you’ll make. Plus with so many RV experts around if something does go wrong, help is just a short walk away.

When you boondock, all you have is what you bring, and you have to bring all of that back with you. In preparing for your first boondocking adventure, focus on three things: water, waste, and power. These three elements comprise the main difference between boondocking and using traditional campgrounds.

When planning what to bring, keep in mind any trade-offs you might make between these three pillars of boondocking. While boondocking is a little more rigorous than staying at a campground, if you plan ahead you will be fine!

Having enough water is essential to everything.  FEMA recommends storing at least a gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation, and more if the temperature is hot. But you should bring a lot more than that since you aren’t preparing for a disaster—you are there for a fun experience!

The key to keeping your waste under control on your trip is to plan ahead. When you’re shopping, consider the packing materials that contain what you are buying. Food and bathroom supplies are big sources of packing material waste so either shop wisely or unwrap whatever you can at home and then repackage everything in bulk containers.

Installing a solar array to charge your RV house battery gets you power wherever you are and it’s easier than ever due to technology improvements and a huge drop in solar panel prices.

The tricky thing about a solar and battery storage system is that batteries can’t capture all the electricity an array produces because the battery and array operate at different voltages. This voltage difference can cause up to 30 percent of the electricity to be lost in translation. Savvy RV technicians like those at Quartzsite who are experienced in putting solar arrays on RVs know the key to fixing this: an MPPT charge controller.

An MPPT charge controller helps you get up to 30 percent more power from your solar system by regulating that voltage between the batteries and the solar panels. That way your batteries will receive all the power being harvested from the solar panels. And like any purchase you make for your RV, make sure you pick an MPPT charge controller that is as rugged as the places you go boondocking.

Bring plenty of water, keep an eye on your trash, and solarize your RV with an MPPT charge controller, and you will have a blast when boondocking at Quartzsite and other BLM sites.

Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Boondocking on BLM land near Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you leave Quartzsite, you will of course take everything you brought with you. But you’ll also leave with new friends and boondocking expertise so you can finally go as far off-grid as you’ve been dreaming.


Blue Sky Energy, Inc.

Blue Sky Energy is an off-grid solar solutions provider. It offers the largest collection of small, military standard-certified MPPT charge controllers, pairing dynamic solutions with unsurpassed quality and reliability.

Fifteen years after introducing the first MPPT product to the clean energy community, Blue Sky Energy maintains its commitment to excellence in personalized customer service, philanthropy, and international relations with distribution to over 33 countries worldwide.

Address: 2598 Fortune Way, Suite K, Vista, CA 92081

Phone: (760) 597-1642 or (800) 493-7877 (toll free)


Worth Pondering…

Forecast for snow…. sometime in the future, but not today!!! What a beautiful day!

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