Dry camping is an RV term used to describe when you are parked virtually anywhere without amenities. For those who are not RV'ers that means no water hookup, no electricity and no sewage. RVs have the resources to be independent for a limited amount of time. Fresh water is stored in a tank so you are not dependent on a water hookup (read flushing toilet). There are black and gray water tanks to hold the waste (parking virtually anywhere can be a lot of fun, dumping your waste anywhere is not cool). The gray water tank holds water from the sink and shower, the black water tank holds the nasty stuff! There is also a generator for electricity, but that uses gas. There's battery power too, but you're limited on what you can run and they drain pretty quickly. The good thing is they are separate from the engine battery. So when you drain the house battery you can still start up the engine and move on.

When you have found a spot you really like you learn how to conserve the resources. But, eventually you will need fresh water, gas and precious room in those gray and black tanks. When water won't go down the shower drain anymore you know it's time. Backed up gray water is one thing, but backed up black water is a good reason to light a match!

If you're new to RV'ing we wouldn't suggest a long term dry camping trip as your first experience. Do the Wal-Mart parking lot first to learn the things you'll never read in a book; or won't digest how much they really matter. Yes, people do dry camp at Wal-Mart. We've spent many nights in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Wal-Mart is RV friendly and it is a great place to stop for some sleep and restocking while in transit between points. You can get almost anything you need at Wal-Mart and they have big parking lots which makes it easy to move around. I'll never forget the first time we bought groceries in the RV at Wal-Mart. What a great thing to take the grocery cart right to your 'house'. No intermediate transport in the car.

In Quartzsite, Arizona there is over 11,000 acres of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. You can drive out in the middle of the desert, drop the jacks (used to stabilize the RV), slide out the rooms and kick back. It is less than $3/day for a short term permit and less than $1/day for a long term permit.  You can stay between September and April. In early January RV’ers flock to Quartzsite to escape the cold weather up north. You can park with a crowd or go off and find a nice quiet spot for yourself. The great thing about RV'ing is that most people are pretty happy. Everyone is doing their own thing; you can have a multi-million dollar rig parked next to a home made trailer and the occupants will be sharing stories over a camp fire. We met some great ... and interesting people in our travels. The fun part is meeting new friends in the desert and meeting up again on the other side of the country. It's important to keep in touch with your friends while you're on the road because you never know when you'll be near one another again.


Another picture of dry camping in Quartzsite, AZ. We had so much fun here. We started out our stay in Quartzsite in a full hookup RV park and were going to leave; we didn't enjoy that so much. But, then we learned about the BLM land and moved. It felt kind of like living on another planet. Our friends from Yuma joined us and we had a great time. Then we went to Yuma for a while and parked in their driveway. They had sold their house and were packing up the RV to become 'fulltimers'. We helped them pack and paint and watched Super Bowl in the RV in their driveway. New England won that year.


Dry camping in Demopolis, Alabama on the way to visit family. This was an organized campground but with no amenities. It was a great find! This was just an overnight stay while in transit. Wal-Mart always works well for that, but this was a nice change. It was easy access from the main road and a very relaxing spot to spend the night. As you can see the rain was fresh and everything was so green.


Wet camping at the Army Corps of Engineer Campground in Sardis, Mississippi. Wet camping gives you a water hookup but no sewer hookup. They had an onsite dump station in the campground. We had company join us here and did have to go dump the tanks. We did it in the middle of the night, under equipped without hazmat gear and had our first learning experience with black water. They tell you in the books to dump a little gray water first; one of those points that you don't really understand the importance of until you learn first hand. Always dump a little gray first to make sure the dump station isn't backed up! Yep. This was a STINKY experience!! But, it never happened again. :)


Full hookup in San Antonio, Texas. Full meaning water, electricity, sewer, cable and phone. Nice! We spent Christmas here under the stars in the hot tub. The luxury RV resorts are like hotels without the rooms. Always a nice stop here and there. We met a couple here that told us about their experience in Big Bend National Park. So, we headed down there for New Years and dry camped (no pictures of the RV there). That is where we learned how long we could run heat on battery before turning on the generator. They had 'quiet' rules that did not allow you to turn on the generator until a specified time in the morning. That was about 1 hour after the battery drained and couldn't run the portable heater anymore. Once the hour came you could hear all the generators turn on; we weren't the only ones waiting. :)