For the RVing community, Quartzsite is a big deal.
This tiny town of about 3,500 people is descending upon by over 1 million RVers each winter who come for the free/cheap boondocking in Quartzsite on the BLM land that surrounds the town. It also helps that there is a famous Rock and Gem Show, and a State Fair-like RV Expo that attracts many groups of RVers under the “Big Tent”. Many RV groups and clubs, official and unofficial, meet there every winter.
If you want to spend the whole winter here, you can go to one of the Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) and get a 6-month permit for under $180.
For a shorter stay you can pay $40 for a 14-day permit.
These permits give you access to an onsite dump station, a fresh water source, and trash dumpsters. There are also a number of other BLM areas around Quartzsite that allow stays up to two weeks for free. These areas do not provide trash or dump stations, so you’d have pack it out and find these services in town.
There are still a number of things you have to consider beforehand:
Stock up on groceries if you’re not going to be near good grocery stores! Quartzsite has some stores, but to find a wide selection and fresh produce you’ll likely have to venture to Parker or Blythe, CA for provisions.
Also, prepare meals and clean veggies and fruits ahead of time so you don’t have to use your water supply to wash them while boondocking.
2. Water – Supply & Conservation
Make sure your water tank is full. If your water tank hasn’t been sanitized recently, you might want to consider sanitizing it to make sure nothing is growing in your tank.
If you don’t use your fresh water tank for drinking, also consider how much drinking water you need to bring or where you are going to refill your supply. We use some collapsible 5-gallon jugs to fill with drinking water.
These collapsible jugs also come in handy for refilling your fresh water tank when you don’t want to move your rig. If your off grid for a while and you need more water this is what we do to add more water to our tank without moving the rig:
Here is a link to the Pump we bought – http://amzn.to/2hkpkiC
A simple DrillPump like this and chunk of hose will make your life much easier. We needed to do this because we could not fill our tank from a jug but even if your fresh water fill is on the outside of your rig using a pump will still make it much easier to transfer the water.
You have to also be very conservative with your water when boondocking, both to make your supply last as long as possible and to not fill your gray and black tanks too quickly!
We have a portable waste water disposal tank with us in case we do fill up, and it has come in handy more than once for a little extra capacity. (Be warned though, these are very heavy when they are filled!)
Unload all garbage before heading out into the boonies. If you fill up a bag, be considerate of where you’re going to store your garbage until you visit another dumpster so that wildlife doesn’t get into it and that it doesn’t stink up your rig or vehicle.
Make sure you’ve got plenty of propane for your furnace, fridge, and/or stove. Since electricity isn’t going to be available, things like electric space heaters, microwaves, or induction cooktops aren’t going to be usable (unless of course you have another abundant power source to power these, like solar power.)
5. Energy Source – Solar or Generator & Gasoline
Unless you really rough it, you’re going to want to have some source of electricity. This is typically done by either solar power or by the use of a generator.
In the past we’ve used a Honda EU2000i 2000W Generator for our off-grid power needs. This means we need to make sure we have gasoline supplies for the boondocking time period. Since this generator is so efficient, we only need a few gallons to last us a good week!
Check out this video review of the Honda EU2000i to learn more about it.
Solar Power is great in the desert because it’s usually pretty sunny. Having a solar system on your RV is a great, SILENT way to enjoy desert boondocking in Quartzsite.
Click here to check out our solar setup.
If you don’t have a solar setup on your RV but want some Solar Power, you might want to check out a portable solar panel product like the Renogy 100W Solar Suitcase. It keeps RV batteries topped off during the day so you can reduce the use of your built-in generator.
These tips will help you prepare for boondocking in Quartzsite. It truly is an experience every RVer should do at least once!
Enjoy, and happy travels!
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Thursday 18th of May 2017
Nice article guys! Was so great hanging with you in Palm Springs AND Quartzsite. I just learned something new about Palm Springs, the date palms and oasis - thanks! And moving your RV in the rain? Ah this is one of the reasons we love having a Class A - but then Marc can't escape getting wet loading the Mini onto the dolly - boo! Until next time! J&M