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Preparing For Boondocking in Quartzsite, AZ

We will be boondocking in Quartzsite, AZ soon on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) property which is owned by the US Government. Boondocking is where you camp with no electricity, no water and no sewer. You have to be totally self sustainable for power, drinking water and waste disposal.

We visited Quartzsite 2 years ago in January during the Big Tent RV Show. We were only there for 4 days but met some really awesome people and had a great time.

Click on the picture below to see a video from that trip.

We are getting ready to go again this year, but this time we will be staying for 3 weeks. We will be meeting up with dozens of people. Many have HDTs (Heavy Duty Trucks), many are YouTubers, and many are subscribers to the YouTubers. It should be an awesome time.

What is Quartzsite?

Quartzsite is a town in La Paz County, Arizona, United States. It is 22 miles from the California border. According to the 2010 census, the population was 3,677. It is a quaint town that has become a mecca to visitors and exhibitors for rocks, gems, mineral specimens and fossils during the town's famous two-month-long gem show and swap meet every January and February. Prospectors still visit Quartzsite. Nine major gem and mineral shows, and 15 general swap meet shows are very popular tourist attractions.

It is also a popular recreational vehicle camping area for winter visitors especially during the January giant Big Tent and RV Show. Attracting about 1.5 million people annually, mostly during January and February, tourism is the major contributor to Quartzsite's economy. We will be in Quartzsite for the Big Tent and RV Show.


1. Food & Beverages:

They have a small grocery store and Dollar General in town, but with up to a million people, it will be crowded and the prices are high, not to mention limited items. So, we are going to stock up in advance. In addition, we are going to smoke some pork prior to arriving and then heat it up in the microwave to save on power. Also cooking some soup in advance.

✅Tip: Cook foods in advance and freeze if possible.

2. Power:

We have a a bank of 6 lead acid batteries and a 7000 watt generator for power. We only need to run it for about 4 hours to get power for about 10 hours. If we need A/C or the heat pump we have to run the generator. If we need the furnace, we need propane. We have several gasoline containers that we will fill before arriving and can buy more at Quartzsite for the generator.

Click on the pic below for a video on the generator.

While we are there, we will be replacing the lead acid batteries to Lithium-ion batteries. This will provide quicker charging time and a lot longer periods of operating time in between charging. Many of the other RVers have solar power and few have wind power.

✅Tip: Make sure your batteries are full and both your batteries and generator are in good operating condition.

3. Fresh Water:

We have a 100 gallon fresh water tank. We will sanitize it before we arrive. However, we will NOT drink this water. We will use it sparingly to wash dishes and take "camper" showers and to flush the toilet.

Click on the pic below to see how we sanitize our tank.

We will be bringing about 4 cases of bottled water for drinking. In addition, we will be bringing many gallon jugs of water for drinking. In town you can refill your own containers with fresh drinking water at the refill stations and it is only 25 cents each.

We will be bringing both collapsible containers and old bottles we have saved for drinking water. We also have a 30 gallon water bladder to fill that we can bring back to the RV to transfer into our fresh water tank. (click on pics below for where to buy)

✅Tip: Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water - place 8 drops of 6% regular, unscented chlorine bleach into bottle if necessary.

4. Cooking:

We have an electric induction cooktop, an electric smoker, a propane Blackstone griddle and a propane grill along with the RV's propane stove/oven and electric microwave/convection oven. Of course we have a coffee maker, instant pot and toaster too.

Anything that produces heat takes up a lot of power. So, we will have to run our generator while cooking with electricity.

✅Tip: Pour your coffee into a thermos after brewing.

✅Tip: Make sure your propane tanks are full before arriving.

Click on the pics to see Dave in action.

5. Sewer:

We have a 75 gallon gray tank (captures the water from the sinks and shower) and a 50 gallon black tank (toilet only). Since there is no sewer to dump the gray and black tank when you are boondocking, you have to come up with ways to minimize filling the tanks and a method to empty the tanks.

✅Tip: Make sure the tanks are empty when you arrive.

Gray Tank:

You obviously want to conserve as much water as possible to keep from filling your tanks too quickly. So, the long, hot showers are out! We only take a shower about every other day or so and use body wipes. You can also use dry hair shampoo for a touch up.

✅Tip: To take a "camper" shower, we use a flat wash basin, turn on the hot water and begin filling the container. It will be cold at first, but then real hot so you will end up with less than 1/2 gallon of warm water to wash with. Now that the water is warm, you can get in the shower and wet your self down in only a few seconds and then shut off the water. Use a wash cloth, soap and the water in the pan to wash your body. Once done, turn the shower back on and do a quick rinse. You can then dump the water down the drain or outside if it's permitted.

✅Tip: Using a water saving oxygenic shower head that conserves water is also helpful.

✅Tip: When washing dishes, use a small bowl as not to have to fill the whole sink with water.

✅Tip: Use paper plates to conserve water.

✅Tip: Use grocery store bags for garbage that can be thrown away at gas stations, Walmart, etc.

Black Tank:

We are actually surprised at how long we can go without having to empty the blank tank. When you are at a campground where you have sewer connection, always use a lot of water with each flush. Unfortunately, that doesn't work well when boondocking, otherwise you will fill your tank too quickly. So, go sparingly on the water when flushing.

✅Tip: Recommend using holding tank deodorizer packs.

✅Tip: Do not put any toilet paper down the toilet to save space. We never do, not even when we have a sewer hook up.

Dumping the Tanks:

Generally you can find a dump station to dump both of your tanks some where near by. Many rest stops and campgrounds have them if in the area. However, if you are not ready to pack up and leave or don't want to have to leave your spot, you can use a Blue Boy.

We use a 42 gallon tote tank, also know as a Blue Boy to transport the gray water from the full gray water tank to a dump station. We attach the tote to the back of our Smart Car to transport it.

Click on the pic below for a video

So far, we have only used the Blue Boy for the gray tank, however, it can be used for the black tank if need be.

Note: Gray water does have a bit of a smell to it, but the black tank...well you can imagine. So you may want to pack up and drive to the dump station if needed for the black tank.

✅Tip: Always use gloves when working with sewer content and spray everything down with bleach/water mixture (1 to 10).

✅Tip: Don't overfill the Blue Boy. Remember your tank is much bigger than the tote capacity.

6. Quartzsite Fees:

Be prepared to pay a fee to stay at Quartzsite if you are closer into town. There are a number of free areas, but if you stay closer to town, you can have some amenities at very reasonable rates. There are 4 Short/Long Term areas in which you can stay: La Posa North, South, East and West. Note the La Posa and the free areas on the map below.

La Posa BLM Long Term Visitor Areas:

These four sections provide dumpsters, vault toilets, dump stations and potable (drinking) water. There is a welcome center as you drive in where you pay (cash or check) and get a permit. These sections are open from Sept 15 - April 15:

$40 for $14 days

$180 for 7 months

✅Tip: There is also the RV Pitstop which offers potable water, ice, propane and a dump station.

✅Tip: You can also find multiple restaurants, laundromat, and pay showers in town.

✅Tip: It can be very dusty in Quartzsite. The wind generally blows North to South. So if you are staying near a road, make sure you park on the North side. Also consider covering all your vent openings with A/C filters. If you are there a long time, you may even want to cover your indoor furniture and sweep/dust/clean once a day.

✅Tip: Wax your RV before arriving so the dust blows off easier.

✅Tip: Get a map from the camping areas.

✅Tip: As far as we know, due to Covid, there is no place to rent an ATV. However, if you have one, they are street legal in Quartzsite and the exploring in the hills is amazing and goes on for miles.

7. Go out and explore!

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