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Moochdocking can be both free and fun, but you’ll need to know the best moochdocking tips to make your stay a success.
So what exactly is moochdocking and how does it work? Whether or not you’ve heard the term, you’re probably already familiar with the concept. Or maybe you’re a seasoned veteran just looking for the best moochdocking tips to make your next stay more comfortable.
Whichever camp you fall in, we’ve got you covered. We’ll discuss what moochdocking is, where you can do it, and how to ask for an invite to park. You’ll also learn about the proper moochdocking etiquette and how to avoid the wrath of your hosts and their neighbors.
We’ve compiled all the best moochdocking tips so you can tackle the nuances of parking your RV without traditional hookups. It might feel overwhelming at first, but don’t worry; we’ll cover everything from electrical power to where to dump your wastewater.
In short, we’ve put together the best moochdocking tips to make your stay the most comfortable and convenient.
What Does Moochdocking Mean?
If you’ve ever seen the movie Christmas Vacation, you’re already familiar with moochdocking. Like Cousin Eddie did, moochdocking is simply taking advantage of a free place to park while having the added benefit of visiting with loved ones.
Also referred to as “driveway surfing,” moochdocking is basically just couch surfing only with RVs. You aren’t just limited to driveways though. Street parking and parking in a backyard are also great options.
Basically, if you receive an invitation from someone you know (no trespassing please) and you’re camping for free, that’s moochdocking.
How Do You Moochdock?
So how exactly do you moochdock? The most important thing is to remember that you won’t have traditional campground utility hookups. Unlike Cousin Eddie, you need to plan ahead for proper waste disposal. Access to water and electricity also needs to be carefully considered.
Is Water Available at Moochdocking Locations?
Before you arrive, you will want to determine if there will be any water available at the moochdocking location. If not, you will need to fill your freshwater tank before you arrive. You could either do this at home or at a local fill station.
If your hosts are generous enough to supply you with water, you have two options. The easiest is to simply attach your freshwater hose to your hosts’ water source. Usually, this will come in the form of a hose spigot.
But what if you’re parked where your hose can’t reach a spigot? Never fear. One of our best moochdocking tips is to use a couple of clean five-gallon buckets, a submersible utility pump, and a shortened hose to fill your freshwater tank. Fill the buckets with clean water, then use the hose and pump to pump the water into your tank, and voila!
Can You Connect to the Grid at Moochdocking Location?
Access to electricity, like water supply, may look different while moochdocking. Similar to water, you’ll want to determine if your host has an electrical outlet that you can plug into. If not, you will need to come prepared with either a fully charged battery, a generator, or even a solar power kit (make sure you can use the generator).
Fortunately, it is very common for a moochdocking host to have an electrical outlet available for use. But keep in mind most homes only have 120v outlets so you will likely need a “dogbone” power adapter.
While on a 120v service you will only want to run one appliance at a time. It’s also important to leave the air conditioner off. You don’t want to blow a fuse in your camper or trip a breaker in your host’s home.
How Do You Dispose of Wastewater When Moochdocking?
Now, most importantly, how can you dispose of wastewater with no sewer hookup? In some places, it’s rare to legally dump your gray water directly on the ground. A best moochdocking tip is to always check with the property owners as well as state, local, and HOA regulations before dumping gray water.
Blackwater is a different story. Unless your RV is equipped with a composting toilet, you will need to dump your black water. The only place to do this is at a dump station. Apps like AllStays Pro, Sanidump, and RV Dump Sites can help you locate a dump station near your destination. You will also be able to offload gray water there if need be.
Keep in mind that there may be small fees associated with filling your water tank or emptying your wastewater at a local fill/dump station. You can lower those costs with many of the RV discount clubs.
Benefits of Moochdocking
Now that you know what moochdocking is, you may be wondering why you would want to do it? After all, there are a lot more considerations than camping at an ordinary campground. The benefits of moochdocking are many, but mainly it’s free, flexible, and fun.
First, moochdocking is free. Staying with people you know means that you don’t have to pay to park your camper. You may even be able to use their water, electricity, and bathrooms for free. Generous hosts can make moochdocking a completely free way to camp.
Next, moochdocking is flexible. A best moochdocking tip is to think outside the box about the destination. We have seen family reunions, graduation parties, tailgates, and even weddings turn into moochdocking opportunities.
Speaking of fun, moochdocking is a very social event. After all, it’s a great opportunity to visit loved ones. Another best moochdocking tip is to ask your hosts to show you around. Who better than a local to give you a true taste for the area? An added bonus, when no one has to travel back and forth to a hotel, there’s a lot more time to enjoy your visit.
Will you be annoying anyone while moochdocking? This needs to be your top consideration. You don’t want to be a burden on your hosts or to create ill will with their neighbors.
Start by always asking for your hosts’ permission to stay on their property. Avoid overstaying your welcome by preplanning your length of stay and confirming what, if any, amenities will be available to you. Communication is key!
You will also want to find out if there is a local ordinance against RV parking. You don’t want a citation. You’ll also want to consider the privacy of neighbors when choosing where you will park.
Speaking of parking, you’ll want to be on the lookout for soft ground your RV could sink into. You don’t want to get stuck or destroy your hosts’ yard. You also want to make sure you can turn around or back out of any parking space.
Another important consideration is utilities. A best moochdocking tip is to plan, plan, plan. Be sure that you have everything that you need to make less conventional utility hookups work. If you’ll be using your RV’s restroom, don’t forget to research a local dump station.
7 Best Tips for Moochdocking
Moochdocking can be a super fun and free way to travel. Here is a summary of our best moochdocking tips for you to take along on your next stay.
- Be courteous of your hosts and their neighbors.
- Plan ahead and know how you will be sourcing water and electricity.
- Make sure you have all the necessary equipment to manage unconventional hook ups.
- Research where there is a local dump station for you to dump wastewater after your stay.
- Think outside the box about possible destinations.
- Ask your hosts to show you around the area. Locals always know the best places to go.
- Have fun!
Are Moochdocking and Boondocking Different?
So after all this, you may be wondering, are moochdocking and boondocking any different? The answer is yes, but not by much.
When you moochdock you “mooch” a parking spot off someone you know. As a result, you may have access to water, electricity, and sometimes even traditional restroom facilities. Moochdocking also comes with the added bonus of being able to visit with the loved ones hosting you.
On the flip side, boondocking requires you to be self-sufficient. This self-sufficiency allows you more flexibility with your destination since virtually all public land is a possible campsite.
Although slightly different, there are also many similarities between moochdocking and boondocking. Both are camping for free. Both also require you to modify the way you get your utilities. Most importantly, both are fun and affordable options for your next RV adventure.
Moochdocking is Fun and Free
Moochdocking is a fun and free way to stay in your RV. It’s similar to boondocking but better because you get to visit loved ones and camp simultaneously. Moochdocking can be tons of fun but it will take a little finesse to be successful.
Communication with your hosts and preplanning are huge. But if you discuss the details of your stay with your hosts ahead of time, and plan ahead for utilities you should be good to go.
Remember, moochdocking is all about the fun so think outside the box. The world is your oyster with moochdocking.
We once parked our camper with friends just outside the University of Michigan’s Football Stadium, the “Big House.” We watched Michigan beat Notre Dame under the lights. I’m sure that we will one day have another moochdocking trip that’s just as fun. With so many friends, family, and moochdocking services out there, the possibilities are endless!
About the author…
Laura Tyrell – Author and Part Time RVer
Laura is a part-time RVer and a full-time mom of three. Long-time campers and RVers before children, Laura, and her husband have fallen even more in love with the RV lifestyle since becoming parents to a child with food allergies.
Having her own kitchen on wheels makes her RV trips amazing. Laura is passionate about finding ways to make traveling with young children fun, easy, and attainable.