The Art of Moochdocking

Tips for parking your RV at a friend's house.

Scott & Jaime Sichler Scott & Jaime Sichler  |  06.11.2018

We’ve covered boondocking in our previous articles, but another of our favorite forms of free camping is moochdocking, aka camping on the property of friends and family. Since we are full-time RVers, we don’t just bring all the comforts of home when we visit, we bring our home. This has a lot of benefits, but also its own set of best practices to consider.

In addition to saving money, moochdocking is a great way to connect and spend time with people you care about, without having to pack a bag. (Not to mention, this is a great time to catch up on laundry). Another perk is that it also lets you have your own space. You have more privacy and it keeps the guest clutter from overwhelming your host. You know what they say about house guests and fish, right? We like to think that staying in our home while moochdocking makes us better house guests, and maybe even lets us mooch a little longer.

moochdocking

Things to keep in mind while moochdocking:

Make sure the place is a good fit. Not everyone’s home is set up to handle a larger motorhome or trailer. Your friends and family might not be familiar with just how big your rig really is. They may tell you, “Sure, you will totally fit in our driveway,” only to arrive and find it might be fine for their Prius, but will in no way accommodate your width and length. It’s a good idea to check Google Satellite View and Google Earth, just to make sure.

Know the rules. If your host’s driveway or property won’t accommodate your size, you might be able to park on the street. Increasingly, cities are cracking down on RVs left overnight on public streets. Be sure to check local regulations and city ordinances before you do it. If it’s fine with the city, you might also ask your host to let their neighbors know you’ll be staying.

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Pay attention to electricity. If you need to hookup to an electrical connection, most homes will only have a standard 10 or 15 amp. You can quickly overload the connection causing serious damage if you try to run electric-hungry appliances like air conditioners and convection ovens. However, we have family members who have provided us with 30amp and even 50amp service. They get 5 stars in our personal moochdocking rating system.

Think of the tanks. Plan to arrive with empty holding tanks. You don’t want to be cousin Eddy from National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” and drain your black tank in the curb sewer. A longer term solution could be equipping your RV with a macerator that can pump the black tank contents into a clean out drain or a portable waste tank you can take to a dump station. Using the inside house restroom and shower can extend the tanks as well. In a rural area, it also might be acceptable to drain the grey tank next to your rig in someone’s gravel driveway, lawn or field.

Be a good guest! Of course, this goes without saying. Help out around the house, share the grocery shopping and cooking, host a meal out, arrive stocked with you and your host’s beverage of choice, leave a little hostess gift. Maybe even send a thank you card, and you’ll be sure to be invited back!

Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be a successful moochdocker as well!


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7 Comments

  1. Mitch Posted on 08.30.2018

    Who in the world has 10A service at their house? I’ve never heard of that. 15A – yes, 20A yes.

  2. Lews Edge Posted on 06.30.2018

    This past December my wife and I were able to “moochdock” in a friend’s semicircular front driveway at his home in Richardson, Texas, which was much like having a campground pull-through site. Our friend thoughtfully provided us with a 20-ampere power connection that was more than sufficient to keep our batteries charged, brew coffee and power our TV and gas furnace. We could stream video from his Wi-Fi. Next to our coach we even had a water hook-up. If I had been willing to risk breaking the plastic cap on his sewer clean-out we could have emptied our waste tanks, but did not need to do that. All of us enjoyed our privacy at the end of our daily visits and at our departure, we did not leave our friend with bed sheets and towels to wash, as staying in his guestroom might have required.

  3. Bill Grey Posted on 06.16.2018

    We live out west, in Nevada and have tons of relatives on the east coast who we love to visit every couple of years. You don’t want to over do it. Generally they love having us and usually plan a big bar-b-with the neighbors. So we can spend an entire summer hopping from one relative to another, with a few friends thrown in. In fact we have friends and relatives all over the country. Maybe we should think about full timing . . .
    Ops

  4. Vernon G Maslow Posted on 06.16.2018

    I had a dump station in our yard, Gripped me is when Guests had to dump before they parked.!!

  5. Tory Dowsett Posted on 06.16.2018

    We don’t do “Moochdocking” we do “Friendly Workings”. We have a 2011 Journey 40U. We are “full-Timers”.

    We have 2 good close families in Shreveport, Louisiana & Homestead, Florida.

    Both have extensive acreage. Because of maintenance on these properties we “WORK” on these properties when we’re “in town”!

    Because of this “work” I have installed septic tanks/50amp/water, (full-hookup! + an electric meter to pay for large bills, especially in the summer! The Louisiana hookup is right next to a 2nd “mother’s house” while the Florida hookup is in a 10 acre Avocado grove. Both are out in the country area of these two states. We usually stay from 3 to 6 months helping around the farm!! We’re now on-the-road heading for Shreveport and then on to Michigan to visit the Great Lakes, this will be a first for us!

    Tory & Nikki Dowsett

  6. suzanne sichler Posted on 06.12.2018

    Good one, I especially like the one about leaving a little gift (no not Crosby’s little baggies). The article was very informative about the Do’s & Don’ts to Moochdocking. Look forward to seeing you.

  7. Richard Posted on 06.12.2018

    But I was looking forward to doing the Cousin Eddy scene, I’ve bought the boots, short robe and cigar already!!!