The only thing better than camping is camping for free. How is this possible you ask? Well, there are a few ways to go about it.
One way to camp for free is boondocking. But another great option that is less well known is moochdocking. Because, are you really a camper if you don’t mooch off your friends now and again?
What Does Moochdocking Mean?
Moochdocking means you are boondocking or camping for free on your friends’ or family’s property, most often their driveway. If they have land you can park on, then moochdocking is even better!
It is like couch surfing, but you bring your entire rig along. If you are able to connect to water, power, or sewer then you are basically mooching off of them, hence the name. It isn’t always the most glamorous form of camping, but it definitely has some benefits!
Benefits of Moochdocking – aka Driveway Surfing
Moochdocking Is Social Distance Friendly
In this day and age, everyone wants to see their friends and family. But if you couch surf, you risk spreading germs to the people you care about most. Moochdocking is social distance friendly because while you’re in the same place, you’re not in the same indoor space.
You can stay in your rig where you do all your cooking, eating, and working. But then you’ve got the opportunity for some socially distanced outdoor activities, like a bonfire or backyard barbeque, all without having to travel from where you’re already parked!
Moochdocking Is Free
Another benefit of moochdocking is that it is completely free. If your friend or a family member has hookups or even electricity for you, offer to cover some costs though. But other than that, you won’t have to pay a penny.
Occasionally You’ll Get Hookups
Every once in a while you might be able to hook up to electric and/or water when you are moochdocking. This makes the stay much more comfortable because you can run basic appliances, shower, cook, and so on without having to leave the RV.
Visit Friends and Family
Moochdocking is also a good way to get to spend more time with friends and family. You can hang out in the evening and take weekend trips together. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of life stops us from making time to see the ones we care about.
But when you are literally camping in their driveway, hanging out can’t get any more convenient!
Take a Break From the Road
Sometimes the constant driving can get tiresome, especially if you are a full-time RVer with no home base. When you moochdock, you get to enjoy slowing down for a while. You’ll probably even get to hang out in an actual house; how cool is that!
Things to Consider When Moochdocking
Although moochdocking is an awesome way to camp for free, there are a few drawbacks that we know of.
Local Regulations/HOA Against Moochdocking
If you are moochdocking in your friend’s driveway or in front of their house, you need to be aware of local regulations for the city and/or homeowner’s association. Some HOAs won’t even allow an RV to park in the driveway for storage, let alone having someone living out of it.
Similarly, some local laws prohibit vehicles from parking on the street for more than a few days or may not allow overnight parking. Check the rules in the area before committing to moochdocking. The last thing you want is to end up with a ticket.
While some homes may have hookups for an RV, most do not. You can plug into a standard outlet, but you will need a 20amp adapter. Also, RVs draw a lot of power, especially when using multiple appliances at once. When running off residential power, you will blow a fuse in your host’s house if you draw too much power at once.
There are other options for electricity, including solar power or running a generator. Just make sure you have a plan of attack for how you’ll power your RV while moochdocking.
Wastewater and Garbage
Another thing you need to consider when moochdocking is how you will deal with wastewater and trash. Chances are you won’t have sewer hookups, so you must find a dump station nearby. You’ll probably have to pay to dump your tanks, but the price will be much lower than what you would pay to stay at a campground.
You can probably toss your trash in your host’s garbage can while you moochdock, so this shouldn’t be too big of a concern. Just make sure there is enough space for two household’s worth of trash in their trash can.
Length of Stay
Make sure you discuss this with your friend or family member before you even start moochdocking. Having a plan for how long they are comfortable having you stay and then sticking to that timeline will keep everyone happy. The last thing you want to do is take advantage of others’ hospitality.
If you haven’t been to the place you’ll be staying, have your host take pictures of the parking space. You also could ask them to measure the space to make sure it can accommodate your rig.
Not only is the actual parking space a concern, but you also need to determine if you can maneuver your RV to get into the parking space. Sometimes residential roads are narrow. This could prevent you from moochdocking in certain neighborhoods because you aren’t able to maneuver into the parking space. We recommend checking out the street view on Google maps and also asking your friend if there are regularly cars parked on the street which could impact the arrival and departure.
Wifi and Cell Signal
If you have a hotspot, which most RVers do, make sure you will have a signal in the area you’ll be staying. This is especially important if you’re a full-time remote worker where you need a strong connection to do your job. If your host has Wi-Fi you can tap into, the signal may not reach your RV. You could use a Wi-Fi repeater to get a stronger connection in your rig though.
Other Tips for Moochdockers
- Don’t overstay: Your friends or family members are doing you a solid by letting you park and camp out in their driveway or on their land. Don’t stay too long and have them just dying to get rid of you. Not only is this a common courtesy but also, they’ll be more likely to welcome you back in the future if you keep your stay brief.
- Show gratitude: Be sure to thank your friends and tell them how much you appreciate them letting you stay. Kind words can go a long way!
- Offer something in exchange: dinner, chores, or monetary donation, etc: It is also a good idea to offer something to your hosts. After all, you are staying somewhere for free thanks to their hospitality. If you pitch in, they won’t feel like they are being taken advantage of.
Moochdocking: A Great Way to Stay
Moochdocking is a great way to camp for free and get to spend time with the people you care about while you’re at it. If you are a full-timer, the costs of RV parks can really add up. Stopping to spend some time with a friend every once in a while can help decrease your costs. Plus, it is a great excuse to spend some quality time with the people you care about.
Build Your Moochdocking Confidence
If you’re not ready to try moochdocking because your boondocking skills are lacking, the RV Masterclass Boondocking 101 course can help you learn the ropes, gain confidence, and ultimately save money by being able to take advantage of free camping opportunities!
Boondocking 101 walks you through the best safety practices and shows you, step by step, how to find the best boondocking campsites.
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