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Open Roads Forum  >  Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping

 > How best to improve a primitive RV site to rent it out?

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wanderingaimlessly

Buggs Island lake

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Posted: 07/16/21 04:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dacks Camper wrote:



Thanks for the idea of the blue boy. The sites are a few miles apart, though the roads in and out do converge to within a mile of each other.

Hunting leases run about $5/acre in that area, and I was planning to lease part of the property out (including another section with an off-grid cabin). Maybe it would be good to combine those ideas. I've also considered building a small cabin on these sites instead, but that's a much bigger investment.

Thanks!


Then a single septic holding tank at that location where the campers could dump will help, Honey dipper service should be happy to empty once a month or so.

Dacks Camper

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Posted: 07/16/21 04:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

toedtoes wrote:

For seasonal camping, you really need to offer the basics: electricity, water and sewer. All the other stuff is fluff. Without those three items, it will not be enticing for folks to stay 3 months.


That's a fair point. I guess I wasn't imagining that anyone would camp there continuously for three months, more like someone who lived close enough to go back and forth for long weekends and vacations. Maybe I really should be looking for locals who want a place to set up a camper for the summer and just drive out when they feel like it. Or maybe I need to revisit whether it's worth it for me to do shorter rentals where the lack of hookups is less of an issue.

toedtoes wrote:


if they have to drive their RV to get fresh water every 2-5 days, they aren't going to bother staying for a summer.


There is really no way I could get water or power to these sites for a reasonable cost. Do you think it would solve the problem to have a potable water tank (filled by a vendor) to refill the tanks from?

Thanks for you suggestions on the rest!

toedtoes

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Posted: 07/16/21 05:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A potable water tank could work, but I suspect you'll find there are many restrictions so do your home work. You'll want to size it right also. Fresh water tanks run from 15gal to over 100gal and folks vary on how often they need to refill.

Even if you have folks just come out for the weekends and leave the RV there, they will need to be able to charge the batteries. Many folks want electric so they can run the fridge while they are away.

As I'm thinking, this is how I'd go about it:

I would look into insurance for letting them keep the RV on your property for the season Get that priced along with liability insurance for injuries, fire insurance, etc. That gives you a minimum cost for renting.

With that, I would try word of mouth and see if you can find a few folks interested in primitive "pack it in, pack it out" camping for a season at just above the insurance costs. No amenities. You can provide a map showing the closest dump station and, if available, place to refill fresh. They provide their own recharging system. Put in fire rings - otherwise they will burn down your property.

This will give you real life data on whether this is viable. If the insurance is more than people will pay, then it's not worth all that extra work and cost to upgrade - you won't be able to charge enough over the base price to cover insurance AND upgrades.

If the first season goes well, you could add picnic tables and charcoal grills for the next season. Otherwise keep it primitive.

If after a few years, you find that people would like potable water onsite, you can then look into adding a tank.

This gets you started with the least amount of investment and gives you time to work out the practicalities.


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DrewE

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Posted: 07/16/21 11:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Make sure you check carefully on all the legalities and requirements and limitations for camping on the land. At least here in Vermont there are a fair few specific requirements at the state level, which vary some based on length of time staying, and how many sites are involved, and so forth; and local towns can impose additional requirements via zoning laws, etc. You may find that you legally must have some approved sewer system (not just a vault toilet) for long-term stays, or that camping for more than two weeks is forbidden, or any number of other unfortunate regulations that basically make your idea a non-starter.

As for what I would consider necessary for a rustic RV campsite, I would expect to find a semi-level place for my motorhome, a picnic table, and a fire ring or fireplace. The latter need not be anything fancy; a simple ring of stones in a safe place would suffice. For a seasonal campsite (one that is or could reasonably be occupied for the whole season), water and electricity and sewer hookups are pretty much essential. It sounds like you're more hoping for a seasonal lease on a weekend or short-term stay campsite; I kind of suspect that may be a hard sell for most people, though you really only need to find a few who are interested enough to fill a few sites.

In an RV, a pit or vault toilet is not very useful. It's not suitable for dumping the RV tanks, and the value in having it available to use instead of the indoor plumbing in the RV is marginal at best, particularly compared with the expense of building and maintaining one that the government likes.

My gut feeling is that the scheme is not practical. I really would like to be wrong, but....





theoldwizard1

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Posted: 07/17/21 02:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Without a pit toilet and some kind of potable water, even a hand pump, I cannot imagine anyone staying there for more than a weekend.

larry cad

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Posted: 07/17/21 05:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For a similar situation, check out what happens every winter in Quartzsite Arizona. Quartzsite is a small town in western AZ, with a population of about 1200, and one traffic light. During the winter the population swells to about 500,000, most of it out in the middle of the government owned dessert. Only thing the government provides is a dump station and potable water source. Other than that, there is dirt! Last time we stayed there, the cost was about $180 for the whole season or less than $1 a day. Check it out for some ideas.


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valhalla360

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Posted: 07/17/21 07:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dacks Camper wrote:

toedtoes wrote:

For seasonal camping, you really need to offer the basics: electricity, water and sewer. All the other stuff is fluff. Without those three items, it will not be enticing for folks to stay 3 months.


That's a fair point. I guess I wasn't imagining that anyone would camp there continuously for three months, more like someone who lived close enough to go back and forth for long weekends and vacations. Maybe I really should be looking for locals who want a place to set up a camper for the summer and just drive out when they feel like it. Or maybe I need to revisit whether it's worth it for me to do shorter rentals where the lack of hookups is less of an issue.

toedtoes wrote:


if they have to drive their RV to get fresh water every 2-5 days, they aren't going to bother staying for a summer.


There is really no way I could get water or power to these sites for a reasonable cost. Do you think it would solve the problem to have a potable water tank (filled by a vendor) to refill the tanks from?

Thanks for you suggestions on the rest!


I don't see the seasonal site as viable. Seasonal people aren't going to want to hook up to get water and dump the tanks every weekend. As mentioned, they are going to want to leave the fridge running and have a charged battery bank at a minimum.

Weekenders might be viable but it likely won't be enough to cover the property taxes let alone the hassle of weekly maintenance (mowing, collecting trash, fixing wash outs in the roads, etc...).

Triple check with every govt agency you can find...just because one says it's fine, doesn't mean a different agency won't prohibit it.

I guess I would come back to: what is the goal of setting up these camp sites?


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jdc1

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Posted: 07/17/21 09:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Is there a local guy that pumps septic? That same guy might even want to include water delivery (no...not using the same truck...LOL). That would take care of 2/3 of RV'ers needs.

wapiticountry

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Posted: 07/17/21 11:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I could see a group of friends renting for the purposes of having an isolated spot to party on the weekend. Racing around 4 wheelers, keg parties, target shooting, fireworks etc. would be the plan. With no one around to see or hear it might be worth a couple of hundred a month to some people. That may or may not bother you as the property owner. Where it gets really dicey, however, is when someone gets hurt and the lawyers go looking for someone to sue. A landlord who doesn't actively manage his properties is a good place to start.

time2roll

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Posted: 07/17/21 12:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I could see table and fire ring only. Fire ring mostly so any fire is in the same place every visit... and for limited safety.

I would go with 2 week max stay once a year long before a year lease. Eviction can be an issue once you go over 30 days.


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