What is Moochdocking? Free Camping & How to Do It

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RV parked behind a house on private land

For RVers, free camping can be a big part of the lifestyle. Moochdocking is an excellent way to camp for free, especially in times when it can be tough to get reservations at RV campgrounds and resorts.

Below we’ll talk about exactly what moochdocking is and how it’s different from other types of free camping.

We’ll also talk about the right way to moochdock, what gear you might need, and some annual membership programs that put a fun and adventurous spin on moochdocking.

What Does Moochdocking Mean?

While traveling, camping fees can add up quickly, but many people don’t know about free camping options like moochdocking.

Moochdocking means living for free on somebody else’s property, and it’s easy to do with a bit of planning and research.

It’s such a great way to save money on camping fees, and really allows you to camp on the cheap! Start by asking a friend or family member if you can park your RV on their property.

Many people are happy to accommodate as long as you let them know ahead of time. If you don’t know anyone with property, membership clubs that allow this type of camping are a great option.

Moochdocking vs. Boondocking

Moochdocking, also known as driveway surfing, is a bit different from boondocking.

Boondocking is usually defined as camping without hookups on BLM land or public land. You park out in the “boondocks”, which is where this type of camping gets its name.

Moochdocking is using private land with permission from a friend or family member to park your RV. It gets its name from being a variation of boondocking where you are “mooching” off someone.

However, if you are moochdocking on a friend’s farm property out in the middle of nowhere with no hookups, it isn’t that different from boondocking!

READ MORE: Find more information on boondocking with our 10 Must-Know Tips for Boondocking in an RV.

How Do you Moochdock?

To plan your moochdocking stay, typically, you would communicate with your friend, family, or host who owns the property you want to park on and ask permission to park there.

camper parked in front of residential home

Here are some ideas of things to check after you get permission:

  • The entrance to the property – including the width of the road and any narrow turns
  • Ariel obstructions at the entrance and where you’ll be parking (power lines and low-hanging limbs aren’t something your host might typically notice)
  • The ground where you’ll be parking – make sure it’s not too soft (more of a consideration if you’ll be camping on farmland or in other remote areas)
  • If your host is ok with you hooking up to their residential power, find out how far away the connection is so you can plan to bring an adequate extension cord
  • If the property has an HOA, make sure they don’t have any regulations regarding RVs

After you’ve made sure moochdocking at the property will work for your host and your RV, go ahead and agree on a time you’ll be staying on the property. You don’t want to outstay your welcome accidentally!

When you leave your spot, make sure to clean up after yourself and leave the property in the same condition as when you arrived.

As long as you follow these simple guidelines, moochdocking can be a fun and affordable way to camp.

Benefits of Moochdocking

The most significant benefit of moochdocking is – it’s FREE! But besides that, there are a lot of other pros to moochdocking.

  • You can use the house to take long hot showers
  • You’ll have access to the house laundry room
  • You can enjoy dinner and quality time with friends and family

For most RVers, moochdocking is a great way to catch up with people they haven’t seen after time out on the road. It’s like going for a visit, but you can take your home and not feel as if you are intruding.

Moochdocking Power

Hooking up to your friend’s outdoor or garage electrical outlet is different from a campground pedestal.

dog bone adapter and power cord

Remember, instead of the usual 30 or 50 amp connection, a residential house connection is typically 15 amp. In addition, homes usually have more than one outlet on a breaker, so don’t assume that the entire 15 amps are available to your RV.

Now let’s look at some of the essentials you’ll need to get power and other resources while moochdocking.

Essentials for Moochdocking

Although you can pull into a driveway and dry camp, you’ll need a few essentials if you want to moochdock with electricity and water.

  1. Extension Cord – Used for connecting to power as long as your host agrees. Ensure you have a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord with an amp capacity of at least 15 amps.
  2. Electrical Adapter (Dogbone) – This 15 to 30 amp adapter connects your RV power cord to an extension cord.
  3. RV Drinking Water Hose – To hook up to water or fill your tank.
  4. Y Value Splitter (optional) – If your host is using their water spigot, add a splitter so you can both use water or turn the water valves on and off as needed.
  5. Wifi Extender (optional) – Use a small wifi extender like this one to boost the wifi signal from your host’s house and connect to the internet (as long as your host doesn’t mind).

Moochdocking Apps & Memberships

You can sign up for a few different memberships that will give you access to moochdocking locations.

van parked on driveway in woods

Boondockers Welcome

Boondockers Welcome is a collection of hosts on a membership-based platform that allows you to use the host’s driveway or private land to park your RV. With almost 3,000 host locations nationwide in the U.S., this moochdocking option is becoming an attractive way to camp.

You can stay up to five nights on a property with this membership. At the time of writing this, Boondockers Welcome advertises that about 75% of their hosts also offer hookups (some of these are at a small additional cost).

You can find out more about Boondockers Welcome here.

Harvest Hosts

Harvest Hosts is another excellent option for experiential moochdocking! 

Harvest Hosts is a collection of private wineries, breweries, farms, and other attraction-based locations across the U.S., Canada, and Baja that provide free overnight camping.

harvest hosts alpacas
Many Harvest Host farms offer free tours, which make these moochdocking stays an experience instead of just a place to park.

These spots are limited to a one-night stay, so they are perfect for an overnight while you travel to your next destination.

Harvest Hosts also encourages a purchase at the business you park at, making it more of a financial commitment than Boondockers Welcome.

Learn more about the Harvest Host membership here.

Final Thoughts on Moochdocking

Moochdocking is a great way to save money while RVing and enjoy some of the amenities of home.

There are many ways to take advantage of this free camping style, whether you park at a friend’s house, stay on family’s land, or use a membership program to enjoy a winery with a short walk home.

If you’re looking for ways to experience your favorite destinations without breaking the bank, moochdocking might be just what you need!

Want to learn more about how to go full-time RVing on a budget?

For tips on finding deals on campsites, saving money on fuel, and more, view our complete guide.

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  • Morgan Youngblood

    Morgan is a digital nomad and the creator of The Home That Roams. Over the last five years, she has lived and traveled in a motorhome, on a liveaboard sailboat, and in an RV travel trailer. She writes about how others can get started with alternative living and downsize their stuff to live with less.

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