What Is Moochdocking? The Whole Truth.
If you own a home or apartment and have had your friend stay over a couple of nights a week, you might have heard the term "moochdocking" before. But what's it all about?
What Is Moochdocking?
The basic gist behind moochdocking is camping in a space without being charged for it. It originated from boondocking, which is parking somewhere that has no hookups or services available. In this case, mooching refers to getting electricity from another person's house through an extension cord.
Who Are Moochdockers?
Moochdockers are generally quiet and thoughtful people who wish to remain anonymous while doing their thing in order to avoid any conflict with a homeowner/renter. Some homeowners allow mooching simply because they enjoy having guests or witnessing creativity firsthand. People living in apartment complexes will usually allow mooching when they see that you are not interested in taking advantage or living off them.
Some homeowners will allow mooching only upon the condition of an introduction, showing evidence of your previous experience with boondocking/mooching, having a friend (preferably one that lives in the neighborhood) vouch for you, or simply because they like you based on your appearance and personality.
Moochdocking is great for travelers who wish to avoid overpaying for campsites while enjoying temporary access to better resources than public land offers; it's also a good way to get more familiar with our neighbors without being too imposing.
How Much Electricity Do I Need For Moochdocking?
The amount of electricity you will need for moochdocking will be dependent on your electrical loads. Adding up the estimated amperage of all the appliances and electronics you will be running at one time (e.g., microwave, toaster oven, refrigerator, laptop computer, 40-watt light bulb . . .) should give you a rough estimate of how much power you'll need from your "mooch pad."
In my humble opinion, it's best to err on the safe side when mooching off someone else's electrical system. The last thing a homeowner wants is for their electricity meter to spin out of control while they're away on vacation, even if they have a good relationship with you.
Going without air conditioning might not be so bad in some climates, but be sure to have a good sleeping bag if you're going to be mooching off someone's electricity during cold winter months.
Of course, there are more options for those who have a less restrictive relationship with the homeowner or caretaker of their "mooch pad." In some cases, mooching may not even require plugging your RV into an electrical outlet at all.
Some RVs today come equipped with built-in battery boxes that give them the ability to go completely "off-the-grid" and run on solar power. Solar power is becoming increasingly popular and efficient as PV cells drop in price and lose their "exotic" image to the public.
This brings up another issue: How does one pay for all of these services?
There are a few options open to those who wish to mooch off someone else's electricity, water hookup, etc., but we will cover them here.
First of all, many landowners might appreciate you using their facilities if they receive compensation. But not only do you have to convince them that they should be compensated for your use of their facilities, but also find a way to transfer that payment from you back to them.
One could certainly draw up a contract so that both parties are covered. But this isn't really feasible for everyone, so there are other ways to do it.
The first is simply going around and asking people if you can stay at their location for free in exchange for a few hours of work doing chores or other jobs while you're there. This might be a good way to go if you have a lot of time on your hands, but aren't necessarily looking for a full-time job.
Another option is to see if anyone in the area has posted an ad on Craigslist, Kijiji, etc., offering something like "free power hookup at campsite" or "free water hookup at campsite". Some places will even offer free showers or other things to those who are willing to work in exchange.
One of the biggest things you can do in order to find places to moochdock at is simply to drive around rural areas and look for signs that say "tourists welcome" or something along those lines. Sometimes, all you need to do is just show up at these locations with your trailer or motorhome and ask if they'll let you stay for free for a given amount of time. One thing that's good about this way is that it definitely gives you more options than simply staying somewhere where there are no other people around, because chances are there will be someone else who wants some company every now and then, so why not trade?
What Are The Benefits of Moochdocking?
What Are The Benefits of Moochdocking? The number one benefit to moochdocking is that it's a great way to save money. It allows you to stay at locations which you might normally not be able to afford, or even know about if you were strictly adhering to the payment procedures demanded by RV parks and other such facilities.
Another big benefit is that it gives you access to amenities like laundry machines. If your wallet isn't so hot right now but you need some clean clothes, just go ask somebody who lives nearby if they'll let you use their machines for free in exchange for doing their dishes or something similar later on. It should work out well for both of you.
Moochdocking also lets you enjoy proximity to other people, which makes sense because many people are lonely when they first start traveling. You will find many opportunities to interact with the other people in the vicinity.
By using moochdocking, you can easily take part in family dinners and other types of gatherings that might be beneficial for your social life. Last but not least, it lets you save money which is awesome if you're on a tight budget. You will be able to use the extra money you saved on some other aspect of your trip.
General Pros and Cons of Moochdocking?
Below is a list of 5 pros and 5 cons of moochdocking. You can take a screenshot of them or simply right them down on a piece of paper to remember. Of course, there are a few downsides to moochdocking as well which we have mentioned further down.
- You might feel uncomfortable or awkward about staying at a stranger's house for free.
- If the hosts don't really understand what moochdocking is, you might be asked to pay for your stay after all.
- Your host may not be able to supply you with everything that you need during your stay. This is particularly relevant if it's an RV park or a rural location where amenities like laundry machines and wifi aren't readily available.
- Depending on the situation, you might have very strict rules about access times and dates of stay which can make things complicated when it comes to planning your trip.
- You need to come up with moochdocking etiquette which is not always easy or straightforward. For example, if you're staying with good friends, do you clean the place up every day before you leave? How do you manage showering and laundry times so that nobody gets upset?
- Some hosts may impose restrictions so your stay feels more like camping than an actual visit with them. For example, one host we stayed with wouldn't let us use their fridge or oven so we had to walk almost two miles an hour to do laundry and it was hard cooking on the small propane stove in our RV (we only used the stove once).
You might be lucky enough to find a few hosts who will be wonderful people who provide an amazing stay for you at their homes.
- It can be a great way to save money because you're not paying for an RV park.
- It's a good opportunity to get off the road and recharge or house sit if you need a break from driving.
- You get access to amazing amenities like hot showers, laundry machines and unlimited wifi.
- You will meet new people who can open up new possibilities for exploring.
- It's good for the environment because you're using fewer resources than you would if you were staying at an RV park or hotel.
- It's good for your mental health because you're better connected to people and you're not isolated on the road for weeks on end. If you feeling lonely, it gives you an opportunity to interact with others and be social.
You can use moochdocking as a means of getting away from it all, a way to save money and a way to be in the thick of things. You can also use it as an opportunity to meet new people and explore new places while being good to our planet. The best thing about it is that anyone can do it.