A de-lurk, and hoping to verify a couple of assumptions

Van Living Forum

Help Support Van Living Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Mar 5, 2022
Reaction score
Maryland, US
Hi! Very glad to have found this site. I'm still in a sticks-and-bricks apartment, I'm trying to figure out exactly how this is going to work. I uprooted myself a year ago from the house I had owned, partly/mostly because the jobs dried up in the area I had owned the house in. I had to move across the country. I guess I've come around to the idea that there's a fundamental shift going on. The old ways just don't work anymore. People of my generation can no longer expect to live in the same place all our lives, and the quicker I embrace the new reality and start living that way, the happier I'm going to be.

If I could ask for some help verifying a couple of assumptions, I would very much appreciate it.

ASSUMPTION #1: There are five main kinds of parking:
(a) stealth, in the city
(b) BLM land, dispersed camping
(c) Campgrounds that are mainly focused on tent camping but that let you park at your campsite vs having to walk in
(d) Campgrounds specifically for RVs, aka "RV parks"
(e) Land that you own (similar to what you'd get if you bought a lot through e.g. Gokce Capital, but I'm sure there are plenty of agencies like them)

ASSUMPTION #2: All of the above come with disadvantages, namely:
(a) always trying to avoid the knock on the door
(b) BLM isn't really a thing on the east coast, there is dispersed camping in Maryland but there really isn't very much of it, and what there is, seems like it might be in out-of-the-way places and hard to commute to a physical office a few days a week. It seems like the sort of thing you'd have an easier time with if you were retired or 100% remote work, and you could really dig in for several weeks at a time
(c) harder to do errands and come back to your same campsite, campgrounds seem to have rules restricting in/out ability, and they tend to not offer long-term rates
(d) if you have an RV made in the last 20 years? no disadvantages. if you have an older RV, or a van that isn't an RV at all, they will look at you funny and may say no, especially during certain seasons
(e) zoning; also, liability during times when you're not physically there keeping an eye on things

I'd much prefer a van to an RV. One of my favorite parts of being a homeowner (when I was one...) was that I could make everything exactly how I wanted it. If I have to go with an RV I'm really going to be chafing against the fact that somebody else decided what kind of drawers to put in and how the shower should be set up. Living in somebody else's idea of what a living space should be, is antithetical to my nature. :)

BUT... I'm wondering how this whole thing is going to work, with holding down the job, visiting friends who live in more populated areas, etc. With some of the parking options, it worries me that I might get back from visiting someone on a Sunday evening, not be able to find a spot, and have to spend hours on a Sunday night dealing with it and risk being in a bad spot to go in to work the next morning.

The idea that there are RV parks that offer long-term rates, and there's no hassle, you just find the RV park you want to go to and you make a reservation and you go there and you can make it into a home base... is awfully appealing. And I figure if I do get an RV there's nothing stopping me from ripping out the interior until it's just a rectangular box (with some plumbing here and there) and then pretending it's a van.

Am I off base with either my assumptions, or my conclusion? Are RV parks on the east coast less unfriendly to vans than I think they are? I would also love to hear people's thoughts about doing this in Maryland specifically. I've tried various searches on the forums here using Maryland as a keyword and combining it with other keywords, and I just haven't gotten a lot of results. A lot of the stuff (LTVA and BLM especially, but also places like Caballo Loco) seems to be geared more towards the western states.

Thanks!! Very glad to be here.
Hello tamino....welcome to the forum!

You have some great questions and we want to help you find answers...what we like to do is maintain this 'newcomers' section for a brief introduction, and then to help you get specific solutions, you should place your in-depth questions in their own sections.

That way each person that responds and who has knowledge about a particular area can address that subject in a more focused way.

Each particular question or subject would be in different sub-forums and would be easier to find by the members who mainly focus on those topics. Of, you can group topics together if that is easier.

For instance:

'East coast RV parks, yes or no?'

'Urban parking and keeping your place.'

'Van vs RV? and insurance rates too!'

'Gutting an RV to customize it, thoughts?'

(These are just examples)

Placing each question in the appropriate area will help the members find you!

If you want to do a copy and paste over into the relevant sections I can help with that, or you can do it on your own, and then when you have it like you want it, I can help tidy up this 'intro' so that you can find the answers you seek in the appropriate sections.

Good luck and again, welcome!
Last edited:
Hi! Thanks -- let me see what I can come up with. It's a little tricky trying to split it up into separate questions because everything is so intertwined.

How about this -- let me try the "Van" board, and try phrasing it as:
1. I like the idea of a van
2. Here's what I'm worried about
3. Am I right to be worried about that? especially given east coast. Would an RV just be less risky all around?

Let me try to come up with something. Thanks!
Yes it makes it MUCH easier for members who want help, or want TO help, for each topic and thread to be sort of 'compartmentalized' if you will...of course overlap happens....but it's just a LOT easier to keep the topics somewhat separated and easier to find.
Good questions to ask but many will depend on you and your choices. Really if you are able to afford a van, a few totes, a piece of plywood and a good sleeping bag don’t over think this, just try it and see if it can work for you. If you need parking there are always overnight truck stops or restaurants. If you need a job there are lots of seasonal summer jobs with housing or parking just take a look at coolworks.com. and see how it works for you. You may find work that will allow you a place to park or at least to sleep. Home is where you park it! In the winter you are a few thousand miles at most from BLM land. Worse case you sell the van and try another way. We lived several years in our RV in Eastern Kentucky and a few of the larger urban areas like Saint Louis and Little Rock Arkansas but it was more expensive and harder to find good paying jobs even back then. I started out with a tent, then a van, then a motorhome with lots of trailers and everything else in between. Just keep trying and solving the problems that keep it working for you. Welcome and ask away!
Last edited:
OK. Thanks to you both. Tx2sturgis, I posted on the Vans board and it's totally fine with me if you want to delete this post!

Bullfrog, what that is making me think is, I should renew my lease on my apartment for 6 months, and try the van thing, but not "all at once", more "a little at a time, in stages, figuring it out as I go". That's definitely a valid option. Thanks!
Great newcomer corner post... a person just about knows everything about ya as far as where your at with it all.
Welcome and you sound like you would have a lot of good input with ideas and all.
At some point you might think... hmmm, how’d I get connected with this group of good balls! We even have a group of us in YARC... you ain’t right club! It’s all good...
There are lots of tricks, skills and things to learn which cause a lot of people to never get started or try. If you can do basic camping in a van with little risk experience will be your best teacher as you have to see what you need to where you get a good night’s sleep. All the rest is pretty easy after that. Fancy builds are pretty but if it doesn’t work for you they are a waste of time and effort. In an urban setting you really just need a comfortable safe place to sleep and a good enough job to afford a library card, gym membership, healthy food and gasoline/maintenance for the van. I had a friend that worked in a restaurant and attended college all while just sleeping in a van for four years. Never payed to park other than his school parking pass as he slept in the restaurant parking lot after work 6 hours. He just had a really good sleeping bag. Today with the improved heaters, solar and technology improvements it can be even easier but the old way still works if you are up to the task.
Last edited:
it worries me that I might get back from visiting someone on a Sunday evening, not be able to find a spot, and have to spend hours on a Sunday night dealing with it and risk being in a bad spot to go in to work the next morning.

Dispsersed campsites are typically overrun on weekends and start clearing out Sunday afternoon after the Normal People prepare to go back to the weekly grind:


Having said that, if you are leaving for a few hours you might want to leave a lawn chair or inexpensive tent in the site to indicate you will be back.

In the worst case you could just stealth near work overnight and find a new spot Monday afternoon.

I lived F/T in the van while working a normal office job. Stealthed most worknights and boondocked on weekends. Saved so much $$ I was able to retire early.

When stealthing I had a rotation of about 30 spots I could use, depending on where I was in the city at bedtime. You could start building your collection of spots now as you find them. Find a good spot and mark it on Maps or your preferred nav app, with notes to help you remember: "Open parking until 8am weekdays and all weekend. Near Acme warehouse. Open Wifi. Good Verizon signal"

The idea that there are RV parks that offer long-term rates, and there's no hassle, you just find the RV park you want to go to and you make a reservation and you go there and you can make it into a home base... is awfully appealing.

There might be a park that would let you do this in a van. Or maybe a renting a driveway or backyard parking spot somewhere.

some guides

that may or may not help
I'd much prefer a van to an RV.
If you plan on stealthing in the city, it has to be a van. Even if you could get away with rotating locations in an "RV" (by this we'll assume you mean a Class C motorhome) your fuel cost would be pretty high. Cruising around town searching for a good spot that isn't occupied plus driving to/from work in a gas hog, is going to cost you.

BTW: Is your main goal to save money? The upkeep,repairs,insurance,fuel costs on a Class C moho or even a van can be pretty expensive. Utility costs in summer or winter can be high. If you need to be reasonably close to your workplace and have to pay rent for commercial campgrounds or RV parks, you may realize very little savings.
Last edited:
Thanks to all who replied here too. I want to respect what the moderators pointed out about how this probably wasn't the most appropriate forum to post this in! But I appreciate everyone's thoughts, especially the general sense I've been getting from folks that maybe I discounted stealth parking too quickly, and maybe it's ok/workable once you get the hang of it. I will take that to heart. Thanks, everyone.
Disclaimer, I am still in sticks and stones, but…
Most camp grounds I have been in “hold” your site if you have paid for it. It might just be a small sign sign that says occupied. I have had people move into my site while I was gone, but the park has alway given me another spot or kicked the squatter out of the site.
There isn’t a lot of dispersed camping where I live now, so this is 30+ years old observation, but unless you are at a tourist area it’s pretty rare for there to not be anyplace to park. It might not be a nice place, but there is almost always A place.

At least around here (MO), most public campgrounds are mixed, having both tent and RV parking, usually in separate areas. From what I can see, though it varies by park, vans fall into sort of a limbo, and I saw some parked in tent areas, and some in RV areas, I’m guessing based at least in part on if they wanted electricity. I saw no RVs in the tent area, just vans and pickup campers.
A consideration RE: RVs and trips to visit friends in town. My city has regulations prohibiting parking RVs in town, one of the reasons I didn’t get a class B pre-pandemic. Even if I owned it, if i couldn’t put it in a garage, I would need to rent a space in a storage lot to leave it, and yes, vehicles are broken into vandalized, and catalytic converters are stolen from these pretty routinely. While you MIGHT get away with parking the RV at a friends home for a day or two, you could also get a ticket and get towed in a matter of hours. There are no regulations regarding vans that I know of, but I would need to make sure people couldn’t tell it was built out.
[approximately 70,000 words deleted for brevity]
ASSUMPTION #1.. kinds of parking:
(a) ... city
(b) BLM...dispersed camping
(c) Campground ...[tent]...
(d) Campground ...[RecreateVehicle]
(e) Land own

ASSUMPTION #2: All of the above come...

... holding down the job...
You mention the job...
We workkamp a small organic teaching farm near the outskirts of Eugene, Oregon.
We sit houses and property while the owner/tenant is away.
If we want, we could full-time as house-sitters within about seven hundred miles of the farm, one right after another, scheduled tight.
Most years, we would be looking at us$40 per day including travel-time, times about 350 days... you do the math.
Fortunately, we are in a position to care for animals such as equine, adding another us$20 a day *each* minimum to our gross.
Plus tips, and occasionally, plus grub.
Your inventory of spots seems oriented toward places you know.
What do you not know?
This post magically appeared in italics.
I have no idea about changing this out of italics.]
[Or if any of this matters to anybody.]
Last edited:
One option I haven’t seen yet is park at work. Can you just overnight in your work parking lot? Travel in the evenings and weekends, park at work through the week.
Depends on where you work and whether or not they have night security. You may need permission. We had a merchandising manager do this who came from out of town - his wife wasn't ready to leave her job or sell the house yet, so he lived in the parking lot in his RV during the week.
Depends on where you work and whether or not they have night security. You may need permission. We had a merchandising manager do this who came from out of town - his wife wasn't ready to leave her job or sell the house yet, so he lived in the parking lot in his RV during the week.
One time I got a new position as a teacher in another city. this happened very close to the beginning of the school year and so I didn’t have time to find a house or an apartment. The new city was about a 2 Hour Dr. away so I stayed in my current location and just drove there on Monday and stayed in hotels. But I was also the athletic trainer for the school. So I have access to the Fieldhouse. I discussed it with the football coach, I think, and there was a cot in his office. So I just stayed there at night.