This is a list of “Things to Know” about bringing a RV to Bonnaroo and "Dry Camping". I put this list together after being on the Inforoo message board for around eight years and trying to help out people who are headed to Bonnaroo with a RV / Camper. We have attended Bonnaroo in 06,07,09,10,11,12 and 14 and have stayed in the VIP area along with the Manchester KOA with our motorhome. We have attended and camped at Firefly Music Festival in 12 and 13. I also attend up to four NASCAR events each year where we "Dry Camp" Here are some things you will need to know, some of my personal observations are in ().
Batteries: -Are for powering 12 volt appliances like lights, water pump, electronics on refrigerator and water heater. -Batteries do not run air conditioners.
Generators: -You will need a generator if you are bringing a RV and want to use your air conditioning. -Most motorized (Class A&C) motorhomes have built in Generators. -When you run the generator it charges the batteries that run the 12 volt appliances as described above. -Quiet portable generators are quite expensive (you can purchase them for around $2,000 – $3,000 for a Honda or Yamaha). -Look to see where you can rent a generator instead of purchasing one. -Please, watch out for “contractor type” generators, they can be quite loud. You do not want this. Test run it at the rental facility to see how loud it is. -Bring a cable or chain and lock to secure the generator and gas cans to the RV from theft. Do not store your gas cans inside your car or RV.
Wattage: -If you are going to use a portable generator for a RV (travel trailer, fifth wheel or pop-up) and you want to use air conditioning you will need at least a 2800 watt generator. -Make sure not run the air conditioner and coffee maker, hair dryer, electric water heater with a generator less then 4,500 watts. If you must use one or the other appliances turn off the air conditioner. -(We have used a 3000 watt generator, Honda EU3000is)
Fuel Consumption of Generators: -Check to see how much fuel you will need to bring. If you are renting a RV make sure the fuel tank is close to full before entering the festival. Most built-in generators will shut off when the campers fuel tanks get below 1/4 full. -(From my experience you fill be fine for the four days if the fuel tank is close to full when you enter the festival) -(Our Honda’s EU3000is uses less then .5 gallon per hour at full load. We bring 15 gallons and have only ever used 10 gallons)
Fuel Consumption of RV's / Trucks towing trailers: -If you are renting a class C motorhome (most common) figure on 8-11 miles per gallon
Air Conditioning: -Air conditioning in the RV will make your experience much more pleasurable. -Most campers have air conditioning with the exception of some pop-ups. If you are renting a pop-up check with the rental company to make sure it has air conditioning !! -(We only run the air conditioner and generator when we are at the camper. We never run the air conditioning at night, it has cooled down enough after sunset. We will start it up before we go to bed for a while to cool down the camper, then shut it off and then open the windows for the night. No doubt that you fire it back up by 7-8 AM to keep the camper cool.) -Note: Air conditions do not run on the campers batteries or propane. You will need a generator.
Fresh Water -Most campers hold between 30 and 80 gallons. -A 12 volt electric on-board water pump draws water out of the fresh water holding tank and distributes water to faucets. -Fresh water filling has been $50 per fill. This fee does not matter if you need 10 or 100 gallons. -Another option would be 7 gallon aqua (available at wal-mart) containers and a radio flyer type wagon to transport the water from the wash stations. Then poor or siphon the water in the fresh water tank. -This is our fresh water system. With this setup we can leave the camper parked and still get freshwater to fill/refill our tank. Many festivals have a central place to obtain water for free. I acquired a 55 gallon poly drum, (weighs <10lbs empty) then I installed a bulkhead fitting installed along with a 1/2" ball valve. To get the water out of the drum into the camper I use a 120 volt transfer pump (available at Tractor Supply or Northern Tool) The pump came with a small hose that goes between the drum and the pump, then I connect my fresh water hose to the discharge of the pump into the camper fresh water tank fill. This set up makes refilling the fresh water tanks very easy. Here are some pictures. Drum Bulkhead Fitting with ball valve Water pump Gene's Video on how to get water
Gray Water (Showering and Sink Drain): -Most campers hold between 30 and 60 gallons. -Plan to take “Navy Showers” Rinse, stop water, soap, and rinse. Most campers have a valve on the shower head to easily turn on and off he water for this purpose. -The gray water tank will fill very quickly if you take long showers (take navy showers) and wash dishes (use paper products).
Black Water (Toilet Waste): -Most campers hold between 20 and 40 gallons. -Pump out service is available for $50, this is to empty the black and gray tanks. -If you can hold out over the weekend without the need to be pumped out look for dump stations on RV Dumps -(Our camper holds 22 gallons. It will take four days and four adults to fill it).
Propane: -Refrigerators, cook tops, furnaces, ovens and water heaters run off of propane. -Make sure tanks are filled before the weekend.
Placement of camper: -Again make sure the camper is level as possible. -Watch when you park. Look to see where other campers exhaust pipes are. You will not be happy breathing in generator exhaust all weekend. Not to mention possible carbon monoxide poisoning. -Try to position the right (passenger, awning) side or the camper to the north or west. The main stage is south, so opposite of that. This will give you a little shade during the day.
Other notes for RV's: -Make sure the camper is level. Not only will this make your sleeping more comfortable but it is necessary for the refrigerator to operate properly. Bring some 2X8 planks to level the camper with. -Most rental campers do not have awnings, check with the rental company and make sure to bring your own shade. -If you do rent a camper make sure everything works before you leave the rental office. Refrigerator, water heater, water pump, air conditioner, generator, awning, also make sure the propane tanks full. Check to see if they have Roadside assistance numbers. See if they have a reference manual just incase you forget how to operate the appliances.
RV FAQ's and Questions the people have asked me over the past
Q- I am bring a 25ft RV for the first time this year and had a question. With five people take VERY short showers, should a 42 gallon tank last us through the weekend or should we plan on a refill? Any info would be greatly appreciated!! Its ALMOST here!!!! A- No, the 42 gallons will not last you the weekend. Maybe 6 showers at best. Remember that you will be also using water throughout the day for washing hands, face, flushing the toilet and maybe some dishes.
Bring a water container (or two) that you can put on the back of a radio flyer type wagon. You can buy 7 gallon water containers form Walmart. Then bring a three foot hose (old piece of garden hose or similar) to syphon the water from the container to the fresh water holding tank fill on the camper.
Water is available there, two years ago it was $50 per fill regardless of weather you get 5 or 100 gallons...
Remember that you will be also filling your gray water tank...I'm sure this holds around the same as your freshwater tank. I don't know the laws in Tennessee of draining gray (shower & dish water) on the the ground. But it is a option to slowly (open the valve very little) let the gray water out. Again check with the local laws.
Q- Where can I rent a RV from? A- Cruise America USA Rentals El Monte RV The above list is national rental companies. Also try to do a internet search on RV Rentals in "your town". Most RV dealers also rent RV's
Q- I just read your post on Inforoo about RV camping. I went to Bonnaroo last year, but stayed in a tent. This year, we rented a camper (with a/c). My question is this: on Bonnaroo's site it says you can only bring a 1500 watt generator, which, according to your post and my camper rental people, won't power an a/c. I'm scared to bring the 3000 watt one I was planning on bringing because I don't want the Bonnaroo security people to say I can't bring it in or something. Any insight/advice?...Amanda
A- Hello Amanda, you are right on everything you say in your email. The two years we went we brought in a 3000 watt generator, I also did not get searched when arriving, so no problems. I'm thinking we didn't get searched due to the fact we went VIP, General Admission might be different. I'm thinking the 1500 watt limit might be there so if they have a problem with noise they can tell someone to turn it off or the person writing the limits on generator sizing has no clue on what size generator a RV/Camper/Motorhome needs to power is utilities. I saw many generators over 1500 watts not to mention 3000 watts. Most motorhomes have a 4000+ generator onboard.
Q-Where can I fill up my Camper/Truck/RV with gas before entering the festival grounds.
A-Well if you are coming from the Chattanooga area on I-24 there is a Big Daddy's Fireworks in the median on I-24. You will be able to fill up your tank there along with getting any last minute supplies like beer and ice.
Bathrooms & Showers: Showers are open 24 hours from the time you get there on Thursday. Bathrooms: some are air conditioned, some port-o-potties. Pictures of 2009 VIP area showers and bathrooms. Click here for showers Click here for bathrooms
Area Lighting: The VIP area has construction type lighting on during the night. There is also light infiltrating from other areas that surround the VIP area such as the main stage and roadways. A small pocket sized flashlight LED type will be handy for reading maps and artist lineups.
WiFi: The service is very spotty and slow. I had most luck before 9 AM. 2009 Note: I was unable to get WiFi service the entire weekend.
Other notes: Dust: Bring a disposable dust masks (a 3M type from Home Depot), the dust in 07 was incredible.
Drinking Water: Get yourself a Camelbak to drink water out of. We used four cases (24-16 oz bottles) for four of us in 07. This was along with Vitamin water, Gatorade and soda. Next year I will bring a case and two gallons of water per person. I will use the gallon water to fill the Camelbaks. 2009 Note: Drinking water improvements that were made since 2007 are awesome. Bring water that you will need for your campsite consumption. With the drinking water filling stations in the Centerroo area, I don't see the need to bring that much water.
Shade: We have a 10'X10' Caravan Caravan Canopies shade canopy. This is along with the awning on our trailer. If you are bringing a tent you might want to consider two, one for shading the tent and one to sit under.
If you need to contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org I will add more in the future when I think about more information. Peace
Here are links to many other RV related questions:
Everyone experiences music differently.To say that something is subjectively wrong with live music is to also say that you are more than just your credentials or experience. It says that you are above whatever it is that you see as being the standard. Breaking everything down critically to the point where you are above every matter looking down on it only isolates you and makes you look foolish.