RV Lifestyle blogger Mike Wendland wrote a fantastic piece about Moochdocking this past August (2021). Moochdocking is apparently something he does quite frequently. A lot of other RV owners do it too, whether they know it or not. So perhaps it’s time for RVers everywhere to learn what Moochdocking is and why they should care about it.
In the simplest possible terms, Moochdocking is parking your RV for free on the property of a friend or family member for a short-term stay. Wendland says that some people call it driveway surfing. There are undoubtedly other names for the practice as well. As an RV owner, why should you care? Because Moochdocking comes with certain implications that have to be considered before you do it.
1. Where You Park Matters
Where you park your RV matters. Maybe you plan to stay with an adult child who lives in the middle the country. You are going to pull out to the back of the property and set up shop in the tree line. That’s fine. You probably aren’t going to bother anybody. But what about this weekend, when you plan to visit your other child in her suburban neighborhood?
She and her husband may not have a big enough yard for you to park in. You’ll have no other choice but to pull into the driveway. If it’s just overnight, the neighbors probably won’t complain. But if it’s for a couple of nights, be prepared for some resistance. The neighbors do not want you setting up camp in their beautiful suburban community. It might not even be allowed by the local government, which leads directly into the next point.
2. Moochdocking Has Its Limits
There is a big difference between Moochdocking and camping. We can describe it in one word: time. If you are parking on a family member’s property for a night or two you can claim Moochdocking. But if you are going to be there three nights or longer, now you’re camping.
Camping can present problems depending on what you do, according to the good folks at Connecticut-based AirSkirts. They say that setting up their inflatable RV skirting is a good sign that you’re camping. You probably wouldn’t bother if you were only staying overnight, unless temperatures were forecast to be really, really cold.
Moochdocking has its limits. For example, consider a couple visiting family in a manufactured home community in Florida. That community offers a limited amount of lakefront space as well as several large retention ponds. Imagine the couple pulling up to one of the ponds, setting up a full camp, and then telling all their social media friends they found a great spot for the week.
That is not Moochdocking, that’s camping. Moochdocking would be pulling into the family member’s driveway, staying the night, and heading out the next morning. What this couple (no, they are not fictional) did was a lot like what cousin Eddie did in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
3. Do No Harm When Moochdocking
Let’s close out this post by talking about the effects of your Moochdocking habits. Going back to sage advice from AirSkirts, make a point of doing no harm. Do not pull your RV onto soft ground without finding a way to prevent damage. Do not knock branches off trees or try to fit your RV into a space so tight you risk taking out a mailbox or basketball hoop.
Moochdocking is something that RV owners do all the time, even if they don’t know it has a name. The key is to do it in such a way as to not cause trouble for anyone else.