Though RVs are designed for boondocking (camping off the grid) for a short time, many campsites offer a range of services to make the experience less…wild, shall we say.
Expect to learn what kinds of campgrounds offer which services and amenities.
Hookups are places your RV can ‘hook up’ to everything it needs, from electricity to water and much more.
A hookup is really an assortment of the following:
- Unlimited water
- Cable TV (seriously)
- Telephone lines (crazy, right?)
The problem is, they come in all different shapes, sizes, and prices.
For an example, check out this page on Yellowstone camping. Not clear, right?
They’ve got 12 entirely separate campground—each one totally different! That’s why you’ve got to know what you’re getting into, so you can prepare.
Different Kinds of Hookups
You won’t find “minimal hookups” or “quarter hooks” and “three fourths hookups.”
The only two I’ve ever seen are partial and full…often with a little asterisk* hiding all the technicalities.
We’ll start with ‘Partial Hookups,’ as almost all campgrounds call them…
If a campground is described as offering a partial hookup, it means you can count on electricity and water.
Though you’re not guaranteed to have 50 Amps, you can count on 30 Amp outlets for electricity. (Learn the difference)
The Yellowstone example doesn’t say if 50A is included; sometimes you have to dig.
Water is included with partial hookups. You will have access to the campground’s fresh water supply (completely safe to drink).
If there is a hookup of any sort, a water connection and 30 Amp electricity are the two standards you can count on.
This video explains how to connect your RV to the water port.
A full hookup also includes sewage with water and electricity.
Almost all full hookups have 50 Amp outlets for your RV plugs as well. However, it’s good to call and confirm if they don’t explicitly state it on their website.
If 30 Amps is all that’s available, get in the habit of bringing an adapter (a lifesaver from ignorant park rangers).
As you probably know—if you own an RV—there are three different tanks in your RV: fresh, grey, and black. The darker the name, the less clean the water.
When you have to empty your tanks, you have to go and find a dump station.
Any campsite that includes a full hookup comes with a place to dump your waste and tanks, often called a dump station.
If your camp doesn’t have a dump station, don’t worry. The map below lists most public dump stations in the USA.
They’re not hard to find, but having a full hookup at your campsite saves you time.
(Bookmark this page so it’s quick and easy to reference.)
Though not actually referred to as ‘Deluxe Hookups’ (that I know of), these campgrounds definitely deserve the title.
Some camp sites come with TV cables or even phone lines (why would you even need those?). (What even are those, millennials?)
If a campsite is proud of it’s TV cables or phone lines but you can’t tell if it comes with 50 Amps, don’t worry. You can count on it.
Campgrounds Explained For RVs
There are two kinds of campsites out there: ‘RV Campgrounds’ and ‘Campgrounds.’ Let’s discover the difference.
If you find a campground designated an ‘RV Camp’ (or anything with RV in the name), you can trust it has at least a partial hookup (30 Amp electricity and water).
You can find this information when you book your stay or just by googling the campsite. For an example, check out this page on Yellowstone camping.
Fun Fact: Yellowstone has over 2,000 camping sites (within their 12 campgrounds).
Anything’s possible. The site may include a full deluxe hookup or not even enough stones to make a campfire ring.
If they don’t make it clear on their website, that’s not the end of the world. Often times it’s just because they prefer camping to website coding. (Crazy, right?).
Even if it’s not easy to find the information, the information is still essential.
Beware: it’s not uncommon a 50 Amp outlet costs more than a 30 Amp, or adding sewage is an extra $5.
Whatever it is, make sure you know it before you get there. If this means giving them a call, make sure you do.
Most do not. It’s possible, but don’t count on it. Check the park’s website or call them to be certain, but don’t expect it.
It may be offered as an upgrade on a partial, but it may be a better idea just to go for a full hook. Almost all full hookups do have 50 Amp outlets.
You can count in it 99.9% of the time. I recommend double checking—even calling the park ranger, if it’s not on their website—but almost all do.
Yes they do! Expect a 30 Amp outlet. If you’re looking for 50 Amp electrical service, though (fifth wheel or bigger), you’ll want a full hookup.
Included with partials are water and electricity (30 Amperage).
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