Pines Campground, Potts Mountain, VA

by Greg Zimmerman
Published: Last Updated on

Now we’re getting rural.  Our first “off the grid” camping experience was Pines Campground in the George Washington National Forest.  It’s just down the road from the famous “Potts Mountain Jeep Trail”.  My Jeep club had a group going and 2 of us happened to have campers.  I asked my father to go along too since Delicia was still deployed overseas.

This was a 3 day, 2 night “boondocking” trip, which means no hookups.  I brought along a Honda EU2000 generator to charge up the battery and filled the Casita’s 25 gallon water tank.  I also had a 5 gallon water jug in the Jeep in case we ran low.  We replaced all the light bulbs in the camper with LED’s that draw 1/10th the power of a regular bulb.

Being the only hardshell camper on site, my fellow Jeep’ers were insanely jealous of our little Casita.  Even my friend with a pop-up camper took notice that we had a shower.  We didn’t need the A/C because it was cool on the mountain, but having a real bed and a bathroom was nice!

I checked on the water tank and just like our trip to Pohick Bay, it was half empty!  It must have leaked out the vent while going up the steep mountain roads.

Tip: The water tank vent hose should be extended to keep water from draining out while traveling.  Check out the vent modification in our Upgrades section.

The next day was spent on Potts Mountain Jeep Trail.  I don’t recommend trying this alone or with a stock vehicle. It was an extreme trail with lots of scraping metal on rocks, some winching, and lots of tire spinning.

The fog was surreal on the way up.

The views from the top of Potts Mountain were amazing.

Trailside lunch stop.  Having an ARB refrigerator in the Jeep is really nice for keeping food and beverages cold without buying ice.  Here’s Pop-Pop (my dad) snacking with the boys.

You definitely need a well equipped vehicle to tackle this trail.

When we got back to camp after being on the trail all day, the Casita battery was down to 30%.  We fired up the generator for an hour to give us enough juice to run the Fan-tastic Vent (fan) in the ceiling through the night to keep us cool.

I taught the kids how Navy showers work to save water.  Like U.S. Navy ships, the shower on a Casita has a switch to turn off the water while lathering up.  It’s not as enjoyable, but it saves water.

With the kids in bed we joined the others around the group campfire swapping stories late into the night.  It was a great time and we learned a lot about camping off the grid.


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