8 Tips For Shopping & Boondocking At Quartzsite, AZ
So, we’re still hanging at Q. The “big RV show” officially ended yesterday, and 2 of the rigs in our group have gone (sniff, sniff…Polly’s BEST PAL Lewis is sorely missed), but we decided to hang out for a few more days of free camping while we figure out our next move. Alot of the big RV social groups are gone, but there are still a bunch of vendors in the streets and a fair few rigs in the desert gearing up for the massive Gem & Crafts Show that starts this week.
As for us? We’ve been hanging at our lovely site, shopping the rummage sales, and socializing, and all this despite a few days of rain (thankfully gone now). On the $$ side we ended up spending ~$240 at the show (which was rather reserved of us, I thought) most of which was stuff we never knew we needed (isn’t that always the case?). Being a rather dedicated rummage shopper and having spent a solid week in the trenches I can say there are things worth buying at Q and things I would stay away from. I figured it would be interesting to share my perspective on it:
1/ LED Lights -> Worth it IF You’re Picky!
LED lights were a HUGE draw this year and the most busy booths. I love the power-savings from LED, but I’m very particular about light quality and LED’s can vary ALOT (color/brightness etc.) between vendors even with exactly the same specs. They’re not the cheapest in Q (the cheapest LED lights you can get are on eBay directly from China), but here you can see a massive selection and try out the different kinds/colors in your rig before you finalize your buy. After looking at many, many LEDs we finally found the perfect mood light for one of our decorative fittings, and our neighbors (Alex&Ellen) were able to get a bulk deal to re-do their entire rig.
2/ Rummage Sales -> Worth it!
If you’re patient enough to rummage around the big boxes of stuff and diligently compare prices you can definitely find something that’s worth your while. We got a new 9’x18′ RV matt for $59 (at least $10-$30 cheaper than anywhere else I’ve seen, including online) and a brand new aluminum step for the same price (again, at least $10-$30 cheaper than the general market). We also snagged a mallet for $2, an adjustable/collapsable rake for $6 and some electrical fittings for $0.20 a piece. Most of the stores sell similar stuff, but prices can vary alot so looking around will save you money.
3/ Inexpensive Hats, Gloves & Microfiber Cloths -> Worth It!
This kind of leads on from #2, but there’s something particular about hats, gloves and microfiber/cleaning/dishwasher cloths in Q. For some reason the vendors love them and there are simply NO END of stores selling these things at the big show. You won’t find any high-end stuff here, but if you’re looking for an inexpensive buy and you want to see/feel/try/compare then you’ve got it all right here.
4/ Special Deals on Suspension Upgrades -> Worth it!
Many of the big vendors (Hendersons Line-Up, Brazel’s RV Performance, Redlands Truck etc.) will do special “show only” deals on suspension or specific RV upgrades. Often these will be many hundreds less than what the vendors would offer in their shop. We haven’t done any ourselves, but several of the folks in the Monaco iRV2 group have taken advantage of these deals in the past and rave about them. If you’re in the market for a suspension upgrade these are most definitely worth it!
5/ Solar Installation -> No….not, my choice
There were several vendors selling solar at Q this year, and although I’m sure many of them are fine, it would not be my choice to do an installation here. I feel you can get better prices elsewhere by selecting your own components and, given how many poor solar installations are on the market, it’s worth finding the best-qualified installers to do it.
6/ Novelty Kitchen & Home Gadgets -> Mostly no
You’ll see a ton of shops selling novelty kitchen & home gadgets (the “wonder whisk”, the “grill topper”, the “magic salsa maker”) which are more marketing than function in my mind. Most of these things are something you’ll buy and then use maybe once. We don’t have space for excess stuff like this in our rig and try not to get suckered into the buy.
7/ WiFi & Electrical -> Mostly No
Surprisingly there’s very poor selection of WiFi/amplifier/antenna or electrical stuff in Quartzsite. We only saw one WiFi booth and a few small boxes of electrical knick-knacks in some of the rummage shops (mostly connectors, although we did find one nifty 1 to 3-plug 12V strip), but otherwise nothing that caught our eye. If you’re in the market for electrical stuff this ain’t the place.
8/ Boondocking -> Definitely Worth It!
If you come to Q, you just gotta go boondocking! Not only is it part of the whole experience, but there are massive areas for any-sized rig and you’ll have no problem finding a site. I’ve mentioned our fav location (Dome Rock) before, but there are actually 9 separate areas you can boondock around Q for the big show. Five of these (Plomosa Road, Dome Rock, Hi Jolly, Scadden Wash, Road Runner) are free 14-day camping spots with no facilities. The other four (La Posa North, La Posa West, La Posa South, and La Posa Tyson Wash) are paid Long Term Visitor Areas ($40 for 2 weeks or $180 for 7 months) with limited facilities (trash, dump, vault toilets). You can get as close or as far from the main show as you’d like. Some of the closest boondocking sites are literally walking distance from the big tent, but they are also very crowded. The further you get from the show the more space you’ll have.
On social side we’ve had a bunch of visits from various blog readers (so fun!) and been around seeing friends at their various boondocking spots around town. We’ll probably hang for another couple of days before moving on to some (as yet) undisclosed location).
So, for those of you who’ve been here…what do YOU think is worth buying?
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