One of the big boondocking events of 2022 is the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. The idea of a minimalistic nomadic lifestyle is intriguing to many. Yet it can be daunting to figure out how to start out. Enter the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR).
If you’re just starting your van life, car camping, or tent journey, or even if you’re already well on your way, this event’s one to take notice of. Let’s dig in and go through all the details.
What Is the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous?
RTR is a yearly event that helps people learn how to live a nomadic lifestyle and builds community around the principles of boondocking and minimalism. The Homes on Wheels Alliance (HOWA) hosts it every year.
HOWA is a charitable non-profit that aims to provide financial and social support to nomads. It helps people secure unconventional housing in vans, tents, and RVs as a way to prevent homelessness.
The RTR is just one of the organization’s programs. And each year, thousands of van dwellers, RVers, car campers, and other nomads gather in Arizona for a two-week gathering. In fact, in 2018, the New York Times even recognized it, given its popularity.
Why Is It Called Rubber Tramp Rendezvous?
The term rubber tramp comes from the hobo days of the early 1900s, specifically the adventurers after World War I who set out to live nomadic lifestyles.
They were the first to travel by vehicle – or atop rubber tires – rather than by horse or train or on foot. Hence, those living in RVs and vans are called rubber tramps. The term is also coined in Into the Wild by Sean Penn.
Who Is Bob Wells?
Bob Wells is the co-founder and president of the HOWA Board of Trustees. He’s also the owner of Cheap RV Living and has inspired thousands to adopt a nomadic and minimalist lifestyle.
He sets out to connect people, build camaraderie, and create opportunities to learn and connect within this lifestyle. His passion is to ensure people have options for unconventional housing to prevent homelessness.
What to Expect at the 2022 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous
This is the 12th Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. You can expect thousands to join you at this two-week event. Let’s take a look at some of the details.
This year’s event will once again be in Quartzsite, Ariz., in La Paz County. All the main events will take place at Town Park Baseball Field. For those who prefer an online option, they’ll once again hold the event online through the HOWA YouTube channel.
Rubber Tramp Rendezvous will take place from Sunday, Jan. 16, until Sunday, Jan. 23. The online events broadcast from Jan. 24 through Jan. 26.
Who Should Attend
Although this event is geared at newbies looking to boondock often throughout their travel, plenty of seasoned nomads join in on the fun. If you want to build some solid relationships with people, this is the place since it lasts for two weeks.
Moreover, HOWA has a caravan program where you can travel later on to various boondocking sites with some of the people you meet at this event.
For the entire RTR event, there are two classes daily and a break-out discussion during lunch. You can join in as much or as little as you’d like. And there are two online sessions daily for the online portion.
Topics include general safety, vehicle maintenance, and camping for free. Plus, some sessions offer more practical support, like finding medical care while traveling and recommended phone apps for boondocking.
If you need more or different supplies, you’re in luck. There’ll be a “free pile” to donate to or swap for helpful items you might need. There’s even a bulletin board to post to if you need something or have something to give. And this year, there’s even a sweepstake you can enter to win Bob Wells’ van.
For camping, there are plenty of free, dispersed camping options on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land surrounding the Quartzsite. Dispersed camping means no amenities, so you’ll need to be self-contained and pack out what you pack in.
Believe it or not, this entire event is free. That includes your 14 days of dispersed camping, all the event sessions, and more. Also, there’s no registration.
What Is the WRTR?
The Women’s Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (WRTR) is a two-day event held on Jan. 14 and 15, just before the RTR kicks off. The goal of WRTR is to build a community of women who support one another and gain the knowledge necessary for successful van life.
Here, you’ll get a chance to network with other female nomads and learn about issues that affect women on the road. The two-day event features two classes per day on things like women’s hygiene on the road and women’s safety on the road.
Is the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Worth Attending?
Although we’re sure anyone attending would find some benefit, there are some specific groups this event is geared for. This event is especially a hit for boondockers and those calling a tent, van, or car your home on wheels.
And if you’re on a fixed income and want to transition to a nomadic lifestyle to prevent homelessness, this two-week event will give you a healthy jumpstart with information, support, and a community to surround you. So go ahead, mark your calendar and make this the year you’ll attend.
Have you ever been to the RTR?
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