Boondocking, also known as dry camping or off-grid camping, is a popular trend among RV enthusiasts. It involves camping in your recreational vehicle (RV) without any hookups to electricity, water, or sewer. It’s a great way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature. However, before you hit the road for your boondocking adventure, there are several things you need to know and consider. In this article, we’ll cover everything from what boondocking is to how to find the best boondocking sites, and everything in between.
What Is Boondocking in an RV?
Boondocking refers to camping without any amenities provided by a traditional RV park or campground. Instead, boondockers rely on their own resources to meet their needs. This means you’ll need to have a self-contained RV with tanks for fresh water, gray water, and black water, as well as a reliable power source and internet connection if desired.
What to Know Before You Decide to Go Boondocking
Before you embark on a boondocking trip, there are several important factors to consider. First, determine how long you plan to be boondocking. The length of your trip will affect the amount of resources you need to bring and how you plan to manage them.
How Long Will You Be Boondocking?
If you’re planning a short boondocking stay, you may be able to get away with minimal resources. However, for longer trips, you’ll need to carefully plan your water, electricity, and food supplies to ensure you don’t run out in the middle of your adventure.
Electricity While Boondocking
One of the most important considerations for boondocking is your power supply. How much power do you need to run your RV’s appliances and electronics? Will you rely on solar panels, a generator, or a combination of both? Determine your power requirements and make sure you have a reliable source to keep everything running smoothly.
Water While Boondocking
Water is another vital resource to consider when boondocking. How much fresh water can your RV’s tank hold? Will you need to bring additional water containers or invest in a water bladder to increase your capacity? It’s important to conserve water while boondocking and plan your usage accordingly.
Internet While Boondocking
While some boondockers enjoy disconnecting from the digital world completely, others may want to stay connected while on the road. Research options for internet access in remote areas and consider investing in a reliable mobile hotspot device or satellite internet system if internet connectivity is important to you.
Safety When Boondocking
When boondocking, safety should be a top priority. Research the area where you plan to boondock and be aware of any potential risks or hazards. It’s also wise to let someone know your boondocking plans and have a way to communicate in case of emergencies. Trust your instincts and choose boondocking locations that feel secure and comfortable.
The Best RVs for Boondocking
Not all RVs are created equal when it comes to boondocking. Some RVs are better suited for off-grid camping due to their features and capabilities. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best RV for boondocking:
Look for an RV that offers multiple power sources, such as solar panels, a propane generator, or dual batteries. This will give you more flexibility and reliability when it comes to powering your appliances and electronics.
Appliances and Refrigerators
Consider the energy efficiency of the appliances and refrigerator in the RV. Energy-efficient models will help you conserve power and make your boondocking experience more sustainable.
Check the sizes of the fresh water, gray water, and black water tanks in the RV. Larger tanks will allow you to boondock for longer periods without needing to refill or empty them as frequently.
Wheelbase and Clearance Height
Pay attention to the wheelbase and clearance height of the RV. Boondocking often involves driving on rough terrain or navigating through narrow roads, so you’ll want an RV that can handle these conditions without causing too much stress or damage.
Length and Weight
Consider the length and weight of the RV, especially if you plan to boondock in remote areas with size restrictions or limited access. A smaller, lightweight RV will be easier to maneuver and park in tight spaces.
Boondocking Tips for Beginners
If you’re new to boondocking, it’s important to be well-prepared and informed. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your boondocking experience:
Where to Find Boondocking Sites
Boondocking on Public Land
Public lands managed by agencies like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) often allow boondocking for free or at a very low cost. Research these areas and obtain any necessary permits or passes before setting up camp.
Overnight Stops for Boondocking
There are various businesses and establishments that allow overnight boondocking in their parking lots, such as Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and some truck stops. While not as secluded as boondocking on public land, these stops can be convenient for quick overnight stays.
Boondocking Apps and Websites
Thanks to technology, finding boondocking sites has become easier than ever. Here are some popular boondocking apps and websites:
Campendium is a comprehensive online resource for RVers, providing reviews and information about campsites, including boondocking locations.
The Allstays app offers information on campgrounds, RV parks, and boondocking sites across the country. It’s a valuable tool for finding the perfect spot for your boondocking adventure.
US Public Lands App
This app provides detailed information about public land areas, including boondocking options, fees, and regulations. It’s a great resource for boondockers who want to explore public lands.
Boondockers Welcome is a membership-based platform that connects RVers with hosts who offer boondocking spots on their private property. It’s a great way to meet fellow travelers and find unique boondocking locations.
Harvest Hosts is another membership-based program that allows RVers to overnight at wineries, farms, and other unique locations across the country. While not strictly boondocking, it provides an alternative to traditional campgrounds.
Our Top 7 Boondocking Essentials
1. Water Bladder
A water bladder is a portable, collapsible container that allows you to carry and store extra water while boondocking. It’s a practical solution for increasing your fresh water capacity.
2. Biodegradable Soaps
When boondocking, it’s essential to use biodegradable soaps and cleaners to minimize your impact on the environment. Look for eco-friendly options that won’t harm nature.
3. Composting Toilet
A composting toilet is a sustainable alternative to traditional RV toilets that require water and a connection to a sewer system. It allows you to dispose of waste in an eco-friendly manner while boondocking.
4. Water Filter
Investing in a high-quality water filter is crucial for boondocking. It ensures that the water you consume is clean and safe, even if you’re filling up from natural water sources.
5. Leveling Blocks
Leveling blocks are essential for boondocking in uneven terrain. They help stabilize your RV and ensure that you’re comfortable inside. Look for lightweight and durable options that are easy to carry and set up.
If you rely on electricity to power your RV, a generator can be a game-changer while boondocking. Look for a quiet and fuel-efficient model that suits your power needs.
7. Bug Spray
Don’t forget to pack bug spray! Boondocking often means being surrounded by nature, including insects. Protect yourself from bug bites and enjoy your outdoor adventures uninterrupted.
Boondocking Gear We Recommend:
While the essentials listed above are a good starting point, there is additional gear that can enhance your boondocking experience. Here are some recommendations:
Meet the Author
John Doe is an experienced boondocker and author of the best-selling book “The Ultimate Guide to Boondocking”. He has traveled extensively in his RV, exploring some of the most remote and beautiful boondocking locations in the country.
10 Must-Know Tips for Boondocking in an RV
What is Boondocking?
Boondocking, also known as dry camping or off-grid camping, is the practice of camping in a recreational vehicle (RV) without any amenities provided by a traditional RV park or campground. Instead, boondockers rely on their own resources for power, water, and other basic needs.
1. Know Your Power Supply
How Much Power Do You Need?
Before heading out on a boondocking adventure, it’s crucial to understand how much power you’ll need to run all your RV’s appliances and electronics. Consider the power requirements of your refrigerator, air conditioner, lights, and other devices. This will help you determine the capacity of your power supply.
Options for Power and Starting Simple
When it comes to powering your RV while boondocking, you have several options. Solar panels, portable generators, or a combination of both can provide the electricity you need. If you’re new to boondocking, it’s recommended to start with a portable generator as it’s relatively easy to use and provides a reliable power source.
Ideas for Getting the Most Out of Your Power Setup
To maximize your power supply, consider implementing energy-saving habits and investing in energy-efficient appliances. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED alternatives, use propane for cooking instead of electric stoves, and turn off unnecessary devices when not in use. These small practices can go a long way in conserving power while boondocking.
2. Conserve Water
Boondocking Tips and Tricks to Save Water in the Kitchen
When boondocking, it’s essential to minimize water usage in the kitchen. Use disposable plates and utensils to reduce dishwashing, or opt for biodegradable materials if you prefer reusable items. Additionally, collect the water used for rinsing fruits and vegetables to reuse for watering plants or flushing toilets.
Boondocking Camping Tips to Save Water in the Shower
Showers can be a major source of water consumption while boondocking. Consider taking shorter showers and turning off the water while lathering up. You can also invest in a low-flow showerhead that reduces water usage without sacrificing water pressure.
Thoughts on Drinking Water
While many boondockers bring their own drinking water, some choose to filter natural water sources using portable water filters or purification tablets. If you decide to go this route, make sure to research the area’s water sources and take necessary precautions to ensure the water is safe for consumption.