RV boondocking, also known as dry camping, is an outdoor activity where people travel with their RVs into remote areas without any utility hookups.
Boondocking A Beginner's Guide
Boondocking has recently gained its popularity among RVers who are looking for a unique way to explore different parts of the world while still being immersed in nature with minimal distractions from everyday life.
For those who want a more adventurous vacation away from the hustle and bustle of cities, this type of camping is truly an unforgettable experience!
Unlock the wild side of your RV with Boondocking!
Whether you're a rookie camper or an experienced RVer, taking to the open road without plugging into water, electricity or sewer will broaden horizons and create unforgettable experiences.
With just some research and planning ahead - discovering remote vistas, hidden gems & exploring nature can be easy (and safe!)
Boondocking offers a great chance to get up close with wildlife, enjoy stunning views, all while out of cell reception.
But before you can set off on an unforgettable adventure, there are some important things to keep in mind for safe and respectful boondocking.
Let’s see what needs doing!
- What is RV Boondocking
- Where Can You Park Your RV
- Resources for finding RV Boondocking Sites
- How Do You Boondock
- Tips For RV Boondocking
- Scout Your Location Ahead of Time
- What to Check For
- Be Respectful
- Always Be Prepared
- Final Thoughts
What is RV Boondocking
Boondocking, also known as dry camping, is an outdoor activity where people travel with their recreational vehicles into remote areas without any utility hookups.
This type of camping allows RVers to experience nature in its rawest, most untouched form.
Boondocking can be a great way to explore and discover new places without having to worry about the amenities and conveniences that often come with other types of camping.
When boondocking, campers rely solely on their RV for power and water needs.
Solar panels are used to charge the batteries to provide electricity for lights, appliances, and other electronic devices.
A water tank must be filled before heading out in order to have access to fresh drinking water throughout the trip.
Many RVers opt for generators during their boondocking trips to provide additional power if needed.
Additionally, dump stations may be available for waste disposal once travelers return back home from their adventure.
Where Can You Park Your RV
It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors while RVing without having to stay in an RV park.
There are several places where you can go, including national forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas, and other public lands.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has millions of acres of public land across the country that are open for RVers to explore and use.
These lands often include wide open spaces as well as mountains, deserts, rivers, lakes and more.
Parking your RV on BLM land may require a permit in some cases; these permits are often free or inexpensive.
Most BLM sites have stay limits which generally range from 14 - 21 days depending on the area.
Besides forests and BLM lands, there are many other public lands available across the United States.
RVs might be allowed to stay at these locations for free or at minimal cost, depending on their policies and rules regarding overnight stays.
If you're looking for new places to boondock with your RV, there are several apps and websites available that can help you find free spots nearby.
Popular apps like the ones we list below, list thousands of verified campsites with detailed information about amenities and fees so you can easily find a place to pull over and camp without breaking the bank.
Resources for finding RV Boondocking Sites
My favorite by far, (because who doesn't love staying at a winery for free?) is Harvest Hosts.
While you have to pay a yearly membership fee, there are over 4400 Farms, wineries, museums, golf courses, and more to choose from across the US and Canada.
There's nothing like waking up to cows outside your RV. (on the other side of the fence of course!)
We have stayed at so many so far, and I prefer these over a campground with water, sewer, and electric any day.
Check out this free, crowd-sourced website with hundreds of affordable camping spots!
This website is a treasure trove of information, offering detailed descriptions of each campsite, including available amenities and access road conditions.
And the best part? You can even browse reviews and pictures from fellow campers, giving you a better sense of what to expect.
Just remember to observe all posted signs and have a backup plan in place, and you'll be well on your way to an unforgettable off-the-grid adventure!
It goes beyond just offering sites and includes a wealth of information to make your life on the road even easier.
You can locate fuel stations, laundromats, water and dump stations, and so much more with just a few clicks.
Plus, for those traveling with furry friends or in large rigs, you can easily search for pet-friendly or big-rig-friendly campsites.
But wait, there's more!
Need medical help, a refreshing shower or a place to stash your vehicle?
iOverlander has you covered. Roam worry-free as this app even helps you navigate customs, immigration, and consulate locations.
These additional features are extremely useful, especially for long trips where you need more services and if you are traveling outside of your home country.
If you're an avid camper, you've probably heard of Campendium.
The free crowd-sourced website and app for all things camping.
And if you're a fan of free camping, then you're in for a real treat.
Campendium hosts a section completely dedicated to free camping, so you can explore the great outdoors without breaking the bank.
While it's true that there are other apps out there with similar features, Campendium's reputation for being accurate, informative and easy to use sets it apart from the rest.
With its constantly growing database of unique and exciting campsites, Campendium is a valuable tool for any camping enthusiast looking for their next adventure.
It's essential to be in a legal boondocking area to avoid any unnecessary legal trouble.
That's where the Bureau of Land Management comes in, offering their website as a valuable resource for locating the perfect spot.
A quick download of their maps can provide you with the exact location of private property or BLM land, ensuring that you can boondock with peace of mind.
GPS coordinates and maps, which are included in the first three resources provided on their website, are helpful, knowing how to read a map and orient yourself is also crucial when venturing out into the wilderness.
With the Bureau of Land Management's resources, you can have everything you need to embark on your next adventure!
While it may not be specifically designed for finding boondocking sites, it offers a vital feature for any off-the-grid adventurer: downloadable maps for the entire world.
Gone are the days of relying on spotty cell service and losing your way in the great outdoors.
Simply pre-download the maps before you go and never worry about losing your way again.
No matter where your boondocking adventures take you, this app has got your back.
How Do You Boondock
RV Boondocking is a great way to experience life off the grid.
- To properly boondock, your RV needs to be self-contained and able to sustain you for several days without access to hookups or amenities.
- First, you will need a source of fresh water storage like tanks or jugs so that you can have an adequate supply of drinking water while camping.
- You will also need fuel for cooking such as propane, wood, or charcoal depending on the type of fuel your RV is equipped with.
- Make sure to bring enough food supplies to last the duration of your trip, freeze-dried packs are great for extended trips off grid. And consider bringing along some snacks just in case you get hungry!
- Finally, make sure your RV has a source of electricity such as solar panels, generators, or battery banks for powering all essential systems like lights and appliances.
- By following these steps and taking care when setting up camp, you can enjoy a safe and comfortable for your experience in any remote area.
Tips For RV Boondocking
Here are a few suggestions to help you have a successful boondocking adventure:
Boondocking, or wilderness camping, can be an invigorating experience for RVers who want to explore the great outdoors.
However, it comes with its own set of challenges.
One of those challenges is managing resources such as water, power, and trash.
Because there are no hookups available, which means water usage must be carefully monitored.
Once you run out of water, you must pack up your RV and drive into town to get more.
This can be a major production, especially if the nearest water source is not nearby.
Similarly, power consumption must be carefully managed, as there are usually no electrical hook-ups available.
These challenges can be daunting, but with careful planning and resource management, the rewards of boondocking can be well worth the effort.
There are a variety of simple water conservation techniques that can help stretch your water supply significantly.
For example, turning off the water while you wash your hands and while you lather yourself up in the shower (think military-style showers) can make a big difference.
Additionally, pre-cleaning your dishes with a paper towel or using paper plates can minimize washing time and reduce water usage.
These small changes may seem insignificant, but when you're camping off-the-grid, every little bit helps.
When it comes to boondocking, power becomes a precious commodity that you'll need to use wisely.
Running the air conditioning the entire trip may sound like heaven, but it may easily drain your power before you even know it.
And while grabbing a quick snack from the refrigerator may seem harmless, you'll want to avoid keeping the door open for an extended period as it will let out cold air.
This is because heating and cooling devices tend to use the most power, so being mindful of which appliances you plan to use most is vital.
In the long run, practicing energy conservation may help you stay unplugged for a heck of a lot longer while enjoying the great outdoors.
it's important to reduce waste and minimize your impact on the environment.
Nobody wants to be left with a pile of trash in their tiny home on wheels, so it's essential to plan ahead and avoid unnecessary packaging.
As the old saying goes...pack it in and pack it out!
Not only does this help to keep your RV clutter-free, but it also helps to ensure that you leave a minimal footprint on the beautiful, natural surroundings you're exploring.
With a little bit of preparation and some conscious choices, you can enjoy your boondocking experience while also doing your part to protect the planet.
- RV living offers unique opportunities for exploring and experiencing the natural world
- Simple changes in habits can make a big impact on water usage, power consumption, and trash production
- Conserving energy and limiting fridge use are important eco-friendly habits
- The benefits include a more sustainable journey without sacrificing outdoor fun.
Scout Your Location Ahead of Time
Before you set out on an RV road trip, it's important to scout your intended location ahead of time.
Boondocking, or camping in remote or wilderness areas without access to modern amenities such as running water or electrical hookups, is a popular way to enjoy nature while remaining socially distant.
But when boondocking in an RV, it’s essential to make sure the area is suitable for your vehicle before you arrive.
What to Check For
First, check the type of roads you’ll be using to access your destination.
Many forest service roads are narrow and winding with few opportunities for turning around. Which can present problems for larger RVs.
Desert roads may also have issues such as potholes and sand patches that could damage tires or cause other mechanical problems if not navigated properly.
It’s also important to make sure the campsites themselves will accommodate your vehicle.
Look for flat spots wide enough to park that won’t be impacted by rain runoff or vehicle traffic.
Make sure there is plenty of space around camp so that other vehicles don’t take up all the parking spots when they arrive.
In addition to checking out road conditions and campsite availability beforehand, research any emergency services available in the area just in case something goes wrong while you’re there.
Knowing what resources are available can help prepare you for any potential problems before they arise and give you peace of mind during your stay in nature.
Scouting a location ahead of time can help ensure that your RV boondocking experience is successful and worry-free!
By researching road conditions, campsite availability and emergency services available in the area, you can explore nature confidently and safely when traveling by RV.
This should be obvious, but make sure that you research and follow all the rules of your chosen site like stay limit, permit requirements, fire bans, and so forth.
Be respectful of the land by leaving your campsite cleaner than you found it, putting out fires completely, and not dumping your tanks.
Don’t leave any food or trash outside your RV as it might attract critters, putting you and the animals in a predicament.
Also, be aware of any other campers that may be around.
Give them plenty of space and be quiet at night and in the morning.
Don’t plan to run your generator all night long, that’s definitely a no-no.
Always Be Prepared
When you're out RVing, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and prepared for the unexpected.
It is essential to take the necessary precautions to protect your valables, as theft can occur at any time or place.
Always remember to keep your RV locked when you’re away from it.
Store valuable items such as bikes and grills inside when not in use.
Self-defense weaponry may also be a wise choice for added protection against potential criminal activity.
It's essential to carry the right supplies and equipment with you, such as a GPS or navigation system so you know where you are at all times.
A flashlight and extra batteries, necessary tools for repairs and maintenance, a fire starter kit, sturdy tarps in case of inclement weather, and any cords or hoses needed for your electrical needs.
You should also have a plan in place if an emergency occurs.
Make sure you bring along a first aid kit with basic medications like ibuprofen, and plenty of any prescription medications you may need.
It’s also wise to bring along an emergency food and water supply in case of extended power outages or other emergencies.
It's important to make sure your vehicle is ready for long trips into remote areas.
Bring extra oil, tires, fuel filters and antifreeze just in case.
Make sure your cell phone is always fully charged so that you can call for help if necessary.
Carry flares in case of no cell service.
Taking the time to make sure you are prepared before embarking on your boondocking adventure will give you peace of mind knowing that whatever comes your way, you will be able to handle it.
With the right preparation, a situation that could turn an outdoor adventure into a caked-in disaster can be easily avoided.
Just imagine...one minute you're chillaxing in your camp chair drinking some lemonade, and the next second…you’re stuck in quicksand!
An emergency supply kit will keep any unexpected weather changes from becoming anything more than a minor hiccup on your road trip.
RV boondocking can be an exciting adventure for both first-time and seasoned travelers.
But like anything new, it takes time to learn and adjust.
The beauty of boondocking lies in the freedom and flexibility it offers.
Allowing you to park anywhere without the constraints of traditional campgrounds.
From finding a suitable spot to managing your resources.
With each trip, you'll gain confidence in your ability to navigate the challenges.
You'll be able to enjoy the rewards of a unique and unforgettable experience.
So pack up your RV and get ready to experience the great outdoors in a whole new way.
Tell me, do you think boondocking is something you want to try? Why does it appeal to you?
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