Luxury campgrounds have become a true haven for RVers, as they often have just as many, if not more, high-end amenities as an upscale hotel. While it’s always appealing to indulge in the finer things in life, sometimes it’s more enticing to give into your thirst for adventure, strip yourself of everyday conveniences, and immerse yourself into the forces of nature.
This is why boondocking, also referred to as dry camping, is still such a big part of the RV community. It’s RVing without the hookups and the comfort of the campground; it’s basically traditional camping, only in an RV instead of a tent.
If you’ve been wanting to give boondocking a chance yourself, here are a few starter points to get you on the right track:
When it comes to boondocking, your first inclination may be to just drive into the sunset and see where the wind guides you, but unfortunately, there are regulations and rules to keep in mind when scouting your location. For example, some places may allow fires, others won’t. The point is that you should research your destination thoroughly so that you know you can legally camp there as well as what guidelines you should follow.
To help you find the right spot for you, check out this list of resources to help you find the perfect boondocking area to take your RV.
Once you have your sails set on a specific location, draft up an in-depth itinerary to give to friends or family, and similarly, let them know when they can expect you to make contact with them. Since you might not have a cell phone reception deep in the wilderness, it’s a good idea to keep close ones up to date on where you’ll be and when you’ll be there. That way, if anything were to go awry, your loved ones would take notice and be able to contact help if something went off its expected course.
Whether you’re using batteries, generators, solar panels, power inverters, or a combination of the four, you want to minimize your power usage when boondocking. Unlike campground RVing, you don’t have an unlimited source of electricity to use at your whim, and the intense summer heat can put a damper on your good times.
The good news is that there are other options you can utilize to help you stay cool in the hot summer sun:
Taking showers, flushing purposes, washing dishes, washing off produce, staying hydrated--it’s not until you have a limited supply of water that you realize how many purposes require the vital fluid.
Your water usage needs to be carefully thought out, as winging your water situation could cut your boondocking trip short and send you right back to the nearest city.
To conserve water in your tank, consider picking up several large jugs of drinking water at the nearest town (or however many will be adequate for the duration of your trip) where you’ll be boondocking. This way, you can reserve your tank for the other necessities without allowing the extra weight of the water jugs to drain your gas mileage.
There is no shortage of tactics to help you minimize your water waste, and here are some in-depth water conservation tips on how to use as little as possible when it comes to cleaning, flushing, showering, etc.
As mentioned before, dry camping doesn’t often provide you with the clearest cell phone signal, so always jot down a list of directions on how to get to the nearest hospital or other emergency services in the area. If an urgent matter were to come up and you weren’t around any other campers, it’s important that you know how to access assistance. Make sure you have this information clearly lined out before hitting the road.
While doing your preliminary investigative work on where you’ll be boondocking, pay attention to the type of wildlife you can expect to see so that you can take the necessary precautions. For example, if bears could be bumbling around your campsite, you might want to be extra cautious in packing up food, and you might want to also bring a can of bear spray. Similarly, if you’re bound to cross paths with rattle snakes, it’s a good idea to bring a snake bite kit with you as well. The more familiar you what kind of critters you’ll be coexisting with in the wild, the less likely you are to experience any unfortunate mishaps.
When you’re a guest in Mother Nature’s house, it’s important to keep it in as good of condition as you found it, meaning don’t leave your garbage behind. Clean up after yourself and dispose of your dirty water ethically.
On a similar note, you want to be courteous of any other RVers you cross paths with as well. If they are choosing to forgo the comfy campground in favor of boondocking, it probably means they’re looking for a bit of seclusion, so don’t park in a way that’s too close for comfort; give them the space that they intended on having.
There you have it; hopefully these tips leave you better prepared to start planning your boondocking journey. If you have any of your own advice to share, tell us your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
Darla Preston enjoys helping fellow travelers enjoy their time out on the road by offering advice and insight. She frequently writes about the joy she's experienced since giving into her wanderlust.
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