Boondocking, also known as dry camping or off-grid camping, has become increasingly popular in recent years among RV enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts who want to explore nature and enjoy a more secluded experience.
While boondocking can be an incredible way to connect with nature and experience a sense of freedom and adventure, it does require some preparation and planning to make it work.
In this article, we’ll explore what boondocking is and some tips and tricks for making your boondocking experience safe, enjoyable, and successful. We’ll cover everything from finding the perfect boondocking spot to managing your resources and staying safe in the wilderness.
Whether you’re a seasoned boondocker or new to the practice, we hope this article will help you make the most of your off-grid camping experience!
What Is Boondocking?
You likely know what boondocking is if you are reading this article, but let’s have a quick recap of the term just to be sure!
Boondocking is a form of camping where individuals camp in remote locations without access to amenities such as electricity, water, or sewage hookups.
This type of camping is also typically done in RVs, camper vans, (see also: Best Small RV Camper Vans You Can Find)or other self-contained vehicles, and allows individuals to camp for free or at a lower cost than traditional campgrounds.
Boondocking locations can include public lands such as national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, as well as private property with the owner’s permission.
How Do You Make Boondocking Work?
As we mentioned, making boondocking work requires some preparation and planning. Here are some tips to help you make your boondocking experience safe, enjoyable, and successful.
Research Your Location
Researching your location is an essential part of planning for a successful boondocking trip, so let’s take a look at some of the most important elements to consider when doing so.
One of the best ways to find boondocking locations is to look for public lands where dispersed camping is allowed. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Forest Service are two great resources for finding these areas.
Make sure to check for any camping restrictions or permits required in the area you plan to visit. Some areas may have fire restrictions, while others may require permits for camping.
You can also search for reviews and recommendations online from other boondockers who have visited the area.
Don’t forget to research the terrain of the area you plan to visit, as some areas may have rough or unpaved roads, which may not be suitable for larger RVs or campers.
Be Self Sufficient
Boondocking requires individuals to be self-sufficient and to manage their own resources, as mentioned above, so you will need to make sure your RV or camper van is equipped with a water tank, generator, or solar panels for power, and a way to manage your waste.
Don’t forget about your food too! Consider bringing non-perishable foods that can be easily prepared, such as canned goods or freeze-dried meals. Bring a portable stove or grill to cook your meals, and make sure to pack out all trash and food waste.
Be Prepared For Emergencies
In remote locations, it’s important to be prepared for emergencies, so bring a first aid kit, extra food and water, and a way to communicate with others in case of an emergency. Emergency supplies are a must too, such as a flashlight, extra batteries, a whistle, and a fire starter.
Other emergencies to be prepared for include extreme weather- such as thunderstorms or snowstorms- and campfire accidents, such as uncontrolled fires.
Leave No Trace
When boondocking, it’s important to practice “Leave No Trace” principles to minimize your impact on the environment. This includes packing out all trash and waste, respecting wildlife and their habitats, and avoiding damaging vegetation and natural features.
A good way to have a minimal impact on the environment is to use an established campsite and to use designated fire rings or stoves if you can.
Manage Your Resources
When boondocking, you will need to manage your resources carefully to make them last. This includes monitoring your water usage, bringing nonperishable foods with you and using low-power appliances and lights, and turning off electronics when not in use.
You may also want to consider investing in a composting toilet or using a portable waste disposal system to manage your waste.
Plan For Weather And Temperature Changes
When boondocking, it’s important to plan for weather and temperature changes, especially if you’re camping in an area with extreme weather conditions. Before you go, check the weather forecasts for the area you will be boondocking in.
Be prepared for any weather conditions that may occur, such as thunderstorms, high winds, or extreme heat or cold. Make sure to bring appropriate clothing for the weather conditions you may encounter as well.
Pack clothing layers that can be easily added or removed to adjust to temperature changes and if necessary, bring rain gear, sun protection, and cold-weather clothing.
Respect Quiet Hours And Other Campers
Being respectful is a must when boondocking if you are in an area with other campers, and you can do this by following quiet hours, keeping a respectful distance, being mindful of generator noise, respecting nature, and keeping any pets under control.
Last but definitely not least is safety, which should always be a top priority when it comes to boondocking. Before you decide to camp in an area, make sure it is safe and secure. Avoid areas that are known for crime or are located near busy roads or highways.
You will also want to make sure that someone knows your travel plans and where you will be camping. This way, if something happens, someone will know where to look for you.
Wildlife is another important factor to consider, as depending on where you are boondocking, you may encounter wildlife such as bears or coyotes. Make sure to keep your campsite clean and store food securely to avoid attracting animals.
If you plan on having a campfire, make sure to check for fire restrictions in the area and follow all fire safety guidelines. Never leave a fire unattended, and always make sure it is completely extinguished before leaving your campsite.
Emergency supplies are a must too, so make sure to have supplies to hand such as extra food and water, a first aid kit, and a charged cell phone or satellite phone in case you need to call for help.
Finally, trust your instincts! If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a location, trust your instincts and leave. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Boondocking can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to explore the great outdoors. However, it requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a successful trip.
To make boondocking work for you, consider investing in a reliable and well-equipped RV or camper, and make sure to research your destination thoroughly before heading out.
Be sure to pack plenty of supplies, including food, water, and toiletries, be safe, and always leave your campsite cleaner than you found it. With the right mindset and a bit of effort, boondocking can be a fulfilling and unforgettable experience!