37 Awesome Tips for Boondocking

There is a lot that goes into RVing in the wilderness. First, preparation is key when boondocking off the grid with no water or electric. Here are 37 tips to help you have a successful boondocking experience.

 

  1. Know the Rules of the Public Land You Want to Visit

The first thing to do is, know the rules that govern the public land you plan on visiting. Know the time limit, know the areas which are permitted for boondocking, and places that might be off limits.

Also, different agencies have rules on how long you may stay in one spot, and how far you have to move if you want to stay in the are beyond that. Some areas have a 14-day stay limit, but it varies from one place to the other. It is your job to know those rules, and part of being a responsible boondocker is abiding by the rules.

fifth wheel going down the road

  1. Respect the Land

A lot of these lands you boondock at are used for other activities other than boondocking. Some of these activities include hunting, hiking, ATVs. So it is highly advised that you do not trespass any range given to you. Also, desist from chopping down trees for firewood, and try as much as possible not to leave no trace. As said above, go in and leave a small impact as possible.

  1. Pack Out What You Pack In

Nothing is more disheartening than arriving at a campsite only to find out that the previous camper didn’t pick after themselves this ranges from a bullet casing, broken glasses and even bags of trash.

So packing out what you pack in means taking all your garbage with you, and do not leave your garbage behind. So, try to pack out what you pack in and do not leave your mess for someone else to pick up. And try to leave no trace that you were there. And if you can, then I highly recommend you leave the place cleaner than you came.

  1. Do not Ever Block a Dirt Road

One thing you should never do is to drive around the wilderness for miles, and haven’t seen another person or a rig for hours, and when you can’t find a place to camp, you decide to settle on blocking a tiny dirt road, that looks like it hasn’t been used for a long period of time. Inevitably, somebody is going to come along and will want to get by, and this happens every single time.

pop up camper

So, no matter how thin the dirt road may appear to be and how enticing it might seem as a camping spot, do not block the road. So, keep looking till you can find a place where you can pull off of the side of the road and set up so that anyone who might want to get by on that road can get by.

  1. Do not Dump Your Grey Water in the Woods

One question people ask is whether they can dump their grey water while boondocking, well the answer is no. It is illegal to dump grey water. Even if you do use natural soaps, and you do not use any normal detergent, shampoo, or body wash, it is still illegal to dump grey water. This is because when you dump about 30 gallons of grey water into the environment, though it may not cause sudden catastrophic harm to the environment, it is gradually changing the ecosystem. So no, you cannot dump your grey water.

  1. Do not Rely on a Cell Signal When Boondocking

Often times you may start out with a really strong cell signal, and it can drop to absolutely nothing. So, just know that if you’re going to be boondocking and dry camping, you could do so without a cell signal. However, if a cellular signal is a thing that is of concern for you, then you could purchase certain things like a cellular signal booster to boost your cellular service, or a personal locator to contact an emergency contact if security is a concern for you.

Sherling lake

Also, I highly recommend you to have a paper map with you or download maps to your laptop to help you navigate whenever your cell phone signal is lost. We bought a large scale Road Atlas Books that truck drivers use, (I can’t read the fine print on normal maps).

  1. Leave Space Between You and Your Neighbors

Remember when you are out there boondocking in public land, you’re not on a campground. Most people boondock because they want to get as far away from others and enjoy nature. So having to park 20 feet away from someone’s rig when there is a vast space available, destroys that solitude.

There may be some parks which are intended for a large number of rigs and close proximity to one another, but otherwise, pick a site that is far away from your neighbors as possible. However, if you can’t find an area that is 100 feet away from your neighbor, then you should realize that the area is already full.

  1. Use Existing Only Existing Sites, and Roads.

When camping on national forest land or a BLM land, make sure to use existing roads to access your sites, and pick a site that has been used before, which is often marked by an existing fire ring. This minimizes the impact of camping on the land. Different agencies have different rules on how far you can camp from an existing road.

Most district offices of BLM lands and national forests, have maps that you can get, and the show what roads are legal for rigs to be on. Following these rules ensures that there is less impact done to the wilderness and also, preserves these areas for us to use and the future generations. So before you go into any public land for boondocking or dry camping, check the website, check the district office and make sure that you know the rules and make sure that you follow the rules.

  1. Remember Noise Carries

Sound can really carry long distances, especially at night. That means being conscious of your noise and respecting your neighbors. If someone is within an earshot, the limit generator used to the same quiet hours that you would find in a campground, point the exhaust away from neighbors. If your generator makes so much noise at night, then it’s time for you to upgrade to a quieter inverter generator.

Also, remember that light is another form of pollution too. And your outdoor lighting may disturb your neighbors’ appreciation of the dark starry skies above their campsite.

  1. Keep Your Eyes on Your Dogs

Being away from others allows some time for your dog to spend off leash. However, if you’ve got neighbors, then your dog should stay on the leash. Remember, not everyone likes your dog or appreciates being accosted by your affectionate retriever. If you’re close to neighbors, then your dog may wander off to their campsite, or greet walkers on the road, or even harass wildlife in the area, so, it is advisable that you keep them on the leash. It also protects your dog from unexpected creatures.

  1. Slow Down When Driving

Forest roads and BLM lands, can be very dry and dusty. For that reason, whether you’re driving your rig, or buzzing around on your ATV, be sure to slow down when approaching someone’s campsite, and take it easy until you’re past it.

  1. Cutting Wood

Some lands have restrictions on gathering firewood. If it’s permitted, only retrieve deadfall to fuel your campfire, and never ever a standing tree, even if it looks diseased or dead. Ensure to purchase some firewood you might need should you want to set up a campfire.

family camping

  1. Leave No Trace Behind

Anyone who spends time in the Western U.S. knows the dangers posed by an out-of-control wildfire. Many wildfires are caused by improperly attended camp fire. When leaving your campfire, make sure that it’s out, completely out. Saturate it with water until it’s cold to touch. When appropriate, bury the cold embers, ash, and coals to eliminate all evidence of your campfire.

  1. Ensure You Have Personal Security

Security is a number one concern when boondocking in remote areas. When boondocking in remote areas, look around to see if there are signs of activity like recent campfires, trash etc… if yes, maybe consider another spot. Just get a feel for your surroundings. If you leave your camp to explore for the day, ensure to lock up a few valuables including your generator, and solar panels.

sunset over the water

Also, ensure to lock the door to your rig, other than that, you have nothing to worry about. Your patio furniture and other less valuable items can sit outside while you’re gone.

  1. Always Have a Generator

You need to have electricity to power your computer, television, microwave and all none 12-volt appliances. One thing about generators is that it relies on gasoline. So, I highly recommend you have gasoline with you when you plan to go boondocking.

  1. Have Solar

Sometimes, it is ridiculous to run your generator, when you have to do little things like making coffee. So, if you have solar, you wouldn’t have to worry about little activities like that, since your batteries are already powered up and all you have to do is to plug in your coffee grinder or coffee maker and make yourself some coffee.

For solar, you will need solar panels, battery banks to store power, and an inverter to convert the energy to something your RV can use.

  1. Fill Your Water Tanks

Before going out there in the wilderness, make sure that your water tank is full. If you haven’t done that already, and you’re planning to do that already, you want to make sure that that tank has been sanitized. Sanitizing your tank should be done more often if you haven’t used your tank in a long time. However, if you use your tank frequently, then you do not need to worry about sanitation.

Well, if you do not drink out of your freshwater tank, ensure to bring a lot of drinking water with you. A great way to do this is to fill your water into collapsible jugs, these are easy to handle, store, and they are lightweight.

  1. You Might Need a Portable Disposable Tank

Since dumping grey water is illegal, if for some reasons your grey water tank becomes full and you do not have a place to dump off the grey water, one way you can dispose of it is by using a portable wastewater disposable tank. You can empty some of your grey tanks into and you can later dispose of it at an appropriate location.

  1. Consider Your Propane Usage

One thing you will have to consider is propane. This is because, for some rigs, propane runs your fridge, your stove and ovens, and also your water heater, and your furnace. So, it is critical you have your propane tanks topped off before you go out. However, if you’re in cold weather, you’re going to burn a lot of propane.

propane tanks in RV

Some rigs may use diesel, or electricity for these activities but a lot of rigs use propane.

  1. Your AC

If you find yourself in a warm climate, one thing you might want to consider is how you’re going to use your AC unit. If you intend to use an AC unit, make sure to consider the type of generator you use. This is because some generators do not work well in warmer climates.

air conditioner

Also, before choosing an AC unit, make sure to know if you need two AC units or just one, depending on your rig, you might not need two. We have an article which explains whether you need two or just one AC.

21. Prepare Foodwise

Make sure that all your needs are stocked, and also that you have plenty of food. We highly recommend you get a lot of can foods if possible since they do not perish. Also, pre-wash all your fruits and vegetables before you go out boondocking, so that you wouldn’t have to use your existing water supplies to do that.

  1. Know Where You’re Going

It is great that you use satellite images on Google maps, to know where you’re going, and figure out what the area around you looks like. This might be helpful since it could inform you about the kind of obstacles you might encounter while there. Some of these obstacles may be the absences of a store, a gas station or even a dump station. When you know where you’re going, you have an idea of what to expect and how to prepare.

 

  1. Have a Faucet Aerator

You can screw this into a water faucet and what this does is to throttle down the amount of water that’s coming out of your water faucets. It can throttle it down to 0.5 gallons/minute. Well, a lot of RVs come with faucets that aren’t water efficient, so attaching this to any threaded water faucets can be really helpful.

Swapping out your water faucet aerator can save you up to half the water you would use if they aren’t swapped up.

  1. A Low Flow Oxygenated Shower Head

What this does is to basically a water aerator for your shower. And what this does it to force in the air with the water to give you better water pressure, and also, you use less water. Click here for current price.

If you have a water-efficient showerhead, then maybe you do not need the oxygenated shower head however if you have the water head they put in from factories, then it’s not going to be as efficient.

  1. Wipes and a Dry Shampoo

Using wipes are a great way to get yourself clean without actually taking a bath. If you’re looking to save up water whiles boondocking, you could use baby wipes to clean the necessary areas and you should be good for the day.

Another way to conserve water is by using a dry shampoo, what this does it to absorb excess oil in your scalp. So, basically, it extends the life of your latest shampoo efforts.

  1. Have a Power Inverter and a Power Bank

Keeping your electronics charged up it is really important when you’re in the middle of nowhere and absolutely no city lights.

Having a power inverter and a power bank becomes handy when you want to save some power. With these two, you can charge electronics such as laptops, phones, tablets, and camera batteries.

  1. A Bialetti Moka Pot

If you’re a coffee lover looking to save some energy, then I highly recommend a Bialetti Moka Coffee Maker. You can prepare your espresso with this by heating the cup on a stove and using propane. So, you do not have to worry about getting up early in the morning and putting on the generator to make some coffee.

  1. Use LED Lights at Night

LED lights are about 70% more efficient than halogen lights. Not only that but they are cooler to touch. This makes them much better when camping in warmer weather. Now with the prices of LED lights been so low, it’s kind of a great alternative when looking for an upgrade.

  1. Use an Auto Vent

Using a max fan is a two for one. It has a built-in cover that prevents bugs and water from entering into the RV and works perfectly when your AC is not in use.

When you set your temperature to like 70 degrees, and your rigs start to get warmer than that, the auto vent opens up and then circulates air inside the RV. However, when the temperature in the rig is cooler than the set temperature, the vent closes and then shuts the fan off. This is great when you want to keep the temperature inside your rig regulated.

  1. Have a Composting Toilet

This is awesome because it completely eliminates the need of you using a black tank. This makes it possible for you to use your black tank for additional grey water storage. Another bonus of this device is that it uses no water. This frees up water for drinking and showering and for your personal usage.

  1. Using a Solar Oven

If you love cooking and you’re scared of finishing up your propane, then maybe the solar oven could be an alternative for you. You can cook with the solar oven outside so you do not create any heat inside the rig. Another great feature of this is that it doesn’t use any form of electricity. it uses the sun’s rays to heat up the temperature inside and gets the heat up to 300-450 degrees. So you do not have a problem baking your favorite recipes whiles boondocking.

  1. This is How You Deal With Trash

Well, a lot of these boondocking sites have no trash cans around, so, one way you can deal with trash is to use your grocery bags. You can keep any form of trash in these bags, and once they become full you can gather them and go and dispose of them at a disposable site, or a nearby trash can.

  1. Bring Along Some Cash and Quarters

These become useful for those who do not have a washer or a drier, if you have to go to the laundry-mart, you could use these pennies and quarters for any necessary payments. Also, when you have to go to a water refill station you might need cash.

  1. Do Not Forget to Entertain Yourself

Bringing along some form of entertainment that does not require much electricity be it a chair, or a radio or even playing cards, a book or anything could really help you get out of a boredom situation.

Garmer state park in Texas

  1. Use Disposables or a Foil

Using disposable plates and cups are a great way to save water since you do not need to wash them.

However, one thing to consider when using a foil is the trash, ensure to put them in your grocery bags if you do not have any trash can available.

Also, you could use an aluminum foil or a plastic foil to cover the plate you’re eating with before serving the food on the plate. Once you’re done eating, you could gently remove the foil of the plate, and you have a clean plate ready for reuse and you do not have to worry about washing.

  1. Do not Use the Hose in a Dump Station to Fill Your Water Tank

If you have the opportunity to have a dump station around, then try as much as possible to not use the water hose at the dump station to fill up your water tank, this is because you know where the hose has been and this makes it unhygienic to use. Technically, the water from the station is clean but the nozzle might be infected.

  1. Always Leave a Review

Make sure you leave a review about the place you visited on a website to help RVers like you know what the place is like. This makes it easy for someone else when he or she wants to boondock.

From these tips given above you can realize that when boondocking, you will need to conserve water, electricity, and propane. Nevertheless, researching and having enough information about the place you want to visit is essential too. With these tips, I hope you have a great boondocking experience.

Please like and share!

RV Groovin Life

Bonnie

Related Posts –  Do I Need Solar to Boondock?

My photo Bonnie

Hi, I’m Bonnie, welcome to RV Groovin Life! My husband and I retired in 2017, sold our house and bought a 2008 Mobile Suite Fifth Wheel. We have been RVing full-time ever since. I started this blog to share what we have learned along the way. I hope you follow us on our journey. Bonnie

Legal Information

I am the sole owner of RV Groovin Life website. This website is a participant in the Amazon Associates, an Affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. This website also participates with other affiliate programs like  adsense, shopstyle and others, with no extra cost to you.

Free Trial

RV Must-Have

Do I Need Solar to Boondock?

If boondocking for the first time, some possible questions you might be worrying about like what alternative sources of power other than solar, how to find a great spot, and how to manage your water including your grey and black tanks. This guide will cover that and give you  detailed answers to these questions for you to boondock successfully.

Can I Boondock Without Solar? If Yes, what are my Options?

RV camping at night

Yes, you can boondock without solar and here are some  alternatives to solar:

1. Generators

A generator will be your source of electricity, you might want to consider getting an inverter generator. These days that is defined by two brands, Honda, and Yamaha. We have a Honda and are very happy with it. Though there are other brands and types out of generators there, they are usually louder, and are not that reliable.

The good thing about inverter generators as compared to other types is that they are very quiet, you can stand about 5 feet away before you realize it’s even running.

You Can Use the Generator for the Following Purposes:

  • To charge your electronics
  • To top off the batteries of your rig
  • To run appliances

When going in for a generator, we highly recommend you go in for a generator with the power of 3000 watts or more. These will be able to power your air conditioning unit.

So, if you find yourself in a hot and humid climate, you might want to consider this, especially during the summer. However, if air conditioning isn’t a top priority you can get yourself a 2000w generator.

Another thing to bear in mind is that, if you find yourself in thinner air climates with higher altitudes, such as Wyoming, Colorado, generators tend to struggle because, for every 1000 feet above 500 feet, the produced power is decreased by 3.5 percent. This is something you might want to keep in mind if you’re camping in higher altitudes.

rv parked out west

Two precautions to take if you have a generator are:

Avoid running two high voltage appliances such as a water heater, an air conditioner, hair dryer, or microwave at the same time. This is because they are consuming so much power, and you might end up blowing your generator’s circuit. This generally has to do with generators that do not have sufficient power to run these appliances at the same time.

Also, since generators are expensive, I highly recommend you chain them to your vehicle to prevent it from being stolen.

2. Propane (LPG)

You can use propane on a daily basis if you travel. And is really important for boondocking because it’s primary aim is to power your refrigerator. Propane tanks are used to power the fridge when traveling down the highway from point A to B. However, many states restrict RVers from using propane while the RV is in motion.

propane tank

For appliances like water heaters, that use both propane and electricity, I highly recommend you use propane, since it heats the water faster, and keeps it hot for a long time since it constantly reheats the water as you shower.

You can also use your propane for your furnace. If temperatures are going to drop below 40 degrees, be you use your propane tank to kick on your furnace to make sure that your pipes don’t freeze.

Another thing you will use propane for is cooking.

Some generators are modified to run off propane for 10 or 15 hours. So, you can get an apparatus that will allow you to use propane to power your generator, or gasoline.

You can purchase your propane from gas stations, truck stops, some campgrounds except national campgrounds, or even at a dedicated propane facility.

One question you might ask yourself is how long propane might last?

Well, during the warm weather, most propane tanks seem to last quite a while. Because, just using the propane to run the refrigerator, do a little bit of cooking, and make some coffee should consume that much propane. One thing that will consume a lot of propane is when you use the heating furnace, during the winter.

3. A Power Inverter

This becomes handy when you need to charge up your electronics. such as computers, phones, camera batteries, and tablets.

A power inverter is a must have,if you plan to boondock without solar.

How Do You Find a Boondocking Spot?

Camping on public land is a special experience, unlike being on a campground, you’re parked off the grid in some of the most beautiful places you can think off without a neighbor in sight.

You’re often next to special amenities like a mountain lake, bubbling stream or even a desert mesa. And the beauty in the solitude is absolutely unmatched, and the best of all, it’s absolutely free. But how do you find these boondocking spots? And how do you know if it’s a legal place to camp ? I will share some tips with you, that will help you find these places of beauty.

Before we begin, let us take a look at the public lands that are available for dispersed camping. You will have to note that this will vary depending on what part of the country that you find yourself in.

pop up camper

You have:

  1. National Forest Service

The U.S. forest service, allows free dispersed camping along certain roads, within the national forests. But how do you know which road? This is where the freed motor vehicle used maps become handy. You can pick these up at the local ranger stations in each national forest.

However, to make things simple, if you’re looking at a distant campsite, or if you just want to make it easy on yourself, the National forest publishes these are free PDF downloads, on the website of each national forest.

  1. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Most campers prefer BLM camp lands to other camp lands because there are very few rules to follow. You just pick a BLM road, find a spot of your own and plop down. BLM lands typically have a 21-day staying time. However, it may vary by area. In states like California and Arizona, they have special long-term visitor areas on BLM lands, where you can actually stay for months.

In other areas, for example, the BLM lands surrounding Moab and Utah, you are actually prohibited from camping, but those are exceptions to the rule, by and large, you have free reign on BLM lands

  1. State Lands

It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that state lands and their usage vary from state to state. In a state like Utah, they have the school trust public lands that are free and available for camping. However, things vary from state to state, so check from your state to see what’s available.

  1. National Recreation Areas

You’re able to camp at NRA lands free dispersed, as you wish. In some states, you will be required to pay about $20 to enter some NRA lands which last for a week, whiles in some states, they are free. However, check with your chosen national recreation area to see what dispersed camping opportunities are available.

  1. National Parks Lands.

In certain exceptions, like the Canyonlands national park, there are dispersed campsites that are reservable but are not actually campgrounds, they are boondocking sites within the National park. Check with your National Park to see if there are such opportunities available there.

Now, we have chosen where we think we might want to camp, but what does it really look like? This is where Google Maps comes in. Most people are already well acquainted with Google street maps. But did you know that about the terrain and satellite views? They are very helpful in finding that perfect boondocking spot along with Google Earth which is another App that’s very useful.

Using Google maps, if you switch to terrain view, you can see topographic lines, that show where the campsite roads are relatively flat. If you switch to the satellite view, you can prospective campsites. The satellite view also provides insight into the condition of the road, as to whether it is narrow or wide, double track or grated? Google satellite view gives you a good hint. And if you see several rigs especially fifth wheels in the images, then it means you will have no problem getting your 25-foot travel trailer in.

Sometimes, it is necessary to dig a little bit deeper, in case the information provided is insufficient. You can Google on the site name, where you want to camp and you can other people’s photos of the place. You can also search for user-submitted photos on Google earth.

Also, sites like Campendium.com, campsites.net are filled with user reviews and photos of boondocking spots that others have found ahead of you. However, when in doubt, pick up a phone and call the local ranger station, for additional information.

It is great to find a spot to boondock at, however, you will need to know how to manage your resources and here are a few tips to help you manage water and your grey and black tank while boondocking.

campendium.com

reserveamerica.com 

Bureau of Land Managemen

 campsites.net

How To Manage Your Water Supply While Boondocking?

  • First and foremost, make sure to have a backup fresh water.
  • You can install a valve that will shut the water off to your toilet, or turn off the water pump. This will allow you to flush without using water.
  • You can use paper plates to decrease your water usage. However, if you want to use your regular plate, you can but make sure after every meal, you wipe the food off, or use very little water and soap. I keep a plastic tub in my kitchen sink (from dollar store) to catch water.
  • Make sure to repair all broken faucets to prevent water from leaking out.
  • Instead of washing your hands with water, I recommend you use a hand sanitizer instead. Also, instead of taking a shower, an alternative to save water is to use body wipes. Also, instead of brushing your teeth you can use a mouthwash, this should also save you some water.
  • Finally, if there are facilities such as portable bathrooms and toilets nearby, you can use them instead of using what you have in your rig.
  • Nevertheless, if your fresh water tank is used up and you need to get some fresh water, here are some ways you can do so:
  • Some Dump stations will have water. Either than that, you can find water in a number of ways:
  • If you’re camping near a national park, they will often have water available. And if paying a fee, or using a pass to get in, you can always fill up at water stations there.
  • State parks sometimes also have this. So, if you’re going to a state park, you pay a fee to get in anyway, and you can fill up some water there and bring it back to your trailer.
  • You can also find water dispensers. You can find them at different grocery stores.
  • Some dump stations will have potable water, but you need to be careful that it is potable water and not just rinse water used to rinse out your hose.
  • How To Manage Grey and Black Tank When Boondocking?
  • First, I will like to make it clear that dumping any amount of black water on the ground is illegal, regardless of which state you find yourself. This could lead to a fine. Knowing this, here are some tips to help you manage your grey and black tank:
  • First of all, make sure to know the capacity of your black tank and grey tank. To know how long you can go without any connections to dump these tanks.
  • Before going on boondocking, make sure to completely empty out your tanks.
  • Also, do your research before visiting any campsite. As said before dumping black water is illegal in every state. However, in some states, it is legal in some states to dump grey water on the ground. So, to be on a safer side, do your research.
  • However, if you have your grey full before your time of departure, here are a few ways to find dump stations near you:
  • When searching for a place to empty your grey tanks, you can use a few resources such as websites such as Campendium & Sanidumps
  • You can also look up campsites near you and try to use their dump stations but it usually comes at a fee. However, make sure to call before going to use their dump stations, because not all campsites will allow you to use their dump station if you’re not staying with them.
  • Rest stops and Truck stops are another option. For this, make sure to do your research, because not every rest stop has a dump station.

Last tip, when leaving a site, be sure to leave it better than you found it. Do you best to not disturb the wildlife, bushes, rocks, etc..  But most of all don’t forget to make some memories!

Please like and share if you found this helpful!

Happy Camping!

RV Groovin Life

Bonnie

Recent Posts – 17 Great Tips for First-time RVers

My photo Bonnie

Hi, I’m Bonnie, welcome to RV Groovin Life! My husband and I retired in 2017, sold our house and bought a 2008 Mobile Suite Fifth Wheel. We have been RVing full-time ever since. I started this blog to share what we have learned along the way. I hope you follow us on our journey. Bonnie

Legal Information

I am the sole owner of RV Groovin Life website. This website is a participant in the Amazon Associates, an Affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. This website also participates with other affiliate programs like  adsense, shopstyle and others, with no extra cost to you.

Free Trial

RV Must-Have

What is Boondocking?

If you’re new to the whole idea of boondocking, what it is, how to boondock, where to boondock and some things you will need when boondocking. This post will explain it all. A detailed guide to help you on your journey.

Boondocking is also referred to as ‘Dry Camping’ and basically, boondocking means being off the grid and being independent. No hookups to water or electric.

The definition of the word ‘boondocking’ may vary from person to person and from the definition above, camping at certain places may be considered boondocking by some people. Some of these places include:

  • Camping in a forest service campground could be considered as boondocking because there are no hookups.
  • If you belong to an RV club then you will most likely go to a Rally, even though most often you will get a hook up at an RV site, some people still refer to that as boondocking.
  • In many rest areas in the United States, you could stay overnight and there aren’t any hookups and some people may consider that as boondocking.
  • Retail establishments such as Flying J’s would allow you to spend a night at their parking lot with your RV for free, and some people may consider that as boondocking.

But What Exactly is Boondocking?camper

What boondocking actually means is, dry camping at an undeveloped area, or a remote public land without electricity and water supply, hence you will need to supply your own water in your holding tank and you need to also contain the wastewater in your black and grey tank.

This meaning camping at Walmart isn’t boondocking.

Why Do People Boondock?

  • It is Economical

Some RVer’s prefer boondocking to save money, especially if they’re on a tight budget. As compared to a typical camping site, RVers pay about $30 to $50 for space at a typical public or private campground or RV park, when you boondock, you don’t pay a dime, hence you get to save money.

  • Preference

Another reason why people love to boondock is the quietness. You get to enjoy an area free from all man-made sound and also you don’t need to worry about you disturbing anyone. Also, you’re able to enjoy your campsite without looking at your neighbor’s slide out, you’re not looking at bathrooms or power lines in your camping ground; it’s all natural.

My favorite reason for boondocking is being able to stargaze with no light pollution also, there are unspoiled sunrises.

  • Exploration

Boondocking is a great way to explore several remote geographical locations such as mining camps, ghost towns, and other remote places. A popular site to boondock is the Bryce Canyon in Utah, if you haven’t been there, put this on your bucket list.

  • Convenience

When boondocking, there is no need to worry about check-ins, making reservations or even rushing to break camp before the checkout time as you would in a public or private campsite. Also, as compared to typical camping, there is no limit to the number of people or RVs you can bring along with you to a campsite.

camper

Now You Know What Boondocking is, Where Do You Boondock?

Guess by now with the reasons why people boondock, you might also want to boondock, but where exactly can you find the perfect site to boondock?

Well, the answer to this question is; on public lands. On public lands, your primary focus should be on Federal lands and State lands.

Federal Lands

Boondocks are primarily found in the Western part of the United States. Even though there are areas where you can boondock in the country, the West has a lot of Public federal lands available for RVers to boondock.

Also, before you boondock on most federal lands, you will need to get a permit from a federal agency that offers boondocking opportunity.

Below are some of the federal land agencies that offer boondocking opportunities. These include:

  1. United State Fish and Wildlife
  2. BLM ( Bureau of Land Management)
  3. Bureau of Reclamation ( US Corps)
  4. TVA ( Tennessee Valley Authority)
  5. USFS ( United States Forest Service)

Where Exactly Can You Boondock on A Federal Land?

Most Western State lands have a lot of public lands that offer boondocking opportunities. Furthermore, you can boondock for 14 days almost anywhere in the United States Forest Service or BLM.

The keyword used by most government websites other than boondocking is either dispersed camping or primitive camping. Some national monuments and national parks allow RVers to boondock.

Before you boondock on any area, you might want to Google to the site of the land agency you might like to camp on to read the various rules they have for the various campgrounds. Each agency might have its own distinct rules for boondockers.

Travel Management Rule

Travel Management Rule Back in 2005, the Federal government passed a law saying each federal agency has to develop the Travel Management Rule. This rule explains and ensures that federal agencies provide a map that tells you what type of RV or vehicles can travel on what road in the forest. The rule tells you where you can and can’t boondock and if you have off-road vehicles, it also tells you where you can go.

Each agency has its own Travel Management rule on their website.

– State Lands

Above, we talked about the various federal agencies that offer boondocking opportunities and now, we will take a quick look at some state land agencies that offer boondocking opportunities.

State Land Agencies:

boondocking

  1. State Parks
  2. Department of Fish and Wildlife

All these State agencies provide you with boondocking opportunities.

Apps for Boondocking:

If you have a smartphone, check out these Apps for Boondocking

  1. Allstays ($9.99)
  2. UC (Ultimate Public Camping) ($3.99)
  3. Campendium RV & Tent Camping (free)
  4. US Public Lands ($8.99 for Bundle)
  5. Boondocking (free)
  6. Walmart Overnight Parking (Allstays) ($2.99)
  7. Google Earth (free)

Websites for Boondocking

Some sites such as Publiclands.org provides you with the details where you can boondock in all the 11 Western States and also tells you who controls what land.

State Paper Copy, each state has some form of a gazetteer, which shows you where public lands are and have detailed road use, and also some national forest boundary. When boondocking, you should look out for signs that tell you where to camp and where not to camp.

Tips for staying safe while Boondocking 

Now you know where to boondock, staying safe in the middle of nowhere is important.

  • Some RVers carry Raid (wasp spray) mace or bear spray.
  • Have a Security camera installed.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • We have a German shepherd named Maggie, she looks scary but sweet as honey.
  • If you are boondocking solo, make sure someone knows your location and your schedule.
  • Know how to exit your site quickly, especially if it’s in the middle of the night.
  • If you have cell service, be sure your phone stays fully charged or at least have a charged battery pack for backup.
  • Install an outdoor motion detector.
  • Always have a full tank of gas in your motorhome or tow vehicle.
  • If your camping in a site that looks like previous people have been partying ( lots of trash left behind) maybe reconsider another site.
  • Know where your keys are.

Most Importantly – If it doesn’t feel right – MOVE! Trust your instincts.

Know what is right for you. We haven’t experienced any kind of threat or problems while boondocking. In general, whether your boondocking or camping at an RV Park, pay attention to your surroundings, keep your RV locked.

camper

What you need for Boondocking:

  • Water

The number one thing you will need is water. Mainly it will be a great idea to fill your water tanks up before you head out to boondock.

In addition, personally, I carry a 5-gallon jug that I refill every time I drive off to town just to top up my tanks. I also carry 1-gallon jugs of water under my bed. I use that for drinking, cooking and things like that. They are inexpensive to refill around town. It cost 25 cents per gallon to refill these at the reverse osmosis stations at grocery stores or gas stations.

The next thing on my list would be disposable cups, bowls, and plates to reduce the usage of water whiles you’re out there.

When you meet new RVers, one thing they will talk about is poop and sewage. This is true for every single RV person. To avoid any issue concerning sewage, it highly recommendable that you use a composting toilet.

A composting toilet allows you to use your black tank to store grey water, which really helps you to conserve a lot of water. If you don’t have a compost toilet, you can usually find a dump station, Flying J’s a truck stop to drive to and dump your tanks. You will want to research that prior to boondocking.Haas Lake RV park

  • Power

Another essential is power, it doesn’t matter whether the source is from the sun or gas, it is important you have some sort of power when you’re out in the middle of nowhere.A power source you might want to consider maybe solar, if not you will need a generator. When using a generator, I highly recommend you use an inverter type of generator. These are quieter than the regular generators we use.

Once your batteries are charged using either a solar panel or a generator, you can now run all your DC loads. However, you are going to need some other way to power up your AC loads.

To run your AC load using your batteries, you are going to need an inverter. These will help you to run your TV and charge your phones. Basically, the inverter allows you to power up your regular household outlets.

However, the best way to get power when you’re boondocking especially in areas where you have a clear sunny sky is to use solar panels.

Even though you might not be able to watch TV for a long time or even use high current appliances for a long time, you should be able to power your laptop and charge your electronics. On a good sunny day, you wouldn’t have to use a generator to power up your RV.

  • Garbage

Even though some people might not see it to be important, but I think is a good thing to keep in hand. Make sure to hold on to your grocery bags from the grocery store and use those for your trash.

This is because a lot of these boondocking campsites don’t have dumpsters, it’s great if they do but usually, they don’t. Hence if you put them in these grocery bags, you can toss them off gas stations or where ever you find a trash can.

  •  Food

Another thing that is essential to bring is food. I encourage that you come with a fully stocked pantry because most of these campsites have grocery stores miles away. It is advisable you research ahead of time about your campsite to find out if they have great shopping options around.

When carrying food make sure to carry easy-to-make meals, such as one-pot meals which do not require a lot of dishes whiles you’re boondocking. Also, prepare foods such as chili and soups that can be eaten multiple times, so you can only use one pot.

  • How to Keep Yourself Warm

Another essential is heat. During the summer this might not be important but during the cold seasons, you will definitely want to stay warm at the middle of the night.

There are a few ways to do this. One way is using a vented propane heater. These are boondocking friendly and they distribute heat perfectly and quickly. For outdoors, you could use a propane fire pits, they are easy to set up, convenient and you don’t end up with your clothes smelling like smoke.

Before purchasing firewood to build your own fire, make sure to check the regulations of your free campsite to ensure that building fire with firewood is permitted or not.

  • Something For Laundry and Filling Up Your Tanks

One of the simplest things to bring but also easy to forget sometimes is a roll of quarters. This is something that is great to have on you as an RVer because is good for laundry and also when you want to refill your water tanks at gas stations.

  • Entertainment

Another important thing to have is some sort of entertainment which doesn’t require that much energy. It may be a chair to sit to watch nature, a good book, radio or a Bluetooth speaker. This depends on you as the individual and what your hobbies are.

  • Cellular Service

One last thing to have is a cellular phone booster. This would help you get cellular service and boost your cellular signal to 4G in places where you can’t get strong cellular signals.

With the information above, you should be ready to go boondocking without having any worries.

So get ready to unplug, be surrounded by nature and enjoy the starry sky!

Related topics:

For more information on Safety tips while Boondocking click here:

More Posts on Boondocking Click Here:

If you found this post helpful, kindly give it a like and don’t also forget to share this with your fellow RVers.

Happy Camping!

RV Groovin Life

 

12 Must-Haves for Boondocking

Especially if you want to avoid the typical RV parks. There are times when the convenience of an RV park with full hookup is just what you need, but reconnecting with nature is good for the soul.

Boondocking has become very popular in the past several years among people of all ages. A home away from home, where one can truly live with oneself, for some time, not only relaxes but also gives you those precious moments of retrospection and inner peace.

Below is the Checklist of the 12 Must Haves:

12 Must-Haves for Boondocking

  1. Battery Operated Fan
  2. Water, Water, Water
  3. Generator
  4. Tire Covers
  5. Ice Cooler
  6. Propane Grill
  7. First Aid Kit
  8. Weather Alert Radio (battery operated)
  9. Lantern/Flashlight/Batteries
  10. Heave Duty Storage Container for Trash
  11. Body Wipes (to conserve water)
  12. Charged Battery Pack for Cell Phone

However, to make the experience a memorable one, there are several things one must keep in mind.

These things although tiny, play a major role in keeping you away from all sorts of troubles and making your stay wonderful. Hopefully, this guide will help answer questions you might have about boondocking.

How to boondock in an RV?

Boondocking, in general, refers to pulling off of popular spots, to a secluded place to spend time without the availability of abundant running water, electricity or social media.

And if you are to go for it, there can be no better vehicle than in your RV, motorhome, travel trailer, camper or even a van!  In the wilderness, you might not find any RV parks, but then the purpose of boondocking itself would be defeated.

tetons

The first thing to do is to upgrade the power system.

You will need a generator, or batteries with higher capacity, or better yet, solar panels(regarding which we will discuss later). Secondly, you can also try adding to the holding space of the RV.

Although this might not be very easy, depending on your RV, you can try putting up external water tanks, or shades, and even foldable chairs and desks outside the RV.

Finally, make sure you carry that extra fuel for your generator.

Practicing energy conservation would go a long way into saving that much-needed juice for your trip. Switch off gadgets and lights that are not in use.

And most importantly, try to find an even spot to park the RV, because considering the weight and size of the vehicle you would not want to be stuck with your brake lever while trying to escape a possible slide or tire failure.

Places to Boondock

Finding a place to boondock is not that difficult. But finding one in which you can truly enjoy, needs a bit of effort. Most people choose to go to the wilderness where they can find themselves surrounded by nature.

In this regard, boondocking is essentially dry camping, which has got designated camping grounds in places like;

  • United States Forest Service (USFS)
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Corps of Engineers (COE) or in regional
  • State and National parks.

These parks may charge you for utilizing their camping grounds, but in most situations, it isn’t much and often free.

Or you can always find a place you like, be it alongside a calm stream, or a seasonal waterfall, with a window, facing towards the dusk sun, making you cozy. Make sure you are not on private property.

Lastly, you would also want to check the weather of the place you have considered for boondocking before you embark on your journey. You would naturally not want to be stuck in a hurricane while boondocking, right?  I strongly suggest investing in a battery operated Weather Alert Radio.

Popular places to boondock:

  • Cook’s Chasm in Yachats, Oregon: An oceanside place
  • BLM Land South of Joshua Tree National Park, California
  • Pretty Flowering Meadow in Mount Hood
  • National Forest, Oregon: For the ones, that want to find themselves amidst the colors of nature.

Staying safe

Boondocking sites are often fun when they are off the grid. But being off the grid also increases the risk factor at times.

As a measure of self-defense, it is suggested that you carry some element to defend yourself against any unfortunate circumstances. If you do not have any other means, at least carry pepper spray.

Further, if you have parked your RV in a remote location, which most likely you would, make sure you lock up things properly, as you doze off. Although unfortunate situations are pretty rare, it is better to prevent and prepare than to repent and repair.

camper

Preparing to Boondock:

It is very important to be certain about things like drinking water supply, waste storage, and electrical supply.

How much water will I need?

The availability of drinkable and usable water can be scarce near your campsite. The first thing that you need to do is try to be economical with the supply you carry. Fill your fresh water tank before you proceed to the campsite and if possible attach a few additional water tanks to your RV. This can be extremely helpful, especially in the dry season.

During the rainy season, you can always arrange some means to collect rainwater in a bucket a for bathing or flushing toilet.

In almost all situations, you would find that you use most of the water showering, washing dishes and flushing.

It is often advisable that you do not waste water while doing any of these. While showering, do not leave the shower on, while you apply soap.

Rather, turn it on only to rinse yourself. You can also use pre-moistened body wipes for bathing to help conserve your water supply. Paper plates and plastic utensils are an option to minimize water consumption.  The wastewater from both bathing and washing dishes can be used for flushing.

While camping, you might even want to skip on a few showers, letting that wild fragrance from the wilderness get into you. Just say’in?

How much power to pack in?

Sitting around a candle when the sun goes down can be fun at times, most of the time, you would want your RV lit, and your essential devices running. But, for that to happen, you need to understand how much power you want to pack in.

Most of your power would essentially come from the RV batteries, generator and or solar panels. However, these batteries you carry with you would eventually need charging. You can do it by the use of the generator or by simply using solar panels.

If you decide upon the generator, it is advantageous to carry a portable one.  You can always use a low noise, fuel efficient, unlike the noisy ones which would otherwise take much away from a nice experience.

Solar power great for boondocking. The two most common ones are the roof mounted, and the portable. With the portable ones, you can adjust them so that you receive maximum power from the available sunlight in the area.

And of course, if you are concerned about leaving the minimum pollution footprint on nature, then solar panels are the way to go.

To save power, choose energy efficient devices/appliances on your RV, which includes LED bulbs and other devices with low power consumption.

How can I dispose of waste?

Waste disposal is very important, finding a dump station might be difficult. You would find plenty of them at campsites.

You are definitely going to find more of them near gas stations, truck stops, or resting areas, and most of these would allow you to dump your waste without charging you anything for it

You can even look up for possible dumping stations on apps like:

    • rvdumps.com or sanidumps

A waste holding tank is essential when boondocking:

Click here for current price:

Whatever the season you will need to heat or cool your RV;

There are several things you can do to regulate the temperature and make your stay a pleasant one. In the warm season, it’s important to park your RV in the shade if at all possible, or away from direct sunlight. Most RVs do come with window shades that cut out most of the sunlight.

If you do not have one installed in your RV, make sure you do so, or get detachable shades that reflect the sunlight outside and keeps the interior cool.

Installing fans inside your RV also works wonders, provided you have space. Using a battery operated fan with low voltage can help keep the heat out.

travel trailer

During the cold season, you might have to turn up the heaters. However turning up the heaters would drain a lot of juice out of your RV batteries. Instead, you can go for one of those propane heaters.

A mid-size propane can, about half a liter be enough for these heaters and would keep you considerably cozy, but keep well ventilated when using propane heaters.

In addition, pack in a few good blankets as well and make sure you keep yourself warm. Mr. Buddy heaters are a popular option.

Cooking when Boondocking?

It is essential that you pack appropriately and prepare to cook your own meals unless you plan to thrive on readymade snacks or pre-cooked preserved meals. Most RV’s have propane/electric stoves.

If your RV isn’t equipped with one, a portable gas grill would be a good option. Planning your meals ahead that have a long shelf life for example – can goods and dried foods, rice, pasta, can vegetables, cereal require little energy to store and prepare.

On the trip

The fun of boondocking is when you get to be carefree at times, and just enjoy being away from the buzz of day to day life. If you prepare well ahead and have a plan, rest assured you will find boondocking your ultimate getaway.

Campfires and Cleanup

It is advisable to not move around rocks or logs, unless absolutely necessary. Some places allow you to make a campfire, just make sure you follow the rules and regulations are before doing so.

In such circumstances, make sure you do not leave a mess and always be sure you put the campfire out completely!  It is considered a good practice to stick to established spots while boondocking. Also, make sure you do not dump your tanks in the camping area.

Wildfires are not a joke, small burning soot from a cigarette or a campfire that is not put out correctly can be just enough to cause a wild forest fire. Not only that, there is a serious fine and even jail time for people who start such fires. Therefore, you need to be extra careful in these matters.

Wildlife and Pets

The wildlife around these places adds to the beauty and awe of the experience. During your stay, make sure you do not get on the wrong footing of harming these animals or destroying their habitat.

It can even land you in jail or make you pay hefty fines, as per the Wildlife Conservation Acts.

You also need to keep an eye out for your pets, so that they do not come up against any unwanted encounter with a wild animal.

Regulations

The regulations you need to follow varies from place to place in accordance with different ranger areas. It’s always better to check with the local ranger station, to be on the safer side. In general, there is also a limit on the maximum number of days you are allowed to stay, usually 14 days. Other regulations involve maintenance of pets, campfires, generator use and legally conserved areas with no permit to enter. These should be confirmed before camping in the site.

Living and letting live

Popular boondocking campsites can have a good number of people around. While staying, you need to be careful about the comfort of others as well. Things, like playing loud music, or parking your RV excessively close to another, would definitely hamper their experience and in return yours too.

However you can take this opportunity to make new friends, and who knows, you might just find the right setting for meeting with the most wonderful person you would have ever come across.

Also, try to be careful with when using the generator. Only minimal use, most sites have regulations when you can run your generator and for how long. Not usually a problem if you are the only camper. Not many people fancy the rattling sound especially when boondocking.

Most people like solitude in such an adventure, so it is good to be respectful of what they want. This would also make your trip pleasant.

Doing it your way!

Finding one’s rhythm amidst the calm of nature is something most of us want from a boondocking adventure. Be it the need to let go of the past, or to find a pleasant breakout of your day to day schedule, it is the most enticing of experiences.

With a lot of time to introspect, absorb such an experience is surely nothing less than nature’s own spa.

An adventure waits ahead of you, embrace it, pack those bags and show yourself, that yes, you can do it, whatever be it, whatever be your passion, whatever you are after, you can achieve it.

lake and a road

Apps for Boondocking

  • Coverage – (collects all cell phone data coverage maps and combines together, to help you find campsites with good signal)
  • Gas Buddy – (searches for cheapest fuel/gas near you) Around Me – (helpful when driving through new cities and towns to find a post office or grocery store)
  • Allstays Camp & RV – I use this app all the time.
  • Google Earth – Great for boondocking

Make this next boondocking escapade an awe-inspiring journey of self-discovery, and be the version of yourself that you were always meant to be.

More Post on Boondocking – Click Here

Happy Camping!

RV Groovin Life