Boondocking, or Dry Camping, is the term used to describe camping without power, water, or Sani hookups. A Boondockee and their RV must be completely self sufficient. Campers who choose to Boondock never have to worry about getting campground reservations, paying fees, or dealing with noisy neighbors. Boondocking allows you to explore anywhere you’d like!
Preparing For Boondocking
Selecting Your RV
If you already know you plan to camp off grid, there are some features you should keep in mind while RV shopping. You should select an RV with large holding tanks, and if possible, a solar charging package or a built in generator. Find out what kind of batteries the RV uses, because Lithium Ion batteries will hold a charge far longer than Lead Acid batteries.
If you plan to adventure across tough terrain to find your ideal off grid camping spot, do not select a huge, heavy RV! Find something nimble, with good ground clearance so that it can easily be towed across tight spaces with rough terrain or low hanging branches, and something light enough that it won’t sink into soft mud or grass.
Here Are Just A Few Of Our Off Grid RV’s!
Practice Makes Perfect
Before you try dry camping for the first time, it is a good idea to practice at a campground that includes hookups to make sure you won’t end up running out of power or water and getting stranded. Try camping without using any hookups and see how long you can go without filling your black and grey tanks, draining your freshwater tank, or running out of power! This is a great way to test your RV’s limits and get an idea on how quickly you go through your supplies in a safe environment with back up hookups, rather than finding out while you are alone in the wilderness.
There are 4 main things that are essential for dry camping. Water, Food, Propane, and Gas. Keep in mind that there will be no garbage facilities when you are boondocking, so remember to leave room for the garbage you will be bringing home with you!
We all know that we won’t get far without water. Ensure that your freshwater tank is completely filled before you embark on your Boondocking trip. To conserve the water inside your freshwater tank, we suggest bringing separate jugs along specifically for drinking water.
It is important to plan out your meals while Boondocking. More dishes means more washing up, which means more of our precious fresh water supply will be used. Try to select one pot or campfire recipes to minimize dishes! You can also prepare and freeze meals at home, so all you have to do is thaw them out while you are camping! Click here to browse some of our favorite camping recipes!
It is very important to have full propane tanks before a Boondocking trip.
Propane is used to provide heat and hot water inside your RV. RV’s may use propane for the stove, oven, refrigerator, as well as other appliances too! If your RV has an induction cooktop, consider using a portable grill or BBQ powered by propane to save your RVs battery life. Alternatively, if you are using solar panels and it is sunny out, opt to use your induction cooktop rather than an appliance that would require propane. It is important to factor in the supplies you have, and decide what method is best to conserve them based on your situation.
And finally, do not forget to pack extra gasoline, especially if you plan to bring a generator!
Even if you have solar panels, it is still a good idea to bring a generator. Always make sure you have more than one way to charge your RV batteries!
Generators are a great way to power your RV and charge anything, but they require gasoline to run. Bringing extra gasoline ensures that you will never run out of power, or end up stranded due to your tow vehicle running dry.
During Your Trip
Always let somebody know where you are heading before you depart for your trip, and when they can expect you to return. Research hospitals, gas stations, mechanics, and if you have pets, vets that will be near where you plan to camp, just in case of emergency! If you are headed outside of cell service, make a mental note where the last point of service during your drive was in case you need to find it for emergencies.
It is important to conserve as much water as possible during your trip. Do not openly run taps the way you would at home, instead only open them to a slow stream and shut them off between rinses. When you wash dishes, fill a sink or basin rather than running fresh water constantly, or better yet, use a spray bottle and a damp cloth! Try to rinse dishes immediately instead of letting dirty food dry onto them. To avoid filling your grey tank you can dump dish water outside. Never leave your grey tank open to drain freely onto the ground.
When it comes to saving water in the bathroom, an easy thing you can do is reduce how many times you flush your toilet. If it’s yellow, let it mellow, and only if it’s brown, flush it down! The best way to reduce water usage in your RV is by not showering in it, or at least not showering daily. You can use wet wipes to clean yourself between shower days. If you do plan to shower, it might be worth purchasing a more water efficient showerhead than your standard RV showerhead. Use the showerhead valves to turn the water off between washing, rather than running it for 10 minutes straight.
Although you should have a generator or solar panel backup to charge your RV batteries, it is still a good idea to preserve the battery life as much as possible while dry camping. Turn off all RV lights when they are not in use, and unplug any appliances or electronics that could draw power. It is a great idea to pack along your own battery operated lantern or flashlight, and even a portable battery bank for charging your phone!
To keep your RV cool without having to use your A/C, park in the shade and open your windows! You can also purchase reflective covers for your RV to keep the heat out, and extending the awning will also help keep it cooler.
If you are trying to stay warm without using your RV’s furnace, use an electric blanket or place a hot water bottle in your bed or sleeping bag. Park in the sun to heat up your RV and optimize your solar panels. To find out the best way to stay warm in your RV with minimal power usage, check out our blog post below!