Are You Prepared For Boondocking?
Boondocking, or dry camping, is growing in popularity and there are more people than ever using their RVs off-grid to explore public lands and parks. But what exactly IS boondocking, and are YOU ready to be one of the many now doing it?
What is Boondocking?
Boondocking is also known as dry camping or camping without hookups. You can often find boondocking locations on public lands. State, federal, and county lands may offer this type of camping.
Dry camping means there are no hookups for electricity, water, or sewer. Your RV or van needs to be fairly self-contained for an enjoyable boondocking experience.
Here are 5 reasons you’re not ready for boondocking (yet)…
#1 You Don’t Have Enough Power
Without electricity hookups, you’ll need to provide your own power – usually in the form of batteries, solar, and/or a generator. This energy will allow you to camp with your usual amenities.
If you don’t yet have solar, or don’t have enough panels, you will have to use a generator.
The most common generator boondockers start with is a 2,000-watt generator.
#2 You Can’t Store Enough Water
Plan for 2 to 3 gallons of water per person per day while boondocking.
So for a family of 3 to go camping for the weekend you might expect to use 10 gallons. Most RVs and even some vans will hold at least 20 gallons, many up to 60 gallons. The weekend camping trip might be a breeze, but what if you want to venture somewhere remote for a week or longer?
If your RV tank is too small, purchase an external water storage that you can carry in your tow vehicle. Or, if you’re not too far off the beaten path, you can take a mid-week break to go fill up at a public water spigot.
On BLM land, many ranger stations have fill-ups.
Otherwise, your best bets are gas stations, rest stops, or RV parks.
#3 You’re Scared
Maybe you’ve seen a few too many horror films where the happy camper gets abducted from the woods. If you’re scared to camp in the boonies, you might not be ready for boondocking.
We recommend dipping your toes in the boondocking before going too far off-grid. Begin with a well-tested, close-to-town spot. And if you’re still scared, perhaps just buying the right RV security device will help you feel more ready.
Keep in mind, even avid boondockers sometimes end up at an awful boondocking spot. In these cases, it’s best to always have a plan B!
#4 Waste Tanks Fill too Quickly
If your waste tanks tend to fill quickly, you might not be ready for boondocking. You’ll need to learn conservation methods like taking navy showers, where you turn the flow off while lathering.
If you’re not yet ready to make the leap to a composting toilet, you can purchase a blue boy portable waste tank for dumping your RV sewage without having to break camp or move the rig.
#5 You’re Worried About Pet Safety
When venturing deeper into the woods and farther off-grid with your pet, there are more concerns about wildlife and pets losing their way. Maybe your dog loves to chase bunnies, in a more densely wooded area you may lose sight of them quickly.
We recommend a GPS pet collar for boondocking so you can track them down if they do runoff. And if you’re heading to an unfamiliar region, researching the local environment can better prepare you for what you need to look out for, ie: types of wildlife, insect bites, and other region-specific information.