It’s really fun to camp in an RV, travel, and enjoy the freedom. But you can also add more adventure and excitement to it by boondocking. So, what is boondocking?
Boondocking For Beginners: 9 Things You Will Wish You Had Known! Boondocking means camping with your RV in a place where there are no electrical hookups, no water and sewer connections. It is also called dry camping and it is an off-the-grid style camping that can be done on public or private land.
Since boondocking is a little different from the usual camping we do on the campgrounds, there are several things you need to know. And that’s what I’m to share with you in this article. Make sure you read till the end. Let’s get started!
Before you start your boondocking adventure, doing some planning will help you to ensure a pleasurable and good experience.
It can be fun to you to find the hidden gem of unexpected places where you can boondock, but still, prior planning will save you from any hassle later on.
So, what do you have to do regarding planning your boondocking trip? Well, first of all, try to gather as much as information you can about the campsites you plan to visit.
Following are some of the questions you can ask yourself:
- What facilities will be available?
- Will I need a reservation?
- What If I don’t make any reservation, will I get a site?
- What kind of restrictions are there?
Generally, most public lands allow boondocking, including National or State Forest and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands.
The most beautiful thing about boondocking in these public lands is that you can enjoy the scenic beauty whenever you open your RV’s door. It allows you to connect more with nature and thus can be a beautiful way to relax and enjoy.
However, you can also do boondocking on places like travel stops, truck stops, and overnight parking lots.
No matter where you want to do boondocking, it is always best to gather information about that place.
You can gain information about the campsites in some of the following ways:
- Check campground directories
- Check travel guides
- Check Park brochures
- Check websites
- Do Phone calls
- Visit the campground or park ahead of time
Planning your trip can also be very helpful for you if you have planned and gained information on a lot of different sites where you can do boondocking. It is always good to have a backup of campsites.
It is important to pick not just one camping area but at least to have a list of some as a backup.
Let’s say you arrive at your camping area on the weekends when the chance of the camping area being packed is likely higher. You might not even have any campsite available on busy days. So, it is important to have a backup plan of where you can camp, ready with you.
Choosing The Campsite
After you choose the campground to do the boondocking, you are now on the stage to choose the campsite. So how do you choose the campsite? Here are some helpful questions you can ask:
- Will the length and width of the site be able to accommodate your RV?
- Is there enough space or road area to allow you to setup and maneuver your rig into the camping site?
- Are there any trees in between that can block you from maneuvering your RV?
- If you have a slide out, then will you be able to extend it without hitting any object?
- Is there anything you can get bumped into while maneuvering your RV?
- Are there any branches that can damage your roofs?
- Are there any branches that can interfere with the TV antenna when you raise it?
- Is the site levelled properly, front to back and side to side?
- Is the site well-lit? And if is well-lit is it going to interfere with your sleep?
- What is the view from your windows and doors?
Moreover, you also need to look for the orientation of the sun. This is especially important to know if you are going to use solar panels to recharge your batteries.
At the same time, you also need to be aware of the heat of the sun. For instance, if the sun is shining on the side where you have the refrigerator, then it might not work efficiently.
Also note that, if the tree cover is quite dense in your campsite, then you might not be able to use the solar panels or the satellite TV. So, you should also consider it as well.
If you choose to use wind power then also you need to check whether or not the trees will block the wind or get in the way of the wind generator.
If you are boondocking next to a river or stream is there any chance of flooding? It is always good to be extra sure about that especially because if flash flooding occurs then you wouldn’t even have time to move your RV.
Boondocking can be a great way to enjoy and have fun, but that doesn’t mean that you become careless about your safety. It is always good to take preventive measures and be careful in order to avoid any unwanted security issues.
Here are some helpful points that you should know for staying safe and secure while you are boondocking:
- Make sure to park your rig properly in a safe and secure area. For example, if you are boondocking in a rest area or parking lot then please make sure that the place is well lit and safe.
- Make sure to lock your door when you are inside your RV.
- Don’t leave any valuables in your RV or tow vehicle unattended when you leave.
- If there is a window near the door then close it to prevent someone from reaching through the window to open the door.
- Make sure to keep the motorized vehicles secure when you leave
Remember, if you feel suspicious of anyone who knocks at your door at night then please don’t immediately open it.
Instead, turn on the outside light, use the window and a flashlight to identify the person and find out what they want. And if for any reason you are not comfortable with their answers then don’t open the door.
While boondocking there are some etiquettes you need to follow to be considered as being a good boon docker.
According to rvtravel.com, there used to be about 80% of Walmart’s in the USA and Canada used to allow overnight RV parking. But now it’s about 65% and one of the significant reasons for this is the behavior of the RVers themselves.
Some RVers are careless and they don’t follow the etiquette. They leave their trash in the parking lot. Some will even park overnight without permission, while some stay overnight.
Hence, being a part of this RVing community it is our responsibility to follow the etiquettes of the place where we go and enjoy, doing camping or boondocking.
Here are some of the etiquettes you should follow to be a good RVer or Boon docker:
● Obtain permission of the qualified individual for the place where you want to boondock
● If some regulations are posted then try to follow them
● Avoid using hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces
● Purchase something such as gas, food, or other supplies as a form of thank you
● Don’t throw thrash out and try to keep your surroundings clean
● Try to respect your neighbors, privacy and don’t put your camp too close to someone
Following these and more such etiquettes will not only make your stay more fun and enjoyable.
If you want to make your boondocking successful then it is important to manage your valuable resources such as water, efficiently.
Without water you can’t wash, shave, clean, or drink, so it is important to use it wisely since in case of boondocking there will be no hookups. So, it means you will have to bring all the freshwater you will need for the complete boondocking duration.
Generally, it is better to have RVs with large tanks for boondocking. But there are also ways to conserve the water resources you already have. Some of them are as follows:
● When you wash your hands, wet them, shut off the water, soap up and then rinse
● Instead of using water for washing hands, you can use waterless hand sanitizing products
● Before you wash the dishes, wipe them and make them clean as much as you can with paper towels
● You can use paper plates and paper bowls so that you can dispose of them by burning them in the fire pits. (However, make sure that the campsite allows you to do so or not)
● Make foods that use less water and avoid those that use a lot of water.
● You can also steam or microwave foods, especially vegetables.
Note that despite conserving your water, if you are going to boondock for a long period of time, then at some point or the other you would need to replenish your water supply.
Here are some of the ways you can replenish your freshwater supply:
● If you have already carried extra water then that’s going to help you now to replenish freshwater.
● Or else look for campground water sources
● Also, you can get portable water tanks
Since Boondocking is an off-grid style camping, your RV should be self-contained which basically means that your RV has grey and black water tanks where you can store your wastewater.
● Grey Water = Wastes from your sink and shower
● Black Water = Liquid and solid human waste
Both grey and black water gets collected into the grey tank and black tank of your RV respectively.
Remember that you should not dump your tanks on the ground. Instead, you should dispose of all the waste at the dump stations.
Being a boon docker trash management is an important thing to consider.
If you are boondocking in a wilderness area such as a national forest, then it is important to keep our campsite clean and garbage-free.
Remember, when you are in such places you are not only closer to nature but also closer to the wildlife. The smell of trash and garbage can attract unwanted animal visitors to your campsite.
So, it is really important to reduce the amount of trash as much as you can before you leave home. For example, if you want to use boxed frozen vegetables then you can just dispose of the box in your home’s garbage container, or just take it with you in a plastic bag.
To get rid of the trash you can use the campground’s own trash containers. Or else you can burn most of your trash in a fire pit as long as it is allowed to do so in the camping area.
Power & Energy Management
Also, in the case of boondocking, you will not get any external electrical connections. So it is important that you have a source of energy through which you can keep your electrical components, especially your RV batteries to be charged.
The RV battery system allows you to use all the lights and appliances while you are boondocking.
To charge the RV battery system, many RVers use solar power or a generator. Solar RV battery chargers are popular because they are silent as well as portable.
Safety Of Pets
If you have pets and you take them with you while boondocking then you need to be careful and keep an eye on them especially when you are boondocking in the wild and forest areas.
If you take your dog with you then you need to be careful to protect them from other wild animals. For example, animals like coyotes will lead your dog away and then once your dog is far away from the campsite, they might attack your dog.
So, in short, make sure you have well planned your boondocking trip ahead. Choose your campsite location properly and be careful to stay safe and secure.
Apart from these, also make sure to conserve water. Manage trash, sewage, and energy. And last but not least, be sure to keep your pets safe especially if you are boondocking in the forest areas. That’s it, thanks!