Boondocking Packing Tips for Beginners! (Best Guide)

The anticipation for boondocking can be both exhilarating and revolutionary. For many, it is a way to experience the ultimate freedom and a step into official adulthood. 

However, packing for boondocking as a beginner can be stress-inducing.

Much like any other experience, the list of things to pack can seem endless.

Coupled with inexperience, it can feel as though you need to pack the entire home and its contents! 

But truth be told, you don’t have to!  

If this is your first time trying to pack for an RV trip or boondocking, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top boondocking tips for beginners.

You best believe that these are our tried and tested packing tips as we were beginners to this game, many packing sessions ago.  

Let’s begin. 


Tip 1. List your activities and then the essentials.  

As frivolous as it may seem, packing becomes a whole lot easier if you know exactly what activities you plan to engage in.

Are you planning to cruise through and camp?

Is there biking, rock-climbing or hiking on the itinerary?  

Having a clear picture of your activities and daily routine during the boondocking will help you identify which essentials and gears you need. 

Of course, you will need to add things for sleeping, eating, and relaxation.  

Tip 2. Plan your meals and prep them.  

When you are on the road, there is no guarantee that you will find a good place to eat while you feel hungry.

Planning your meals before an RV trip is fantastic for two main reasons: 

  • One, you avoid over-packing or under-packing the food.  
  • Two, you save money on over-paying for food at remote locations. 

If you have a definite boondocking schedule, you should also consider prepping your meals from home. You will save a lot of time as well.  

Tip 3. Leave the glassware at home. 

Running into bumpy roads is given during outdoor trips. The rattling RV is not an ideal place for glassware and fancy glasses.

Instead, pack your food and dinnerware made of plastic.  

They are light in weight and do not break easily, making them a great travel companion.

Plastic dinnerware is also effortless to clean, which makes them convenient. Check out this 12 piece set on Amazon.  

Tip 4. Basic tools are a must.  

Boondocking or any other types of outdoor trips rely heavily on DIYs.

But without the bare essentials, there is only so much you can do with your hands.  

Some of these essential tools to pack include duck tape, a tool kit, leveling ramps, and Bumper Receiver Adapter, among others.

The idea is to pack the necessary tools without making your RV too heavy. 

Tip 5. Include entertainment on the list.  

There is no doubt that you will spend your days enjoying nature in the outdoors.

But you will also have a lot of downtimes, especially in the mornings and in the evenings. 

So you will need some entertainment during boondocking.  

Board games are an excellent choice for this purpose. Watching movies or playing the guitar can also be great stress busters and for relaxation.

Listening to podcasts on apps like Audible is also a good choice.

The main idea is to pack some entertainment, but this is a lot more to do with personal preference.  

Tip 6. Lightweight packing is the key. 

Irrespective of whether you are backpacking or boondocking in an RV, weight can be a detriment to the overall experience.

Leave the bulky items and substitute them for lightweight ones. Replace the glassware for plastic dinnerware, hardcover books for paperback ones, and so on. 

While packing the RV, it is also crucial that you distribute the weight evenly across the vehicle.

It can be dangerous if one side of the RV is heavier than the other.

Chances of tipping and capsizing your vehicle increase significantly if the weight is not distributed evenly.  

It is also a good idea to keep the weight of the RV within the recommended weight. You can visit a weighing station before you hit the road.  

Tip 7. A travel app is a must-have. 

Using a travel app can function as a survival kit while you are on the great outdoors.

You can use these apps to download the maps and get information about the places you want to park your RV.

You can also use them in terms of emergencies. These apps also come in very handy for organizing your trip and looking for the best spots to eat and visit.   

Among the multitude of apps, some of the best ones are Google Maps, ReserveAmerica, and Lonely Planet, among others.

These apps are free to use on all platforms, so you don’t have to spend a cent to use them.  

Tip 8. Empty your tanks often.  

Now that you are on the road, it is important to dump your tanks as often as possible.

This will considerably reduce the weight of the RV and also keep it fresh and clean.

Most camping grounds and parking stations have dumping stations with little or no charge, so make the most of it.  

In regards to tanks, it is also good to empty your water tanks as often as you can.

Keeping the water tank in full capacity at all times might seem like a safe bet, but it can add weight to the vehicle and make it dangerous to travel.  

There are several options for hooking up to potable water for boondockers, so keep the water reserve reasonable. 

Bottom line.  

Packing for the first boondocking trip can seem impossible and a never-ending process.

However, proper preparation and planning can make a world of difference. The main takeaway is to pack all the essentials while keeping it lightweight.  

Finding the right balance can be a little tricky, but as you get used to boondocking, you will find your place.

It is not the end of the world if you don’t get it 100% right the first time. Take it easy, and enjoy your first boondocking experience.