What is RV Boondocking?
RV boondocking is a type of camping that involves staying in an RV at a campsite without any utilities or sewage. Boondocking can be done either in a designated area at a campground or in a more remote location such as a national forest.
Boondocking is popular among RVers because it allows them to camp in more remote locations, away from the crowded campgrounds with hookups. It also tends to be cheaper than camping at a campground with hookups.
There are some downsides to boondocking; however, RVers must be more self-sufficient and careful not to use too much water. In addition, RVers must be able to generate electrical power. Additionally, boondockers must be mindful of their environmental impact and leave mother nature as they found it.
What is Boondocking Camping?
Boondocking RVers must be more self-reliant than those who camp in RV parks, but many feel it’s more authentic and brings them closer to nature.
If you’re considering giving boondocking a try, you should know a few things. First and foremost, you must have a rig set up for boondocking. It means having enough fresh water, holding tanks for your needs, and having a generator or solar panels for power. You must also be mindful of your food storage and waste disposal, perhaps a composting toilet or venturing out to find the closest dump station. Once you’ve got the logistics sorted out, the fun begins!
How Do You Find Boondocking Locations?
You can do a few things if you’re looking for boondocking campground locations. First, check out websites like FreeCampsites.net and Campendium, which have lists of places you can camp for free or low-cost camping options.
Camping in your RV can make for a great trip almost anywhere, but I think it is best in the west. You can travel to the desert and stay free for up to two weeks in many areas (dispersed camping). It’s true of most Bureau of Land Management (BLM) national forest lands and many state forest lands.
RV camping is very common in Arizona during the winter months for most of the country. One of the largest boondocking events is at Quartzite. Hundreds of thousands of people find their way there yearly and spend at least part of the year in their RVs here.
It’s near the California border, on Interstate 10, only 20 miles from the Colorado River. Surrounded by BLM lands, Quartzite is famous for gem shows, swap meets, and multiplying its population each winter.
If you ask around in the desert southwest, you’ll find RV communities that form every winter. Some temporary towns like “Slab City” in California have bookstores, grocery vendors, and other businesses run by RVers. Once summer returns, these boondock communities disappear and reappear the following winter again.
How to Find Boondocking Sites with Free Camping
Just do a little research, look around, and you’ll find “hidden” places where you can park your RV for a week or a month in the southwest desert.
Some are inexpensive; others are free. For example, the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area, north of Bowie, Arizona, costs $3 per night and has hot springs and plenty of wildlife. An annual permit costs $30, but you’re limited to two weeks per month (pick-up permits at the BLM office in Safford). You can stay outside the fenced area for free, but you don’t get the hot springs and shaded picnic tables.
When looking for a free boondocking site, research the area ahead of time. Some public lands may have camping restrictions, so check the rules before setting up camp. Once you’ve found a few potential sites, print out a map of the area so you can easily find your way back if needed.
When you arrive at your chosen boondocking site, take some time to explore the area and look for the best spot to set up camp.
Find Free Campsites with Boondocking Apps and Websites
You can find an abundance of websites and apps that can help you find free or low-cost campsites.
One of the most popular boondocking apps is Campendium. This app provides user-generated reviews of campgrounds and boondocking sites across the country. You can search for sites by location, amenities, and more.
Another great option for finding boondocking spots is Allstays Camp & RV. This website has a comprehensive database of campgrounds and RV parks in the United States and Canada. You can search for sites by location, price, amenities, and more.
If you’re looking for a more rustic camping experience, Boondocker’s Welcome is another great option.
How Long Can You Boondock in an RV on Public Land?
There are many places where camping on public land is allowed, including national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. The length of time depends on the regulations for the specific area you are visiting. In general, as we previously mentioned, you can expect to stay for a maximum of 14 days before moving to a new location.
The (BLM) has established select areas for more extended stays, particularly in Arizona. A permit fee is around $140 now, allowing you to stay up to six months and get pump stations, dumpsters, and water. People live in some of these areas because it’s cheaper than paying property taxes or renting a lot to park on.
There are many benefits to boondocking in an RV:
- It is an excellent way to save money since you are not paying for campsite fees.
- It allows you to camp in more remote and beautiful locations that may not have traditional campgrounds.
- It is a fantastic way to meet other RVers and learn about different places to camp across the country.
Why Would You Choose to Boondock?
People have many reasons why they choose to boondock. For some, it is a way to save money on camping fees, and for others it’s to enjoy the peace and quiet of being away from developed campgrounds. And still, others appreciate the opportunity to be closer to nature.
Whatever the reason, boondocking can be a great way to experience all that camping has to offer. If you consider trying it, here are a few things to remember.
First, boondocking requires more planning than traditional camping; because you will need to bring all your water and supplies with you. Additionally, you will need to set up your RV correctly to ensure it can run without hookups for an extended period.
Is Boondocking Safe and Legal?
Because boondocking sites are typically underdeveloped, they may lack some amenities and safety features at developed campgrounds. This can make boondocking riskier than camping at a more developed site.
Before boondocking, it’s important to research to ensure that the area you’re planning to stay in is safe and legal for camping. Check with local law enforcement or the land management agency to determine if a site is safe for boondocking. They will be able to advise you if there have been any recent crimes or other safety concerns. As for legality, most public lands allow boondocking as long as you follow the rules and regulations set forth by the agency that manages the land.
Which is Better Boondocking Campsites or RV Parks?
There are two types of RV camping: boondocking and staying at an RV park. Both have pros and cons, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for before deciding where to stay.
RV parks are great for people who want to be around others and can access amenities like showers, laundry facilities, and electrical hookups. RV parks are also suitable for people who don’t want to drive too far off the beaten path. The downside of RV parks is that they can be expensive and are not always as private as you might like.
Boondocking sites are usually free and low-cost, offering a much more rustic experience. The downside of boondocking is that you often have to drive farther to a destination and may not have access to RV parks’ amenities. As you can see, it s essential to know your needs before deciding on which type of camping to do.
Dry Camping vs Boondocking?
Dry camping and boondocking are both types of camping where you forego a campground’s amenities in favor of a more rustic and wild camping experience. The main difference is that dry camping is typically only for one night, while boondocking can be for multiple nights.
Dry camping is perfect for RVers who want to get away from it all for a night or two. You can find dry camping spots at national parks, on forest service land, or even in your backyard. The key to dry camping is to come prepared with everything you need, including water, food, and a way to dispose of your waste.
On the other hand, boondocking is a type of long-term camping typically done in remote areas and the time span could be anywhere from a week to several months.
What Do You Need While Boondocking in an RV?
Boondocking, or camping without hookups requires some preparation. Here are a few things you’ll need while boondocking in an RV:
-A generator: The generator will provide you with power for your lights, fridge, and other electrical needs. Make sure to get one that’s quiet and fuel-efficient.
-Solar panels: Recharge your batteries using solar panels while boondocking. They’re easy to set up and can be used even on cloudy days.
-Water: You’ll need enough water for drinking, cooking, and washing. Bringing at least 10 gallons of water per person per day is a good rule of thumb. You can also collect rainwater to supplement your supply.
What Is the Best State for Boondocking?
It largely depends on personal preferences. However, there are a few states that tend to be popular among boondockers due to the abundance of public land and scenic beauty.
One such state is Montana. Montana has over 30 million acres of public land, much of which is perfect for boondocking. The state also has some of the most stunning scenery in the country, with towering mountains, pristine lakes, and wide open plains.
Another excellent option for boondocking is Utah. Utah boasts over 20 million acres of public land, including many national parks and monuments. The state has a diverse landscape, from red rock canyons to alpine forests, and is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Finally, Colorado is another excellent choice for boondockers.
Alternatives to Boondocking
There are plenty of dry camping or boondocking spots across the country. But sometimes, you might want to consider an alternative to boondocking. Here are a few options:
Walmart parking lots: Many Walmart stores allow overnight RV parking in their parking lots for free. Just be sure to check with the store manager first.
Rest areas: Rest areas along highways typically have bathrooms, picnic tables, and trash cans. And while overnight camping is usually not allowed, you can generally stay up to 8 hours.
Casinos: Many casinos welcome RVers and offer free overnight parking in their lots. You might even get some freebies like discounted meals or show tickets!
Best Boondocking Tips
If you’re new to boondocking, also known as dry camping, you may wonder how to get started. We have listed several tips below to help you enjoy your RV camping trip without hookups:
1. Bring plenty of water – When boondocking, you won’t have access to a water hookup, so bringing enough water for your entire trip is vital.
2. Be mindful of your power usage – Without hookups, you’ll rely on your RV’s battery and generator for power. Avoid using high-powered appliances like air conditioners and hair dryers to make your power last longer. Instead, stick to lower-powered items like LED lights and portable fans.
3. Use your RV’s built-in storage wisely – When boondocking, your RV’s storage compartments are even more critical than usual. Use them to store non-perishable food, extra water, and other necessities you might need during your trip.
4. Keep an eye on the weather – Weather can change quickly in the desert, so it’s essential to have a backup plan. Keep an eye on the forecast before you leave, and ensure you have everything you need in case of unexpected weather.
5. Bring a lot more water than you think you’ll need.
What To Know Before You Go Boondocking
Before starting your RV travel journey, you should know a few things about this type of camping.
First, boondocking generally means camping in an undeveloped area without any utilities. You’re usually good to go if you’re not disturbing the peace or damaging any property.
Second, since you have to generate your electrical power, make sure you have enough batteries to run your lights and other electronics.
Conclusion: What’s Best for Boondocking Camping?
If you’re new to RVing, you may have heard the term “boondocking” and wondered what it is. Boondocking is camping without hookups, which means no electricity, water, or sewer. You’re entirely self-contained and relying on your resources.
Boondocking camping is a type of RV camping where you stay at an RV campsite for an extended period, usually for a week or more. This type of camping is popular among RVers who enjoy the freedom and flexibility it provides.
Boondocking campsites are typically located in remote areas, away from the hustle and bustle of traditional campgrounds, and allow you to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature while still having access to the amenities and comforts of your RV.
For some people, boondocking is a way to save money. Since you’re not paying for hookups, it’s generally cheaper than campgrounds that offer full hookups. It can also be a way to enjoy more remote locations since you don’t need to be near civilization to boondock.