Boondockings Vs Campground
2021 will be the year of the boondocker? Why? Because 2020 has been the year of staying at home. We’ve all made sacrifices to save lives, so we deserve to go off-grid in a fully equipped RV.
The art of boondocking involves finding the perfect secluded spot to escape the rigors of modern life. Take your RV to the wilderness instead of a resort campground, and you’ll get a more authentic experience that brings you closer to nature.
OK, so you’re a beginner to the world of boondocking. That’s fine, as we have a few tips that should get you started. How do you stay comfy? Where are the best free spots? And how do you make the most of your time in your RV when you’re off-grid. These are just a few of the questions we’re about to answer.
What Is Boondocking?
Also known as “dry camping,” boondocking involves camping in an RV without mod-cons such as water, electricity, and gas. Where you decide to go is up to you. Set up camp in a vast forest, or enjoy the wilderness of a deserted parking lot. But for the best experience, being at one with Mother Nature is essential.
Boondocking gives you a degree of freedom you simply can’t get from official campsites. There are no rules — unless you make some of your own. There are no curfews. There is no need to be quiet for the convenience of your fellow campers. Find a desolate wilderness, and park your RV. Dig a hole in the ground for emptying your toilet. If you need electricity, start your engine or fire up a generator. It’s just you, your RV, and planet Earth.
How to Stay Comfy when Boondocking
The key to staying comfy during a boondocking trip is to choose a fantastic RV. Remember: you’re going to be cut off from the trappings of modern life, so a few in-built creature comforts are essential.
You won’t have a pool, a restaurant, a movie theater or any of the leisure facilities campsites can offer. So make sure your RV is fitted with the latest technology. A TV and DVD player combo should be a minimum requirement. WiFi and satellite communication technology are the icing on the entertainment cake. And don’t forget a powerful generator. You’re going to be miles from the nearest electricity grid, so be prepared.
Choose an RV that has its own, self-contained plumbing system. You won’t want to be dumping waste every few hours. An RV with sophisticated waste and freshwater systems will make your trip a lot more comfortable.
Finding the Free Boondocking Spots
So, you’ve got a fabulous RV, and it’s time to hit the open road. Boondocking, here we come! But where are you going? What will be your first stop? In fact, what will be your second stop? Finding public land that allows free overnight parking can be a challenging task.
Before you set off, check out the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This Government department looks after huge areas of land that are neither privately nor publicly owned. You can camp on most of this land for free — just check with the BLM before you start your journey. In some cases, you’ll need to abide by the area’s rules and regulations.
The United States Forest Service is another good boondocking planning resource. This Government agency will tell you where “dry camping” is allowed. The service will also get you up to speed on any restrictions and rules that apply to the area.
Top Tips for the Uninitiated
If you’re new to the world of boondocking, there are a few things you should know. These tips are the result of countless mistakes and stressful situations — so be thankful to those who’ve gone before you.
Being off-grid is great, but it means you don’t always have access to running water. Carry extra drinking water onboard your RV — as much as you can store. If you can find a river or lake, use it for bathing. Dig a hole in the ground to create a toilet; flushing uses a lot of water. And recycle your “gray” water wherever possible.
Manage your trash
Trash attracts critters, as well as some of the wilderness’s larger creatures. Assign storage areas for your trash before you start your journey. Some travelers use tow-behind vehicles for their trash; others schedule trash drops along their route.
Use solar power
Gas-powered generators are heavy, cumbersome, dirty, and noisy. If you’re going off-grid, the last thing you want is a permanent reminder of the industrial ugliness you’re leaving behind. But if you have solar panels on top of your RV, you should be able to power most of your gadgets and systems during the day. Throw in a heavy-duty battery, and you can store enough power to get you through the nights, too.
Leaving modern life behind for a few days is a great way to wind down, but you’re still going to need a few essential items of equipment.
Always be prepared for the worst when you’re boondocking. You’ll be driving through lots of dark and deserted areas. If you breakdown or your RV suffers an electrical failure, you could be left in complete darkness for hours. Pack a powerful flashlight, and keep a spare close by. Just don’t forget the batteries.
Being off-grid often means being without standard power sources. Temperature control will be a problem wherever you’re headed, so pack a few powerful fans to keep you comfortable. Choose fans that offer both heating and cooling options. To avoid using a generator, choose battery-operated fans; they’re cleaner, quieter, and more mobile.
Keeps things as simple as possible when it’s time to cook. Throwing everything into a single pot is the best way to feed a family while boondocking, so… buy a pot. There are some very good options designed for camping trips. They use minimal amounts of water; all you need to do is plug them into a power supply, add water and food, and switch them on.