Boondocking is the practice of camping in an RV that is not hooked up to utilities like water and electricity. One of the great things about owning an RV is the ability to take modern amenities with you on a camping trip, but that is not so much the case with boondocking – in many ways, this type of travel is like staying in a much larger, much more comfortable tent. You won’t have many of the luxuries that you have gotten used to in the RV, but you will still have a nice place to sleep each night.
If you are considering boondocking for an upcoming trip, be sure to consult the tips below before you leave.
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Camping off the grid means that you are going to have to have everything you need with you when you go. It will likely not be feasible to just run to the store for a few things once you have settled in, so make detailed packing lists and check things off as they are purchased and loaded up to the RV. Specifically, make sure you have enough food, enough water, warm clothes, first aid, and other basics. Even when staying in the comfort of an RV, you still need to respect the wilderness and make sure that you are prepared for as many circumstances as possible.
If you want to have electricity available to you while boondocking for a long period of time, solar power is the way to go. Solar panels make it possible to draw power straight from the sky, and there are plenty of solar options for RV purposes. If, however, you are only going to be staying for a short period of time, you might just be able to get by with a generator.
Information is Your Friend
Before you head off to set up camp for a week or more, do some research to figure out where you can travel safely. You don’t want to get your large RV down a small road only to find that you can’t turn around, so take a smaller car or truck ahead on a scouting mission. It is always attractive to park your RV as far out in the wild as possible, but that isn’t always the practical choice.
Your resources are naturally limited when you are boondocking, so don’t blow through them quickly within the first couple days. Be conservative with your use of food and water, especially early in the trip. If you run out of essential supplies you are going to have to cut your trip short (or at least interrupt it), so be smart and think ahead.
Observe the Law
You can’t just park your RV anywhere you please, even if it looks like there is no one around for miles. Be sure to check into camping regulations before you go, and respect the nature around you when you get there. The idea of ‘leave no trace’ applies to RV travel just like hiking and any other form of outdoor adventure.
When camping deep out in the woods, remember that the animals are in their native territory – you are their guests. With that in mind, keep an eye out and steer clear of any wildlife that is wandering by. The best interaction with wildlife is the one you don’t have, so respect their space and understand that you are the guest in this situation.
Boondocking can be great fun, but it doesn’t come without its challenges and limitations. As always when traveling, preparation and planning can go a long way. Know what you are doing before you head out, and have fun!