Essential Boondocking Tips for Beginners

Boondocking is a popular way for RVers to experience the great outdoors without the limitations of campgrounds. Boondocking typically describes camping in a remote location that hasn’t been officially designated for camping. As travelers with a thirst for adventure, sometimes we want to take our trips off-grid. There are so many breathtakingly beautiful national parks and unknown locations around the country that you’re doing yourself a disservice if you own an RV and don’t try boondocking at least once! However, leaving the comforts of a regular campground behind for the first time can be daunting. Here are ten boondocking tips to help you feel more confident and make the most out of your boondocking experience.

Choose the Right Location

The first step to a successful boondocking experience is to choose the right location. Boondocking locations are typically off-grid and often in remote areas, so it’s essential to research and find a safe, legal place to park your RV. Some great resources to find boondocking spots are apps such as Campendium, iOverlander, and AllStays. Additionally, it’s important to consider the size of your RV and the condition of the roads leading to the boondocking location. Be mindful of any height, weight or length restrictions that may limit access to your chosen spot.

Bring Enough Water

One of the most important boondocking tips is to bring enough water. Without a hookup, you will need to rely on your own water supply. Make sure to fill up your RV’s water tanks before you leave and bring extra jugs of water if necessary. You may also want to invest in a water filtration system to ensure your water is safe to drink. Consider using water-saving techniques like taking shorter showers, washing dishes with minimal water, and reusing water, when possible, to conserve your supply.

Monitor Your Power Usage

Another one of our crucial boondocking tips is to monitor your power usage. When boondocking, you won’t have access to an electrical hookup, so you’ll need to rely on your RV’s battery or generator. Be mindful of your power usage and conserve energy wherever possible. This includes turning off lights and electronics when not in use and using energy-efficient appliances. Solar panels and portable generators are also excellent options for powering your RV while boondocking. Using solar power in your RV is one of our top boondocking tips!

Plan for Waste Disposal

When boondocking, you’ll need to plan for waste disposal. This includes your RV’s sewage, trash and recycling. Make sure you know the proper way to dispose of these items in the area you’ll be boondocking in. It’s also a good idea to bring a portable dump tank or composting toilet to help with waste management. Always pack out your trash and leave the area better than you found it.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

It’s always important to be prepared for emergencies when camping, but even more so when boondocking. Make sure you have a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and emergency supplies on hand. It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you’ll be boondocking and when you plan to return. In case of an emergency, you may not have access to cellular service, so consider investing in a satellite phone or personal locator beacon.

Keep a Low Profile

When you boondock it’s essential to keep a low profile. You don’t want to draw attention to yourself or your RV. This means avoiding loud noises, bright lights and excessive activity. You should also respect the privacy of other boondockers in the area. Consider using blackout curtains or shades to keep the interior of your RV dark at night.

Follow Leave No Trace Principles

Boondocking in nature means you need to follow Leave No Trace principles. This means packing up all your trash, staying on designated roads and trails, and avoiding damaging the environment. Leave the area better than you found it so that others can enjoy it too. Avoid making new trails or clearing vegetation and be mindful of the impact of your camping practices on the local flora and fauna. Though this is one of our top boondocking tips, it’s important to leave no trace every time you visit parks or go camping.

Mom and son use mosquito spray. Spraying insect repellent on skin outdoors is one of our best boondocking tips.

Bring Necessary Supplies

Make a checklist of all the supplies you need to boondock. Some essential items to include are a GPS or map, extra blankets, warm clothing for cold nights, insect repellent and sunscreen. Additionally, you may want to bring a portable grill, camp chairs, and a folding table for outdoor meals.

Practice Good Water Conservation

As mentioned earlier, water is a precious commodity when boondocking. Practicing good water conservation techniques can go a long way in extending your water supply. Use biodegradable soap for dishes and personal hygiene, and always be mindful of how much water you’re using. Consider bringing a portable showerhead to control the flow of water during showers, and reuse dishwater for cleaning purposes.

Respect the Environment

Last but certainly not least important on our list of boondocking tips is to respect the environment. Remember that you’re a guest in nature, and it’s essential to treat the land, water, and wildlife with respect. Avoid disturbing wildlife and refrain from feeding animals. Keep noise levels to a minimum and be mindful of how your actions impact the environment. By doing so, you’ll help preserve the beauty of nature for future generations to enjoy.

Boondocking can be a rewarding and enjoyable way to experience the great outdoors. By following these ten boondocking tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and memorable boondocking adventure. Remember to choose the right location, monitor your power usage, plan for waste disposal, be prepared for emergencies, keep a low profile, bring necessary supplies, and respect the environment.

A mother points out wildlife on a trail in the forest with her two children.

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