Boondocking, or dry camping, is a great way to get out in your RV and really enjoy the wilderness! You’ll be able to get closer to nature than you can in an RV park, and usually hiking, fishing and exploring can all happen mere steps from your door. But the idea of taking the RV where there are no hookups (water, electric or sewer) can seem a little daunting. You will need to prepare a little differently, but in the end, you’ll come away with an amazing experience. And to make sure you are ready to go, here are seven simple steps to get you, and your rig, ready for an off-grid camping trip to remember!
Find Your Spot
Depending on where you live, you can find places to boondock almost anywhere. There are dry campgrounds, U.S. public lands and other areas that are great for getting off the grid in your RV. Apps such as FreeRoam and iOverlander allow you to search the area you want to camp in and find potential sites for you to stay. One thing to keep in mind is that these kinds of camping areas are first come, first served, so make sure to bookmark a few spots in the area in case your first choice is taken. You will also want to scout the spot using Google Earth before you arrive. Some sites are accessed by unmaintained roads that may not be suitable for your RV.
Be Aware Of The Guidelines
Depending on the kind of site you find, there may be guidelines you should keep in mind. Most free campgrounds will have a bulletin board with any rules posted, along with other helpful information, like maps and wildlife that inhabit the area. There may be a limit on the days you can stay or local regulations regarding campfires. Most boondocking spots will not have any type of facilities or trash collection, so it is important to follow the “leave no trace” principles and pack out everything you pack in, especially trash. Always leave the site cleaner than you found it and keep nature beautiful for the next camper!
Charge The Batteries And Pack The Generator
You’re going to be spending a few nights off the grid, and you’ll need a way to operate your RV without an electric hookup. Make sure your RV batteries are charged and, if you have one, bring a generator along, too. A generator is great if you’re camping in the summer and need some extra power to run an air conditioner. Don’t forget the gas can with some extra fuel, too. Also, be sure to respect any neighbors you may have by not running the generator too late at night or early in the morning. Enjoying the sounds of nature is one reason people want to get out and boondock!
Fill And Empty The Tanks
Whether you’re staying one night or six, rolling into your stay with the right tanks full and the others empty will help you to enjoy your stay a lot more. Make sure to fill your freshwater tank and your propane tank(s) for cooking and heating (if the weather is on the chilly side). Depending on the size of your freshwater tank and the length of your trip, you may want to pack additional water, as well. And, of course, you’ll want to make sure your black and gray water tanks are empty so you don’t have to worry about them during your stay. Remember, most boondocking areas will not have dump stations. You’ll also want to conserve your water use during your camping trip. This will keep you from filling your waste tanks too soon and having to cut the trip short.
Bring Leveling Blocks And Chocks
If you get lucky, the spot you find will be relatively flat. But more than likely, you’ll have to do a little work to get your rig all leveled out. Most RV owners already carry leveling blocks in their gear compartment. But you may want to throw a few extra wood blocks in there for your boondocking trip. You never know what the ground conditions will be when you arrive. And bring the chocks, too, as you will need to ensure your rig stays where it is once you get it all set up.
Bring ALL Your Supplies
Boondocking takes you out beyond the cities and towns, so a “quick trip” to the store to grab something you forgot will not be quick at all. Along with the necessities of food, drinks and clothes, you’ll want to grab a few other things, as well. Load up on firewood and starters to keep the campfire going. While you’re sitting by that fire, you’ll be happy you remembered to grab the bug repellant candles and spray, as well. A cooler full of ice is always a necessity for any camping trip, as are the fixings for s’mores! Camp chairs, sunscreen and a first-aid kit are also among the things you won’t want to forget.
Pack The Toys!
Boondocking is all about having fun in nature! And while the necessities are, well, necessary, it’s going to be the toys that crank up the fun and create the memories that last a lifetime. Big or small, bring the things that mean the most to you and your family. If all you need is a pair of hiking boots and a trail map to enjoy your trip, bring the binoculars and find some cool wildlife. Yard games like cornhole and KanJam are perfect for boondocking and hanging out around camp. If you’re going to be near water, consider bringing fishing gear, paddleboards or Jet Skis. And if you have an ATV, there are usually plenty of trails to explore near boondocking sites. After all, camping is all about having fun in the great outdoors!