Are you curious about boondocking but not sure where to start? You might also have concerns about being comfortable and safe while boondocking.
Keep reading to learn about becoming a boondocker. This article discusses what to expect, why RVers boondock, where to find camping, and the best RVs for off-grid adventures.
You look out the window and see the steam rising from the lake. Drowsy, but peaceful, you grab your coffee and step outside. The air is cool and a gentle breeze tousles your hair as you sit in your camp chair. There’s no one around, you have the place all to yourself and you think, “Now this is camping.”
Loosely defined, boondocking is RV camping without utility connections such as water, electricity, and sewer. You have to bring your own water and supply your own electricity (from a generator or solar panels) when you boondock. As for your water waste from grey and black tanks, you must keep your valves closed and empty them only at a proper dump station.
Examples of boondocking include:
Purists insist that it’s only boondocking if you are off-grid RV camping in the boonies. Like dry camping on free public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), AKA dispersed camping, in deserts, forests, and beaches. Nothing beats starting a scenic summer wildflower hike in a Colorado valley directly from your camping spot. There’s no check-in or check-out process, just you and your RV in a designated camping location out in the wild.
You might be reading this and thinking, “Why would anyone want to camp without hookups?” Boondockers are typically interested in a different kind of RV camping experience.
Traditional RVing means camping with plenty of amenities, but it lacks a closeness to nature. Dry camping allows RVers to be closer to the outdoors.
Instead of having a view of your neighbor’s motorhome, you will have mountain views. And instead of smelling whatever other campers are grilling, you’ll breathe in the salty ocean breeze. There are no barriers, no walls, no gates, just you, your RV, and the wild beauty outside.
RVers that choose off-grid RV camping are not only interested in experiencing nature to the fullest, but they are also interested in privacy. Boondockers searching for camping locations often select areas away from others. You don’t have to worry about being right next to another camper. You can sit outside and open your doors and windows without worrying about others peeking inside or overhearing your conversations. Even in smaller dispersed camping areas, there is enough space between coaches to give everyone plenty of room to spread out.
Even if you are not on a budget, it is always nice to save on camping fees and splurge on other things, like excursions and dining. Dry camping is typically free, although some places charge for permits. Those fees are less than your typical RV park stay. Grand views of orange sandstone pinnacles while dispersed camping in the Valley of the Gods in Utah will make you forget the lack of amenities.
You can boondock in style! Newmar RVs are fully capable of handling off-grid adventures, although they are not off-road vehicles. In particular, the Super C coaches are excellent for the dry camping experience. Their freshwater tank can hold up to 150 gallons, the grey tank is 40 gallons, and the sewage can hold 40 gallons. That’s plenty for a weekend getaway, maybe even longer if you are good at conserving water.
As for electricity, both the Supreme Air and Super Star Super Cs come equipped with onboard generators with the option to upgrade to solar panels for your roof.
Newmar Super Cs are luxurious, so you don’t have to rough it even away from the campground. Oh, and the enormous sky window in the cab will give you just the view you want wherever you are staying. So after a scenic hike breathing the sweet scents of the ponderosa pine, you can return to a plush interior, chilled drinks, and a relaxing living space.
You can find dry camping spots online, but searching via boondocking-specific apps and websites may give you better results. When searching, always verify that RVs are permitted, size limitations, and understand the terrain. Unless they’re specifically built for it, most coaches and other RVs aren’t necessarily meant for off-roading.
Although an app is available, it will take you to the Freecampsites.net website. It is a free site that helps you find free and low-cost camping locations, including overnight parking places and off-grid camping sites.
The website, created in 2008 by RVers, allows users to apply filters and trip planners. All information on the website is community-driven, with boondockers sharing their own camping experiences, tips, and advice. Information is available for camping worldwide.
Campendium is a crowd-sourced website and app that provides users with information about boondocking locations. It was launched in 2015 by full-time RVers and is free to use with the option to upgrade to a paid membership for an ad-free experience. Boondockers looking for free and paid camping locations can search throughout the United States, Canada, and Baja Mexico. The site is searchable with a robust filter to narrow down your search, blogs, and videos to help campers.
The Dyrt has a website and app that helps campers find campsites throughout the United States. While both are free, there is a paid version that includes the ability to create road trips and downloadable maps. The website publishes a magazine with resources and tips, plus a forum and contests. Started in 2013, the Dyrt compiles reviews and descriptions from other RVers based on their camping experiences.
Want to learn more about boondocking? Click here for a Newmar dry camping article for beginners.