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Your Ultimate Guide To RV Boondocking For Beginners

You have nothing to fear when you go boondocking in an RV from Newmar. We construct our coaches with your convenience in mind so you can enjoy both the modern conveniences of RV campsites as well as roughing it with dry camping.

RVing is already a cost-saving way to vacation, resulting in savings of over 64%, but boondocking is free. 

If you’re still wondering “what is boondocking?”, it involves pulling your RV into a parking lot or onto other non-designated camping sites for the night, or longer. 

It’s a fun and freewheeling way to enjoy the RV lifestyle and can make a pleasant change from crowded campsites. So, if you’re wondering about the ins and outs of this type of off-grid RV camping, these RV Boondocking tips and tricks will help put your mind at ease.

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Finding Somewhere Safe to Stay

Choosing the best place to boondock isn’t difficult with a little advance planning. It’s legal to boondock on Bureau of Land Management lands and National Forest lands as well as a variety of other places all over the country. 

There are four main types of free RV parking:


This involves calling a favor with friends or family and parking your RV in their driveway. It’s important to be cautious of obstructing traffic and inconveniencing them though. 

Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping involves camping on “officially” designated lands such as State Parks, Wildlife Management Areas, State Trust Land, or State Forests. You can even book ahead of the time for some of these.

Be sure to check the area out beforehand. You can use the internet for research, or look up the surroundings on Google Earth. 

Parking Lots

Parking lots aren’t ideal for a wilderness experience or conveniences, but they can come in handy in a pinch. Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Bass Pro Shop, and some casinos allow overnight RV parking. 

Stealth Camping

This type of camping is the realm of the truly courageous who have small camper vans. It involves setting up camp wherever you don’t see a ‘no parking’ sign and taking your chances.

Sometimes you’ll find yourself with no choice but to try a spot of boondocking, for example, if you’re attending a popular event and can’t find an open spot at a conventional campground.

In these instances, most people head for the nearest parking lot. Often, you’ll find a festive atmosphere prevails in these places during a large well-attended event like a concert.


RV Boondocking Tips and Tricks for Survival

While you shouldn’t have a problem negotiating rough terrain or inconvenience when you’re boondocking in a Newmar RV, there are some ways to make your life easier while doing so. 

Conserving Water

One of the main priorities when boondocking is to conserve water. It’s not easy to find free water when you’re on the road, so make sure your RV’s tanks are full before your boondocking trip. Empty your grey water tanks before you leave too.

If you’re going boondocking in the middle of an extended trip, spend the night before in a traditional RV campsite so you can take care of all these details. 

You can also wash all your vegetables before you leave, take some wet wipes along to cut down on water use for washing your hands, and limit hair washing with dry shampoo.

Reuse water as much as you can. For example, you can use the water from washing your dishes to flush the toilet. This will also help reduce the amount of water you’re putting in your grey water tanks.

Tips for Your Convenience

Another top priority when boondocking is to conserve your RV’s battery power. Prepare some meals in advance and freeze them to cut down on cooking time. 

You can cook using propane or a charcoal grill to save energy. Solar-powered devices are a good option if you intend to enjoy more frequent bouts of wild camping. 

Avoid using the heater by parking your RV strategically. If you position it so that it gets full sun exposure for most of the day, you’ll feel a lot warmer when night falls. If the weather’s warm, choose a shady spot to limit the use of your air conditioner. 

Window covers also help keep your RV’s interior cool.

Keep the Peace

Many people boondock not out of necessity but for the pure joy of enjoying nature undisturbed. Be mindful of this when you choose a campsite and give other RVers plenty of space.

If you’re going to be using a generator, keep it to a minimum so you don’t disturb the peace and quiet of your surroundings. Generators can really guzzle gas too, so you keep your budget in mind before you start it up.

Safety Aspects

RV crime is almost non-existent everywhere in the country, but it’s wise to take reasonable safety precautions during your stay. Preferably choose a site with cell phone coverage and always let friends and family know where you intend to stay.

Remember, you’ll often end up sharing space with wild animals, so follow any park safety guidelines and never leave food or garbage out in the open. 


Enjoy Every Aspect of RVing

You’re bound to discover plenty more RV Boondocking tips and tricks as you become more experienced with this type of camping.

So don’t sweat the finer details too much in the beginning. After all, boondocking should be the most relaxed and rustic form of RVing that there is. The slip-ups you make are probably going to be the things you laugh hardest about in retrospect.  

If you’re excited by the prospect of a few free vacations, or just interested to try a different type of RVing, a Newmar RV is your best bet. Take a look at our excellent selection of luxury RVs or get in touch for more advice on the type of RV lifestyle that suits your family best. 

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