Basics of Boondocking; what is it?

Boondocking is such a strange word.

The basics of boondocking. Learn how to find spaces to dry camp in & live off the grid.

When I first heard “Boondocking” in my research about RV life I was very confused. How the heck do you dry camp in the desert or when it’s cold? Not to mention have the resources to work. The questions started flooding in:

Would we be able take showers?

What about charge our computers?

And the biggest question of all, how long could we actually boondock?

Here are the basics when it comes to boondocking or dry camping:

Water:

When boondocking we spend most of our time trying to figure out how we can conserve our water. You will want to make sure that your fresh water tank is full before setting up camp. We like to also grab about 5 gallons of water to use as drinking water.

A few tricks we’ve found that work to conserve our water:

  • NO showers. It takes up way too much water. We have a membership to Planet Fitness for that!
  • Wash the dishes with a slow trickle. It actually works pretty well. If you have a water heater, hot water is also a big saver as it cleans much better.
  • Monitor your water. It really helps to get a better handle on how much water you use. We also try to cook less items that require a lot of dishes.

Power:

We have found that there are a lot of options to create power when boondocking in your rig. The two main sources are solar & a generator.

We don’t have any solar (we totally wish we did) but this is a very popular option and after the initial investment, your energy is free. We do live off of generator power when off grid. Our generator powers two batteries that give us about 100 amp hours. It does end up being a bit more expensive and we wish we had a solar set up, but it does the trick for a 4-5 day boondocking stint.

Waste:

Depending on your set up, you will either have a grey & black tank or just a grey tank with a composting toilet. You will need to monitor these tanks as this is what will limit you the most while boondocking. You can always get more water but emptying these tanks, while doable, is pretty tough unless you move them to the dump stations.

You also have to be aware of the garbage you create, make sure to always pack out what you take in. Gas stations are a good bet to be able to through away your bags on your way out.

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So now you may be wondering where can you boondock?

There are a lot of options that all provide a very different experience. Here are some below:

  • Bureau of Land Management Land (lots of fields, wide open land, 14 day limit)
  • National Forest Land (can vary the terrain you get, usually a 14 day limit)
  • Unique spots like Harvest Hosts (use this link for 15% off your membership!)
  • Walmarts (not all allow and you should always call first, most likely 24 hours)
  • Cracker Barrels (most will allow but ask you only stay 24 hours)
  • Flying J & Pilot (you are not allowed to park in the truck spots but standard parking)

So how do we find them? Three ways!

  • Freecampsites.net, this will give you the best information on public land you are able to park on.
  • Allstays App is better for single night stays at Walmarts, Cracker Barrels & Truck Stops
  • Harvest Hosts is a membership that is really inexpensive and allows you to stay one night at various vineyards, breweries, farms & museums.

This just is the start of information on boondocking, there are so many ways to increase your efficiency and do it full time! We like to split our time between boondocking & hook ups and have found that about 4 nights is our sweet spot when it comes to being in a boondocking spot so we definitely have more to learn when it comes to the subject!

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