Were Do We Go From Here? A Boondocker's Guide
May 17, 2018
Boondocking?!? (Insert confused facial expression here) What is it? Glad you asked!
What is boondocking RV?
Boondocking RV is a style of camping, typically in a more remote location, in a variety of different types of RVs. The key to boondocking is that you camp as much off the grid as possible, so limited power and water, which allows you to enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about how well that waterproofing is on your tent.
So you’ve decided to go Boondocking, what now?
A million questions buzzing around your head like irritating little nats, driving you crazy and making you second guess your decision.
Breathe, with a bit of knowledge and some preparation, boondocking can be a beautiful escape from the bustle of city life into the quiet, calm of nature.
So where to start? Like most things planning is essential.
Basic Needs for a Boondocking Trip:
Plan your meals/foods- Depending on how far you get out of the city, food may not be a quick and easy thing to get. By pre-planning your meals, you know exactly how you are going to cook them, what it will take (extra propane or charcoal for the grill, running the generator for a bit to use the stove) and you can prep it beforehand for less waste. (Don’t forget, what you bring in will also be leaving with you!)
Water: Consider bringing gallons of water with you for drinking, this will save your fresh water for things like showering and dishwashing so that you do not run out quickly or cut your trip short. You can also conserve water in some creative ways such as putting a bucket in your shower to catch excess water and use that for flushing the toilet; also limiting dishwashing to once a day, this can help to optimize water usage. (Side note: After eating wipe your plate off with a paper towel so that the dishes are easier to clean.) It may sound silly but the old adage of “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” will conserve your fresh water as well.
Survival: Remember to keep trash stored away and food inside, nature while beautiful, has some fairly curious and nose to the ground animals that may wander in. Whether it is a nuisance or quite a scare, just practice caution by keeping anything that may be of interest out of sight (or smell)! Always remember that even though you are out in the middle of nowhere (or even just a smidge off the path) accidents and unforeseen events happen, being prepared can make all of the difference in those situations.
Essentials for a Boondocker:
Electronics: For smaller electronics, use the power inverter/charger on the dashboard, especially when driving, to charge instead of running the generator. Don’t use heavier drain items, such as the microwave and T.V., when the generator isn’t running.
Generator Drain: Limit your usage of lights that are necessary and use your nightshades during the heat of the day to block the sun, so that your vehicle stays cooler. This will help you to use your AC intermittently, conserving (you guessed it!) your generator.
Emergencies: Keeping a first aid kit, roadside tools, and some basic household tools will go a long way should something arise when you are off the beaten path. It is always a good practice to let someone know where you are planning to stay. Check cell service coverage beforehand so that you know it can be used, as well as letting someone know your GPS location. It is just good practice should something unforeseeable happen.
Boondocking Best Practices:
Terrain: Knowing the terrain ahead of time can save you the heartache of traversing it later. Look up public land maps for a better sense of where you are, this will answer a question like, “How far is the closest city?”, “Where can we go to get____?”. Check out atlases for sale or the Bureau of Land Management website for useful campsite/terrain information.
Etiquette: If you are somewhere that has other RVers, park at a respectable distance, you don’t want to be disturbed by their generator nor do you want your views blocked and they would appreciate the same. Again, if it comes in with you then it needs to leave with you, don’t leave your trash behind (this can also take some planning depending on the length of your trip).
Regulations: Always look into local regulations. It is important to know what the state or local county laws are for things like personal protection as well as where you can and cannot be.
When all is said and done, an ounce of preparation can save a great deal of stress later. Something to think about while all types of RVs can boondock, be mindful of your individual vehicle and comfort level of driving it so that you do not find yourself getting into a place you cannot get back out of. The point of getting out there is to enjoy your time, so make the most of it. Kick back and relax!!