Boondocking is an excellent way to get out of the RV parks and truly experience nature. It allows all RVers to get an authentic camping experience. However, taking your rig out boondocking for the first time can feel intimidating.
Here's what you need to know to help your first trip go smoothly:
What is boondocking?
Boondocking, also referred to as "dry camping," means to camp for free on public land or camping anywhere without hookups.
Where to go boondocking?
We typically boondock at Harvest Host. If you haven't heard of Harvest Host, it is a membership you purchase that allows you to stay at wineries, breweries and other attractions all over the country. You boondock on their property, and in return, you agree to support the business by making a purchase from them. Although this option is not entirely free, it is a lot of fun and completely worth it! Another way to go boondocking for free is staying on public lands such as BLM public land or national forests.
We recently boondocked on BLM land for the first time, and the whole family enjoyed it. It was amazing to get out of the RV parks and away from the noise. The views and sunsets were incredible. We used a website called Campendium to find a spot just outside of Joshua Tree National Park. Campendium is an excellent resource for boondocking, and it offers an extensive database of camping locations and user reviews.
Top Tips for Beginner Boondockers
1. Check the Weather
Before heading out on any RV trip, always check the weather forecast, especially if you plan to boondock. The sites for dry camping are often in remote locations, and you don't want to end up in a dangerous situation.
2. Arrive in the Daylight
Make sure you plan to arrive well before sunset. Most boondocking locations are in the dirt completely off the road, and you may need to navigate large boulders or sand. The last thing you want to do is damage your rig or get stuck. Our Aspire 44R Luxury Diesel RV is 45 feet long. We find it helpful to unhook our tow vehicle, scout out the perfect spot and make sure it is big rig friendly before parking the motorhome.
3. Check Your Tanks
Before heading out, make sure your grey and black holding tanks are empty, and your freshwater tanks are full. If you will be spending more than a few days in one location, purchasing a 30 - 50 gallon portable water bladder for additional freshwater is highly recommended.
4. Check Your Power Source
While boondocking, your RV will not be plugged into a power source, and you will need to supply your own power through a generator or solar panels. We like to test our generator and solar panels before heading out to ensure everything is properly working to avoid stressful situations.
5. Pack Supplies
Having a fully stocked RV is especially important when planning a boondocking trip. Often, you will be headed to remote locations and want to arrive prepared with all the necessities.
Here is a list of things we never boondock without:
- Fully stocked pantry and fridge
- Paper plates, bowls and cups to minimize water use
- Bug spray
- Extra blankets
- Cold weather gear
- Flashlight and lantern
- Leveling blocks
Boondocking can be a gratifying experience, and there is nothing like waking up to a gorgeous, unblemished view of the sun rising in the comfort of your RV. Make sure to treat the land with respect and leave no trace to continue to enjoy these beautiful public lands for years to come.