RV boondocking is a great way to experience the freedom that comes with living out of your RV. However, it can be challenging, especially when you’re new to RV boondocking.
By following these quick tips, you’ll have the best chance of avoiding some of the common mistakes newbies make when they first start out.
For an in-depth look at RV Boondocking see: RV Boondocking tips: What You Need to Know When Camping Off-grid
- It’s a good idea to contact a local park ranger before heading out to your next boondocking site. They will tell you about the nearest boondocking sites, what amenities are nearby, and give you any necessary permits that are occasionally required.
- When camping on Forest Service or BLM property, it is important to be aware of the rules and regulations. On most property, you are allowed a maximum stay of 14 days. Should you need to stay longer, please contact the local Forest Service or BLM office for more information.
- Boondocking sites are usually free. However, we have come across a few sites where there the Forest Service or BLM charge a small fee, (typically around $20 per night) and/or require a permit—On the plus side, it sometimes includes amenities such as a trashcans and vault restrooms.
- Always check the weather forecast before for you head out to your boondocking site. A heavy rain could mean a muddy campsite or impassable roads for you and your RV.
- The best time for boondocking is between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below 50 or above 80 degrees will require running a generator for your A/C or your furnace. Note that not all generators can run an air conditioner without modifications.
- Plan your boondocking excursion according to your RV’s capacity. If you are traveling with more than one person, make sure you plan accordingly.
- Be strategic about running your generator and managing how much energy you use at any given time. This includes using lights sparingly when they’re not needed or just keep them off.
- Bring some extra fuel for your generator and in case you run out of gas on the road.
- Fill the propane tanks.
- Empty the black and gray water tanks.
- Use clean, cold running water to flush gray and black contaminated tanks.
- Update RV’s firmware for the latest security patches
- When boondocking, make sure that three things are always available: water, food and electricity.
- You need to have your freshwater tank full, gray and black tanks empty, and propane tank topped up before you arrive at your boondocking site.
- If you’re traveling to a remote location, that may not be able to provide you with enough water, consider filling containers in advance.
- It’s been our experience that many boondocking sites are usually close enough to a city or town, so you can restock on food, get gas nd dump your tank before moving on. Always verify your options before you arrive at your destination or leave for your next boondocking site.
- If you are planning to do long-term boondocking, consider stocking up on bottled water. Also, pack extra supplies in case you need to stay longer than planned.
- When we arrive at a new boondocking area, we will sometimes take a detour off the main road and explore a Forest Service or BLM land road that intersects the main road, hoping to find “the perfect boondocking campsite.” However, before we go down an unknown forest service road, (which is usually a fire or logging road) we will park our rig and walk or bicycle it first. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you have to back up your RV for a mile or more because the road is a dead-end and you can’t turn your rig around.
- As a general rule, if you see a stone fire ring, it usually means that the area is open to camping.
- Remember the Golden Rule: Pack-it in, pack-it-out. The National Park Service has closed some public campsites because of the amount of trash that is being left behind. There are certain measures you need to do such as bringing your own trash bags and taking out whatever you bring in with you.
- When we boondock, if we find any trash at our campsite, we will pick it up and pack it out.
- The lack of an Internet connection can be a problem for RV Boondockers. There are, however, several ways in which you may find a 4G Lte signal while boondocking. See Staying Connected on the Road in a RV: The RV Digital Nomad Guide for more details.
- The sun’s rays are the most intense between 10am and 2pm so it is important to be vigilant in applying sunscreen. Mosquitoes are also out in full force, so be sure to bring bug spray with DEET for extra protection.
- Bears, Mountain Lions, Elk, and Moose, oh my! Do make sure that all of your windows are secured properly before heading into the woods or sharing space with other campers. Clipping a can of bear spray to your belt is always a good while boondocking in the back-country.
- Expect the unexpected. Plan for what could go wrong.
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