Boondocking for Beginners

You might be a long-time RVer, but maybe you are ready for a new and exciting challenge. 

Boondocking has gained more traction over the last several years as the RVing community has prioritized distance and privacy. But what is Boondocking and why are more and more weekend warriors partaking in this method of camping? 

Boondocking is camping without hookups, and it can be a great way to save money and see some beautiful scenery. While it can be challenging at first, with a little practice you'll be able to do it like a pro! In this article, we will give you 5 tips for beginner boondockers so you can get outdoors and off the grid. 

Do Your Research

Boondocking is not for everyone, and it's important to know what you're getting into before you try it. Make sure you understand the basics of boondocking before taking the plunge.  Boondocking is mostly about being self-sufficient, so you need to make sure your RV is outfitted for dry camping. This means having enough water and holding tanks, bringing along adequate solar power, a generator, and making sure your batteries are in good shape.

You also need to research where you're going to boondock. Boondocking on BLM land is different than boondocking on national forest land, for example. Each type of land has its own rules and regulations that you need to be aware of.

Websites are out there to help you with your research. check trusted online resources like Campendium, FreeCampsites, iOverlander, to find good and safe locations for your adventures. 

Once you've done your research and are confident in your abilities, it's time to hit the road! Now that you know where you're going, what to do, and how you are going to do it, it's time for tip #2 for new boondockers... Planning ahead.

Plan Ahead

One of the most important aspects of boondocking is planning ahead. This means more than just finding a spot on a map and showing up. Boondocking requires you to be completely self-sufficient, which means you need to plan for everything.

Start by making sure your RV is outfitted for proper boondocking. This means looking at your off-grid power system and assuring you will be able to camp with the right amount of power for longer than your planned stay.  You should also take a look at your water situation. Boondocking spots are not always near a water source, so you need to make sure you have enough fresh water to last the duration of your stay.

It's also important to plan for food and supplies. When boondocking, you won't have easy access to a grocery store,  so you need to make sure you have enough food and supplies for your entire stay. This includes non-perishable food items, as well as anything else you might need. Don’t forget to make sure your RV is outfitted with a good refrigeration option for off-grid camping. Everchill 12-Volt Refrigerators are built for boondocking and off-the-grid applications with easy solar charging capabilities. 

Boondocking can be a great way to save money and see some beautiful scenery, but only if you plan ahead!

The third tip we have for new boondockers is to start small.

Start Small

Don't try to boondock for two weeks your first time out. Start with a weekend trip, or even just one night. This will give you a chance to get used to the boondocking lifestyle and make sure it's really for you. You can always extend your trip if you're having a good time.

It's also a good idea to do the first run when you know a good backup plan is in place. Maybe boondock for a night at a concert or sporting event,  so if things don't go as planned, you're not far from civilization. You can even boondock for a while right in your own driveway just to have the experience of being "unplugged." Boondocking can be a great adventure, but it's important to ease into it.

Now that you know how to get started with boondocking, here are a few more tips to help you make the most of your experience.

Check the Weather

Avoid boondocking for the first time in frigid or sweltering conditions. Extreme weather just complicates matters. If it’s sticky and hot you’re going to need to rely on your AC to stay comfortable. Being mindful of your power consumption is key to boondocking. Needing to run your AC adds an extra challenge you don’t need when you’re learning. Likewise, if it’s cold, you need to run your furnace. Although your furnace likely runs on LP, the fan draws power. When you’re first learning about power consumption, this rookie mistake could put you in a position where you wake up to find your battery is drained.

Try boondocking for the first time in temperatures where the highs are in the 70s and the lows don’t dip below the 50s. In this weather, you won’t need temperature control to keep you comfortable. Of course, you can boondock in other weather conditions, it’s just not as easy and may require a generator. Stack the odds in your favor when you’re starting out by learning to boondock in mild weather.

Have a Backup Plan

Boondocking isn't for everyone, and that's okay.

If you find yourself getting stressed out or not having fun, know when to call it quits and have a backup plan in place. This might mean staying at a nearby RV park or campground or even just heading home early. The most important thing is that you're safe and enjoying the off-grid experience. Boondocking should be an enjoyable time away from your typical amenities, so if it's not, don't force it.

Boondocking can be a great way to camp, but it's not for everyone. If you're new to boondocking, do your research, start small, and ease into it. Be prepared for anything and have a backup plan in place for your safety and comfort. With these tips, you'll be boondocking like a pro in no time!

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