Do you love getting back to nature while enjoying the comforts of an RV but hate paying, on average, $40-70 a night just to go camping? Then it’s time you checked out Boondocking.
Boondocking offers an affordable way for RVer’s to get off the beaten path and explore the beauty of mother nature while enjoying free camping.
Also known as dispersed camping, boondocking is camping on public land, outside designated campgrounds, and maintained for such purposes.
For an RV or van, this means camping without hookups. No amenities such as water, electricity, and bathrooms mean your camper must be self-sufficient. Off-grid or dry camping are other terms for this type of camping. The word boondocking comes from the word boondocks, meaning remote rural areas.
We have all seen the trailers parked overnight in parking lots of Walmart and Cracker Barrel; however, this is not boondocking. It is called wallydock (Walmart) or lot camping.
For many of us, camping isn’t just about saving money. It is also a way to get closer to nature and enjoy the outdoors. Boondocking offers the camper the ideal situation by saving on campground fees while providing serene locations far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Locations are available across the country, from national forests to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), providing many opportunities to find a scenic hideaway to call your own for a few nights.
For specific information about camping on public land, visit The Boondocker’s Bible, where you will find the rules and regulations for safe and legal camping in national forests, and the BLM website offers necessary information as well.
- Bring enough water to last your stay. You will need water for washing dishes, showering, and drinking.
- Be attentive to your grey and black water holding tanks’ capacity. There are no dump stations available.
- Propane powered refrigerator saves electricity.
- Have enough batteries to power lights, pump use, and propane heat.
- Camping in the cooler seasons requires less heating and cooling.
- Prepare for all weather conditions. Depending on your location, weather can change quickly, and cell service is often limited in remote areas.
- Be aware of your camper’s length and height requirements. Some spots have rough terrain and clearance limits due to trees.
When planning on boondocking, it pays to prepare ahead of time. But the payoff is first-class views and an opportunity to experience nature in a way you won’t find in a traditional campground.
Remembering responsibility is critical to sustaining boondocking, and our natural resources are essential. Stick to existing campsites and protect local habitats. Carry out what you carry in and always “leave no trace.” For more information on free camping, check out How to RV Camp for Free at Fascinating Locations Across the Country for more great ideas on where to head next.