Essential Guide to RV Boondocking for Beginners

aktiv1 fishing

RV Boondocking for Beginners – Tips for Exploring Free Camping

Embarking on an RV boondocking adventure for beginners requires careful preparation. At the core, boondocking is about self-sufficiency and respecting nature. Equip your RV with essentials such as a generator for power and portable water jugs for hydration. Always carry a gas canister and a waste management solution like a Blue Boy. Don’t forget tools for emergency situations like a high-quality flashlight, a first-aid kit, and extra batteries. Shower wipes can help maintain cleanliness in the absence of a traditional shower. Remember, the key to successful boondocking is to be as self-reliant as possible, while leaving minimal impact on the environment.

Introduction to RVing and Boondocking

The open road awaits, and what better way to enjoy an outdoor adventure than riding cross-country in a recreational vehicle? For those with less ambition, there are even great options close to home that allow for rest and relaxation. Many travelers experience the freedom of enjoying nature’s many bounties by traveling from campsite to campsite, taking time away from the rigors of daily life with an old-fashioned road trip. However, understanding how to be self-sufficient can be an intimidating experience for many novice RVers, and finding campsites can prove both challenging and expensive. Although it means giving up some modern comforts, there is an option that can save a lot of money by providing free parking and no additional expenses: RV boondocking. Not to worry – this guide will provide all the details on how to enjoy life as a boondocker, including tips on where to find free camping and compensating for life “off the grid.”

VW Bus at Campsite
Image by TheoRivierenlaan from Pixabay

Types of RVs

There are different types of RVs available for different needs and preferences. Some of the popular types of RVs are:

  • Motorhomes: Motorhomes are the most popular type of RVs and come in different sizes, from small vans to large buses. They are self-contained and have everything you need to live comfortably on the road.
  • Travel trailers: Travel trailers are towed behind a vehicle and come in different sizes and configurations. They are less expensive than motorhomes and offer more flexibility in terms of choosing a towing vehicle.
  • Fifth wheels: Fifth wheels are similar to travel trailers, but they are designed to be towed by a pickup truck. They offer more space and amenities than travel trailers and are a popular choice for long-term travelers.

Pebble Creek Campground
via flickr

What is Boondocking?

In short, “boondocking” is a slang term for “dry camping,” which means enjoying the traveling and camping experience without many modern commodities, such as power, sewer access, or water hookups. Free parking does not necessarily mean delving deep into the backcountry; it can be as simple as finding a suitable highway rest stop. Boondocking is a great way to get off the beaten path and explore remote areas without the crowds and noise of traditional campgrounds.

popup camper
Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Advantages of Boondocking

Some of the advantages of boondocking include:

  • Cost savings: One of the most significant benefits of boondocking is the potential for substantial cost savings. Most boondocking locations are free or have minimal fees, which can help you save money on campground costs.
  • Peace and quiet: Boondocking offers a serene and quiet environment, away from the crowds and noise of traditional campgrounds. This allows you to truly immerse yourself in nature and enjoy a more relaxing experience.
  • Flexibility: Boondocking offers greater flexibility in terms of choosing your location and setting up camp. You have more freedom to explore remote areas and experience unique destinations that might not be accessible when staying in established campgrounds.
  • Sustainability: By relying on solar power, conserving water, and minimizing waste, boondocking can be an eco-friendly way to travel and enjoy the great outdoors.

truck camping
Image by Duncan Tran from Pixabay

What to Know Before You Go Boondocking

Before you set out on your boondocking adventure, there are several things to consider:

  1. Research potential boondocking locations in advance, including rules and regulations, access, and potential hazards. Websites like Campendium,, and AllStays can help you find suitable locations.
  2. Make sure your RV is boondocking-ready. Equip your RV with solar panels or a generator to provide power, and ensure you have enough freshwater storage and waste management solutions.
  3. Plan for food and water needs, as you may not have access to grocery stores or water sources during your stay.
  4. Learn to conserve water and energy, as resources can be limited when boondocking.
  5. Be prepared for emergencies, including having a first aid kit, a toolbox, and extra supplies.

Solar Travel Trailer
By via flickr

Boondocking Tips for Beginners

  1. Start small: Begin your boondocking journey with short trips and gradually work your way up to longer stays in more remote locations.
  2. Arrive during daylight: It’s much easier to find a suitable spot and set up camp when you can see your surroundings.
  3. Respect the environment: Practice Leave No Trace principles and always dispose of waste properly.
  4. Be prepared for all weather conditions: Pack appropriate clothing, gear, and supplies to ensure your comfort and safety.
  5. Seek advice from experienced boondockers: Join online forums, read blogs, or watch YouTube videos to learn from the experiences of others.

beach camping
Image by Harald Funken from Pixabay 

Rules of Boondocking

  1. Always obtain permission if you’re boondocking on private property.
  2. Follow posted regulations and guidelines, including maximum stay limits and fire restrictions.
  3. Be respectful of other boondockers and maintain a reasonable distance from their campsites.
  4. Keep noise levels low and respect quiet hours.
  5. Do not leave trash or litter behind – pack out what you pack in.

class B RV
Image by Melanie Erhard from Pixabay

More Resources

For additional information and resources on boondocking, check out the following:

  • RV forums, like iRV2, RVillage, and Escapees, where you can connect with other RVers and boondockers.
  • Mobile apps, such as Campendium, AllStays, and Boondockers Welcome, which can help you find and review boondocking sites.
  • Boondocking-related blogs and YouTube channels, where you can find valuable tips and advice from experienced boondockers.
  • The National Park Service website ( – The NPS is an authoritative source for information about camping and outdoor recreation, and their website has a wealth of information on camping in national parks, including boondocking.
  • The RV Industry Association website ( – The RV Industry Association is a trade organization that represents the RV industry, and their website has information on all aspects of RVing, including boondocking.
  • The Bureau of Land Management website ( – The Bureau of Land Management is a government agency that manages public lands, including many areas where boondocking is allowed. Their website has information on boondocking on public lands.

Get Out and Start Boondocking

Now that you have a better understanding of what RV boondocking is and the benefits it offers, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge into action. Start planning your first boondocking adventure and experience the freedom, tranquility, and cost savings that come with this unique way of exploring the great outdoors. As you gain experience, you’ll become more comfortable and confident in your boondocking skills, opening up a world of new travel opportunities and unforgettable experiences.

travel trailer
Image by Rudi Nockewel from Pixabay

Remember, the key to a successful boondocking experience is being prepared and respectful of both the environment and fellow travelers. By following the tips and advice shared in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the ultimate RV boondocking adventure.


Next Topic…