The Ultimate Guide to Boondocking

Have you ever dreamt of waking up to breathtaking mountain views or calming ocean sounds, all from the comfort of your RV? Boondocking, also known as dry camping or dispersed camping, transforms your RV into a gateway to unforgettable experiences in nature’s embrace. Imagine escaping crowded campgrounds and hefty fees, replacing them with the serenity of secluded locations and the thrill of self-sufficient living. Beyond the cost savings and privacy, boondocking fosters a deep connection with the environment. By harnessing solar power, conserving resources, and following Leave No Trace principles, you can minimize your footprint and become a responsible steward of the outdoors. This comprehensive guide equips you with all the knowledge and resources to embark on your own boondocking adventure, transforming your RV from a vehicle into a sustainable haven for exploration and adventure.

caravan camper nostalgia
Image by Lukas from Pixabay

Environmental and Financial Advantages of Boondocking

Boondocking goes beyond the typical RV experience, prioritizing both eco-friendly practices and budget-conscious travel. Let’s delve into the ways it benefits both you and the environment:

  • Reduced Environmental Impact: Embrace a sustainable lifestyle by minimizing your reliance on external resources. Utilize solar panels to generate clean energy, meticulously conserve water, and adhere to Leave No Trace principles to ensure minimal disruption to the natural environment.
  • Cost-Effective Exploration: Ditch the campground fees and enjoy significant financial savings. Boondocking allows you to explore scenic locations for free or at minimal cost, stretching your travel budget further.

Adventure and Freedom Await

Boondocking isn’t just about saving money or reducing your footprint; it’s about unlocking a whole new level of adventure. Imagine venturing beyond the confines of traditional campgrounds and into the heart of untouched landscapes. Picture waking up to a symphony of birdsong, surrounded by majestic mountains or glistening coastlines. Boondocking grants you the freedom to explore hidden gems, off-the-beaten-path locations that most travelers miss. This self-sufficient lifestyle fosters a sense of independence and accomplishment. Every challenge overcome, every breathtaking vista discovered becomes a cherished memory, a testament to your adventurous spirit. Embrace the thrill of boondocking and create unforgettable experiences that will forever redefine your RV travels.

Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Boondocking isn’t all sunshine and starry nights. It does come with its own set of challenges that require planning and resourcefulness. Here’s what to expect and how to navigate these hurdles:

  • Finding the Perfect Spot: Unlike campgrounds with designated sites, boondocking requires scouting for suitable locations. Public land management websites and apps like iOverlander and Campendium can be your allies in this treasure hunt.
  • Resource Management: Off-grid living means managing your water and electricity consumption carefully. Investing in solar panels and conserving water through techniques like showering with a friend (buddy shower) can extend your stay.
  • Knowing the Rules: Respect the land and adhere to local regulations. Research restrictions on boondocking duration, fire safety precautions, and waste disposal in your chosen area.
  • Ensuring Your Safety: Being self-sufficient requires extra vigilance. Consider basic security measures like door locks and motion-sensor lights. Always inform someone about your travel plans and location.

Equipping Your Boondocking Adventure

RV Solar
Image by via flickr

Respecting the Outdoors

Boondocking allows you to experience the beauty of nature firsthand, but it’s important to tread lightly and be mindful of your surroundings. Here are some essential etiquette practices to ensure a positive experience for everyone:

Leave what you find
Grand Canyon National Park, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Leave No Trace

Upholding Leave No Trace principles is paramount. Pack out all trash, including food scraps and hygiene products. Respect wildlife by maintaining a safe distance, avoiding feeding them, and storing food securely. Minimize your impact on the environment by staying on designated trails and avoiding damage to plants and terrain.

Respectful Coexistence

  • Being a considerate neighbor is key to a harmonious boondocking experience. Maintain a reasonable noise level, especially at night. Utilize solar or battery-powered lighting to minimize light pollution. If using a generator, keep its runtime considerate of others.

Noise and Light Pollution

Minimizing noise and light pollution, particularly during nighttime hours, is essential for maintaining a peaceful environment. Using solar or battery-powered lighting and avoiding loud music or generator use can help.

Building Community

The boondocking community thrives on mutual respect and camaraderie. Greet your fellow boondockers with a friendly smile! Offer assistance when needed, and be open to sharing experiences and tips. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure a memorable and eco-friendly boondocking adventure for yourself and those around you.

Top Apps for Finding Boondocking Locations

Finding the ideal boondocking spot is key to a successful adventure. Luckily, there are fantastic apps to streamline your search and help you discover hidden gems. Here are some of the most popular options:

boondocking apps
Image by PickPik


Campendium goes beyond just listing locations. Campendium boasts user reviews, photos, and valuable insights from fellow RVers, giving you a well-rounded picture of each boondocking site.


iOverlander is a favorite amongst adventure travelers and RVers alike, iOverlander boasts a global database of boondocking locations, campgrounds, and essential services like water refill stations and dump sites. This versatile app is your one-stop shop for planning your off-grid itinerary, ensuring you have everything you need for a comfortable and fulfilling boondocking experience.


AllStays is your one-stop shop for planning any RV adventure, boondocking or otherwise. This app offers a wealth of information, including detailed listings for campgrounds, RV parks, and of course, boondocking locations. Beyond campsites, AllStays helps you locate essential resources like dump stations, propane refills, and even laundry facilities, ensuring a smooth and convenient trip.


ParkAdvisor acts as your comprehensive guide to all things RV camping. This app encompasses a vast database that includes boondocking locations alongside national parks, state parks, and various other camping options. Whether you seek a secluded boondocking adventure or a amenity-rich campground experience, ParkAdvisor helps you discover the perfect campsite to suit your travel style and preferences.

Useful Websites for Boondocking Research

Boondockers Welcome

Boondockers Welcome goes beyond just finding locations; it fosters a unique community experience. This program connects RVers with hospitable private property owners who offer complimentary overnight stays on their land. It’s a fantastic way to discover hidden gems and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow travelers, all while practicing responsible boondocking. There’s a good chance you’ll find unique locations with scenic views or interesting local experiences you wouldn’t encounter at traditional campgrounds. leverages the collective knowledge of the RV community to provide a comprehensive directory of budget-friendly camping options. This crowd-sourced platform lists free and low-cost campsites, including boondocking locations on public lands and a variety of off-grid hidden gems. With user reviews, ratings, and photos, empowers you to make informed decisions and discover unique camping spots that perfectly suit your boondocking adventure.

Harvest Hosts

Harvest Hosts is a membership program unlocks a world of unforgettable overnight stays at wineries, farms, breweries, and other interesting locations across North America. For a modest annual fee, Harvest Hosts allows you to park your RV at these scenic locations, often enjoying discounts on their products or complimentary tastings. It’s a fantastic way to combine your love for the outdoors with supporting local businesses and savoring regional flavors, all while experiencing a unique twist on boondocking.


RVwithME connects RVers with a diverse range of private landowners who offer RV campsites on their property. This platform caters to various preferences, including boondocking locations for the off-grid enthusiast and hookup sites with amenities for those seeking a bit more comfort. With RVwithME, you can discover unique campsites like scenic farms, peaceful meadows, or interesting historical sites, all while supporting local landowners.

The Dyrt

The Dyrt is your comprehensive guide to all things camping. This user-friendly platform curates an extensive directory that encompasses campgrounds, RV parks, and of course, boondocking locations across North America. Beyond just listings, The Dyrt enriches your search with valuable user reviews, informative descriptions, and eye-catching photos. This all-in-one resource empowers you to compare options, discover hidden gems, and find the perfect campsite to match your boondocking preferences.

Online RVing and Boondocking Communities

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Image by Aljonushka from Pixabay

Escapees RV Club

Escapees RV Club offers a plethora of resources beyond boondocking information. Escapees RV Club provides support, community events, and discounted camping options at member-owned parks across North America. It’s a fantastic option for RVers seeking a comprehensive and supportive RV lifestyle experience.

Fulltime Families

Fulltime Families fosters a welcoming online community for anyone interested in embracing the RV lifestyle, particularly those considering full-time travel. This platform provides a wealth of resources, educational content, and engaging events to support your RV adventures. Connect with like-minded individuals and families, swap travel tips and boondocking experiences, and find encouragement and support in this vibrant online community.


Xscapers provides a thriving online space for working-age RVers to connect, share experiences, and plan their RV adventures. As a subgroup of Escapees RV Club, they offer resources, events, and valuable networking opportunities specifically tailored to individuals embracing the RV lifestyle while balancing work or other commitments. Whether you’re drawn to boondocking escapes, workamping opportunities, or simply seeking a supportive community of fellow RV travelers, Xscapers welcomes you with open arms.

Boondocking Facebook Groups

The thriving boondocking community extends to social media platforms like Facebook. Facebook Groups offer a dynamic space for RVers to connect, share experiences, and learn from each other. Here, you can:

  • Exchange stories and tips: Engage in discussions with fellow boondockers, swap travel recommendations, and glean valuable insights from their experiences.
  • Ask questions and get help: The group environment fosters knowledge sharing. If you have a question about boondocking etiquette, gear recommendations, or finding a specific location, chances are a helpful member has the answer.
  • Discover hidden gems: Many groups focus on specific regions or states, allowing you to discover unique boondocking locations recommended by locals and experienced RVers.
  • Stay informed: Stay updated on the latest news and information relevant to boondocking, including changes in regulations or new resources for finding off-grid campsites.

Finding the Perfect Group:

With a vast number of Boondocking Facebook Groups available, it’s important to find ones that align with your interests and preferences. Here are some tips for your search:

  • Target your interests: Look for groups specific to your region or preferred boondocking style (e.g., dry camping with families, off-road boondocking with modified RVs).
  • Read the descriptions and guidelines: Most groups have descriptions outlining their focus and any rules for participation.
  • Join and participate: Once you find a group that seems like a good fit, actively participate in discussions, ask questions, and share your own experiences to become part of the vibrant boondocking community.

Disclaimer: While Facebook Groups offer a wealth of information, it’s crucial to verify the accuracy of advice and recommendations before relying on them. Always double-check regulations and policies with official sources to ensure a safe and enjoyable boondocking adventure.

Tips for a Successful Boondocking Experience

Embarking on a boondocking adventure requires a different approach compared to RV park stays. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable off-grid experience, meticulous planning and preparation are key. Here are some crucial aspects to consider:

RV at needles
Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

Planning and Preparation

  • Research potential locations thoroughly. Utilize apps, websites, and guidebooks to discover boondocking sites that suit your preferences. Consider factors like accessibility, amenities, restrictions, and terrain difficulty.
  • Anticipate potential challenges and pack accordingly. Research common boondocking issues and pack tools and supplies to address them, such as a flat tire repair kit, jumper cables, and basic plumbing supplies.
  • Ensure your RV is well-equipped for off-grid living. Inspect and maintain your water system, electrical system, and waste management to avoid unforeseen problems during your trip.

Choosing the Right Boondocking Location

  • Consider factors like accessibility (road conditions, RV size limitations), safety (crime rates, wildlife encounters), cellular coverage (essential if you need to stay connected), and proximity to amenities (water refill stations, dump stations, gas stations) when selecting your boondocking spot.

Weather and Climate Considerations

  • Research weather patterns and climate conditions at your chosen location. Be prepared for expected weather and pack appropriate clothing and gear. Understanding potential risks associated with seasonal changes, like flash floods or extreme temperatures, allows you to make informed decisions and take necessary precautions.

camping laptop
Image by Lukas from Pixabay

Maintaining Connectivity while Off-Grid

  • For RVers who rely on internet connectivity, research cellular coverage in potential boondocking locations. Invest in signal boosters or satellite internet options if necessary to maintain communication while off-grid. Be aware that connectivity can still be limited in remote areas.

Escape the Ordinary, Embrace the Adventure

Boondocking isn’t just about saving money on campsites; it’s about a deeper connection with nature and a chance to escape the ordinary. Imagine waking up to a breathtaking vista, the tranquility of the wilderness surrounding you. With careful planning, the right resources, and a commitment to responsible practices, boondocking can unlock a world of unforgettable adventures. So, gear up your RV, embrace the spirit of exploration, and experience the magic of off-grid living underneath a canopy of stars.


  1. Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics:
    • This organization promotes responsible outdoor recreation and the Leave No Trace principles.
  2. Campendium:
    • A comprehensive resource for finding boondocking sites, with user reviews and photos.
  3. iOverlander:
    • A popular app among overlanders and RVers, offering a global database of boondocking sites, campgrounds, and essential services.
  4. AllStays:
    • Provides detailed information on campgrounds, RV parks, and boondocking locations, as well as resources like dump stations and propane refills.
  5. Escapees RV Club:
    • Offers resources, support, and events for RVers, including information on boondocking and discounted camping options.

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