Forest River Flagstaff E-Pro boondocking camping

Boondocking 101 Essentials: Mastering Off-Grid RV Adventures

RV owners who go boondocking can explore public lands away from the hustle and bustle of campsites. The idea of parking your RV on some open ground and enjoying everything that nature has to offer is appealing to many campers. However, you’ll need to carefully prepare your RV to get the most out of your boondocking experience. Self-sufficiency is a much higher priority for boondockers than people who visit campgrounds since many key amenities won’t be available. Here’s an overview of how you should prepare for your first boondocking trip.

What Are the Benefits of Boondocking?

Forest River Flagstaff E-Pro boondocking camping

The main benefit of boondocking is the freedom it gives you. When you check into a campsite, you’re assigned a spot for your camper, and you share the space with many others. By contrast, if you choose a remote boondocking spot, your group may be the only people for miles around. You can set up your RV wherever you like and roam around without worrying about neighbors. If you’re unhappy with your spot or just want a change of scenery, you can move your RV or set off and look for another boondocking site to explore.

Another benefit of boondocking is the cost. Since you don’t have to pay an entry fee to a campsite, boondocking can save you money. Many public land sites are accessible for free or for a nominal fee. However, you won’t benefit from the usual amenities available at a campsite, such as running water, restrooms, and electricity. This doesn’t mean that you have to go without. With the right equipment, you can make your RV self-sufficient so that your boondocking experience still includes some of the basics you’ll need for a comfortable vacation.

Finally, boondocking lets you see the great open spaces across the U.S. The beauty of untouched nature you often miss in a crowded campsite can be right in front of your RV’s door if you pick a good boondocking site.

Essential Gear for Your Boondocking Experience

Solar power is the best option when camping off-grid. It’s a renewable energy source, operates silently and requires minimal maintenance. Many RVs now come equipped with basic solar systems, typically ranging from 100 to 200 watts, coupled with one or two batteries. These setups are designed to provide supplemental power for essentials like lighting and small electronics along with battery maintenance. For those seeking a more comprehensive solution, complete solar packages with advanced features have become increasingly popular. These packages often include larger solar arrays, sophisticated inverters, and high-capacity lithium batteries capable of powering the entire coach, including energy-intensive appliances like the air conditioners and microwaves. With these comprehensive setups, RVers can enjoy extended periods off-grid with all the comforts of home. If your RV doesn’t have solar power, Cheyenne Camping Center offers a wide range of solar packages. From battery maintenance to whole coach power packages, we have you covered! Contact us for a quote today.

Having a generator for RV boondocking is essential, whether or not you have solar power. While solar panels offer a sustainable energy solution, a generator serves as a reliable backup during cloudy days, in shaded areas, or in the event of solar component failure. A generator can quickly recharge batteries or run high-demand appliances. Whether complementing solar power or standing alone, a generator adds versatility and peace of mind, making it a vital asset for any RV boondocking adventure.

You’ll also need to ensure that you have a gas canister to store the fuel for your generator. If you’re on a long trip, you can easily fill the canister up at a gas station to replenish your generator.

Fresh water is another thing you’ll need to source when you’re boondocking. You’ll want to be sure your water tank is full before heading to your destination. If you’re planning a longer trip, bringing along water bags or portable jugs is a great idea. That way, you can refill your water tank from another source without giving up your boondocking site.

Disposing of your wastewater will be a lot easier if you have a Blue Boy, which you can tow to the dump without moving your entire RV. However, if your boondocking trip is relatively short, you may find that your waste water tank is sufficient so long as you ensure it’s empty before you hit the road.

How To Find a Good Boondocking Location

When you’re looking for boondocking locations, a good place to start is to identify public land. You can find these through the Bureau of Land Management or by checking out nearby national forests or parks. Remember, though, that there are still rules when boondocking on public lands. For example, some parks only allow boondocking in certain areas, so it’ll help you to know where these are. Some private landowners also allow boondocking with prior agreement. It’s well worth checking out this option on platforms such as Boondockers Welcome.

Boondocking Etiquette

While boondocking, it’s important to respect the nature you’re using. This means that you should leave a boondocking site as you found it. Don’t leave trash behind or damage the land through careless activities such as setting an open fire.

Another piece of boondocking etiquette is the principle of first come, first served. Since there are no fixed sites, you don’t have a right to a particular location. This can become a problem if you have to go to a nearby gas station or dump with your RV to replenish your fuel or dispose of waste. If your site is left unattended, someone else is perfectly entitled to take it.

Safety and Preparedness

Before you start your boondocking adventure, it’s worth preparing for the worst. You’ll be away from the usual infrastructure and amenities of daily life, so you’ll have to respond to unexpected events self-sufficiently. It’s well worth bringing along a flashlight in case your power fails. In addition, a weather radio can come in handy because it alerts you to approaching storms or other inclement weather, allowing you to clear up outdoors and take preventive measures.

Batteries are another must-have since they can help you operate flashlights, radios, and other equipment in an emergency. In case of a medical emergency, a first-aid kit in your RV is essential. Finally, a cell phone booster can be a great way to stay in touch with the outside world if you can’t charge your phone using the usual power source.

Get Ready for Your Boondocking Experience at Cheyenne Camping Center

As you can see, boondocking has a lot of exciting things to offer you and your family. However, making the most of your boondocking experience requires careful preparation. Here at Cheyenne Camping Center in Walcott, Iowa, we’d be happy to help you plan your boondocking experience and supply you with some of the key equipment you’ll need. If you’d like to talk to one of our experts to get their boondocking advice, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Photo of truck and Flagstaff E-Pro camper in desert by Randy Halverson