RV Boondocking Full Time

RV Boondocking Full Time

First of all, what is “boondocking”?

Boondocking, also known as dry camping, is camping “off-grid”, with no hookups for electric, sewer or water. It is a prime way to get away from civilization and enjoy nature in all its grandeur. It is also economical, because many boondocking areas are free, on public lands.

Within the RV world, there is a special, hardy breed of fulltime RVer, known as the fulltime boondocker. This hardy breed of traveler strives to live “off-grid” all of the time, with very few visits to an RV park. They pride themselves on the ability to save money on rent. Likewise, They pride themselves on their ingenuity at finding new ways to live comfortably “off-grid” and in their ability to find new places to camp.

The prime areas to live as a full-time boondocker is West of the Rockies; the population is sparse, and the majority of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land is here. Likewise, there is abundant National Forest lands. Many free boondocking areas are well known, such as Quarztsite in Arizona, and the areas around Yuma Arizona. Other areas are less well known, and full-time boondockers pride themselves on the ability to find these hidden spots; often, they will jealously guard their favorite areas.

A Few Boondocking Rules

There are a few rules that must be obeyed as a full-time boondocker; the first and most important rule is, “pack it in, pack it out”. That means, whatever garbage you generate while “out in the boonies”, you must take with you. There will be no garbage dumpsters out there in nature. It’s extremely bad form to just throw your trash into the fire pit and drive away. There are “bad actors” within the boondocker community, who leave litter everywhere they go. These litterbugs are often blamed when a boondocking area is either closed down or restricted.

Another rule, give your neighbors room! This is not an RV park, where your neighbors are just a few feet away. Boondockers like their space, a lot of space! Like acres of space! The rule is, just one rig per pull out, even if it is big. Of course, if you are caravanning with other boondockers, it would be appropriate to park together. Otherwise, even if a pull out looks big enough for more than one rig, keep on driving down the road, if someone is already there.

As with an RV park, quiet time is appreciated; don’t blast your music if other campers are within earshot. Also, don’t run a noisy generator all day; if your goal is to do a lot of boondocking, consider getting solar panels. Most full-time boondockers have solar, and the standard seems to be 300-400W or 175-200W minimum.

Boondocking Involves Some Money

If this lifestyle appeals to you, be prepared to spend some initial money on a good generator and/or solar panels. You will also need to give up some of your comforts and luxuries, such as high wattage hair dryers and coffee makers. In many ways, you’ll need to go old school and live a low tech lifestyle. You may also have to endure weather without the usual air conditioning or heating; solar power is not the same as grid power and generally can not run high watt appliances.

Boondocking is Good for Introverts

Boondocking full time is an unusual life, and not for everyone. As a full-time boondocker, you may also have to forgo the usual social amenities; living off-grid as a boondocker is best suited to introverts, or couples who are very close.

Boondocking fulltime can be an economical and rewarding lifestyle, as long as you follow a few rules, and are OK with living a more socially isolated lifestyle.


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