With no access to amenities, boondocking can be one of the most primitive and exciting ways to camp. Remote and unplugged, adventurers in new travel trailers and other RVs can isolate themselves from crowded campgrounds to enjoy the great outdoors in a more natural environment. Though boondocking can be fun and cost-effective, there are numerous mistakes novices make while boondocking. To help you get it right the first time, RVT has compiled seven boondocking gaffes you can avoid.
Not Researching Beforehand
Failing to research your potential destination can ruin a boondocking experience. To select a boondocking site that will provide a positive, memorable time, it’s important to check online reviews for the destinations you are considering. When browsing online reviews for boondocking sites, keep an eye out for these red flags:
- Reports of theft
- Full time squatters
- Unremarkable scenery
- Lack of nearby amenities
- Standing water and flooding
- Little-to-no park ranger presence
- Lack of sufficient space for RV maneuverability
If possible, don’t just look online; actually drive your Class A diesel RV or other motorhome to the area in advance to assess whether the spot is satisfactory to you. It’s important to know whether the boondocking spot can accommodate your rig, as certain RVs are too large for certain areas. You can also download applications on your phone, such as FreeRoam, which will help you plan your boondocking trip and establish connections with various boondockers to inquire about their experiences.
Not Having a Plan B
Inclement weather, no cell service, closed areas, and overcrowded boondocking sites are various factors that can thwart your off-the-grid adventure. To plan for the best boondocking experience, it is helpful to have a backup plan in case anything goes awry. Research the nearest boondocking sites within relative distance to your main choice. Stay up to date with the weather before and during your trip. Having a Plan B will minimize stress and eliminate any frustration that might occur while you are boondocking.
Not Having the Correct Maintenance Tools
With no access to repair shops, forgetting to bring basic repair and maintenance tools is a critical gaffe. Do not rely on other boondockers in the area to have the necessary maintenance equipment. Check your owner’s manual for any suggestions on specific maintenance tools for your camper and bring them with you before you depart. It is essential to have a repair tool kit handy in case your new toy hauler or other RV has an unexpected issue or breakdown while boondocking.
Arriving at Night
Since boondocking often entails driving off the beaten bath, it is particularly dangerous to drive when visibility is low. Even though you may have scouted the area beforehand, there are still potential hazards that can impede your ability to boondock safely. It is best to arrive at your spot during the day so that you have a better understanding of your dry-camping site.
Not Conserving Water
Since boondocking does not provide any water hookups, your only source is from the fresh water tank. Novices tend to overestimate their water supply and use up their freshwater faster than anticipated. When boondocking, it is crucial to note that the more water you have available, the longer you will be able to stay at a boondocking site. To help conserve water, consider bringing disposable utensils, plates, and bowls to minimize cleanup. Likewise, avoid taking long showers and install an oxygen shower head to save water. You can also limit the fresh water tank for showers, flushing, and washing dishes by bringing along extra water bottles or gallon-jugs for drinking.
Overestimating Your RVs Power Capability
Similarly to water conservation, power conservation is a must when boondocking and is directly related to the duration you will be able to boondock. It is essential to fully charge your RV’s battery before leaving your house. The biggest mistake new boondockers make is departing on their journey without fully charging their battery and then completely relying on it while they are off-the-grid. Experienced boondockers use supplemental means, such as a generator or solar panels, to help conserve power in their Class B+ camper van or other motorhome.
Causing a Disturbance
While boondocking, there is a certain etiquette one should follow, especially in more populated areas. If you are in a particularly busy boondocking area, it is important to not cause a disturbance, including running a loud generator at night, playing loud music, and not cleaning up after yourself. Be respectful and enjoy the great outdoors in a civil manner.
Dumping Gray Water
In many public areas across the U.S., it is illegal to dump your gray tank at your boondocking spot. It is detrimental to the environment, is harmful to wildlife, causes erosion, and alters the state of local water sources. While boondocking, make sure you only empty your tanks at an appropriate dump station.
These boondocking mistakes can easily be avoided, and it begins by doing research before your trip. If you are interested in a new or used camper for a boondocking excursion, check out the listings on RVT.com. Browse the various filters to find the perfect match that fits your preferences.
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