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Boondocking basics for RV camping off grid

What is Boondocking?

So, you hear a term like boondocking and want to figure out what it is.  Firstly, it’s a made-up word, which adds some fun and zing to it. Secondly, it is extremely popular with RV campers, tent campers, and VanLife folks recently. Lastly, it is a great word to know the definition of when you looking for places to camp.

Specifically, RV Boondocking means to camping free of hook ups. Sometimes, in an RV, in a rural place or a place outside of the campground, notably without any hook-ups like electricity, water, and sewage.

What does Boondocking really Mean?

The word boondock definition is – a rural area; with the slang word boonies coming from this word.  Notably, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, boondocks is also a word from the early 20th century. It comes from the Tagalog word for a mountain and was brought to English by the U.S. military forces who had occupied the Philippines at the beginning of the 20th century.

What is Boondocking?
What is Boondocking?

RV Boondocking

To clarify and compare, here are some other similar terms: Dry Camping- Camping in an RV without any official hook ups, it can be at a campground or in the “boonies”.  Also, there may be a fee related to camping and sometimes amenities nearby the campsite.

Boondocking in an RV has many benefits. It is nice to have a way to carry water and have more access to electricity options, as well as being able to use the sewage for a short time if needed.

While RV boondocking, it is easy to stay out camping for extended periods.

How to find RV Boondocking Locations

Click here to Find FREE Camping Resources

You are, indeed boondocking if you are in dispersed camping, and you are also dry camping when you are boondocking.

What is Dispersed Camping?

Primitive camping in an RV, tent, or other shelter, on a public land area, and they limit how many days you may stay (usually 14-16 days). 

These public land areas are managed by the U.S. government via the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management or BLM.

How Safe is Boondocking?

Use resources to find out more about your dry camping spot. There are many websites and apps with descriptions and information from other campers. We’ve found these extremely helpful when looking for a spot. Read what other campers have written about the area and if you feel unsafe in any way, get the heck out of there.

Electricity options while RV Boondocking

Having a source of power like batteries, solar, or generators will allow you to boondock in a safe way.

boondocking electricity options like a battery power
Boondocking electricity

It is not always a good idea to have a generator out in nature but when used appropriately, it can be a life saver.


For more information on Electricity while Boondocking, check out the article below.



Showers when Boondocking

Yes, I know to some, it is not a necessity to take a shower while camping. It is necessary sometimes, and still, convenient to have options. Here are some of our favorites. Depending on the situation, and what your needs are.

This solar shower is made with food grade material and it can stay hot for hours. We love that it comes with it’s own spray nozzle too. Perfect for off grid camping.

Clean drinking Water

If you are in an RV it is important to remember that you most likely need electricity to work the pump that gets the water from the tank to your faucet. Be sure you have options for getting clean water while dry camping.

Here are some of our favorite options for water.

water filter for dry camping

What about Black Water While Boondocking?

If you have an RV, you can stay out for 2-7 days, depending on your use of the facilities. What if you need to dump your black tank after finding the perfect boondocking spot, but you don’t want to move your RV. There are these handy dandy portable black tanks. Interestingly, they can be super convenient, but there are a few things to know about them.

Firstly, you can only empty a portion of your black tank. Secondly, it helps to have a pump to move the waste from one place to another. Also, be sure you have all of the appropriate attachments. A portable black tank is also a good solution if you are trying to boondock at a residence and do not want to move your whole camper every time you need to dump the tank.

portable black tank for dry camping and boondocking

More info on the process of emptying your black tank without moving.

Find FREE Camping Resources

Glamping Options for Boondocking

Just because you’re camping, doesn’t mean you can’t have some of the little luxuries of life.

The company Zero Breeze offers a really cool product, battery powered, portable air conditioners! So cool! – Pun intended. Check them out below.

Zero Breeze


When Boondocking Follow the Leave No Trace guidelines

What does this mean? It means, be aware of bears and other wildlife, camp at least 100 feet from any water source, and know of any fire restrictions.

Be aware of disturbing the grounds you camp on, always try to camp where other people have. This will decrease the amount of land disturbed by human action.

These are good rules to follow when boondocking or any other type of camping.  No matter what you want to call it!  

Thanks for reading!  Click Here to check out our other articles!

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