What is Boondocking?

So, you hear a term like boondocking and want to figure out what it is.  Firstly, you’ll want to know, it’s a made-up word, which is what makes it so fun sounding.  Secondly, it is extremely popular with RVers, campers, and VanLife folks recently.  Last, it is a great word to know the definition of when you looking for places to camp.

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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.

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More Specifically

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

Other Terms

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/or amenities nearby the campsite.

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

Another key point is to always 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!  

What is Boondocking?
What is Boondocking?

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