What is Boondocking?

RV camp set up in remote area

“Boondocking” is a term that gets thrown around often in the RV community. What it means is staying in your RV without hooking up to water, electricity, or sewer. Some call this “dispersed camping” which includes hiking, car camping, and other off-grid forms of camping for free; no hook ups.

boondocking in a white RVSince RVs are self-contained, it is possible to live in your RV for several days without hooking up to power. This is also referred to as “dry camping” or “going off the grid.” It’s especially popular for free desert camping in OHV riding areas on BLM and National Forest land.

There are two ways to go about boondocking. The first is to stay at an established campground, such as at Pinnacles National Park, and simply not hook up your RV. The second is to seek out a secluded area to set up camp. The National Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management calls this “dispersed camping” and is great for those who truly want to immerse themselves in the wilderness. Many people enjoy doing a combination of the two. A great example of this is at Joshua Tree National Park. There is a great spot just outside the South park entrance.

Why Boondock?

There are several reasons that people are attracted to this style of RV camping. Here are some of the benefits of boondocking:

Boondocking Saves You Money

line of RVs driving by trees

Hookups are expensive. Going off the grid, even if it’s just for a few days, is a great way to save money on your trip and you can find many resources on line to help you find these great camping spots. We like AllStays and Campendium.

If you’re looking for overnight stays for free on a long road trip, there is no better resource than these two sites which include the Walmart and Cracker Barrel stores that will allow you to spend the night in their parking lot. Remember to be respectful, keep it clean, and patronize those establishments who are saving you money. If you need some tips, check out this Guide to Boondocking from our friends at CamperDays.

You Get to Connect with Nature

view of trees while RV camping

Another reason that people like boondocking is that it allows you to escape the masses of people and traffic. Even established campgrounds and RV parks can get busy. Those who want a break from the modern world will enjoy going off the grid. Boondocking allows you to become one with nature and explore the amazing world around you.

The beauty of taking your RV to remote areas is that you can camp in comfort. Those who can no longer enjoy a hiking trip, or have medical issues that keep them from a lot of physical activity still have the opportunity to connect with the outdoors.

Those people who don’t want to drive or tow a big RV can still get outside and they have the ability to stay much longer in “the wild” than if they were tent camping or backpacking.

You Discover Amazing Locations

Getting out there and searching for unique camping destinations can lead to you discovering some beautiful sites. Going off the grid allows anyone the opportunity to have an adventure in places that others rarely visit. Check out this awesome spot near Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Yes, that’s us enjoying the views all alone.

RV overlooking Badlands

Who Should Boondock?

person leaning against white RV and looking at a lake

Anyone with an adventurous and a bold spirit will enjoy boondocking. This type of camping is excellent for those who desire peace and quiet and want to spend time in nature as well as save money on their vacation.

Remember, anyone can do it. Even if your 10 mile hiking days are behind you, there is plenty of solitude to find and experience.

Tips for Going Off the Grid

An important part of going off the grid is making sure to bring the proper equipment. Some of the essentials you’ll want to bring along include:

  • Potable Water
  • Running out of water is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to boondocking. Bring along several extra jugs to avoid this risk.
  • Ice Chest
  • Extra fuel
  • Camp Chairs
  • If you’re not staying at a campground with picnic tables or other forms of seating, you may want to bring your own chairs to sit on.
  • Nonperishable food
  • Make sure you have enough food to last the duration of your trip.

white RV with orange stripe set up at a snowy campground

Know Your Energy Needs

white RV camping in the wilderness

It is important to know how much energy your RV uses before you try camping without hook-ups. Purchasing a battery monitor can tell you how much power your RV requires.

You need to keep your batteries charged in order to keep the power in your RV running. This means you either need a generator or you need to invest in solar panels. This article goes more in depth about how to keep your RV charged.

Whether you want to save some money at a campground or you are looking to spend time relaxing in a secluded area, consider the many benefits that boondocking holds.


Life is short and the world is big. Chances are you’ve experienced big crowds. If you’d like more solitude and serenity while you can still move around, try boondocking. Remember, anyone can book and enjoy a delivered RV rental!