What is boondocking? Well, we’re here to share all about it!
If you love RV living and exploring the USA, boondocking will get you deeper into those rich experiences you desire. It will introduce you to new areas (where the tourists don’t go). And, best of all, it will be kind to your wallet!
What is Boondocking?
Boondocking has a ton of definitions. Almost every RVer defines it uniquely. Boondocking, also referred to as dry camping, free camping, overnight parking and freedom camping, is pretty much camping for free with no hook ups.
While you can sometimes “boondock” at Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Interstate rest stops and truck stops, today we’re focusing on boondocking on public lands.
Aside from being free – our definition also mentions camping “without hook ups”. That means no water connection, no electrical connection and no sewer connection.
Here’s a picture of what boondocking looks like:
How To Find Boondocking Spots
It’s pretty easy to find boondocking sites in the USA. Our favorite resource is Campendium. Once you visit their website, just type in the location where you want to camp and click search. You’ll see a ton of options. Narrow your search to “free” in the price menu and then you’ll see all the boondocking locations!
You can also find great boondocking sites on Free Campsites. Again, just enter the location you want to visit, click search, and SHAZAM, you’ll see all the free campsites!
We also use Allstays to find free camping sometimes. But, if you’re a newbie, just stick to the two above until you get your bearings.
Things To Prepare You For Boondocking
To boondock for more than one day, you’ll need to do a little preparation: make sure your water tanks are full, know the limits of your holding tanks and have a game plan for your power needs.
A generator is the easiest path to instant availability for high power. We have a Honda 2200 (linked in the previous sentence). It’s an amazing, high quality unit that has stood the test of time. However, you can get the same power generator for half the price if you’re budget conscious.
You can also use solar power. It requires more money and more battery space. If you’re a tech nerd you may want to research it. But, if you’re a total boondocking newbie, a generator is probably your best bet to get you started. You can always upgrade to solar in the future and your generator will still come in handy on cloudy days.
Sure, the list for boondocking etiquette could go on forever…but, we’re just going to cover a few basics.
First, don’t camp too close to the next guy. Fifty yards is a good rule of thumb, but really it all depends on the location. Sometimes you have to park close to your neighbor (like at this free camping spot near Zion National Park). If space allows however, keep your distance!
Second, keep your pets on a leash or under voice control. Your dog may be the nicest pup around, but if he runs over to a neighbors leashed dog, you never know what will happen. For the safety of your pup and everyone else – make sure you have control of it! AND, always pick up dog poop!
Lastly, leave the spot cleaner than when you arrived! Simple and important. Boondocking sites across the USA get shut down every year because of trash.
We publish lists of our favorite boondocking sites every year! You can find all of those below: