Camper Boondocking Tips for Beginners

Are you making plans to hit the road with your camper and try boondocking for the first time this summer? If so, you’re going to want to read this article! The weather is hot and the Great Outdoors is calling, and after months of being cooped up at home, you’re ready for an adventure- there’s no better time to take your camper on a boondocking trip!

What is Boondocking?

Boondocking, also known as dry camping, free camping, or wild camping, is a term used by veteran campers, and simply means parking your camper in a place with no access to water, electric, or sewer services. In other words, you’re completely off the grid with nothing around but your trusty camper and everything you packed for your journey. You might call it “ultimate social distancing!”

While the opportunity to disconnect from modern conveniences and recharge your batteries while being one with nature can be an amazing chance to get away from it all,  roughing it in a camper can still be quite…well, rough if you don’t understand what you’re getting yourself into. We’ve put together a list of boondocking pro tips from seasoned campers to help you plan the best first-time experience possible. Enjoy!

First Step: Meal Prep!

Planning ahead and preparing meals in advance can save you a lot of time, especially when you’re without access to water and the only way to heat food is on a propane stove. Put together heat-and-serve ingredients ahead of time- or, better yet, make sandwiches, salads, or any other kinds of food that don’t require cooking to give yourself more time to relax. After all, it’s easier to enjoy being unplugged from everyday life when you’re not spending all your boondocking time working away in your camper’s kitchen area, either preparing meals or cleaning up after them! Prepping meals in advance also reduces or eliminates trips to the store while you’re boondocking, cuts down on the number of dishes you have to do, and keeps your trash output to a minimum.

Shower Less (Or Not at All!)

When boondocking, try to see if you can shower every other day instead of daily to lessen your water consumption and leave more in the tank so you don’t unexpectedly run out. Personal care products such as dry shampoo and baby wipes can help you cut down on the funk factor while you’re on your shower-free day of boondocking.

Optional showers not an option for you? Introduce yourself to a “Navy shower”- that is, turning on the water long enough to get wet, turning it off to soap up and wash, and then turning it back on just for the rinse-off!

Repurpose Shower Water

Speaking of the shower, consider keeping a bucket in there to catch any excess water. You can re-use this runoff to flush the toilet, which not only reduces freshwater usage from the tank but also lightens your load by minimizing gray tank water. Win-win!

Lights Out

If it’s daytime or you’re not really using the lights, leave them off when the generator isn’t running. This also goes for electrical items that you’re currently not using. Staying mindful of this can help to conserve power for when you really do need it!

Catch a Breeze

If you’re boondocking in a warm climate, leave the windows of your camper open in the evening to cool it down naturally with a nice breeze and chilly night air. Only use the A/C intermittently to reduce the drain on your generator and help with its fuel economy.

Check Your Signal

Make sure you’re in a spot that has sufficient cellular/Internet coverage ahead of time by using a coverage map from your cell phone service provider. Even if you plan to stay off the grid for a few days, it’s good to have adequate cellular coverage in the event of an emergency.

Stay Covered for the Unexpected

Even though you carry auto insurance for your camper, it’s wise to look into additional coverage that can help in the event of a breakdown. Look into an extended car warranty that can cover any potential repairs or part replacement your camper may need over its lifetime. This way, if something happens while you’re boondocking, or on your way to or from your campsite, you won’t be hit with a huge bill and a bunch of headaches!

Most used car buyers search for “extended auto warranties”. But extended auto warranties are actually either Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (in California) or a Vehicle Service contract (in the rest of the USA). When looking at extended auto warranties, be sure to check out https://gogetolive.com/, as they can get a quote in just a few minutes, in most cases. They also have a monthly option that you can cancel any time.

Keep a Lid on It

In order to prevent wild animals from scavenging your trash bins, make sure to store your trash securely inside your camper. Planning on grilling out? Be sure to bring all leftover food safely inside to ward off any unwanted visitors.

Stay in the Loop

“Off the grid” doesn’t have to mean “lost in the wilderness.” Even if your plan is to get away from it all while you’re boondocking, you should leave your GPS coordinates with at least one friend or family member so they know where you are. This will not only help you stay safe in the event of an emergency but will also give your loved ones peace of mind while you’re gone. 

Enjoy!

What’s the point of boondocking if you’re not there to have fun? Making the most of your boondocking experience will make you more likely to want to do it again in the future. Be sure to take plenty of time to relax, enjoy nature, and make memories that will last for a lifetime.

One thing we can guarantee about your first boondocking experience with your camper is that it’s certainly going to be memorable. However, we can also assure you that following these tips will keep your trip from being memorable for the wrong reasons! By planning ahead, taking necessary precautions, and taking care to conserve your resources, you’ll be on the road to becoming a seasoned boondocking camper in no time!

Victoria Brewood
victoria@pommietravels.com

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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