What’s boondocking? Boondocking is also called Dry Camping, Off Grid Camping and on Federal Lands it’s called Dispersed Camping. Basically, it’s camping with no hookups in a non-campsite area. Usually, it’s in a Wilderness or Public Land area such as a National Park or Forest.
You’ll also find that places such as Casinos, Wal-Mart stores, Camping World, Bass Pro Shop, and some truck stops will let you dry camp on their property. There are more places that will let you camp in their parking lots, but just make sure you ask permission.
Harvest Hosts, http://harvesthosts.com, is a membership required organization that has a network of places that you can camp for free as long as you are self contained. Some of the places in their network are farms, wineries, museums, orchards, etc. You can check out their website for more information.
Some RVers, that I know, will usually stay in a Wal-Mart or some other parking lot if they’re traveling across country to a specific location in as short a time as possible. If you’re not in a hurry, maybe some place like HarvestHosts would be for you since they’re usually off the beaten path and in relaxing locations.
If you’re Boondocking, you won’t be hooked up to any utilities, so it’s probably a good idea, before you travel too far from civilization, to check out a few things. Find out how long you can last without hookups.
Since, you’ll be carrying your own water, figure out how long it will last before you have to fill your water tank. Maybe camp at a location with hookups but don’t use them until you run out before you’re ready to leave. Then you’ll know, for example, that you carry just 4 days worth of water. This, of course, all depends on the size of your R V and the size of the water tank. So if you’re going to be out for a week, have a water use plan if you only carry 4 days worth.
You also need to check out you gray and black water tanks. How long will it take before you have to dump them? Overflows aren’t nice.
Before taking off on your trip, scout out where you can get water refills and where you can use the dump stations. More and more of the truck stops and the rest areas now have dump stations as well as non-potable ( not drinkable ) water that you can get.
Next, plan on what you’re going to eat. How are you going to cook it? Or, keep it cold? If you’re cooking, you’re probably going to be using propane or open fire for everything. Know how much propane you have and where you can get refills if you’ll be using propane for cooking or heating your R V. Many off grid sites will have burn bans in effect, so know before you go. How many days will the ice in your cooler last keeping your food cold? In a future post, I may review some equipment we use that we have found to be very beneficial.
Basically, all this is saying, if you’re planning on going to a remote area to Boondock, it may be a beautiful location, but it won’t be any fun if you’re miserable because you’re hungry, cold and possibly wet.
BLM, Bureau of Land Management, and WMA, Wildlife Management Areas, have beautiful off grid locations where you can boondock . Most of them are free and just require a permit to be there.
My searches for WMA lands all lead me to a state department of natural resources site. You can search for these lands through your specific state website or just Google your state name and WMA.
BLM land info can be found at http://blm.gov. There you can find regulations and maps and frequently asked questions for camping on federal land.
Safety is always a big concern. If you’re in a wildlife area. Be aware. Bears and many other animals will be attracted to any food or garbage you have around your campsite. They won’t be shy about checking it out. Have a plan if you or someone with you gets hurt. And when you’re picking your campsite location, be sure you’re off the road and in a safe location. For example, don’t camp on the edge of a cliff or under a falling rock.
The advantages of boondocking are numerous. You’re away from the traffic noise, the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the television and the phone. The sites and sounds can be beautiful. You may even be able to go hiking or splashing around in a small lake or river.
Just be sure to plan ahead and be prepared. And, be sure to take your camera. You’re liable to get some amazing shots that you can post online or comment on this post with a picture of something you were able to see.
Whatever you do, have fun!