16 Boondocking Tips For Beginners

Gere are 16 boondocking tips for beginners. Are you considering boondocking but worry about being without electricity or running water? Is it possible to go without all the comforts of a developed campground and still have a fantastic trip? Of course, it is!

boondocking tips

Boondocking is just camping with your RV on public land that does not have any sort of amenities. There are no electric, water, or sewer hookups. You also won’t find public bathrooms, fresh water, or even picnic tables.

  1. Bring extra water jugs
  2. Save your dishwater
  3. Shower less
  4. Bring a portable tank for gray and black water
  5. Bring Quality Batteries
  6. Bring Solar Lights
  7. Bring a Generator
  8. Add more fans
  9. Don’t use the Furnace
  10. Invest in new lightbulbs
  11. Use your car for charging phones
  12. Do Not Use Electric Appliances
  13. Use an Ice Chest Instead Of The Refrigerator
  14. Pack A Paper Map or Atlas
  15. Bring Your First Aid Kit
  16. Don’t forget extra fuel
  17. Boondocking Tips Final Thoughts

Boondocking doesn’t have to be uncomfortable tho because there are several ways you can stretch the electricity and water, you do have, by following our advice! With a little planning and preparation, you can camp without a few of the comforts of home and still have a great time!

Here are a few boondocking tips to help you prepare for all that boondocking has to offer

Bring extra water jugs

Freshwater is something you don’t want to run out of. Bring along at least two 5 gallon jugs of water to use as freshwater when water hookups are not available. Leave them in your vehicle so as you travel or explore you can refill them when you are near an area with fresh water.

Save your dishwater

As you wash your dishes use as little water as possible but don’t let the water go down the drain when you’re finished. Wash your dishes in a tub that you can then use to dump that water into the toilet. This will save space in your gray tank (as it will more than likely fill faster than your black tank) and save freshwater reserves from being used by the toilet.

Shower less

Yes, you did read that correctly, we said shower less. If at all possible, space out your bathing as long as you can stand it to keep gray water from filling up so quickly. Use shower wipes as a way to remain clean between showers.

If spacing out showers isn’t something you’re comfortable with, consider investing in a low-flow aerated showerhead to lessen the amount of water you’d be using.

Bring a portable tank for gray and black water

Even if you’re doing everything possible to limit, and make the most of, your water use, there’s a chance your gray and black tanks will need to be emptied.

If you have a portable tank and a macerator pump, you can empty the ones in your RV and then drive the portable tank to a dumpsite without having to pack up your entire RV.

Bring Quality Batteries

When you don’t have access to electricity, batteries are what keep the lights on! This fact, alone, makes them one of the most important items to have on hand. Invest in a quality battery to be sure you have the power you need during your off-the-grid camping days. If possible, bring a spare battery too.

Bring Solar Lights

When boondocking expect very little light after dark. In the event you’d like to light up the exterior of your RV, using the outdoor light attached will use some of the electricity you’re working so hard to conserve.

We recommend bringing along solar lights instead of using the outer light attached to your RV. Solar lights will only require a little sun to charge and won’t take away from your electric reserves.

Bring a Generator

Inevitably your battery, or batteries, will need to recharge. Make this possible by bringing along a generator or solar panels. The generator will require fuel and the solar panels will require the sun so, keep in mind, you’ll also need a way to keep them running.

Add more fans

12-Volt fans are an important part of the workings that help to regulate the temperature in your RV. Consider replacing the factory-installed fan with a more powerful, more dependable aftermarket fan like the one below. Add a second fan, if you can.

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Also, if your vents are open, consider purchasing covers that will keep the sun and weather out while allowing air in.

Don’t use the Furnace

On those nights when extra clothes or blankets just won’t be enough to keep you warm, we suggest using a propane-fueled space heater. They are more efficient than the furnace in your RV and won’t use any of your precious electricity. Just be sure you’re following every safety rule when using space heaters.

Invest in new lightbulbs

The lights installed in your RV, by the manufacturer, are not very efficient. If you were to swap out those basic lights for LED lights, you could save power. An additional perk of LED bulbs are they do not get nearly as warm, when in use, and should last much longer than the ones you replaced.

A second option would be to hang battery-powered lights in the areas you use the most. These lights will require zero electricity and, as long as you’ve packed replacement batteries, they are perfect for use when you aren’t hooked up to electricity.

Use your car for charging phones

If you are not wanting to completely unplug and would like to keep your phones or other devices charged, we recommend using your car to do the charging. As long as the car and alternator are in good health the battery should recharge the next time you drive.

Do Not Use Electric Appliances

It might be tempting to use your favorite coffee maker or your microwave but remember, you’re trying to conserve energy so do your best to avoid using all the electric appliances. Maybe even put them away so they don’t get used out of habit.

Use an Ice Chest Instead Of The Refrigerator

Your fridge may run on propane but it will still require a small amount of electricity which can be saved by choosing to use an ice chest instead. We recommend using a high-quality ice chest; one that will keep your items cold for more than a day before the ice melts.

The following tips won’t help you conserve water or electricity but we do think they are helpful to know in general before you venture out

Pack A Paper Map or Atlas

If your journey takes you to an area of poor cell coverage you want to be sure you’ll be able to accurately navigate where you’re going. You might not ever need it but we think you’ll be glad you grabbed one, just in case.

Bring Your First Aid Kit

Emergencies happen and if you are in a remote area, far from the nearest hospital or pharmacy, you’ll want to be prepared for injuries. Hopefully, with a well-stocked first aid kit, you will be able to handle most issues on your own.

Don’t forget extra fuel

We’ve touched on a few items that will use propane to help save energy so don’t forget to bring additional bottles in the event you use up the first ones. Also, be sure the bottles you do take have been filled. Start your trip with full bottles, not half-empty ones.

Boondocking Tips Final Thoughts

in this video we share some additional boondocking tips before we give you our final thoughts

To sum up our whole article on boondocking tips in a small, easy to read list, here are the things you’ll want to be sure you bring along (in addition to the usual items) for your next or first boondocking trip:

For Conserving Water

  • 5-gallon jugs full of water
  • Aerated shower head
  • Portable dumping tank and macerator pump
  • Drinking water
  • Shower wipes

For Conserving Electricity

  • Camper battery or batteries
  • Small batteries for anything battery operated
  • Outdoor Solar Lights
  • An RV ready generator or solar panels
  • 12 V Fans
  • Portable Propane Heater – extra propane tanks
  • LED lights

Boondocking is such a wonderful way to connect with nature and see incredible places without also having the added people and noises that come with staying at developed campsites.

We hope we’ve been able to help you with these 16 boondocking tips to see that you don’t have to sacrifice the comforts you’re used to in order to experience the peaceful, seclusion of dry camping. If you invest in quality items, plan ahead, and pack wisely we’re confident you’ll have an awesome experience!

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Ray Roman

Ray Roman is the co-owner/author of Go Travel Trailers. He is the main contributor of content and an avid researcher of travel trailers and the RV lifestyle. He loves fly fishing, vacationing in Red River, NM, and spending time with family and friends.