The Top 5 Ways For Successful RV Boondocking

Top 5 RV Boondocking Tips

RV boondocking means camping without any hookups. No electric, water or sewer hookups whatsoever. You are totally self-contained.

Of course, this kind of RV camping is a lot more involved than campground camping. It means that you have to plan in advance how to handle your power and water needs.

And it can be intimidating to newer RVers or those who haven’t boondocked before. But there are ways to ease into RV boondocking that can take the stress level way down.

One way is to practice your boondocking skills in your own driveway or the driveway of a friend or relative. By doing that, you have water and power close by in case something doesn’t go right.

After that, you might try an overnight at a nearby Walmart, Cracker Barrel or Cabelas parking lot. These businesses often allow overnight RV boondocking, so you can use them as a practice spot for the real thing.

Once you have become fairly comfortable with the process of boondocking, or dry camping, you can go further. The next step is to find good boondocking campsites.

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Table of Contents

1 – Find RV Boondocking Campsites

There are lots of places where you can go RV boondocking, but you have to find them first.

Some of the most popular places are on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Also, many National Parks and National Forests have good dry camping areas too. And another great place to boondock is on Army Corps Of Engineers (ACOE) land.

But how do you find these great spots? There are two websites that offer lots of information about RV boondocking campsites.

One is and the other is On both sites you can find great boondocking campsites and read reviews of those who have stayed there before.

You will also learn plenty about the size of the campsites and the access roads to get in and out of there as well.

One other great source of information about dry camping is found on the US Public Lands app. It’s a free app that provides a lot of information about exactly where Public Lands are located.

Finally, one more great resource that can be very useful is Facebook boondocking groups. Oftentimes, you can find out about campsites in these online groups that you won’t hear about anywhere else. So give it a try and join a couple of RV boondocking groups!

2 – Conserve Water While RV Boondocking

One of the most important skills you need for RV boondocking is to know how to conserve water. That’s because most boondocking spots are not going to have clean water nearby.

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And that means that you need to make the water in your fresh water tank last as long as you possibly can. So when you buy an RV try to get the largest water tanks that you can to make water conservation easier.

One of the best water conservation techniques for RV boondocking is taking “navy showers”. This means that you don’t allow the water to keep running all the time while you are in the shower.

Instead, just run the water long enough to get wet. Then shut the water off while you lather up with soap. Then turn the water on again to rinse off quickly.

It’s amazing how much water savings can be had by taking “navy showers”. And if you can, try stretching out your showers to every other day to make it even more effective.

One other way to conserve water is wipe your dishes with paper towels before washing them. This dislodges and removes most of the food left on the dish. And that makes much quicker work of the washing process.

Another way to reduce dishwashing water is to wash the dishes in containers instead of under running water. Just fill two containers to a level that can cover most dishes and then dip them in the water to wash and then to rinse.

Some boondockers even eliminate dishwashing almost altogether by using paper plates and disposable utensils instead. You might try it and see if it works for you too.

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3 – Conserve Power When RV Boondocking

Of course, when you are not hooked up to AC electrical current, power has to be managed carefully. And you have to have a portable source of power too.

For many boondockers, choosing either solar power or inverter generators for RV power needs has been successful. And some use a combination of these two power sources.

With either method you can recharge your RV batteries each day and have enough power for most off-grid needs.

But this means that you need to be very careful about not running too many high wattage devices. They will consume a lot of your battery power.

Some high wattage items include hair dryers and microwave ovens. So keep their use to a minimum.

You might even consider installing LED lights in your RV to further lessen the power draw on your batteries. If you don’t use LEDs, make sure you use your RV lights as sparingly as you can.

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Also, charging your electronic devices like cell phones can be done in the car instead of the RV. While you are traveling in the car just plug in the devices and let them get their charge from your car’s energy source. This saves using RV battery power instead.

And finally, switch your water heater and refrigerator to propane power instead of electric. This will help conserve a lot of battery power while RV boondocking.

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4 – Conserving Waste Water Is Necessary

One thing that keeps building up all the time while you are boondocking is waste water. Gray water is the water that goes down the bathroom and kitchen sinks. Black water is the toilet water.

You will need to conserve waste water in remote areas so you don’t have to break camp and dump the tanks often.

One way to conserve toilet water is to use the bathrooms in town when you visit there. This eliminates that water being used in your RV instead.

Another suggestion is to shower outside your RV instead of inside. Most RVs these days come with an outside shower, so why not use it in good weather?

Some take outside showers by setting up a privacy tent next to the RV and running the shower hose inside the tent. Doing this can really extend your gray water tank a long time.

You may also consider getting a portable holding tank to transport the waste water. You just empty the waste tanks into the portable tank and take it to be dumped. This eliminates having to break camp and take the whole RV to the dump station.

Also, some very experienced RV boondocking campers use a composting toilet to cut out water usage for a toilet altogether. It’s not for everybody, but a composting toilet can often go 2 – 3 weeks without having to be emptied.

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5 – Manage And Conserve Your Trash

One of the most clear and important rules of RV boondocking is – whatever you bring in, bring out when you leave. Some have not followed this rule and they have cost the ability of everyone else to use some of the best boondocking spots available.

So be a responsible and considerate camper. Don’t leave food and other kinds of garbage behind when you vacate a site.

And while you are still on the site, keep food garbage out of the reach and smell of animals. Otherwise, you may have some very unwelcome animal visitors who want that food too.

A good way to avoid this is to put any unused food in containers where it can’t be seen or smelled by wildlife.

And when you make a trip into town from your beautiful boondocking location, take a bag of trash with you. If you ask to leave it in a dumpster, almost always you will get a thumbs up to do so.

If all else fails, just offer to pay to put your trash in their bin and that usually works every time.


RV boondocking can be a challenge. But if you use the guidelines in this article, it can done very successfully.

Dry camping often means being able to camp in places where some of the most amazing scenery is just outside your door. So it really is worth making the effort to learn how to boondock right.

And a great side benefit is that RV boondocking is often FREE or very low cost!

So why not give it a try? Before you know it, you will be an RV boondocking pro!

Have safe and happy travels my friends!

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