There are many boondocking myths held by both new and seasoned RVers. Most so firmly believe them that they fear even trying boondocking for one night. Sadly, this keeps many limited to camping in overcrowded campgrounds, never to experience the freedom boondocking offers.
I quite often hear statements like, “I would boondock, but:
- I like to shower every day.”
- I don’t like the desert.”
- My RV isn’t suited to drive miles down a rough dirt road.”
While their statements are true, they have little to do with boondocking. They are boondocking myths.
In fact, those new to RVing may not even know what the term “boondocking” really means.
While there are many interpretations of what boondocking is, most dyed-in-the-wool boondockers (myself included) consider boondocking as camping outside of a developed campground on public land. Public land agencies refer to it as “dispersed camping.”
Let’s look at 10 commonly held boondocking myths
- Boondocking means using baby wipes instead of showering. Many RVers associate boondocking with Quartzsite, Arizona, where RVers spend all winter camped in the desert. To conserve water, some RVers resort to using baby wipes to freshen up rather than showering regularly. Yes, conserving water is part of boondocking, but not showering is the choice of the RVer, not a prerequisite of boondocking.
- Boondocking is parking out in the desert where there are no trees. Again, many RVers associate boondocking with winter snowbirds camped out in the desert where there are no trees. The desert is only one of many places where RVers can boondock. There is plenty of public land located in northern latitudes and at higher elevations where trees are plentiful.
- Boondocking means no cell or internet service. Yes, if you travel to remote areas, some boondocking sites, campgrounds in the same area too, may not have service. With the advent of Starlink, RVers can now have service wherever they roam. You can also use a SpotX or similar messenger beacon allowing you to communicate via satellites anywhere.
- Boondocking is camping miles down a rough dirt road in the middle of the boonies. Again, it is the RVer’s choice on where to boondock. There are plenty of boondocking sites just off the edge of the pavement. My wife and I once boondocked on BLM land right next to an outlet mall just feet after leaving the asphalt.
- Boondocking isn’t safe. Statistically speaking, you are much more likely to be a victim of crime in your own home than when camping in the boondocks. Read more here. Others think they will be attacked by wild animals, which is not supported by facts.
- Boondocking is parking in the same spot for months on end. Again, this is the RVer’s choice. You can camp in an LTVA (long-term visitor area) for months, or you can use boondocking sites for overnight stops along the way. My wife and I rarely stay more than two or three nights at one site before moving on.
- I can’t boondock because I use a CPAP at night. Here are several tips for operating a CPAP when not hooked to shore power.
- There is nothing to do in the boondocks. No, you won’t find a heated swimming pool or other RV park amenities in the boondocks. What you will find is that you are not hemmed in by fences or other obstructions found around the perimeter of an RV park. Instead, you will find yourself camped where you can roam for miles without encountering restrictive boundary lines. Recreational opportunities in the boondocks include hiking, biking, off-roading, fishing, mountain climbing, letting your dog run free (where safe and appropriate), exploring forgotten settlements, spelunking and so much more. Crave the social aspect of an RV park, then join one of the many boondocking meetup groups on social media and join with other RVers in the boondocks.
- Boondocking is only for poor people that can’t afford an RV park. While you will find some that boondock for the monetary savings, you will find many others that do so for the freedom, open space, solitude, convenience and many other reasons. My wife and I often encounter luxury motorhomes camped out in the boondocks.
- Boondocking means no electricity. Granted, there is no shore power in the boondocks (insert “currant bush” joke here, if you remember that), but there are plenty of options for obtaining electricity. Large battery banks, solar, generators, inverters, vehicle alternator, car generator, and hybrid vehicles with inverters, are just a few possibilities. You can also use items like these in place of their shore-powered equivalents.
By dispelling the above boondocking myths, it is my hope that you might give it a try. It can be a very enjoyable experience. Best of all, you can escape the crowded campgrounds, the reservation hassles, and the expense that comes with them.
Don’t know where to start or find places to boondock? Click here to get an idea.