Thursday, November 30, 2023


Is it really safe to boondock?

By Bob Difley

I’ve noticed that people who live in metropolitan areas have more uncertainty about their personal safety when boondocking than those who live in rural areas. I’m guessing that city dwellers feel more unsafe because boondocking away from any signs of civilization is a new and unknown experience.

It is especially so when the sun goes down and the stillness is broken only by the night sounds of skittering nocturnal animals, hooting and screeching of owls, and the howling of coyotes — and no street lights — rather than vehicle traffic, the hum of conversations, boomboxes, and TV sets, and all the other sounds that characterize an urban environment.

Boondockers for the most part are not apprehensive about camping away from the familiar trappings of civilization, even though they are often far from immediate response from law enforcement and beyond the possibility of a thief being seen by a neighbor or caught in the act. Boondockers are more likely to be anxious when visiting large urban areas where they might be threatened by gangs, muggers and the drug trade.

I have had comments from RVers who expressed concern for their safety when boondocking outside of campgrounds but am not sure of the exact reasons. Is it a fear of wild animals, burglars entering your rig while you are gone, being attacked or robbed, illegal aliens, or another reason?

Most thieves are products of opportunity. When it is easy for them to take something, they will. Don’t give them any easy opportunities. Following are some of the safeguards that veteran boondockers take to insure against the unlikely possibility of trouble:

  • Most RV lockers have the same locks, which can be opened with any key with the CH751 identity. Change your locks so anyone with a key can’t access your lockers.
  • Close blinds and drapes when you’re gone so the curious can’t see what you have inside.
  • Turn on this nifty fake TV and people will think you’re in your rig.
  • If you don’t have an electronic security system, you can pick up a small red LED light for under $10 from and mount next to your entry door. When you go out, turn it on — its power requirement is negligible. It looks like a security system is turned on, and it comes with fake security company stickers. Or “install” a couple of fake security cameras (mount with Velcro), also from They’re waterproof and under $10.
  • Do not leave anything valuable, like a portable generator, outside if you are going to be gone long, unless it is secured with a heavy duty chain.
  • Don’t tell strangers you meet in town where you are camped or invite strangers to your campsite.
  • Do not invite strangers inside your rig.
  • Keep your valuables and electronics out of sight of curious eyes.
  • If you see shady characters lingering around your camping area, move to a different location.

What are your safety concerns when boondocking? Let us know in the comments below.

You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Greg T (@guest_74693)
3 years ago

Been boondocking for years. And no, I don’t have a gun in the RV. The only thing that worries me when we’re out there is coyotes attacking my dog, when we let him out to pee in the middle of the night.

Gene Bjerke (@guest_74677)
3 years ago

Those security safeguards are just as important in an urban location, perhaps more so.

mike neely (@guest_74672)
3 years ago

I wonder how many panic when they get little or no cell phone coverage boondocking (at least in the areas I have been)

Billy Bob Thornton (@guest_74963)
3 years ago
Reply to  mike neely

Hopefully, plenty 🙂

Renee Mazurek (@guest_74657)
3 years ago

Not of my interest now, but to be honest, it’s all those {bleeped} slasher movies I watched when I was young. Nothing more. I’m a single female & I’m not really scared of anything, except for the one-eye’d dude who was neglected by his family & outcast; only to have been raised by a wayward mutant dude who rescued him as a child & taught him to kill to survive……… know, those kinds of people.

John Goodell (@guest_74638)
3 years ago

Where you were raised is an interesting factor in this. I grew up in a suburban area, so I fall into the RV park group. But I am not afraid of the dark, as suggested here (I can think of a few slurs for people who are afraid of RV parks). Did he really say Radio Shack?

Kim Christiansen (@guest_74663)
3 years ago
Reply to  John Goodell

This is an older article, updated a little, but apparently not enough. 🙂
I’ll find something similar on Amazon and get the article updated…

RV Staff
3 years ago
Reply to  John Goodell

Sorry, John. Yep, it was a previous article and that slipped right by me (never having shopped at a Radio Shack). Thank you for catching that! It’s been updated. 😀 —Diane at

Tommy Molnar (@guest_2979)
7 years ago

We boondock as much as possible, much of it in Nevada, our home state. In over 20 years we’ve never had a problem. There’s always a first time, but so far, so good. Much of the time we’ll be overlooking a highway from a mile or so away, and if you KNEW we were up there you could possibly spot us. But someone just passing by won’t even notice.

We’ve seen more ‘shady’ looking folks when staying in RV parks . . .

Laura P Schulman (@guest_2936)
7 years ago

I’m a single older woman who is a full-time RVer. I boondock as much as possible. I have a trained Personal Protection Dog who has already proven her worth when a drunk man tried to attack me IN A CAMPGROUND, not boondocking! My dog took care of him, police were called, and we did have to do “home quarantine” in the camper even though I carry her shot records with me, but it was worth it! She is a very friendly dog, as long as no-one messes with Mom! I travel in a Roadtrek van with dual wheels and 4 wheel drive, since I boondock in remote places. I got this rig because my previous camper van could not handle the slippery forest roads I often travel, and I’ve ended up having to get myself out of some pretty gnarly jams. I’d say my biggest apprehension about boondocking is not so much “two-legged predators” as it is the possibility of serious injury while alone and out of cell/satellite range (the latter due to forest or terrain–I carry both a cell and a satellite phone at all times.)

As far as leaving my rig, I don’t go too far from it if I’m out in the boonies. But since I’ve had my car stolen out of an urban parking lot in broad daylight, I imagine anything can happen, but most of the people I’ve run into in the wilderness are good folks, out there enjoying the public lands just like me. If I spend a night in a truck stop, I make sure to take a walk through the lot with my dog. Once people see my retired military Malinois, they come talk to me and spread the word that I have a “serious dog.” I get to chat with veterans, veterinarians, and cops, and I know I’m safer than I ever was in my old “sticks and bricks.” Oh, and my camper van is fitted out with a bodacious security system that locks the wheels if anyone tries to use a skeleton key or bust into the ignition lock. Plus it screams bloody murder. Serious boondockers should seriously consider adding on the best security system they can afford. That’s about it!

Chuck Woodbury
7 years ago

Laura, sounds like you have a great system in place. Do you mind if I publish this comment somewhere else on our site where more women will see it — those who are fearful of going full-time might find inspiration in your story? — Chuck (

dave (@guest_2929)
7 years ago

We often boondock where no one can find us. Usually at the very end of a network of unpaved forest roads, tucked in the trees out of sight. we have literally been in one spot for a week and never, not once, seen a vehicle driving along the remote access road, or even heard a vehicle in the distance.
We feel safer out in the woods than in a campground, or even a private RV park with security patrols.

Robbie (@guest_2920)
7 years ago

We’ve been on the road for 11 years as full timers. I feel more comfortable and safer boondocking than I ever did staying in any RV Park. Rarely do we see anyone nearby where we boondock, which means less chance of the bad guys finding us. Also, if anyone does approach, we can easily see them long before they arrive.

ReneeG (@guest_2918)
7 years ago

When we boondock it’s generally overnight en route or as a vacation to get away to some peace and quiet. Either way, we always stay put with our RV and if we absolutely have to leave, one of us stays or we do as you’ve suggested – lock everything up and down.

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