Is it really safe to boondock?

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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.

evilI’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 from Radio Shack and mount next to your entry door controlled by a switch on the inside. When you go out, turn it on — its power requirement is negligible. It looks like a security system is turned on. Even attach a fake security company sticker.
  • 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?

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

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Tommy Molnar
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Tommy Molnar

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
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Laura P Schulman

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… Read more »

Chuck Woodbury
Admin

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 (chuck@rvtravel.com)

dave
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dave

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
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Robbie

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
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ReneeG

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.