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Five items on every boondocker’s wish list

Many RVers are drawn to off-grid camping or “boondocking,” as we like to call it. It offers nature in its most undisturbed state and at a much lower cost. There are little to no campground fees involved. There is quiet, solitude, and a personal challenge to camp sans conveniences like shore power, city water, hot showers and level pavement. The challenges of boondocking are what most people think of when contemplating a wish list for dispersed camping.

Here are five items on every boondocker’s wish list

More fresh water supply

Unless you are hooked up to a campground or “city water” connection such that the supply is unlimited, the boondocker never has enough fresh water supply. Some campers carry extra potable water in jerry cans designed for the purpose, and I have done that. Last year I reported on a new technology that would substantially increase the off-grid camper’s water supply through a new technology (see AcquaTap® here). However, this technology and product has seen setbacks due to supply chain issues and is not yet widely available. RVtravel.com has kept in touch with the Exaeris Water Innovations™ company, makers of AcquaTap. We will report when the company is able to make its product available on the RV market.

Mobile Wi-Fi

I’ve reported extensively here on the development of Starlink, the satellite broadband Wi-Fi by SpaceX. The Starlink system is well along in its deployment and is currently serving RVers and other mobile broadband users. It has experienced some growing pains in terms of full roaming capability, and RV customers have complained about hardware and service availability, as well as the seemingly high cost, i.e., $600 for hardware equipment and $110 per month for the basic service, plus $25 per month for the roaming option. But for the boondocker, the advantages clearly seem to outweigh the cost for high-speed broadband Wi-Fi—virtually anywhere.

Outdoor shower

It would be rare for me to use an outdoor shower while in the campground, particularly if campground fresh water and a gray water drain are available. But boondocking is just the opposite. Here, the ability to take a longer hot water shower, not use up freshwater reserves and not fill up the graywater tank are key. There are a number of solutions for outdoor showers, including, for instance, the Mr. Heater BaseCamp B.O.S.S. battery-powered portable hot water shower. My personal favorite in this product line is one I have written about before, the Joolca HOTTAP.

Outdoor kitchen functionality

Doing dishes and cooking inside your RV results in, among other things, heat, moisture, cooking odors, using up stored water from your freshwater tank, as well as a rapid filling of the gray water waste storage tank. The goal for the boondocking camper is to do as much outside as possible, perhaps using available stream, pond, or lake water, and being able to discard the dishwater responsibly outdoors. The Joolca outdoor kitchen sink with its water uptake pump can help with that, as can simply putting together a low-cost solution of your own, using pails and or tubs readily available from your local hardware store. Any purpose-designed plastic or galvanized washtub, or one repurposed from a plastic bucket, will do the job.

Safety and security enhancements

I would be the first to admit that dispersed, or remote camping, raises safety and security concerns, as opposed to campgrounds where there are other people and park personnel around. Boondocking nights can be pitch dark and extraordinarily quiet—punctuated by mysterious sounds of wild animals and—who knows? Additional security precautions provide additional peace of mind.

I installed a small security camera on my travel trailer setup, with a motion sensor that would activate the porch light. I may add an additional motion-activated light for the other side of the camper. Should an animal or person approach, the area around the patio awning is brightly lit. All but the most aggressive intruder will be dissuaded from approaching under bright light.

As for the truly aggressive intruder, there are three options: 1. Bear spray for very large, dangerous nocturnal animals in search of food. I wouldn’t use it unless the bear became focused on entering the camper. Most nocturnal camp visitors are raccoons and skunks, whom I would never harm. 2. Mossberg 500 short 12 ga. shotgun. Again, only for a large wild or human-animal (more likely the latter) demonstrating intent to gain entry to the camper. In addition, I have the Smith & Wesson .50-caliber Alaskan, for those rare but truly desperate situations where high stopping power is needed.

There is a sixth personal item on my boondocking wish list, and that is a fairly compact astronomical telescope. That will be the subject of another RVtravel.com article down the road.

##RVT1052

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Jeff
7 days ago

While 4 of 5 items ring spot on, one of them should be replaced as suggested below. We have been Dry Camping “boondocking” for 2 decades and have only used our outside shower twice; to wash feet. What you didn’t list and much more desirable is SOLAR and increased battery capacity with a large enough pure sine wave inverter to power the microwave, TVs and out door cinema.
We have 300W solar, 4 high capacity deep cycle batteries and a 3000W PS inverter. The combination works great.

BILLY Bob Thronton
9 days ago

For those who are up to mischief, they are aware of the sound of the action racking one in the chamber. However, if you do encounter such an event, never rack one, if your not willing to defend and equal threat. Please be trained.

Kimberly
9 days ago

if you are so frightened that you need a lethal weapon for protection while boondocking, maybe you would feel safer at a campground.

BILLY Bob Thronton
9 days ago
Reply to  Kimberly

Nothing says stop more than when somebody is able to use equal force to neutralize a threat. Be trained, be aware.

Jeff
7 days ago
Reply to  Kimberly

I’d never go camping without a firearm aboard. It’s locked away unless circumstances dictate it should not be.

Jeanne
10 days ago

Baseball bat is my go to. Does double duty!

Gregory Illes
10 days ago

I’m wondering how you keep from running afoul of local firearms laws when you’re traveling all over the place. I’d love to keep some firearms in my RV, but I feel that my risk of arrest by police is much higher than an encounter with bad actors.

BILLY Bob Thronton
9 days ago
Reply to  Randall Brink

There is no jurisdiction in the US that governs long guns.

BILLY Bob Thronton
9 days ago
Reply to  Gregory Illes

Long gun is your answer.

Scott Ellis
10 days ago

“Every”? Hardly.

Dave
10 days ago

Most RVers carry a weapon it seems. Has anyone ever had to draw it while boondocking?

Crowman
10 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Better to have it and not need it than needing one and not having it.

Dave
10 days ago
Reply to  Crowman

Agree. Mostly curious on how dangerous boondocking is

Dave
10 days ago
Reply to  Randall Brink

That would be awesome, Randall

Mike
9 days ago
Reply to  Dave

guns will most likely get you in trouble. My main choice is a 50mm mortar firework. it’ll blow the hell out of anything or anyone. Easy to light and aim
Just be prepared for a Large explosion 💥 then total destruction but this is a last ditch plan for me. There in the camper. Oh well, blow the place up., beats getting killed.
government took away my safety causing me to go find illegal fireworks that won’t get me a felony.

Richard
7 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Ask the Butler family when they were on mustang Island national seashore. They tragically were murdered while camping on the beach.