Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking.
Whenever we get into discussions with other RVers about boondocking, I find that we seem to be making more excuses for not trying it than reasons to give it a go. I think we need to revise the way we think about boondocking. What do you suggest? —Mike and Kathy
A. That’s a very good question, Mike and Kathy. I think the ultimate goal of boondocking is to learn to accept camping with no hookups as just another way of camping, one with lots of benefits, rather than grumpily having to put up with a list of difficulties.
Boondocking is not wilderness survival. Anyone can camp overnight without hookups. Two or three days takes a little effort – no, not effort – more like common sense in the use of your resources, which are the limiting factors for boondockers.
What resources? Electricity and how fast you deplete it from your batteries, drinking water and how much you waste, and the resultant waste water filling up your gray water tank (filling the black water tank from the toilet is usually the last to fill so is usually not a restricting factor).
Where boondocking requires a bit more effort (and learning curve) is in more creative thinking, more conservation, and more planning – call it The Art and Skill of Boondocking – as in extending the number of days you can boondock without the necessity of dumping tanks, charging batteries, or refilling the water tank. Once you become more efficient with these skills, the more comfortable – and happy – you become. Nobody likes having to pack up their camp and drive off to charge batteries, fill the water tank, and dump the waste tanks. Staying out longer, and doing it easily and comfortably, is what makes a boondocker happy.
It also takes experience. Every time you boondock, you learn a new trick or two (like installing solar panels for free electricity or carrying extra water) to help extend your camping days. And practicing simple, common sense acts that with experience become second nature, like not letting your faucets run, taking Navy showers, reusing the water you run when waiting for hot water to come, reducing the amount of waste water you let flow into your gray tank, and turning off lights and TV when not being used. This bag of tricks is what makes boondocking a successful and fun way to camp.
Look at it this way. If you were just as comfortable without hookups as you were with them, where would you rather camp, in a crowded campground with neighbors within 10 or 15 feet on either side of you, or would you choose campsites where your nearest neighbors were 50 or 100 yards away – or far enough away you couldn’t see them.
That’s the beauty of boondocking. Once you learn and become comfortable with boondocking tips and tricks your options are endless, from the crowded BLM LTVAs at Quartzsite to a solitary campsite by a mountain stream and no sign of civilization in sight.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .