Tuesday, January 25, 2022


Take steps to boondocking

By Bob Difley

Most RVers have heard of boondocking and know what it is about, but surveys indicate that a quite a few RVers actually do boondock for time periods more than an occasional night or two in a Walmart parking lot or a state park campground.

R and T De Maris

But first, consider the term “boondocking.” The difference between boondocking and dry-camping is where you do it. You are dry-camping in a Walmart parking lot, at a state park campground, or any other location or event where there are no hook-ups. You are boondocking when you are dry-camping out in the boonies, away from civilization, services, trash cans, a water supply, walk-to restaurants, and maybe cell phone service.

So logically, to practice boondocking — to get your feet wet — try dry-camping first in a location where if you have questions or problems, help is close by. As you gain confidence, move farther and farther away from services and help, into more remote, pristine, solitary and wonderfully isolated private campsites (called dispersed camping by the BLM and Forest Service) you can give your own name to, with no neighbors except for the nighttime coyote serenade and a sky full of the undiminished Milky Way stars.

These are some logical and progressive steps, from just feeling comfortable overnight without hook-ups, to boondocking in the wilds:

  • Walmart, Cracker Barrel, K-Mart parking lots.
  • Primitive campgrounds with designated campsites, dump and water fill stations, like the Forest Service, BLM, State Parks, and some National Parks and Monuments where there are no hookups.
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA), designated camping areas with hosts, dump station, water fill, and trash containers, but with no designated campsites, where you can stay up close to the entrance and help, or retreat further back where it is less crowded.
  • Designated dispersed camping areas that are designated camping areas but have no services or host and you have to leave the area for dumping, filling water tank, or getting help. Find locations at BLM and Forest Service offices.
  • Open land camping. The BLM and Forest Service permit camping (boondocking) anywhere unless expressly prohibited by signs or are fenced off. You can follow any dirt road or old logging road and camp anywhere where you can get off the road so as not to impede any traffic — even if there isn’t any. This is where you find those secret places you can call your own and is the most extreme — and arguably the most satisfying — form of boondocking.

Once you get comfortable spending a few days in the wilds, the next set of skills to develop is making the most efficient usage of your resources, electricity, fresh water and waste.



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1 year ago

“Cheap RV Living”
I don’t think you can beat Bob Wells “blog site”, Cheap RV Living, and Youtube Videos for a complete education on Boondocking. This guy is like an Evangelist for Boondocking. From living in a car on up he shows you how to Boondock in the Boondocks.

If you have a Self Contained Rig you’re 99% there.. If you don’t, it takes a bit more planning, but still doable.

1 year ago

how does one go about finding boondocking areas? i understand that they are mostly first come first serve? do folks getup at the crack of dawn to get to a boondocking area to make sure they can get a spot, or is there enough area that that is not a concern? haven’t boondocked yet…obviously!!!

Mitzi Agnew Giles
1 year ago
Reply to  arlene

Try using Boondockers Welcome, there are a variety of places open to campers by regular people, ranging from small cities to deep wilderness. Hosts post their restrictions- no pets, leashed pets, barbque, no barbq, etc. An easy way to start out.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

Boondocking will gain in popularity with experienced RV’ers as all the new RV owners (according to the news anyway) hit the highways and byways in search of the fairy tail campsites they see on TV.

Helen Fisher
1 year ago

Wonderful article! From one who hasn’t gotten “out there” yet this was very helpful, and makes me even more determined to “get out there”. 🙂

1 year ago

Part of this article was covered up by Google Ads!…..

1 year ago
Reply to  Ran

Yes, it’s too bad.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Ran

You’re right but it rarely happens, at least to me.

1 year ago
Reply to  Ran

It could be your browser. Trying switching to one that does not track your every move and bombards you with ads. FireFox is working great. It doesn’t bombard you with ads like Internet Explorer or Safari.

And to take that a step further, consider the use of DuckDuckGo for a search engine. Unlike GOOGLE, Bing and many others, DuckDuckGo tracks nothing. There are additional privacy settings for safe and secure surfing.

Sink Jaxon
1 year ago
Reply to  Ran

Easy fix…donate to the site and go ad free!

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sink Jaxon

Nice thought, Sink, but it wouldn’t work on the article he’s talking about. That’s just for the main Saturday RV Travel and the Sunday News for RVers newsletters. But Google ads shouldn’t be covering up the text, so I’m not sure what happened there. 😯 —Diane at RVtravel.com