Saturday, December 9, 2023


Wants to boondock but nervous about isolation

Here’s a question from a reader of about boondocking. 

Hi, Bob,
I have always wanted to try boondocking, but my husband is nervous about being out in the “boonies” away from all support when we’ve never tried it and don’t know what to expect. Is there a way to ease into this way of camping without cutting all ties to civilization? —Joyce A.

Yes, Joyce, there is. And it’s not as hard as you might imagine. The core skill for boondocking is learning to camp without hookups found in campgrounds (water, sewer, electricity — and for some, the internet). This requires knowing the limitations of your built-in systems, like how long your house batteries will provide electricity, how many days does it take to fill up your gray and black water tanks, and how many days will your water tank deliver water to your faucets.

The capacities you can learn from your RV manual but the practical information will come from using your RV without any hookups. Look for campgrounds that have no-hookup campsites, but have an available water source and dump station in case your estimates on usage are off. Forest service campgrounds are typically no-hookup yet often have a communal water supply and dump station. Or you could even try a night in a Walmart parking lot and measure how much of your resources you used for that night.

Every night you spend without hookups adds to your knowledge, experience and confidence, enabling you to stretch your days and choice of locations a little further each time you try boondocking.

Read more about boondocking at my blog.
Check out my Kindle eBooks about boondocking at Amazon.

##RVT776 ##RVDT1282

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Carson Axtell (@guest_66838)
3 years ago

Some folks are by nature “town people” while others are temperamentally “explorers” — town people feel safest in the company of others while explorers need the “elbow room” of wide open, uncrowded spaces. Town people will prefer established campgrounds with hookups while explorers will prefer boondocking as far away from others as possible…

Chris (@guest_66536)
3 years ago

All have addressed “isolation” nervousness relative to the absence of full hookups. While completely valid, all of those responses have missed the possibility that the husband’s nervousness could instead be related to safety concerns. Right or wrong, there are some that feel more secure in campgrounds with others nearby. We don’t have that particular issue, but we know quite a few people who do.

Will (@guest_66529)
3 years ago

Joyce, how did your husband make it to retirement age being such a timid fellow? Why don’t you give him a virtual kick in the balls (if he has any) and force him to grow up before he dies. Get his {bleeped} out there in the boonies and you guys enjoy yourself.

Mark (@guest_4121)
6 years ago

Carolyn – LTVA stands for Long Term Visitors Area. The BLM has LTVAs scattered about and they usually have water for your tank and sewer dumps for you to use. They usually run $40 for two weeks or $180 for 7 months.

Paul (@guest_4104)
6 years ago

Come to the LTVA’s, north of Yuma, about 20-miles.. there are over a Thousand of us here.. you will have no shortage of companionship/friends/and advice, on how to make-do. We live here for 6-months, or more, at a time. You can live here, all winter, for $180. We have, nearby.. water, sewer, and garbage collection. Most of us have Solar, and extra batteries. Waste is hauled in a ‘Blue-boy’, and fresh water is hauled in some sort of bladder or barrel. Old-timers have graduated to a ‘tea-taxi’, that has tanks for waste, and fresh, respectively, on some sort of trailer.
Internet is provided by a Verizon ‘Jet-pack’. We have 4G reception. There is enough ‘space’ that you can be as close, or as far from everyone, as you choose. If you have a special interest (hiking, horseshoes, exercise classes, 4-wheeling, gold prospecting, etc.), you can find at least a dozen other people that have the same interest. We have ‘dog-burns’ at the full-moon, every month.. bring your hotdogs, forked stick, lawn-chair, and beverage, for an evening of fun, with dozens of other ‘boon-docker’s’.
We have the most gorgeous sun-rises and sunset’s you’ve ever seen.
This is the greatest place in the country, to spend the winter! We’ve been coming here for 12-13 years, now. We have more friends here, than at (our summer) home.

Carolyn (@guest_4116)
6 years ago
Reply to  Paul

What does LTVA stand for?

Harleylady69 (@guest_66554)
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Oh my. I wish my hubby was retired. We would be there in a heartbeat!! Sounds like to best place to be!!! Jealous now!! Come on retirement!!!

George White (@guest_66573)
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul

What a great and comforting response to this post!

Robbie (@guest_4083)
6 years ago

We boondock most of the time as full timers. What everyone said is exactly right, know your capacities of your tanks and how long it takes to empty or fill them, know how much electricity you use, and learn to be resourceful. We have boondocked 28 days without moving.

Al Florida (@guest_4049)
6 years ago

No need to go some place w/o hookups. Just unplug from elect, water & sewer in any RV park and practice living w/o hookups. Simple!

Seann (@guest_4044)
6 years ago

Many BLM LTVA’s are near towns and often there are lots of people nearby.. good way to try it. Right now I am at Holtville Ca Hot Springs LTVA. The town of Holtville is 7 miles west of here…

Gregory Illes (@guest_4042)
6 years ago

Another thing that Bob didn’t mention – – when in a regular hook-up campsite, just disconnect and stay there. When your battery starts to sag, you can just walk outside and plug back in.

Honestly, most folks don’t have a clue how long their batteries will last (we didn’t, at first). The 12V will go away long before holding tanks become an issue. With an RV with only one coach battery (about 40 usable amp-hours, 80 until stone-dead), simply having three incandescent lights turned on all evening will flatten that battery by bedtime.

A larger battery bank, LED lights, and cautious power usage are the first things to expand boondock horizons. If you like it, you can add solar and some other tricks.

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