Boondocking Essentials // Dry Camping Tips

Home » Boondocking Essentials // Dry Camping Tips

Boondocking is one of our favorite parts of fulltime RV life. It lets us connect with nature and enjoy each-others company without the distractions of society.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, boondocking means dry camping, or camping without hook-ups. We enjoy doing this out in the boonies on BLM land, but there are countless styles of boondocking.

This Monday our RV Life Q&A is all about how we prepare for extended boondocking stays and the essentials for a good trip into the wilderness. Here’s our list of 8 boondocking essentials.

Watch the video!

#1 – Water

This may seem pretty obvious, but our strategy goes beyond simply filling our fresh water tank. We like to use refillable, one-gallon jugs for our drinking water. During a typical boondocking trip, we’ll use four of these jugs. We also use a large 5 gallon water jug to fill up with tap water and top-off our fresh water tank throughout our stay. This ensures that we don’t run out of water for cleaning or cooking (our fresh water tank only holds 22 gallons).

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#2 – Power

Having a source of power is essential for extended boondocking trips. We use solar power and generator power. However you create power, make sure you have enough to last your entire stay. Our Honda 2000 generator is quiet and very efficient, but nothing beats free energy from the sun! We have a small 200 watt Renogy solar set-up.

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#3 – Small Grocery Bags

Its important to remember small grocery bags for garbage disposal. If there’s no large dumpster nearby, these small bags make it easy to dispose of trash at any gas station or fast food garbage can.

#4 – Food

Here’s another obvious essential. But, remember to stock up on food or research if there’s a good grocery store nearby. Many of these free BLM campsites are out in the middle of nowhere! If you have an Instant Pot and a little power, its a great idea to make large one-pot meals that can last a day or two.

#5 – Heat

During these winter nights, even the desert can get very cold. Propane heaters are efficient and economical. If you have a little more power available, an electric space heater can warm up a camper nicely. But, nothing is as inexpensive (or as classic) as a wood burning camp fire. If you must go smoke-free, these propane campfires are pretty cool!

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#6 – a Roll of Quarters

We use quarters on a regular basis. They come in handy when refilling our water jugs, doing a load of laundry, or just grabbing a coke at an old corner-store.

#7 – Entertainment

The entertainment options are endless when boondocking. One of our favorite forms of entertainment is a comfy chair and a good view; watching the world go by. We also love streaming music to our Bluetooth speaker, reading books, and (if possible) getting our nightly fill of Netflix.

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#8 – Paper Plates & Bowls

Water is a valuable commodity when boondocking; using paper dishes can cut out cleaning and add a little boost to a campfire! It’s not the most ecologically-friendly practice, but it does save on water usage.



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  1. Hi there – are you going to be at Quartzsite ? Would love to meet up with you two and compare notes.

    Joanne & Rick Chase Day 150

    * * *Follow our RV Adventure across North America *

    *Toronto to California to Alaska and back again – 365 days on the road (at least)*

    On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 7:05 AM Drivin’ & Vibin’ wrote:

    > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > drivinandvibin posted: “Boondocking is one of our favorite parts of > fulltime RV life. It lets us connect with nature and enjoy each-others > company without the distractions of society. > For those of you unfamiliar with the term, boondocking means dry camping, > or camping without ho” > > > > > > > > > >

  2. We boondock with our 2 horses so water becomes even more of an issue. We use a 50 gallon plastic bladder for water, when not in use it folds up and is easy to store. We also use a campfire as much as possible, for burning garbage, and cooking. We always use dead limbs or store bundles, even in the desert there is lots of sticks to burn. We use solar shower bags to wash with, you can get”shower tents” that work well even in cool weather.

  3. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not trying to be critical, just imparting info. Never burn downed wood in a desert, in fact in most places it is illegal. With the huge increase in numbers of folks visiting the deserts of the southwest and boondocking the impact is significant. Some species of desert trees look dead certain times of the year but are only dormant. Dead and down wood provides habitat, rare in desert, for animals,insects and birds. The desert is a very fragile place and it is important to protect it. Leave no trace is maybe more important in the desert than any other place. I enjoy your blog and encourage you to research and maybe do a post on mans impact on the deserts of the southwest. As a child I was fortunate enough, along with my family, to meet and camp with Edward Abbey. Perhaps that’s when my love and respect for the wild places started. Thank you, Michael

    1. Hi, Michael. We don’t don’t burn downed wood and don’t encourage it. We always suggest folks check for fire bans and check out the firewood regulations in the areas they are visiting. We actually prefer the propane campfire in a can that we linked in this post for an easy, controlled, smoke-free heat source. We always encourage others to follow leave no trace practices.

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