In short, boondocking is camping for free on public lands without hookups or amenities. Boondockers have to: – Supply their own power – Take all their trash out with them – Conserve fresh water supply – Store black and gray water until they leave
While some boondocking campsites will have a water spigot to use or a dumpster onsite, don’t count on it. The majority of boondocking sites have absolutely nothing. No electricity, no water, no trash disposal, no dump station.
In order to access these sites, you’ll have to travel down unmaintained national forest roads. National forest roads in the US can be very hard for RVers to travel. Some roads are so terrible that they require 4×4 vehicles. And, some roads have a washboard the entire way, making for a very stressful and slow drive.
The best power source for off-grid camping is a solar setup, and solar setups can be very costly. Putting together a solar system can also be very confusing! While generators can provide temporary power to run your appliances or recharge your house batteries, they are loud and use gasoline. Long-term boondocking just isn’t feasible without a good solar setup.
Being totally alone is the reason many boondockers choose this style of camping. But, if you feel safer with other people around, you should probably avoid boondocking. Due to the remote nature of many boondocking campsites, you may not see another human soul for miles and miles. If that freaks you out, stick to the campgrounds!
Stay limits are put in place to prevent visitors from setting up permanent encampments in the area and to prevent further damaging of the natural resources. Rangers frequently patrol popular boondocking areas to enforce these stay limits.