Camping at a campsite can be fun and relaxing, but it may also feel stifling at times. You’re limited to the area immediately around you in terms of what’s on offer and you might be surrounded by noisy neighbors, playing kids, barking dogs and traffic. All these things can tarnish an otherwise ideal vacation.
So what do you do instead? Well, if you’re up to the unique experience of boondocking, you can try that. Also called “dry camping,” this term refers to any RV camping done without the usage of hook-ups for water or power. You’re totally self-sufficient, but it also means you can camp on any legal piece of land in the country, even distant places that have nothing else around for miles.
If you’re seeking peace and quiet while you travel, you’ll want to check out this guide. The folks here at Athens RV, serving the DFW area, have the lowdown on some of the best practices for a successful boondocking venture in your recreational vehicle. Read on to learn how to dry camp with the best of them!
Check State & Local Regulations
While it is legal to dry camp on most public lands, there are some regulations and laws you’ll need to be aware of before you just park your RV anywhere. To camp on private land, you need permission from the landowner. Be warned that some tourist attractions and other places do not allow overnight camping and there will usually be signs to let you know of this policy. Public places put limits on how long you can stay, so check to see what those might be to avoid a fine.
Fires are a restricted activity in many regions, particularly during droughts and in forested places. Know if there is a fire ban in place where you’re going and use established fire pits.
If you aren’t using a blackwater tank or compost toilet, then you must bury your waste under 6” of dirt. Make sure to clean up any trash when you leave an area, even if it isn’t yours. You want to leave the region better than you found it.
Find A Power Source
A primary concern for boondockers is how to power their RVs. Without electricity hook-ups, you’ll have two main options: solar energy and propane. Many recreational vehicles use propane which is easy to find at many gas stations and grocery stores. It’s very affordable, but you do have to replenish your supply if you’ll be out in the wilderness for a while.
If you have the means, you can install solar panels on your rig that will direct the sun’s energy into a battery that you can use on board. This solution is sustainable and saves you money over time since you’re harvesting free energy, but it is costly up-front and it becomes impractical during winter months and in overcast areas. You may still need propane as a backup fuel source, particularly at night.
Use your power wisely; try to avoid using it at night as much as you can by sleeping during dark hours and rising with the sun. Dress for the temperature rather than relying on heating or cooling units. Incorporate more hand-operated tools in your camper, like a French press for coffee and a whisk instead of a mixer.
Plan For Emergencies
You never want to be caught unprepared when you’re miles from the nearest town and an emergency arises. That means you’ll need to have more emergency gear handy than normal. Make sure that you have blankets, fire extinguishers, extra food and water, a well-stocked first aid kit, flashlights, an emergency radio with a charger or hand-crank, signal flares and anything else you may need. A hatchet may come in handy along with fire-starting equipment.
Let someone back home know where you’ll be and how long you plan to stay there, then check in with them whenever you get cell service. This will give you a point of contact with the outside world and if they don’t hear from you after an appointed time, they can direct rescue crews to your location.
Need a rig that’s more friendly to dry camping? Visit our dealership in Athens to tour our inventory of new and used RVs for sale. Athens RV proudly serves the greater Dallas and Houston metro areas, as well as the cities of Tyler, Longview, Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas.