Let’s cover some of the terms in the RV world that could be new or confusing.
Boondocking or dry camping as some call it simply means camping without hookups, perhaps outside a campground. Sometimes it might be necessary to stop at an establishment and spend the night in their parking lot, this would be boondocking. When boondocking you have to rely on the systems in your rig for power, water, heat, or AC.
Other terms you may see referring to backcountry are wild camping or dry-docking. There are several types of variants, although most people think it’s off the grid at an undeveloped campsite. Among the various types of boondocking, this type gives you a little more nature without losing some amenities of developed campsites.
Developed campsites often have amenities that boondocking lacks. Hosts, vaulted bathrooms, and picnic tables are some telltale signs of a developed campsite, along with the fee you’ll often pay for your stay. If you plan well, you can find good RV parking on public land that allows you to stay longer. You can spend the night in a variety of ways, such as sleeping in a business parking lot or camping on public land. Although, boondocking in remote areas can offer incredible views, serene surroundings, and time to reconnect with nature.
This is a more relaxed way of camping that often takes us to beautiful places for days or weeks. For those looking to camp in remote areas away from the crowds, this is a welcome alternative. Since you will be camping offline, boondocking will require a bit more planning than camping at developed campsites. Basically, “boondocking” is when you use free camping without any amenities or connections.
In its simplest sense, this is camping in a motor home without running water, electricity, or sewerage. Dry camping is another term used to describe boondocking. But both terms describe camping without hook-ups to utilities.
Some U.S. national parks allow overnight RV parking and overnight stays, but camping is generally limited to established campsites. As a general rule, you can camp anywhere in the national forest, as long as there are no signs indicating otherwise.
Despite some restrictions, including occupancy restrictions or designated camping areas, this type of terrain will usually be your choice for dry camping. Just be aware that on some public lands (BLM) you will need to get a camping pass.
No matter where you hope to stay, it’s best to double-check if camping is allowed. Luckily, as long as you stay in areas where dry camping is allowed and follow proper etiquette, it’s completely legal. When it comes to dry camping on BLM lands or national forests, areas are sometimes closed due to misuse or overuse, so be sure to look out for any local signs indicating that camping is prohibited. You should avoid camping on roads, roadsides, or company sites where overnight camping is not expressly permitted.
Boondocking really just means camping in a motor home where you don’t have a connection. RV owners often just stay overnight in the parking lot of an RV-friendly business. For us, this means an opportunity to camp out of the rig, away from the services and amenities found in developed RV parks or campgrounds.
Most of the time when tourists talk about roaming, they mean camping on national forests or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management allows camping (called “spread camping”) on most public lands unless it conflicts with other permitted uses or specifically prohibits camping. Boondocking generally refers to free camping on public lands, the National Forest Service (NFS), or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in undeveloped and scattered campgrounds.
This kind of camping is sometimes called wild, primitive, or scattered camping, and often comes with an Instagram-worthy viewpoint. boondocking involves hiking into a wildlife center — inland if you prefer — and setting up a campsite. It takes a little more planning and time, but the camping sites will provide you with some best views and the most secluded backcountry camping.
This campsite will be your “base” camp for exploring the land. Accommodations – Places to Camp In general, overnight stays are permitted anywhere on federal public land within a certain distance of any designated road, unless otherwise restricted.
There is no official definition of the term “boondocking”, however nighttime RV parks such as Walmart or truck stops, NASCAR races, federal and state campgrounds, and whenever an RV connection is not available (dry camping) are referred to as boondocking.
www.rv-camping.org defines boondocking as a remote location of “lost camping”, and the term “dispersed camping” is defined as “camping outside of a developed campsite”. National parks will have special campsites (with or without connection) for RVs or special places that require advance booking.
Having your freshwater tank full, batteries fully charged, a generator, and solar panels if possible, can all extend your ability to boondock comfortably in your rig. Keep in mind once your black and gray tanks are full, you will need to find a place to dump them. It is not allowed to dump black water on the ground, in some instances dumping gray water could be allowed.
Boondocking is as safe as any other type of camping, as long as you use common sense. It’s a very effective way to save money and spend more time hiking and doing things you love and is a convenient way to save dollars between destinations.