Boondocking/Dry camping isn’t for everyone. For us, it’s everything. Not only does it allow us to see something other than the RV slide next to us in a campground, but it allows us to see amazing beautiful places we wouldn’t normally see at all. We are here to debunk some of these myths, and hope that if it’s something you’ve wanted to do, but are too frightened, that you try it, and let us help you.
Check out our Updated at the bottom!
My RV is too big to go boondocking – We travel in a 39 foot 5th wheel and I can tell you this is not true. We have good friends who travel and boondock in a 44 foot 5th wheel. It is not impossible. Like any size, it still takes planning and navigating.
You can’t boondock without solar – I’m here to tell you first hand, we did it for 8 months very successfully. We did however equip our 5th wheel with 6 lead acid batteries and 2 generators to help with the important things like blow drying my hair, and running the vacuum. Ha! Small, lead acid batteries are not too expensive, and to this day, they are still the ones we are using even though we have installed our own solar. We do hope to upgrade to Lithium, but we are having no problem with the ones we have now. If you would like to join Justin’s quickly growing DIY solar group, please click here.
You’re cut off from society and there is no internet. – Both completely untrue. As I sit here today I’m running off the hotspot on my phone. Which is 4 bars, LTE. I’m sitting up on top of the world in Colorado, surrounded by about 12-13 other friends streaming Netflix and working remotely. We gather in the evenings and enjoy each other’s company while watching the beautiful sun go down over Colorado.
It’s too hard to find boondocking spots – Today with the 10-15 different apps specifically for finding campgrounds and boondocking sites out there, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. But it does take some planning. You can’t just call and ask if there is room for you, or if your rig can get in that place. You have to take a little time, read reviews (on more than one site) and make sure you have done your research, and will be comfortable staying there.
It’s dangerous – I’m not going to tell you it’s all rainbow and unicorns every time. Not even all campgrounds are that. But the most wonderful thing of all is your house has wheels. If you don’t feel right, you go to plan B. That’s why our biggest advice is to have a plan B and then lastly a local Walmart to stay for the night. Don’t get discouraged. It’s a learning curve and once you’ve got it down, your planning and arriving will be faster than sitting on the phone trying to make reservations at a campground. And … you don’t have to check out by 11am. Ha! In the year and a half we have been on the road, there was only one place we didn’t feel right in. We were completely safe, but I was just not feeling the area was somewhere to leave a very big, very expensive rig for the day while we go exploring. So, we ended up going about 15 miles down the road, loved it so much we stayed 9 days.
Here’s a big one: You can’t take a shower every day – I can guarantee we take a shower every day. Both of us. Sometimes 2 depending on what we’ve done that day. Do we let the water run for 15 minutes? No! But we thoroughly wash and thoroughly rinse. We also use a water bladder (click here to see) that we go get water in, and fill up our tanks. Only once in 15 months have we paid for water, and even that was a very small charge.
Water/dump station is hard to find – Again, a huge myth. Easy to find, and even a lot of the apps online have started listing local dump stations and water stations. Also our number 1 advice is to talk to locals. Grocery stores, gas stations, they all know where these things are. And usually very eager to share. (Check out our top 18 apps blog here)
We can’t fit in all boondocking places – Correct! You will not fit in all (depending on your size) but you will fit in most. There are open fields, flat areas to venture into, along with steep cliffs and mountains to climb. We travel to some pretty epic boondocking places, in a 39 foot, Grand Design, 3 slide 5th wheel. Take it slow and know your own rig’s limitations. Go where you are comfortable going.
I can’t cook if I’m not plugged in – Another complete myth. I realize I might be a little different from some now that we have solar, but I cooked every day before solar using my Instant Pot, my stove and my oven. We tried some fun cooking outside in foil recipes over an open fire, and also used a little table top grill. Don’t let this stop you from trying. There are options.
Boondocking is too expensive – I never quite understood this one. Boondocking is generally free. To the people who have said this, I have to wonder if they weren’t referring to the misinformation of thinking they need solar to boondock. Campgrounds generally cost $25 to $75 a night. Depending on where and your wants and needs. I am writing and releasing this blog on the 30th of June, 2018, and so far since January 1st we have spent a total of $48 in camping fees for 2018. How is that expensive? We will do what we need to do, but our personal little hope is to be less than $500 for the year. We may actually make it … you think? Ha Ha Maybe we can be less than $100 this year. I do understand the cost of gas to run a generator all day. Depending on how much you spend per day doing that, I think maybe this is where the “too expensive” might be coming from. If up front you can sink a little into the batteries, you won’t have to run your generator all the time. Just to charge your batteries. We ran on just batteries for the first 8-9 months and running 2 generators parallel we still didn’t spend the amount it cost to stay in a campground.
Fun stuff! And because we don’t spend this money on campgrounds, we are able to go out to dinner a few extra times, maybe take a tour of something we’ve wanted to but thought it was too expensive. It really gives us such freedom. After boondocking for over a year, it’s now something we find fun to do.
Where will we find the next epic spot? Who knows! Make sure you follow us or maybe come join us sometime. Every picture you see is from a free boondocking location. And we have so many more we’d love to share with you.
UPDATE!!!! We ended the year 2018 spending only $48 in camping fees. Yes, we have solar. (Added solar December 2017) Yes, we have batteries. And no, they weren’t cheap. But we have recouped our money spent already, and wow the epic scenery we saw instead the RV slide next to us! No regrets! No Pedestal – No Problem!
Live Simply ~ Give More ~ Expect Less