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, you try it, and let us help you.
“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure“
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. A few years ago we did upgraded to lithium batteries, and wow! What a great upgrade that was! We also opened an RV solar installation company and can help support the life you’re working to create! Check it out 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 – click here to see how we stay connected. 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.
2022 update: We bought into Starlink a few months ago, and though we still have our same hotspot, this was certainly a game changer for us. They now offer roaming for the Starlink!
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 piece of 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, and 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 tabletop 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. (Update! We ended 2018 spending exactly that amount! You can read that blog here)
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 upfront 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.
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 on 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 enjoyed the epic scenery we saw instead the RV slide next to us! No regrets! No Pedestal – No Problem!
Here are a few blogs we think you’ll love!
- What To Do With Photos When Downsizing
- Free Camping in Idaho ~ 5 Epic Boondocking Areas!
- The Best Tips for Organizing Your RV Stuff
- Off the Beaten Path in California. Our Top Hidden Gems You Just Have to See!
- RV Camping in Virginia
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Thank you so much for coming to explore our little corner of the internet. You are so appreciated, and we hope you found value in our information. We’d love to hear your boondocking myths, and we’d love to help you through your fear of boondocking. Contact us with any questions you might have!
14 thoughts on “10 Myths About Boondocking – Debunked! Yes, We Do Take Showers!”
Awesome article Stacy! My wife traci and I are about to becom ft as soon as the house is sold and are having solar installed sometime soon. We are going to be boondocking and can’t wait to meet up with you guys sometime. With you guys help and advice I think we won’t be clueless. Lol
Travis and Traci Leblanc
Travis and Traci … We sincerely hope you reach out and we get a chance to meet up! Good luck selling your home. I remember how stressful and busy that way. I promise when you look back on it, it’ll be with fond memories as you’re sitting outside with your beverage of choice overlooking an amazing canyon somewhere! Keep in touch!!!
Thank you for a great article! We don’t plan on becoming fulltime, but do want to spend several months out there mostly boondocking. I’ve done my research, but am still concerned about where to find water. Do you drink and cook with the water you you find free?
Hi Robin, The short answer is yes we do drink and use it for cooking. The longer answer is we disinfect our holding tank once a year (meaning just 1/4 cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of fresh water, let it sit over night, drain it, fill it, drain it again). We always filter our water. We have the regular RV filter that it came with, and we also purchased a filter from the RV Water Filter Store. Now that’s not completely necessary but for us being full time we really want clean water 100% of the time. We also installed a ceramic filter (under the sink) for drinking. Before that (we actually just did this about a month ago) we used a Britta Filter. And above all … ALWAYS fill your tanks with water that is marked as “potable”.
As far as where to find water … you can certainly find it almost anywhere. Most RV dump stations will usually have fresh water to fill your tanks too. Also gas stations, National Forests, city parks, even camp grounds may let you fill your tanks. For instance we are filling our water right now from the local visitors center. They offer that for free. Your best resources are local’s. Seriously they are the best when it comes to local information. So when you stop for gas, ask the clerk behind the counter where you might be able to get fresh water in your RV. We’ve found very helpful information that way.
Have a super wonderful time, and if you need help, certainly let us know! We might be able to help. 🙂 Safe Travels!!!
My wife and I are heading out in December full time. I saw the water bladder you linked in the article. Where would you put that to actually use it? I have as everyone has weight concerns. Do you guys just fill the tanks close to your spot? I was thinking keeping the tanks low while traveling? We have never camped before and after 36 years of marriage we are stepping out and going for it lol. Thank you for your articles, Dan & Barb
Hi Dan and Barb! First off, congratulations on heading out in December. 🙂 We’re hitting our 26th year married next week! So also congratulations on that 36 years!! It is a beautiful accomplishment! So happy for you! Hopefully I’m understanding your questions, but if not, please let me know. We don’t stay in RV parks, so the water bladder definitely comes in handy. We have a 5th wheel RV so we have a truck that we pull it with. We put the water bladder in the back seat (seats down) fill it, and transport it to the side of the RV and fill it from there. As for keeping tanks low while traveling question, we sometimes do and most of the time do not. In other words, if we are traveling to our next destination and it’s an easy ride (no large hills to climb) we will actually travel with full fresh water, and empty gray and black. If we are traveling to a challenging destination (like the Colorado mountains ha ha) we will travel with all tanks empty and then use the bladder to go get water and transport it. Hope that’s what you needed to know. If not, let me know how else I can help. Hope to meet you two on the road next year!! Keep in touch! 🙂
Me again lol, You mentioned 6 lead acid batteries and 2 generators. We have the 2 generators when you say lead acid batteries you mean car batteries? If so do I just run the 6 deep cycle batteries parallel? I just want to be clear on this. Thank you so much, Dan
That totally answered my question. I hope we can meet up at some point, Thank you again
I do boon docking with new camper only can stay two days the water tank is only 20 gallons. Didn’t know this when bought ( Forest river VIBE) . Told it a park model big mistake! Will add a second tank in future. Added a 100 watt panel need to add another. First generator to loud bought new one . Neighbor ‘s happy. When battery’s that came with camper die will replace with 6V golf batteries , 4 to replace the 2 12Volts I have now ; price dictate’s that. Learning more about solar as time passes!
It’s tough when you’re not told or don’t notice things until it’s too late. Either way, be happy, love your life, and enjoy what little time we have here on Earth! 🙂