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What Is Boondocking Camping? Practical Tips for Beginners

What Is Boondocking Camping? Practical Tips for Beginners

Different camping is on the rage today. Some campers choose to go to traditional RV parks that typically include full hookups as well as free WiFi. Meanwhile, others choose to do boondocking. However, what is boondocking camping? You may be puzzled by boondock's definition because people use the "boondocking" term in a variety of contexts. In the end, boondocking refers to a free RV camp. However, there are various kinds, and all of them have names. This article will give you more information about what is boondocking and tips for beginners to start boondock camping.

What Is Boondocking Camping?

Boondocking is defined as a free camp on public land and commonly in the "boonies". Boondocking camping is popular among people who love nature as well as people who are fed up with full RV parks. One of the best things about boondock camping is that you can stay in beautiful places and save some money.

There are two main parts to boondocking, how and where you can camp. The "how" of boondock camping can be characterized as dry camping or wild camping. There will be no access to electricity, water, or sewage system like in a developed campground.

There are no water faucets, restrooms, or picnic tables available to facilitate your camping. It's only you, your camper, and the land that can be called yours for about two nights. In most cases, there is no cost associated with boondocking, but permission may be needed.

Where to Go for a Boondocking Camping?

The best spot for boondocking is on public land in the middle of the wilds. Below are some places that are good for boondocking camping.

Public Land

Commonly, RV campers are permitted to stay in national forests, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. As long as you can locate a flat spot to park away from the main road, you can camp there. Sometimes, some areas in national forests or BLM land are closed because of misuse or overuse. So, you should pay close attention to any signs that say camping is not allowed in the area. During your boondock camping, let's follow the signs and also be kind to the environment and other campers so that these places can continue to be used by the public.

Dry Camping in a Developed Campground

Normally, people doing boondocking are to stay away from RV parks and campgrounds. However, dry camping in a developed campground can make you save money by staying in a site without hookups. Similar to tent camping, you can access water faucets and use the restrooms.

Parking Lots

You can do RV boondocking camping in Walmart, Cabela's, Camping World, and Cracker Barrel parking lots. All you need to do is to call the store manager beforehand because some states don't let people camp overnight in parking lots. It's possible that they have special sign-in processes and parking spots only for RV travelers. Spending money at these businesses is also a wise idea, so it makes sense for them to keep providing this service.

How to Get Electricity and Other Resources During the Boondocking?

Electricity for Boondocking

Portable Power Station

For RV boondocking power, a portable power station is the best choice. All of your electricity needs should be met by a power station. You can use it to run the fridge and your other electronic devices. Compared to generators, portable power stations are much easier to transport and use. The portable power station does not require gasoline. Therefore, you can save more money. However, make sure that you charge the power station before you go. The best boondocking power option is Anker 757 Portable Power Station. This power station can run all of your important devices and equipment, including a refrigerator, electric grill, coffee machine, and many more during boondock camping. The Anker 757 Portable Power Station can also be charged using solar energy, making it ideal for long-term camping in the wilderness.

Batteries and Inverters

Batteries and inverters can be used as boondocking power options. It can be used to power the refrigerator and ports. This additional electricity should be sufficient for recharging a laptop, watching television, and even cooking a meal with a slow cooker.


Solar systems are typically paired with batteries and an inverter. It's the most reliable and eco-friendly way to get power when you're planning to boondock camping for a long time. However, solar needs the sun to charge. You have to keep an eye on the weather patterns to ensure that you get sufficient sunlight to recharge your batteries.

Water for Boondocking

Boondocking may have you out of the wild for days, even weeks! It’s key to be prepared by making sure your water tank is filled to capacity and both black and grey tanks are emptied before embarking on any extended journey. Don't forget - a top-off with a reliable water bladder can help keep peace of mind while exploring off the beaten path. Also, take good use of public toiletry or bathroom facilities on the road if your car doesn't have them.

Internet for Boondocking

Before heading out, use sites like Campendium or Allstays to research potential internet connectivity in the area. Since public WiFi isn't common in dispersed camping areas, consider setting up a cell phone signal booster – so all of your boondocking adventures can be shared with friends far and wide!

Tips for Beginners

To make boondocking enjoyable, comfortable, and safe, bring the following boondock camping essentials.

  • To keep safe, ask a friend or check with local people to tell them your boondocking plan before you start.

  • Pay attention to the animals surrounding you while boondocking and follow the so-called "bear aware" rules from locking your food and cooking items inside the car to keeping a safe distance from them.

  • Check the weather forecast during your boondocking and print it out if possible in case your cellphone loses the signal.

  • Take good preparations for all essentials like long-lasted food, cooler, composting toilet, bug spray, first-aid kit, etc.


You must now understand what is boondocking camping. If you are going to go boondock camping, ensure that you have carefully prepared the necessary items so that you do not experience any difficulties while camping. Make a list of your belongings according to our tips above, and double-check them before leaving the house.

FAQ about What is Boondocking Camping

Why Do They Call It Boondocking?

The word "boondocking" is derived from the word "boondocks," which is derived from the Tagalog word "bundók," which means "mountain." RVers use the term "boondocking" to describe driving their vehicle into isolated locations where they must rely on their own abilities, equipment, and supply.

What Is the Difference Between Boondocking and Camping?

Boondocking is a type of camping that occurs in remote and often rugged locations, usually with no access to electricity, water, or other amenities. It differs from traditional camping because it is more self-reliant, requiring campers to bring their own supplies and be prepared for any situation.

Camping, on the other hand, typically involves staying in a more developed campground with access to amenities such as electricity, running water, bathrooms, and showers. Both activities are great ways to experience the outdoors, but boondocking requires a bit more planning and preparation.

How Do You Keep Food Cold While Boondocking?

Here are tips to keep your food cold during boondock camp:

  • Pre-cool your cooler.

  • Put the cooler out of the sun.

  • Bring some ice packs.

  • Before you leave, cool the food.

  • Pack your cooler properly.

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