Boondocking has become more and more popular as of late.
Many boondocking RVers Instagram accounts make it look AMAZING. But there's a good chance that YOU should avoid boondocking.
How can you know ahead of time?
With the rise of more and more apps and websites on the subject, finding good spots with great information about them is much easier to do than in previous years.
Sounds tempting, right? Maybe.
While boondocking does offer a quieter, more nature-based, and likely a more scenic camping experience than camping in campgrounds, it is not the perfect experience for all.
With the good comes the bad.
Therefore, if you're not a fan of many or all of the below variables, you may want to avoid boondocking. Read on to find out if it is or is not up your alley.
Dust/Dirt In and On Your RV
Most boondocking campsites are located down long dirt roads. This means on your way in and out, your RV/Tow vehicle, etc is going to get dusty/dirty.
You will likely be parked on dirt. The road on which people pass by your site is probably dirt. Therefore, the area will likely be fairly dusty. Expect some daily cleaning and sweeping and to always battle some dust.
Keeping an RV mat outside will help some. But the dust in the air is unavoidable. It will be all over your RV, inside, in your storage bays, on your countertops, everywhere.
Also, if it rains, you have mud to contend with.
Having To Manage Your Resources
When you are boondocking or dry camping (what does dry camping mean?), you aren't connected to power, water, sewer, or cable.
Meaning you will have to pay much closer attention to your resources.
And your time away might be limited by your ability (or inability) to conserve. If you fill your waste holding tanks, or use up all of your propane before the end of your intended stay, you are out of luck. (There are ways to remedy this if you have a vehicle with you.)
And say goodbye to normal showers and using all the water you want and consuming as much power as you want.
You'll have to store your trash. You may even have to ask your husband and son(s) to 'enjoy' urinating outside (some guys do enjoy this) to conserve black tank space.
You're going to have to keep a keen eye on all of these things while enjoying boondocking.
Quiet Remote Areas
If you're a city lover, you love constant input and energy, and maybe lots of shopping, maybe you should avoid boondocking. Most good spots are scenic, quiet, and remote.
The closest town could be 30 minutes away. We get that there are some of you that just won't enjoy getting out into nature.
If this is you, boondocking may not be your bag. (Heck, camping may not be your bag in this case!)
Closely Watching Your Batteries
You're either going to have to have a generator to re-charge your batteries, or you're going to have solar. Either way, you MUST watch your batteries.
Why? Any batteries other than lithium cannot go below a 50% charge.
This means you have to keep your eye on them in order to not drain them too far before charging them.
If you have lithium batteries, you're in better shape. And we HIGHLY recommend getting lithium if you are camping frequently and wanting to boondock more.
But who wants to hear a generator going all day long while out in the peaceful scenery?
(You'd be surprised. Some people do this, and literally have their generator on ALL DAY LONG. And it pisses off their neighbors.)
Which leads us to the next topic:
RV Generator Noise
Though you might think that boondocking gets you out of a campground and into serenity, think again.
You'd be surprised how many people out there will park on top of you and then run their (likely a contractor) generator much of the day.
It is truly maddening.
Even if this doesn't happen to you, YOU may be the person who doesn't have enough solar to get you by, so you may have to run your generator to save your batteries.
It pretty much takes away from your experience, as well as from your neighbors' experience.
It's less than the ideal situation. But you may not have a choice. So, if you don't like generator noise and you are not getting suitcase solar panels, perhaps you should avoid boondocking.
If you are a weekend warrior, this won't apply to you. If you're wanting to live in your RV, it most definitely will.
Unless you are a boondocking beginner, you probably already know that most boondocking spots have a limited number of days that you can stay. If this wasn't the case, homeless/vagrants would simply move into the most attractive spots and live there for free.
So you MUST move often, on average, once every two weeks. (Different spots have different stay limits.)
If you're not an adventurer and would rather live in your RV full-time for long periods in one spot, you are a full-time campground candidate. You should probably avoid boondocking.
Should You Avoid Boondocking? -Conclusion
Boondocking is a wonderful way to explore the West.
It is FREE, you have more space than in a campground, along with better views and less noises. But it's not all roses and chardonnay.
Boondocking takes a lot more work than simply parking at a campground with full hook-ups. There are downsides for sure. There are things that don't appeal to all.
So if you REALLY can't stand some of the things mentioned in this article, you should probably avoid boondocking!
Author: Kelly Beasley
I dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 6.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road.