What is boondocking in an RV? Is It Affordable?

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What is boondocking in an RV? You’ve probably heard of “living off the grid.” This lifestyle is all about untethering yourself from the demands of modern society, with all of its social media, distracting technology, and vapid concerns. The idea of living off the grid might sound great, but relying on the land around you, and doing minimal harm to the environment, preferably out in the middle of nowhere might not be for everyone. I mean seriously! There are a lot of things to consider.

If you’re like most of us and not quite ready for that type of lifestyle, you may want to consider boondocking in an RV.  Many have heard the term, but what is it? Is it hard to do? Are there any perks? How do I start out?

There are a lot of questions around boondocking and in this article, I am going to explain what boodocking in an RV is, some good and bad sides and some things to consider when considering doing it. You’ll be eager to start your adventures soon after reading!

What is boondocking in an RV? Is It Affordable? 3

What Is Boondocking in an RV?

Boondocking is also referred to as “free camping.” Other names are wild camping, and dispersed camping, but all basically mean the same thing. Whatever form you want to call it, true boondockers most often live in RVs out in the wild, but it’s not as cushy as it sounds (OK, for some it does not sound cushy at all. I know a few people that consider staying in a hotel as camping and would NEVER bookdock, but this is not about them). For the people that are considering boondocking in an RV, it can be a great way to get from point A to point B and save the budget! After all, it is “Free” camping. right? 

Boondocking in an RV is basically detaching yourself from luxuries such as running water and electricity. This is what helps create the “Free” in free camping. However, don’t think that since these luxuries are missing that it’s all bad. You can explore some really great places and save money while not using these luxuries. If your anything like my large family, saving money is GREAT while still being able to explore with the family.

Boondocking involves living out of an RV while making the most of the natural resources around you and can turn into some really beautiful experiences. It can also drastically reduce your carbon footprint and get closer to nature while reaping the benefits of fresh air and daily exercise. Boondocking in an RV helps to keep things feeling more “normal,” as you can still have the amenities you know and love, such as showers, a usable kitchen, and a cozy bed. Speaking of which, here is how you can boondock in an RV without feeling like a caveman or woman.


What is Boondocking in an RV without electricity? Lots of RVers and boondocking enthusiasts rely on solar power, although each individual’s solar power set-up will vary. One example is using solar panels in conjunction with a few batteries. Along with this equipment, a battery monitor can help you keep track of your daily energy usage and needs. Solar panels can sit on top of the RV, or you can opt for portable ones that you position throughout the day to make the most of the sun.

Other folks get their power from a generator, but the humming noise and stinky fumes can be a turn off for most boondockers, which is why you’ll most often see them using solar power. Also, if your like my family, the last thing I want to do is have to yell at my kids over a generator. That being said, a bit of strategy comes into play when deciding where to park your RV since excessive heat and cold can ramp up your energy needs. The Western United States is a popular area because the temperatures stay moderate and there is loads of public space out of in nature.

As for lighting, LED lights will go much further in an RV, as they use 10 times less energy than traditional light bulbs. Also, they don’t give off heat like halogen bulbs do, which is great for keeping things from getting too hot in the warmer months.


When it comes to water usage, a propane or electric hot water tank can help with supplying water for showers and cooking. Conservation efforts will go a long way in saving water and ensuring that you don’t run out sooner rather than later. Some useful water-saving gadgets that you might want to invest in include a low-flow showerhead and faucet aerator, shut-off valve, solar shower, and water distiller.

You might also consider a composting toilet, which doesn’t require water. It might sound gross, but many composting toilets these days are self-containing, sanitary, and can hold refuse and compost for weeks until you can dispose of it at a waste or composting plant. It also eliminates the need to drain gray water (wastewater) on the campground. If you do opt for a more traditional toilet, then you will have to empty that gray water, preferably by sprinkling it around the campground since simply dumping it into a big puddle is illegal in most places.

As for drinking water, a distiller can help you convert just about any water you find in nature into clean, safe water for human consumption. There are different products out there, such as the Clearsource Premium RV Water Filter System and Camelbak filtered water bottles. Conserving water is going to be crucial, but if you do your research and invest in a few water-saving gadgets, you’ll have a much easier time.

Final Thoughts

What is boondocking in an RV? Well I hope we helped answer this question and gave some great ideas how to live in an RV without the luxuries, but still have the conveniences.

Boondocking in an RV takes careful consideration. Take into account things such as the size of your RV and how long you want to be without the normal amenities which you would normally have at a campground.

If you’re going to be working from your RV, you need to make sure you have enough power supply to support your electronics. Also, make sure you create a checklist before your trip to ensure nothing is forgotten. It could make it hard to find what you need while in the middle of nowhere.

Fortunately, there are tons of like-minded people out there who have made a living out of boondocking and exploring the country. Learning from sites like these are what will make your experiences in the wilderness better.

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