RV Boondocking for Beginners: How to Guide to Free RV Camping

Beginner RV Boondocker Camped on Public Land
Boondocking with a Camper Van

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RV boondocking is a great way to save money on your camping trip by camping for free in the beauty of nature.

The key is to be self-sufficient and to have all the necessary supplies with you. This includes things like water, food, and a generator if you need one. Boondocking can be a great adventure and it’s a great way to see parts of the country that you wouldn’t normally get to see.

This how-to guide to RV Boondocking for beginners will give you all the tips and tricks you need to know to make your first RV boondocking trip a success.

What is Boondocking?

Boondocking, also known as dry camping, is a type of camping style that involves parking your RV in an area where hookups for water, electricity, or sewer (traditionally found at an RV park or campground) are not available.

What You Need When Boondocking in an RV

To go boondocking in an RV, you need a few things…

Electricity to Power Your Gear and RV Appliances

When you’re boondocking in an RV, you’ll likely want to bring a source of electricity to power your gear and RV appliances and batteries. Fortunately, there are a couple of different ways to power your RV. You can use a generator or solar panels.

Each option has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research and figure out what will work best for you and your RVing lifestyle. If you’re new to the world of RV generators, check out our guide to RV generators for beginners.

Plan to Keep Your Camper a Comfortable Temperature

When you boondock in your camper, make sure you and your RV are prepared for the weather. You’ll need a plan for what to do if it gets too hot or cold.

Your power source should be able to run your RV’s furnace or AC to keep the temperature comfortable. If you are new to boondocking, we’d recommend camping

Legal Place to Boondock Overnight in Your RV

There are many legal places to boondock overnight in your RV. Some of the most popular boondocking locations include national forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land or public land, and state parks. You might even find yourself staying one night in a Walmart parking lot, aka “wallydocking.”

Another way to boondock legally is to join an RV membership that allows you to boondock overnight for free. Two overnight RV camping memberships that offer this in North America are Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome.

To learn more about these free camping programs and get a discount off of your membership check out our review of how Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts are different.

Dump Station to Empty Your RV Water Tanks

Dump stations can be found at some gas stations and rest areas. You may also be able to contact a park ranger where you are staying to see if they know of any dump stations in the area.

Insider Tip: With an All Access Pass to Harvest Hosts you’ll have the locations of over 7000 dump stations right on your Harvest Host App. To join Harvest Hosts membership click here to learn more & get 15% off your fee.

Relax & Have Fun at Your Boondocking Site

After you have set up camp at your boondocking site, relax and have fun! Enjoy the peace and quiet of being in nature. Be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles, so that you leave the site as beautiful as you found it.

Boondocking Tips for Beginners Camping Off-Grid in Your RV

Conserve Water, Fuel & Electricity!

If you’re planning on doing a lot of boondocking, it’s important to have extra water and a backup plan for powering your RV in case of emergencies. 

Verify Your RV Boondock Location

Before you boondock, be sure to check the regulations for the area where you will be camping. Some areas have restrictions on how long you can stay, what type of vehicle you can have, and whether or not you can have a fire and how.

A Great Way to Camp: RV Boondocking for Beginners

Boondocking can be intimidating for RV newbies. However, with a little planning and preparation, RV boondocking for beginners is possible!

Just be sure to research your boondocking location ahead of time and come prepared with all the supplies you’ll need to enjoy this different style of RV camping.

We hope you enjoyed this boondocking for beginners guide! Let us know below what other questions you have about boondocking!

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