What Is Boondocking?

A lot of new campers and RVers might heard of the term boondocking, but may not quite understand what it is.

Boondocking (verb): Also known as dry camping, boondocking is typically when someone stays the night for free in an area without hookups.


Some consider true boondocking only to be when you are out in nature, rather than a parking lot.
However, many in the RVing community still call staying the night in a Walmart parking lot “boondocking”, though others prefer to refer to that as dry camping.

The term “dry camping” is often used more to describe staying in a parking lot or staying in an actual campground without hookups. For example, a national park campground that you’re paying for, but that doesn’t have any hookups, is more appropriately called boondocking.

On the flipside, camping in a dispersed camping area on National Forest lands would more appropriately be called boondocking. It gets its name from the word “boondocks,” or colloquially – to be “out in the boondocks” meaning out in the middle of nowhere.

Is Boondocking For You?

What’s better than free camping in your RV?! If you like being out in nature, far away from others, and don’t mind the solitude and quiet.. you’ll probably love boondocking even more than paying for a campsite! You’ll also probably be okay with staying overnight for free in a Walmart parking lot if it comes down to it, though not everyone will consider that to be “proper” boondocking. 🙂

If being far away from the city and other people, without hookups, makes you nervous.. then it’s probably best for you to stick to real RV campsites, resorts, and campgrounds – whether they’re dry (without hookups) or not.

Not everyone will want the same things when figuring out their RV living style, and that’s totally okay. That’s the excitement of the camping lifestyle! Some fulltime RVers choose to live in RV parks, while others choose to boondock as much as they can on public lands (like me.) And let me tell you.. the public lands are mind blowingly a-plenty!

How to Start Boondocking

  1. You’ll need a source of power – typically a solar installation on your RV, or a generator (assuming you’re somewhere where the noise of a generator is permitted)
  2. Your rig needs to be self contained with a shower, black tank, grey tank, and enough fresh water to last you until you find more
  3. You need to be confident in your ability to find places to boondock, and finally
  4. To be able to get into and out of the boondocking locations you choose.

That’s it! The requirements are simple. Now that you know what boondocking is, will you try it? That’s primarily how I camp, as I prefer not to pay to live in my RV. 🙂 I love it!

Urban Dictionary definition of boondocking

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