Lately it has become progressively common for people of all ages to take on the art of living through RV’ing. Exploring life through the vast planes, mountainous ridges and winding valleys can be enticing and gives families the opportunity to create everlasting memories. Some even take it a step further by setting up camp in completely underdeveloped areas.. crazy right? Well not THAT crazy. This way of RV’ing is referred to as “Boondocking”. No hookups, no noisy neighbors, just you and the company you want with what you have. If this sounds like your kind of adventure, lets discover how to get started with boondocking.
Just about everyday you will need to think about where to stop and rest over night in a safe, free parking lot. There are three well known ways to do this:
- Stealth camping. Stealth camping is mainly for vans and smaller RVs. You can park anywhere that doesn’t have a “no parking” sign and the possibility of security knocking on your door in the middle of the night (apartment complex, hotels, etc). This would be considered a short term overnight option.
- Parking lots. Walmart, Bass Pro Shop, Cracker Barrel, and others like this with large parking lots will often allow for free overnight parking. Each store is different so check out the guidelines by looking online or calling in. Other great options are rest stops, picnic areas and truck stops if you just need a place to park for the night in between destinations.
- Dispersed camping. This is a term used for free camping that is allowed on public land, including National Forest Land and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land. Each state has other options for dispersed camping, such as State Trust Land, State Forests, Wildlife Management Areas, State Parks, etc. You’ll need to know the regulations and check for road closures ahead of time With dispersed camping, there aren’t marked campsites or services/facilities and it’s first come first serve. The idea is that you show up and pick a suitable, open spot for your RV within the boundaries and can typically stay up to 14 days although you’ll want to verify the relevant limit.
Power sources such as generators, RV batteries and inverters for cell phones are a great way to charge up. Take it a step further by purchasing a Solar Panel package. These consist of panels, batteries, an inverter, a controller and all the necessary line fuses and cables needed to live life on the green side. This will also ensure you never run out of energy. Pretty smart and eco-friendly, right?
Believe it or not, water will run out fast. Making sure you have the right amount of containers to fill up is important. You’re going to want to do this at just about every stop you make to avoid running out. Additionally, you’ll want to consider a few extra jugs if you have pets on board. While washing dishes and clothing you will carry two tubs, one to wash with and one to rinse off. For showering options, bathe at RV campsites or install a pressurized showerhead that saves water. You can find one for under 10 dollars here.
Parking in a populated place that feels safe is not always your best bet but sometimes it is. To maintain a theft free experience you’ll want to practice safety at all time. An idea from one of our frequent buyers is to put a sticker on the outside door of your RV to indicate that an alarm system or guard dog in inside. Better yet, install a 12 volt alarm or take your pup RVing with you. A doggo makes a great alarm system and no one wants to be bitten by one.
It is also smart to engage in conversation with other Boondockers to share experiences. Collaboration can be key for knowing how to stay safe while traveling. Lastly, if you ever feel unsafe and own a motor home, keep the jacks up, awning in and your RV ready to roll. If you are threatened you can just jump in the cockpit and drive away at a moment’s notice. Safety is number one, so make sure you stay alert but also don’t worry too much. Boondocking is generally a safe and fun way to live on the road.
At Green Star Campers we want to make sure you’re well informed and equipped for your boondocking expeditions. We carry both new and used travel trailers while also a large selection of fifth wheels. We are the largest RV accessory and parts store in Rapid City. Visit us online or on-site today to get you ready to hit the road, or feel free to give us a call at 800-817-4879 if you have any questions!