Boondocking, or Camping without hookups, can be a good way to save on your RVing expenses.   Deciding to do a lot of boondocking may also be an influence on what RV Type you choose.  Will you need a larger generator? Will you be able to carry enough water?  Will your holding tanks be adequate?  Remember some units may not be suitable for certain types of boondocking.  Are the roads into the area suitable for a large motorhome? Will the unit you are considering even fit on some of the smaller out of the way sites?  The term boondocking has come to mean different things to different people, from simply stopping in a Walmart parking lot for the night to finding a picturesque spot on BLM land where you can camp for free.

Just stopping for the night knowing you will have hookups in a day or two doesn’t usually require a lot of planning.  Just make sure you have room in your holding tanks and enough water in your freshwater tank for the night.  Simply stop and sleep and don’t worry about the sewage and water tanks since you will be stopping at full hook-ups soon where you can dump and refill.

Extended Boondocking Without Hookups

On the other hand, staying in a primitive area for a week or more might need a little more forethought and planning. Water will have to be conserved and holding tanks monitored.  Some things are just a matter of common sense.  Letting the water run while you brush your teeth or wash dishes uses water fast.  Just simply turning off the faucet and running water only as you need it can radically save water.  Also when in the shower you wet down, turn off the shower, lather up, then turn on the shower again to rinse.  It’s a little inconvenient, but it works and you can get in the habit with a little practice.

The charging of your house batteries and electricity/generator usage will take planning.  Run the generator during day time hours and avoid it during “quiet times”.  Many RVers are also installing solar panels to increase the battery reserve and save on generator fuel.

For excellent tips on conserving all essentials while camping self contained, see the following:

Once you’ve mastered the techniques for conserving, you can start hunting down all the great places to camp for free, or for very low fees.  Many of our national parks and forests have less than ideal hook-ups, but they more than make up for it with their fantastic views, quiet solitude, and wonderful settings in which to spend your time. Camping fees are usually very low and even lower with the Golden Age Pass. (Available at park entrances and most forest service headquarters for a small one time fee).   BLM land (Bureau of Land Management, “our mutually owned land”) covers large land acreages, especially in the western US.  Much of that land can be camped on free of charge. Just play by the rules of pack in – pack out etc. and kick back and relax for a few days for free.

Learning your limitations on electricity, generator usage, water and sewage, and how to expand and conserve them is your first step in opening up thousands and thousands of acres of free camping.

Some examples of BLM camping tips can be found at:

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