Tips for Boondocking With Your Camper or RV
So many of the RV parks and state and national campgrounds I’ve seen over the last few years really boast some awesome convenience upgrades. Powerful A/C hookups, easy-access dump stations, and meticulously clean public bathrooms really take the “rough” out of roughing it. However, if you’re like me, sometimes you just want to get away from fellow travelers and maybe even off the grid completely on a given trip. And really, to get the most out of your vehicle investment, it’s important to prepare your RV to go anywhere your heart desires.
Making Your RV Adventure Ready
Preparing an off-grid camper is easier than you think. It simply requires a little groundwork before taking the big trip. To stay at established campsites with operational hookups is one thing, but “boondocking” with your RV is a whole other animal. The following are some of the big items to address to be off-grid adventure-ready:
A Power Source
Few things in the modern world operate without at least some source of power, even your boondocked RV. Use multiple sources just to be safe: a solar powered battery bank and a 12-volt deep cycle battery are your best bets. Both sources will help keep your camper lights functional day and night, allowing you to use your camper comfortably while also charging your cell phone, computers, and cameras.
Plenty of Water
H2O is very important when you’re camping, but it becomes essential when you’re off the grid. Sustain yourself by traveling with at least two or three different water tanks – one for drinking, one for cleaning, and another for cooking or incidentals. It doesn’t matter where you go; chances are, you’ll eventually want to eat, brush your teeth, shower, and clean up the camper.
A Place to Store Food Safely
Unless you plan to hunt for all your nourishment (which is totally fine, albeit unlikely), storing some food is vital. However, improperly packing food items can lead to illness, so you want to be sure not to make that mistake. Using coolers is one way to keep food safe, but some campers have refrigerators in them. Again, be sure you have an adequate power sources, so you don’t lose electricity when you need it the most.
A Way to Cook
Campfires are nice, but they aren’t always easy or even possible to make and maintain. To be thorough, have a propane grill and plenty of extra propane on hand. The two-burner stove on the inside of most campers will usually suffice. However, adventuring out of the camper will require you to be creative with your food preparation techniques.
Connection to the Outside World
Although off-the-grid camping is fun, it’s still important to tether to the rest of the world in the event of an emergency. Whether using cell phones or computers, be sure to have a connection to Wi-Fi while on the road. Most smart phones have hotspot capability, and there’s even a Mifi service in case your WiFi stops working.
A Source of Heating and/or Cooling
Depending on the time of year, having adequate temperature control can be a matter of life or death. Using the propane cans you packed for cooking, run a small and properly functioning space heater to stay warm. It may also be wise to carry a hot water bottle to be used as a makeshift heater at night. To cool off when the weather gets too hot, use battery-operated fans to keep the air in the camper circulating throughout the day.
A Place to Go
This could apply more to those pop-up campers without a built-in commode situation. And it’s still a consideration if your RV has toilet facilities – depending on your length of being off-grid and access to dump stations you may want to have alternatives in mind. Contaminating the water supply is never the wise choice but boondocking seldom offers access to a public bathroom, so pick up a camping toilet with all the accessories to take with you. We do want to leave these natural resources we enjoy no worse off for our having been there.