The great thing about a small
What is Boondocking?
Boondocking, also known as dry camping, is camping “off-grid” with no access to electric or water or sewer hookups. This means that you will have to carry your water with you, and you will have to either use your onboard camper battery for power, or be able to generate some power of your own.
Where can you boondock?
Most people think of BLM Land or Bureau of Land Management land when they talk about boondocking. Realistically boondocking can take place at any campground, parking lot or backyard where there are no hookups.
Camping on BLM Land is not necessarily free. There are BLM campgrounds that do charge a fee for camping. Some are first come first serve, others can be reserved through the recreation.gov website. Many of the US National Parks offer sites with no hookups, however they do have bath houses or at a minimum vault toilets in the campground. Be aware of what amenities are in the area before you set out to camp.
Dispersed Camping is camping on Public Land that is not a developed campsite or recreation area. There are many rules surrounding dispersed camping, including the 14 day rule – you cannot camp for more than 14 days in the same area in a 28 day period. This is to discourage people from living full time in one site.
Each state also has a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or other local bureau that controls dispersed camping in State Forests and other public land and natural areas.
How do you go to the bathroom while boondocking?
If your camper does not have a bathroom, you will need to make a bathroom to use while boondocking. Your bathroom can be as simple to having a small bucket with a lid in your tent or camper, to having a separate privacy tent with portable toilet and shower. Check out our guide, What you need to make a Portable Bathroom for Camping for more information.
What do you use for power when boondocking?
Since the term “boondocking” means not having any electrical or water hookups, you will not have electricity for power. Many campers have a battery and a propane tank, when boondocking you will need to keep a close eye on your battery and propane levels.
Solar power is probably the easiest way to charge your battery, so that you have enough electricity to use for lighting and to charge your phone and laptop and other items. Some camper have a solar panel built in to charge the on board battery, others have a plug to attach a solar panel to the battery. Even if you don’t have a built in adapter, you can hook up a charger and panels to your battery.
Having a solar “generator” or power station will give you another way to store solar energy. The power station can be charged via A/C at home, with a car charger while driving, and with solar panels when boondocking. There are many good options for solar power stations, I use the Goal Zero brand. The longer you are out boondocking the larger you will want your power station to be.
Your power for heat and cooking can come from propane. There are portable heaters such as the Mr Buddy heater that run on propane, just be sure to have proper ventilation whenever running a heater. It’s important to have a carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm and fire extinguisher whenever you are using a heater or cooking in your tent or camper.
If you would like to be able to run your air conditioner and other high powered appliances that won’t run on battery power only, you will need a gas generator. These can be loud and some areas do not allow them, or restrict the hours you can run them. Never run a generator inside of your camper.
Teardrop Camper Boondocking Essentials
Here are some basic items that may come in handy while boondocking in your teardrop trailer.