5th wheel at sunset

Expert Advice

Boondock Basics: What You Need to Know

Nate and Christian from project Trek explain everything you need to know about boondocking. Here's how to be prepared, stay safe, and have a great trip!

One of the coolest things about RV camping is the freedom it gives you. That said, if you rely on staying only in campgrounds, some of your freedom is taken away and it becomes a lot harder to fly by the seat of your pants. The solution? Boondocking, of course!

In this article, we will take a closer look at boondocking and help you understand what it is, why you should do it, and how to go about it.


What is Boondocking?

First, let’s take just a second to chat about what exactly boondocking is. Generally, this term refers to dry camping (i.e. camping without hookups) in a wilderness area—you know, the boonies. Some people use “boondocking” to refer to other types of dry camping (such as staying in a parking lot overnight), but because the word literally references the term “boonies,” we think it should be reserved for camping trips in the middle of nowhere.

The Benefits of Boondocking

Why would someone go boondocking, you ask? Oh, lots of reasons! Boondocking is an excellent way to enjoy spontaneous, reservation-free travel while also escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immersing yourself in nature. To top it all off, boondocking can be an awesome way to save money!

Making Your Rig Boondocking Ready

Wondering if you can go boondocking? We have good news! Anyone who has an RV can boondock. That said, there are some things you’ll want to do before you head out in order to ensure you’re boondock ready.

You’ll need:

  • A good boondocking spot (check Campendium, Free Campsites, and iOverlander).
  • A full freshwater tank.
  • Empty wastewater tanks.
  • A way to keep your batteries charged (such as a generator or solar panels).
  • Some food (because boondocking spots can be very far away from grocery stores).
  • An adventurous spirit.

You may also want:

  • Better batteries (we recommend LiFePO4 batteries)
  • An inverter.
  • A portable wastewater tank.
  • A macerator pump.
  • A water bladder.

Boondocking Safety

Many people worry about whether boondocking is safe. The good news? As long as you use common sense, boondocking is just as safe as (if not safer than) any other kind of RV camping

Some boondocking safety tips to keep in mind while you’re out in the wilderness? We’ve got a few for you below:

Pack Smart

Don’t be caught without something you really need! Pack emergency items such as a first aid kit, emergency blanket(s), tools, spare tires, extra fuel, paper map, etc. You may never use these things, but if you need them, you’ll sure be glad you packed them.

Read Reviews

Heading to a new boondocking spot can be exciting! Be sure to read reviews about any spot you plan to visit before you head out. If it sounds like your vehicle won’t make it, skip it and find another. There are plenty of spots out on BLM that will fit the needs of your rig.

Arrive Before Dark

Always, always arrive at your boondocking spot before dark. Because boondocking spots are in the middle of nowhere and not usually paved, you never know what you might run into. Cliffs, giant potholes, snakes, and bears are all very real possibilities, and if you can’t see, they all become much more challenging.

Listen to Your Gut

If you arrive at a spot and it just doesn’t feel right, leave. Even if you can’t pinpoint what is giving you the heebie jeebies, your gut likely knows what it’s talking about, and it’s not worth the risk to stick around.

Know Where You Are (and Share Your Location)

Always know your GPS coordinates in case you need to call 911. It’s also a good idea to share those coordinates with someone you trust and communicate with often. Lastly, be sure you know where the closest emergency room is.

Take Security Precautions

Of course, you’ll want to take all the usual security precautions as well. Some basic ones to keep in mind include:

  • Lock up all outside items at night.
  • Lock your door and don’t answer it at night.
  • Keep keys and pepper spray near your bed.
  • Be observant of your surroundings.

Is Boondocking Right for You?

We already touted the benefits of boondocking, and we really do think it is a fantastic option for RVers looking for total freedom or budget travel options. That said, even we have to admit that boondocking isn’t for everyone. If you’re wondering if boondocking is right for you, check out the two lists below.

You’ll love boondocking if…

  • You love adventures and want to explore off the beaten path with no real plan.
  • Budget travel is how you roll.
  • Nature calls you and you want opportunities to immerse yourself in it.
  • You don’t mind giving up conveniences such as air conditioning and endless water.

Boondocking may not be for you if…

  • You need constant temperature control to be comfortable.
  • Daily long hot showers are a must-have.
  • The idea of spending time far away from grocery stores, restaurants, and other conveniences sounds terrible.
  • You like solid plans and can’t cope when something doesn’t go as planned. 

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to go boondocking, and more and more RVers are turning to this form of RV travel in order to curb their wanderlust. Why not give it a try yourself? You might just fall in love!

Project Trek Family

Project Trek

Nate and Christian, the husband-wife team behind Project Trek are a full-time traveling, vegan family who love to hike and backpack with their two kids Ella and Andersen. 

After suffering from the financial collapse of a failed business, Christian and Nate decided to take matters into their own hands. They began the process of pursuing financial freedom by paying off over 270K of debt!  After their successful debt-free journey they realized they never wanted to be bound by the burden of financial stress and they each deeply desired to travel while spending more time with their children. 

After a weekend trip to Asheville, NC  in a borrowed Minnie Winne, Christian and Nate felt the pull of the road. That sweet siren call was answered in April of 2017 when they launched their journey as a fulltime rv family. 

In an effort to bring hope to other families that felt trapped in their lives, they launched their Youtube channel, Project Trek. Christian & Nate both work from home as video content creators. They love creating video content for their Youtube channel where they share their unique lifestyle with the world, plus all the mishaps along the way. Their videos cover everything from; how to boondock in the best locations to exploring new places to visit in your RV. They produce high-quality videos that are published onto various social channels where they educate their audience about trip planning, rv living, destination highlights, and products that align with the needs of their community.

Every day presents new adventures which you can follow along with through videos on YouTube!