Guide to Boondocking or Dry Camping

Table of Contents

What is Boondocking?

Boondocking is another word for Dry Camping, or camping without hookup, facilities or amenities. When camping on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and, many of the free campsites are available for dry camping.

BLM land is public land set aside from the government to give Americans a free place to enjoy the true nature and wild of America. You can access maps to the official BLM website to find campsites for your next adventure.

RV Boondocking in the Desert
RV Boondocking in the Desert

Why Boondock?

If you live in a tiny home or RV, or consider yourself a rubbertramp (Traveler on wheels), and are self sustainable with solar power or generators. Then boondocking can offer you some amazing benefits over traditional camping.

Dry camping campsites are generally less populated and are more dispersed. Giving you the opportunity to see exactly how it is to live in the wild and give you some nice privacy at the same time.

Although, since you don’t have access to the amenities of a traditional campsite. You’ll have to conserve your water and food if you plan on camping for more than a few days. Which is something to keep in mind since you can stay at a single campsite on BLM land for up to two weeks!

RV and van boondocking by mountains and lake
A van and RV boondocking by the mountains and lake

What About Facilities?

If you have a black water system in a vehicle like a tiny home or skoolie, you could quite comfortably stay for a couple of weeks without needing to go dump your tank. But if you don’t have that luxury then your best bet is to use a composting toilet.

Composting toilets can get quite expensive for the nicer ones (pushing $1,000 on the high end). But you could always get a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat lid and make your own that will work just fine. Everytime you.. relieve yourself.. put in peat moss and/or cedar or pine saw dust that is roughly an equal amount to the waste. Usually the waste only smells for a prolonged amount of time because of a reaction to the ammonia in urine. As long as you try to urinate outside, there will be almost no smell in the bucket. Learn if a composting toilet is right for you. My favorite composting toilet and the one I have in my skoolie is the Nature’s Head toilet.

And always make sure to remember, “pack it in – pack it out” and don’t leave any evidence you were ever there. Help keep our BLM land public and free for us all to enjoy for generations to come!

Is Boondocking Legal?

Every situation is different and you should always check for posted signs before you stay anywhere. If you are at a designated area that allows dispersed camping and is on public land then you should be fine to camp. It’s only illegal to overstay your welcome, leave your camping area a mess, or are on private land. I’ve never had anyone come up to my vehicle when I was boondocking and tell me to leave. In fact, most of the time when I boondock, I rarely even see another camper. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but boondocking does tend to be a more private experience. Especially when compared to traditional developed campsites.

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