Boondocking on Public Land


Whether you're full-timing or just taking the family out for a mini vacation, there's nothing more enjoyable than boondocking, also known as dry camping.

Anyone can find an RV park, pay their money and hook up but who really wants to haul a camper miles from home then use that park electricity to basically do the same as when you're at home: sitting around in an air conditioned cocoon watching TV? I guess plenty of people do because the RV parks are bursting at the seams but for me and a whole bunch of other people, boondocking is the only way to go.

For this article, I'm not talking about boondocking at Camp Walmart. What I am talking about is the wide open spaces of Federal Land, National Forests and all those other beautiful parts of America that are a shining example of our tax dollars at work. The official name is Dispersed Camping and basically, that means you can camp for free anywhere on public land so long as it is not within sight of a developed campground.

Every government agency including state and sometimes county have different rules so be smart and check with that agency before you go because not abiding by the rules might earn you a hefty fine if a ranger happens to come along. The average length of stay is typically around fourteen days before you have to move along so it might be a slight inconvenience if you're staying longer but boy, you can't beat the price!

This is literally dry camping so take plenty of water and ration it out for the length of your stay because running out of water is a sure fire way of cutting short your planned vacation. If you estimate wisely then it shouldn't be a problem. Don't forget this is roughing it so a quick wash will take the place of that long hot shower but you'll soon forget about that after a few days of breathing fresh air and relaxing outside in your camp chair.

The only other thing (apart from food) that will end your camping is power. Battery power is just as precious as water and should be conserved with the same effort. Leave a light on to read by all means but turn it off when you leave the room, don't run a water pump if you can pour it from a jug and keep the TV off. Think about your actions and use your power sparingly. One of the best investments you can make is to switch out your interior light bulbs for modern LEDs. The power saving is tremendous and there are some really good prices online at the moment.

If you have a generator then run it for a short time to charge your batteries but then shut it down and go back to enjoying your peace and quiet. Remember that earlier line about doing what you do at home? Well you don't want to be like that because the thought of being alone and away from the rush of the outside world is what attracted you to this type of camping in the first place.

Be a smart camper and stock up on your RV accessories before you go. There are some great bargains to be found online but replacing that cracked sewer hose at the local hardware store in the middle of nowhere will cost you an arm and a leg. Pull out the chairs, kick back, relax and let nature entertain you. Welcome to the wonderful world of boondocking!