Dry Camping 101: Tips, Tricks, & Places for A Great Boondocking Adventure

Dry Camping 101: Tips, Tricks, & Places for A Great Boondocking Adventure

Great stories originate from unforgettably unusual adventures. With all the phenomena currently taking place in our society, going on adventures can be a good pause from all those craziness. It is a great way to destress and reconnect with your inner peace. As such, get yourself ready as this article shall give you the tips and know-how about dry camping.

What is Dry RV Camping?

Dry camping is the activity where you decide to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of modern life to reconnect with yourself. Others call in boondocking or dry RV camping. In such an adventure, you are in for a trip without electricity or other forms of convenience. It allows you to enjoy the elegance of sceneries and experience the rawness of nature’s beauty. 

Boondocking is also known as self-contained camping. It makes you reliant on your vehicle and on nature itself. Consistent supply of water and hookups are far from possible during boondocking. It may sound challenging, but with ample preparation, the activity is ideal for feeling the excitement and enjoyment you once experienced when you were a kid. 

Must-Dos and Must-Haves

Having established many places where you can drive for your activity, it is equally vital to prepare before going on such adventures. As such, here are the possible tips to be taken into account in preparing for a great trip!

Plan Ahead of Time

You have to think ahead of time since there are many factors to consider. You need to consider your desired campsite, the duration, and the size of your RV. You should evaluate the RV’s capacity before going on an adventure. Planning ahead of time helps you quickly determine the number of goods you have to bring along with you. Also, planning gets you to prepare materials in an organized manner.

Inspect your RV

Check whether or not your RV is in good condition for a trip. This inspection entails checking the RV appliances and water tanks. You also need to check the vehicle batteries, tires, generator, generator oil, engine, coolant fluid levels, windshield washer, power steering, transmission, and brake fluid. You also have to inspect the lights and the gauges of your RV. 

Apart from checking your RV parts, it would help if you also considered protecting its entire body. As such, it would be better to bring along RV covers that can be of great help for unexpected weather changes. You can compare, contrast, and study the specifications of RV covers.

The inspection also means studying your vehicle’s storage capacity to know how many items you can bring along with you.

Water Conservation and Tank Capacities

Water is one of the most vital things needed during a camp. Also, having no hookups makes conserving water a crucial step. It is necessary to fill your water tank to its maximum capacity before leaving. 

A Grey tank is where your wastewater from the sink and the shower goes. When you consume too much water, it gets filled swiftly. On the other hand, the black tank is where the toilet waste goes. 

The grey and black tanks should be empty before heading to your destination. This article goes with a friendly reminder that dumping your toilet wastes and wastewater should be done in proper areas.

Power Sources

With no hookups in place, going off the grid requires adjustment on your part. More so from your equipment and appliances. Before going to your campsite, it is necessary to have your RV batteries, gadget batteries, and battery-operated devices fully charged. To conserve power, you may consider the following methods.

Switching Off and Unplugging Appliances that are Not Used in Dispersed Camping

Efficient energy consumption means switching off and unplugging unused devices. This method can help you save power should an unexpected scenario arise. 

Utilizing LED Lights at Night

The utilization of LED lights helps prevent a drain on your batteries. Furthermore, LED lights do not emit ultraviolet rays.

Opening Your Window to Save Energy from Air Conditioning Usage

It is advisable to utilize nature’s gifts by opening your RV windows and enjoying the fresh air. Doing this will help you lessen your energy consumption. 

For long-term dry camping, you may consider the option of purchasing a generator or solar panel. Solar panels allow you to utilize the sun as the source of electrical energy. RV Generators let you recharge your batteries when the power goes out. Furthermore, it would also be prudent to purchase spare battery packs for flashlights and other battery-operated devices. 

Food and Cooking

Cooking is a necessary demand in all human activities. Without enough food sources, humans hardly survive. As such, cooking healthy foods and storing non-perishable goods are encouraged. 

The act of cooking needs a source of heat. The propane tanks are equally vital for your trip. Propane fuels the cooking appliance you have in your RV. Furthermore, it is also for the water heater and refrigerator. Hence, it is necessary to have your propane tanks filled before heading out. 

In terms of food, it is essential to have proper food storage. You should bring foodstuffs with a longer shelf life and those that do not require refrigeration. It would be a wiser decision to carry with you extra foodstuffs instead of only bringing what you think is enough. 

For beverages, it is a fact that the human body needs to be quenched with 8-ounce glasses of water every day. Being rehydrated is much required for the exciting and demanding activities that dry camping entails. As such, it would be great to invest in a water purifying system should you decide to utilize the water in your campsite. 

Should you consider liquor drinking, you should look at the liquor regulations of the area you plan to camp.

Hygienic Supplies

It would be best if you never forget to bring your bathing essentials. Your soap, shampoo, sponge, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, tissues, and such are of equal importance to other materials. Good hygiene is vital for your health, most especially in times of being away from your home. It would also help save water by utilizing hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol, and wet wipes. 

While you prioritize your body hygiene, it is equally vital to emphasize the cleanliness of your vehicle. Do not forget to carry your dishwashing liquid, air cleaner, trash bag, and cleaning equipment for your RV.

First Aid Kit and Tool Kit

Bringing first aid kits and tool kits should be an automatic job for responsible RV owners. While we take all the necessary precautions to avoid untoward incidents along the way, it would still be more prudent to bring a first aid kit on your trip. It would not hurt you to purchase medicines, antiseptic alcohol, antibacterial cream, insect repellant, bondage, cold packs, and the likes. Traveling without a first aid kit might give you a tremendous amount of stress. 

The importance of having a tool kit on board couldn’t be more stressed when you are a vehicle owner. It gives you peace of mind to know that you’re traveling with an adjustable wrench, socket and ratchet set, Allen wrenches, wire cutters, zip ties, thread seal tape, tape measure, hammer, multi-bit screwdriver, spare tire, and the likes. Besides, you hardly know when a mechanical difficulty gets along your way. 

For your added protection, you may also consider bringing pepper spray and a baseball bat.

Clothing

When thinking about clothing, you should consider the duration of your cry camping trip, the destination, the weather, and the activities you plan to do during your adventure. 

While this portion is personally-defined, this article reminds you to bring Comfortable hiking shoes, sandals, and slippers. Furthermore, bring extra clothes should you decide to engage in camping for a more extended period.

The Other Essentials for Dry Camping

With ample space in your vehicle, you might want to consider bringing the following items that could give added comfort and enjoyment to your trip: 

  1. portable fire pit, woods, matches, and lighters,
  2. folding table,
  3. Folding chair, and
  4. Shade structure.

Those are the few must-dos and must-haves of a camper. As you learn from the dry camping experience, it is essential to develop your checklist to guide future camping activities.

The Ethics of Dry Camping

By now, you should be aware that good preparation is necessary for dry camping and other activities and a good character. A right attitude is necessary. These are the dispositions you have to observe and consider as you enjoy your adventure.

Being Mindful of Your Surroundings

It isn’t impossible to camp with other RV owners. Hence, you should be sensitive to your neighbors by executing activities such as utilizing the generator at the proper hour and toning down loud music. At night, you should also keep your speaking voice at a low level to not disturb other campers who are already sleeping.

Proper Waste Disposal

We have been taught since kindergarten to throw our garbage in the trash bin. This learning is still as vital now as it has been before. While you enjoy the gifts of wonders of nature, your moral imperative is to free our surroundings with our wastes. Hence, you should bring your trash bag and put your garbage there. Also, there are dumping stations for the wastewater and toilet wastes. 

It would be great to leave the campsite the way you found it.

Respect for Various Life Forms

The US has diverse Flora and Fauna. As such, you should treat plants and animals as if they were humans. It would help if you undoubtedly restricted yourself from picking flowers and other plants you may encounter at the campsite. Furthermore, avoid inflicting physical pain to non-harmful animals you get to cross paths with.

You should contact and check with your area’s local office about critical factors to consider, like the presence of wild animals in your campsite.

Those steps are helpful for you to avoid becoming the douchebag at the campsite.

Possible Effects of Dry Camping

These are the possible outcomes you might experience after coming from a dry camping activity.

Rejuvenation

Getting off the grid is a great way to reconnect with yourself. Days of being away from the hustle and bustle of modernity will help you reconnect with your soul and recalibrate your points-of-view in life. After days with nature, it would not come as a surprise if you find yourself more energetic and more determined to get back where you left off and start again stronger.

Confidence

It would be a significant boost of confidence to bear in mind that you have survived living without hookups or a constant supply of water. It is a good self-esteem enhancer that you could withstand the days and nights without the comfort of your bedroom, comfort room, and living room.

More importantly, you can boost your confidence by knowing that you could leave the confines of your home and get out of your comfort zone. This confidence develops trust in oneself and reliance.

Flexibility

The demands of dry camping are no-joke. Dry camping demands a great deal of patience and hard work, from the preparation up to the actual camp and towards its culmination. Hence, it will teach you self-reliance and flexibility in every circumstance. 

Friendships

You wouldn’t know when you would cross paths with someone who would turn out to be your good friend. While going off the grid to reconnect to oneself is your aim for such camping activity, it is possible to meet people along the way. These people might be of great help should you encounter inconveniences or incidences in your journey.

Thirst for More

After a journey, it isn’t deniable to see a better version of yourself. You are not the old you anymore; perhaps you have changed for the better. 

Hence, it isn’t surprising for you to plan for the next trip right away. It’s the beauty of nature, the calmness of dawn, the elegance of sundown, and the friendships you have developed along the way that will call you again. 

RV Camps: Where to Go?

There are a plethora of reasons why people choose to go to many RV sites. Others say it is their way to have a little moment with the rawness of nature. Others say boondocking is cheaper since it may only require payment of minimal fees. Regardless of the reason, here are the places you might want to consider when camping.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Photo lifted from RV Hive

Dry camping is also an avenue to meet new friends along the way. Annually, campers enjoy the picturesque view of hot air balloons dawning the skies of Albuquerque. This yearly event is known as the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. 

Waking up in a horizon full of hot air balloons is such a site to witness. The event runs for 9 days and commences in early October each year. The Balloon Fiesta is a much-awaited event for many campers; hence, having a campground reservation is necessary. The Balloon Fiesta South RV Lot in Alameda Boulevard Northeast is one of the most cost-efficient campsites. It offers a wide range of dry camping sites from Standard ($40 per night) to Box View ($50 per night). 

The Premium area, worth $95 every night, offers 30Amp and water connection. The President’s Compound, worth $250 every night, provides 30-50 Amp RV hookup, city water pressure, and admissions pass to the launch field. Free shuttle services to the hot air balloons’ launch field are also available for campers from Standard to President’s Compound areas. The free shuttle services are available every 15 minutes until 10 PM.

The check-in time for reserved RV slots is from 12 noon until 7 PM. At the same time, the checkout time is 11 AM. There are neither showers nor dump stations on the campsite, but on-site pumping service is available for $30. It is encouraged to refrain from utilizing one’s generators from 10 PM to 5 AM. Also, having a bonfire on the campsite is strictly prohibited.

Also, there are many casinos in the area that allow overnight parking. Who wouldn’t want to wake up in a travel trailer with hot air balloons flying over the horizon?

Address

Alameda Boulevard Northeast

Schedule

Every early October annually

Rental Prices

  • Standard: $40/night (dry camping in the South RV Lot)
  • Box view: $50/night (dry camping in the South RV Lot)
  • Premium: $95/night (30 Amp and water connection)
  • Presidential Compound: $250/night (Sites overlooking the Launch Field, water connection, 30-50 Amp RV hookup, and 4 general admission passes to the Launch Field) 

Check-In Time

12 Noon – 7 PM

Check-Out Time

11AM

Information & Reservation

https://balloonfiesta.com/RV-Information

Map Link

https://bit.ly/2UITaSj

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Quartzsite, Arizona

(Photo lifted from AZ Camp Guide)

Camping in Quartzsite is a thrifty way to enjoy the off-grid adventure. Specific Bureau of Land Management lands in Quartzsite is available for 14-day free access. You have to register your vehicle to camp volunteers to get an access pass in the area. Campsites such as the Plomosa Road Camping Area are suitable for the activity since they have spacious sites and significant cell signals. 

The Plomosa Road Camping Area in 40617-40703 Plomosa Road is open year-round for campers. It is necessary to secure a free permit at the camp host on-site near highway 95—the pass grants 14-day free throughout the area. There is also no need to book reservations as the camp operates on a first-come, first-serve basis.

You should be responsible for everything at the campsite since there are no water, bathrooms, and dump stations on site. Hence, it would help if you had your water tank full and your grey water and black tanks emptied. Be sure to bring an ample supply of food. Campers who camp here enjoy the beauty of the winter sun with the chirping of the birds.

Along the way, you may also want to drop by scenic landmarks such as Palm Canyon and the Castle Dome Museum.

Address

40617-40703 Plomosa Road

Schedule

Open year-round

Rental Prices

14 days: Free

Check-In Time

Anytime

Check-Out Time

Anytime

Information & Reservation

  • Information: https://azcampguide.com/arizona-camping-regions/sonoran-desert-region/plomosa-road/
  • Reservation: First-come, first-serve basis

Map Link

https://bit.ly/33iCki3

Oahu, Hawaii

(Photo by Bianca Sewake lifted from Hawai’i Magazine)

If aquatic activities like kayaking and surfing appeal to you, you should prepare yourself for dry camping in Oahu. The waters on this island contain diverse marine life that attracts snorkelers from across the world. 

The Malaekahana State Recreation Area is on Malaekahana Beach Campground 56-335 Kamehameha Highway Kahuku. The campground costs $9.41 per night. No hookups are available, but the site has access to comfort rooms, shower facilities, picnic tables, and a campfire ring. The check-in time runs from 1 PM to 4 PM; the checkout time is noontime. The camp is not open on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

At the campsite, pets are not allowed. Prohibited items in the campsite include generators, inflatable pools, and garden hoses. Also, there is a camp store where you can purchase tissues, trash bags, and other necessities. 
If you are not a Hawaii resident, you need to secure an overnight permit worth $30 per night through Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources website. To camp in this area allows you to wake up and witness the sunrise and the pristine beaches’ calm waters. 

Address

Malaekahana Beach Campground 56-335 Kamehameha Highway Kahuku

Schedule

Open year-round, close on Wednesdays & Thursdays

Rental Price

$9.41/night

Check-In Time

1 PM – 4 PM

Check-Out Time

12 Noon

Information & Reservation

Map Link

https://bit.ly/2IITaQ3

Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali National Park, Alaska

(Photo lifted from Womo-Abenteuer)

The wilderness of Denali National Park is the main catching factor that attracts 500,000 visitors annually. Dry camping in this area gives you the chance to witness how the sunrise unearths Denali Mountain’s beauty and lights the natural wonders of the Alaskan landscape. 

You may consider visiting the Riley Creek Campground, the largest campground in Denali. Located in Denali Park Road, Denali National Park, and Preserve, the campsite is open year-round and free except mid-May until Mid-September (summer). Riley Creek Campground is near the Riley Creek Mercantile, Denali Bus Depot, and Denali Visitor Campus.

During summer, the daily rate for a large RV site (30-40′) is $34. The 30′ or less RV site costs $27 per night. The check-in and checkout time is both at 11 AM. The campsite offers an RV dump station, bear-proof food lockers, picnic tables, a fire pit, and National Park Service Evening Campground Programs.

Reservations aren’t necessary since it’s a first-come, first-served basis. However, for group boondocking, you may reserve through Doyon, Limited. The Flora and fauna of Alaska will make your dry camping experience far better than usual. 

Address

Riley Creek Campground, Denali Park Road, Denali National Park, and Preserve

Schedule

Open year-round

Rental Price

  • Summer Season: $27 (<30’ lot) / $34 (30’ – 40’ lot)
  • Non- Summer Season: Free

Check-In Time

11AM

Check-Out Time

11AM

Information & Reservation

  • Information: https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/campground-riley.htm
  • Reservation: https://www.reservedenali.com/

Map Link

https://bit.ly/3kMXwSY

Sweet Home, Oregon

(Photo lifted from Oregon’s Best Camping)

The River Bend County Park is in the upper South Santiam River near Foster and Sweet Home in Willamette Valley. The campsite is open for limited use year-round. The A, B, C, and D loops are available year-round, while E, F, and G loops are closed during winter and open in spring.

There are 74 sites in the area that offer water and electricity; this costs $32 every night. 10 sites provide no hookups; this costs $26 per night. At the campsite, public showers and comfort rooms are available. There are also picnic tables, a playground, and a dump station. Swimming is also an activity in the area. Travel back in time by seeing the historic Santiam Wagon Road, the road utilization by 19-century travelers.  

The check-in time is at 2 PM; the checkout time is at noontime. There is an extra charge of $12 as a reservation fee on top of the daily rate. You can reserve through Linn County Parks and Recreation

Address

River Bend County Park, upper South Santiam River near Foster and Sweet Home in Willamette Valley

Schedule

  • Open year-round: Loops A, B, C, and D
  • Open in winter but close in spring: Loops E, F, and G

Rental Price

  • Campsite with water and electricity: $32/night
  • Campsite with no hookups: $26/night

Check-In Time

2 PM

Check-Out Time

12 Noon

Information & Reservation

  • Information: http://www.oregonsbestcamping.com/portland/river_bend_park.html
  • Reservation: https://linnparks.com/parks/river-bend/

Map Link

https://bit.ly/2IU070r

The country has many places where one can enjoy dry camping. The US Forest Service offers maps that show directions and areas where you can drive and set-up camps. There are National Forests and Grasslands as well as Bureau of Land Management lands to choose from in thinking about the places to go. You also have to be careful with road signs that prohibit overnight stays. 

There are also free and user-friendly downloadable apps to locate many campsites like iOverlander and Outly. You could utilize websites such as Campendium and FreeCampsites.net. Should you plan to go camping outside the US, in Canada, for example, checking out Ultimatecampgrounds.com is helpful.

Conclusion

Going on to adventure to experience dry camping could be a daunting task. It entails wide-scale vehicle inspection, immense planning, permit acquisition, and a ton of emotional strength. Dry camping is undoubtedly demanding. It requires you to adjust to many things; however,  ample preparation can help you cope.

The US has massive lands suitable for dry camping. Moreover, there are also state parks and national forests. Indeed, there is a wide variety of choices to choose from. 

Regardless of your reasoning for experiencing dry camping, the activity will surely give you positive outcomes that will help you. Developing your confidence and flexibility, being rejuvenated, and having friends along the way shall be helpful as you go back to your usual routine. 

May you find the time and courage to choose what’s helpful for yourself. May you find the time and courage to take part in an energy-boosting activity like boondocking.

 By the way, do not forget to take videos and pictures, or maybe write a review of your trip! 

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