All types of RV camping are fun, but if you want to get a little closer to nature and unplug completely, you might be the kind of person who prefers boondocking. Also called “dry camping”, boondocking is camping on private or federal land that’s not established as a campground. This usually puts you pretty far away from society and other campers, meaning you get privacy, beautiful scenery, and lets you commune with nature on a deeper level. Despite how fun it is though, dry camping can be more dangerous than regular camping, which is why it’s not for everybody. Keep in mind what you’re getting into when you go boondocking, and also prepare yourself with good preparation and smart camping practices.
This guide from Wisconsin RV World will help you out with a few of those practices, and if you implement them all, you’ll find that dry camping isn’t actually that scary at all! And, if this sounds appealing to you, but you still don’t have an RV, feel free to come browse our selection of campers and travel trailers at our dealership in Deforest, near Madison, Green Bay, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Follow all Regulations
Just because boondocking is campground free doesn’t mean you can camp anywhere. Private and federal land are your options, but there are limits. One limit obviously being to not camp on private ground unless you have permission. But if you have a friend with a large ranch who doesn’t mind you parking there, that’s usually a great place to go. Also, you can’t camp at national parks or federal areas with a “no camping” sign. Once you find a place to camp though, there are additional regulations to follow. First of all, find an area that’s been camped on before. It’s important to reuse fire pits, that way someone doesn’t dig a new one every time they go out. Next, don’t empty gray or black water from your travel trailer or camper directly onto the land. Instead, pack out your water with you. If you don’t have a tank, you can bury it, but make sure it’s at least six inches beneath the surface. Finally, limit the time you spend in one location to no more than 14 days. The funny thing about this rule is that you can move half a mile away to a new camp area, just so long as you don’t occupy the same one for longer than two weeks.
Solar and Propane
When you camp off-the-grid, you should realize the implications of that. Namely, you’ll be off the grid, which means no power. In order to power your travel trailer or camper then, you’ll need to use propane, solar power, or both. If you don’t have any solar panels, you’ll be limited to propane, so make sure you bring plenty to spare when you camp. With solar panels, it’s recommended to use a mixture of sun energy and propane. Of course, if you get a good spot with constant exposure to sunlight, you can virtually power your rig for the entire vacation without using a drop of propane. However, it’s more realistic to assume that you’ll use solar energy throughout the morning and afternoon and then rely on propane for the night time and when it gets cloudy. No matter what, make sure all your RV appliances and electrical systems are functioning properly, because the middle of nowhere is the worst place to get stuck without power.
Be Ready for Emergencies
The most important thing to keep in mind when boondocking in your RV is safety. Without neighboring campgrounds or other groups of people nearby, you’ll need to be prepared for emergency situations. First, let somebody know where you’re going and how long you’ll be there. You could tell a friend or relative at home, a park ranger, or anyone else that can keep track of how long you’re gone. That way, if you don’t return in the designated time frame, they can send help. Also make sure to stock up on emergency supplies. Radios are good because they don’t rely on cell service. You’ll also need flares or other signaling devices, material for building/starting fires, a hatchet, spare food and water, and a first aid kit with additional medical supplies.
If unprepared, boondocking can be pretty dangerous, but when you know what you’re doing, you’ll have a great time out there. By obeying regulations, planning how to get your power, and taking precautionary measures, you’ll enjoy the time spent away from society and getting in touch with nature from the comfort of your RV. If you have any further questions, or simply want to look at our travel trailer and camper selection, come on into Wisconsin RV World, serving the areas of Northern Wisconsin, Western Wisconsin, Wisconsin Rapids, as well as Milwaukee.