What is Boondocking When RVing?

Boondocking is one of those nuanced camping elements that tend to drive a little controversy in the camping industry. What is (and isn’t) considered boondocking is often defined by the eye of the beholder. 

Before we dig into anything controversial, let’s start with a component that pretty much everyone agrees on. Boondocking, in simplified terms, is camping “off the beaten path” where there are no hookups, and the spaces are generally open and quieter than traditional RV park or campground settings. Boondocking is not setting up shop, hooking up to water and sewer, and enjoying the RV park general store and guests.

Traditional Boondocking

Boondocking has also been known to go by the names “dry camping” and “wild camping.” As mentioned above, there is no connection to electricity, water, or sewer when boondocking. As for the location, traditional boondocking enthusiasts may tell you that it must consist of open spaces and no other campers in your area.

For the traditionalist, the location may include a National Forest or wildlife area where camping is allowed, but there are no exact defined spaces. In these areas, you are free to find your own space to park an RV and enjoy the evening. Of course, it is widely accepted that you must adhere to the Leave No Trace principles when executing this kind of boondocking. If done right, you will leave your camping spot natural so that it can be “found” by someone else the next time. 

Boondocking with Borders

camping locationWhile all boondocking has some form of a border, traditional boondocking allows someone to explore a large area until they find a spot to camp that suits them. In some areas, traditional RV parks, campgrounds, or even national forests and parks have allowed for boondocking and define the spaces where people can park and set up camp. 

In these less traditional locations, the main elements of boondocking still exist – spots are spaced to allow someone to be “on their own,” and there are capacity limits. But, the spaces themselves are still marked and defined, so the chances of finding a truly unique place to set up shop are remote. 

Borderline Boondocking

Now, for the controversial boondocking. Setting up in a developed RV park or campground, parking lot, someone’s driveway, or another developed space may be considered boondocking for some. For many, though, this loses the entire vibe of what boondocking is actually about, as there is development all around. 

While someone doing this kind of boondocking may be adhering to the no hookups rule, it is not roughing it enough in the eyes of many boondocking purists. 

Connecting While Boondocking

No matter where you are boondocking, staying connected is essential for some individuals due to remote work needs or the need to check up on family members, and other reasons. There are internet capabilities for those that need or desire them at many RV parks, national parks, and public venues. 

Again, staying connected while boondocking may be breaking the rules for some, but the importance of getting back to nature is critical – and if you have to do so while working remotely, it is warranted. 

Boondocking can be a fun and adventurous activity to take part in. Just be careful when you talk about boondocking with other campers, as everyone has their own definition.

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