Boondocking is a lifestyle. It is not something you decide to do and ten minutes later you can call yourself a boondocker. First--the semantics. When traveling, boondocking is not spending the night in a Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lot, or staying in a no hookup state park because a full hookup RV resort was not nearby. That is dry-camping, meaning camping without hook-ups--any hookups--no water, electricity, or sewer.
Boondocks comes from the Tagalog bundok, meaning out away from civilization, in the boonies, which a Walmart parking is definitely not. As an RVer is makes sense to become expert in both dry-camping and boondocking. Finding acceptable places to spend the night--and feeling safe as well as comfortable--without water, power, or sewer appendages while on the road can save a bunch of money in campground fees. It makes even more sense if you arrive in late afternoon and plan to leave early in the morning and just want to have dinner, a short walk, a good night's sleep, and easy access back to your route in the morning.
But honing the dry-camping skills does not a boondocker make. The skills are basically the same, but these are the differences:
- Finding boondocking campsites requires getting off the highway. It takes time, effort, correctly reading the landscape, looking ahead and foretelling hazards, and a knowledge of your rig and of your abilities.
- It means spending more than just one night.
- Stretching out the length of your stay requires extra awareness of your usage and extra effort at conserving your resources.
- A successful and efficient boondocker leaves little to chance, knows what kind of environment he is looking for, and knows how and where to look for it.
- A boondocker is environmentally responsible, does not leave trash behind--whether it's his/hers or not, and takes extra precautions to not harm plant life or bird and animal habitats around his campsite.
Next we will look at some of the skills needed in finding the perfect boondocking campsite.To learn more, take a look at my eBooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America's Public Lands, and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts.