10 Boondocking Rules to Never Ignore

RV Lifestyle


Boondocking, also known as dry camping or wild camping, is a thrilling way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and connect with nature on a deeper level. However, with great freedom comes great responsibility. Boondockers must adhere to specific rules to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and environmentally friendly experience. In this blog, we will explore 10 essential boondocking rules that you should never ignore.

What is Boondocking?

Boondocking is a term used to describe a type of camping where individuals or groups camp in remote or undeveloped areas such as Bureau of Land Management sites, typically without access to traditional campground amenities like electricity, water hookups, or restrooms. Boondocking is a more self-reliant and rustic form of camping that allows people to connect with nature and enjoy a more secluded experience.

Popular boondocking camping locations include BLM land and national forests because they allow RVers to immerse themselves completely in nature. Instead of staying at a developed campground, boondockers set up their home base in remote areas. 

Boondocking can be a rewarding way to experience the great outdoors for those who are well-prepared and have the right equipment and knowledge to do so safely and responsibly. However, it's essential to be aware of the specific regulations and guidelines for boondocking in the area you plan to visit and to follow them to protect the environment and ensure a positive camping experience.

Boondocking Rules for Newbies

  1. Research Your Destination Thoroughly

The first rule of successful boondocking is to do your homework. Research your chosen destination extensively before embarking on your adventure. Look for information about camping regulations, permit requirements, weather conditions, and any potential hazards. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare adequately and avoid unpleasant surprises. Camping spots in national parks or on national forest land may have specific rules and regulations on how long you can stay.

  1. Respect Leave No Trace Principles

Leave No Trace is a set of outdoor ethics that guide responsible outdoor recreation. When boondocking, it's crucial to adhere to these principles. Always pack out everything you bring with you since there will be no public trash cans, dispose of waste properly, and minimize your impact on the environment. Leave the natural beauty of the area untouched for future generations to enjoy.

  1. Camp in Designated Areas When Possible

While the allure of remote and secluded camping sites can be tempting, it's often best to camp in designated areas whenever possible. Many public lands offer established campsites with amenities like fire rings and toilets. By using these areas, you can minimize your impact and reduce the strain on the environment.

  1. Observe Fire Safety

Campfires can be a delightful part of the camping experience, but they also pose a significant risk in dry, remote areas. Follow local fire regulations, and if fires are allowed, use established fire rings or portable fire pans. Always keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby to extinguish the fire completely before leaving. Read our blog on Campfire Safety for more tips.

  1. Conserve Water

Water is a precious resource when boondocking, and it's essential to use it wisely. Carry enough water for your trip and consider investing in water-saving equipment like low-flow faucets and a portable water filtration system. Be mindful of water usage for cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. Since you won't have access to potable water from a campground, you will need to be diligent about conservation.

  1. Manage Your Waste Responsibly

Proper waste disposal is crucial when boondocking. If there are no restroom facilities available, use a portable toilet or dig a cat hole at least 200 feet away from water sources. Pack out all used toilet paper and waste in designated waste bags. Dispose of gray water (used water from washing dishes and bathing) in a responsible manner, following local guidelines.

  1. Stay Informed About Weather Conditions

Boondocking often means being in remote areas where weather conditions can change rapidly. Stay informed about weather forecasts for your destination, and be prepared for unexpected changes. High winds, heavy rain, or extreme temperatures can affect your safety and comfort, so have appropriate clothing and gear on hand.

  1. Practice Safe Wildlife Interaction

One of the joys of boondocking locations is encountering wildlife in their natural habitat. However, it's crucial to do so responsibly. Keep a safe distance from animals and never feed them. Store food securely to avoid attracting wildlife to your campsite, which can lead to dangerous situations for both humans and animals.

  1. Maintain Quiet Hours

Part of the allure of boondocking is the peace and serenity of nature. Respect your fellow campers and the environment by observing quiet hours. Keep noise levels to a minimum, especially during early morning and late evening, so you don't disrupt the natural surroundings or other campers.

  1. Be a Good Neighbor

Last but not least, be a considerate neighbor at your boondocking spot. Respect the privacy and solitude of other campers, and if you encounter them, be friendly and helpful. Offer assistance if someone is in need, and always leave the campsite in better condition than you found it for future campers.

Boondocking can be an incredibly rewarding and freeing way to experience the natural world. By following these 10 essential rules, you can ensure a safe, enjoyable, and responsible boondocking experience. Remember that responsible boondocking not only benefits you but also helps preserve the beauty of these remote areas for future generations to enjoy. So, pack your gear, do your research, and embark on an unforgettable boondocking adventure while leaving a positive mark on the environment. For more information about boondocking, read our blog about Everything First-Timers Need to Know.

Go Boondocking With Cruise America

Cruise America is your partner for boondocking adventures. Our lineup of RV rentals ensures you can be self-sustaining during your camping trip. With an RV from Cruise America, you can travel safely in comfort and style. So, pick your destination and reserve your RV today!