Boondocking In The Winter? How To Do It

RV Lifestyle | Boondocking


If you consider yourself an avid camper, you’ve probably thought about embarking on a boondocking adventure. One where you expose yourself to underdeveloped areas without access to utilities, electrical hookups, or water. However, if you want to take your adventure up a notch, then dispersed camping in freezing conditions is one way to relish your natural surroundings. 

If this is your first time planning a dry camping adventure in the cold, read on! This guide will provide strategic tips on turning your Artic-style boondocking experience into a memorable occasion.

Challenges of Boondocking in the Winter

Going on a boondocking trip means exposing yourself to an environment where self-reliance is crucial. This means no on-site services, bathrooms, or picnic tables to keep you and your family fulfilled. On top of that, living out in the wilderness in freezing temperatures presents several challenges. Here is just a sample of the problems you may encounter when dry camping during the winter season:

  1. Charging batteries

Avid RV goers will confirm that charging your RV battery in freezing-style conditions is a difficult task. Without proper care, your electrical system could start to malfunction, including your heater, furnace, and water lines. The life cycle of a battery will depend on its charge levels. For example, a battery operating at 40 percent may freeze if temperatures drop to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.  

  1. Frozen water lines

Your battery is not the only component susceptible to chilly conditions. Considering how small they are, your water lines can freeze without warning. Their condition depends on how long they remain in the cold. The longer, the higher the risk. Generally speaking, your pipes will begin to freeze once the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  1. Condensation

Do you know those little droplets that appear abruptly on your windows, glass cups, and walls? That is called condensation: a process where water vapor becomes liquid. Not only is it an inconvenience, but it is also annoying when you are trying to keep your surroundings dry. When warm air inside your motorhome comes into contact with cold surfaces, you can expect high condensation levels.

  1. Reliable generator

Your generator is arguably the most vital RV component. Without a reliable one, you have no power or electricity running through your motorhome. Once temperatures drop below 40 degrees, a generator can show signs of failing. Your cylinders will become affected, and your gasoline won’t vaporize correctly. Not to mention repairs will be costly!

Tips for Winter Boondocking

With all that said, boondocking in the winter doesn’t have to turn into a disastrous experience. With the right decisions, some tools, and quick thinking, you can turn your frosty adventure into a yearly pastime. Here are some tips you can follow to ease your first off-grid trip during the wintertime:  

  1. Preserve your water lines with heaters

As mentioned earlier, your motorhome’s water lines can freeze, leaving you without running water. One option you should consider is installing line heaters around your lines. The great thing about line heaters is that they are designed to turn on automatically when temperatures drop to a certain level. Just make sure to keep your battery fully charged when using them.

  1. Insulate your surroundings

While your water lines deserve proper care to keep them from freezing, your interior deserves equal attention. Cover your windows and vents from the inside. You can use blankets, cushions, hoodies, or foam pads. You should also close your blinds. The key here is to keep yourself warm by blocking cold air from coming in.

  1. Protect your generator

With no outside electrical sources nearby, you will have to rely on your generator to generate power for your motorhome. A good tip to follow is winterizing your generator. This could mean putting it in a snow-free area, keeping your battery charged, and installing heating pads on top of your battery. Finally, consider adding an anti-gel supplement to your fuel tank.

  1. Manage your water usage

We don’t think we need to remind you that water is essential when going off-grid camping. The last thing you need is to show up at a dispersed camping site with empty water tanks. Stretch your supply of water by using only a minimal amount when necessary. This means no more long showers. Also, get into the habit of turning off your water sources when you’re not using them.

Go Off-Grid This Winter With Cruise America

Boondocking in the winter is an opportunity to test your ability to be self-reliant in Mother Nature’s harshest conditions. If you think you are ready for your first adventure, Cruise America would like to extend a helping hand. Since 1972, we’ve made it our goal to provide our travelers with high-quality motorhomes while ensuring they remain in the driver’s seat

As long as you have a thirst for the outside world, there is no stopping you! Check out our line of RV rentals to see what’s right for you. Contact us if you have any questions.