Boondocking Tips: Living Free, For Free
Nature is a place underappreciated by some, but adored by many. Surrounded by nothing but the ground below you, the sky above, and trees, mountains, and other beautiful, and natural, things around you, the great outdoors can not only be a relaxing and therapeutic thing to surround yourself with, but it can also create fantastic experiences.
No one likes to be cooped up in the confinements of their home nonstop, and although some prefer fancy hotels to vacation in – there are those of us that would rather be sitting on the edge of a mountain at sunset.
That all being said, camping is not always inexpensive, and traditionally costs well over three hundred dollars for your average 3-day, RV camping trip when you take into account everything you will need – gas to get to and from the campsite, food, water, the actual campsite cost. Depending on how long you plan to stay, camping can be very pricey indeed.
If you think about the actual costs, an average campground might charge $15 per night – but that’s without water and hookups, and let’s not even get started on the additional charge of those extra cars you’re bringing.
When it all totals up to provide you with what most people try to obtain – the highest level of comfort – you’re looking at nearly $100, just for each night you stay at the campgrounds. Adding this in with gas, food, and whatever else you bought to bring along for a more enjoyable stay, you’re looking at a relatively pricey vacation.
That’s where boondocking can be a very inexpensive alternative. You may not know it, but just ten miles away from the campground you always stay at is a perfectly flat and reasonable location for you to setup your RV or tents without all of the additional campsite costs and, yes, it’s completely legal!
When it comes down to it, even with all the fancy hookups you pay for, service is crummy when you’re camping, and the toilets provided usually aren’t the cleanliest – so why not let nature be your toilet (responsibly, of course) and enjoy your vacation without barely there internet access without the cost of parking your vehicles for a few days and using a stone circle fire pit?
Boondocking is becoming a more popular form of camping in today’s world, as many nature enthusiasts join together to share their favorite free and flat spots to camp.
When you look at it from this perspective, it seems almost like throwing away money on a traditional camping spot when you could easily make your own, and even better – many areas have already been somewhat set up by other boondockers, and you can help add on to this cost effective method of camping.
While boondocking is great for saving some money, there are some things that one should know before trying it – and that is that you won’t have the typical camping community around, which means there’s no camp host to purchase firewood from, and there isn’t a store filled with food fifteen miles away. Instead the responsibilities of being one hundred percent prepared fall on your shoulders.
Creating a check list of how much food you’ll need to last you during your trip as well as a sufficient supply of water is incredibly important, as is bringing methods to cook and prepare meals.
In addition to this, having first aid kits, and lots of them, available can sometimes be vital, especially when you’re out of range from the rest of the world in one of the most literal senses.
Keep a full tank of gas as well, because the last thing you want is to get stranded without any outside help.
In addition to these more obvious necessities, consider what else you would want to bring along to create the most enjoyable and comfortable experience possible.
If you’re content with a few tents and nothing more than a sleeping bag, then your bedding packing would be relatively light, however if you consider yourself more high maintenance in that department, bringing a few extra blankets would be the smartest option.
The seemingly biggest thing about boondocking is to come prepared, and as most situations go, this is common knowledge. Without the proper amount, you might start rethinking the idea of boondocking altogether. Simply ensure that you have everything you need beforehand, and your experience should be more or less a success.
To further emphasize this point, consider everything in detail. Listed on the next page are the things you’ll need to know, and a bit more about them:
Think about what you have accessible – a microwave, for example, isn’t something that might be available, whereas an oven might. Depending on what tools you can utilize, what food you bring should be planned accordingly.
Canned foods or foods that are long-lasting are probably among the best options as well, as they don’t typically require refrigeration, don’t necessarily need to be cooked, and can make for good, hearty meals.
Weigh your options, and make a food shopping list that works well with what you can use in the middle of nowhere.
Water doesn’t just go for drinking – it’s used for cooking, washing dishes, showering, etc. therefore having lots of it is essential.
Depending on how long you plan to stay, bringing anywhere from 20 gallons to 60 gallons is necessary, and that’s with conserving the water that you do bring to the best of your ability.
For drinking, cases of bottled water work well and aren’t too hard to store, and for other necessities, make sure you can hold enough for your trip, and if not, plan to bring along extra.
Everything is contingent on your setup, but if you are able to use a restroom located within your own RV, ensure that you have a proper capacity for your stay, and that you prepare ahead of time with any necessary odor controls. Also plan out about how much water you will need, and how
you can conserve it in that department. If you don’t have your own toilet(s) available, the world will have to act in its place. Make sure that you are responsible and respectful about this, though.
When it comes to literal garbage, packing the trash away tightly where critters can’t get it is essential. Heavy duty garbage bags work well in a secure area and can then be dropped off on your way out at an actual campground dump.
The two most common ways to generate power are battery-powered generators and solar generators.
Solar generators are typically used by more serious boondocking campers, as they are a bit more costly, but for first timers, battery-powered generators are nice alternative.
Ensure that you bring enough power for whatever you may need it for, whether it is to get heat, charge a phone or laptop, or cook food. Depending on how much power you think you’ll be accessing, you’ll need to charge up your batteries accordingly.
Everything in reference to boondocking, or even just camping in general, relies on how long your trip will be, what you plan to do there, and how many people will be present.
As long as you can map out how everything will go, boondocking can be a very enjoyable experience and wonderful alternative to your regular camping trip.
For more information on boondocking, YouTuber “nomadic fanatic” provides wonderful insight into the world of alternative camping, and can help you prepare further for your next excursion. I say this because he lives full time in a 1983 Ford Tioga. Go check out his YouTube channel and follow him on his journey as he lives and travels around the united states, living his American dream!
Next time you’re planning out your outdoors vacation, consider the idea of boondocking – it might just change your whole perspective on traditional camping.
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