In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can you Boondock in a Class A motorhome? We will explain what boondocking means and give you a few basic tips for camping with a Class A motorhome in the middle of nature.
Can you Boondock in a Class A motorhome?
Yes, you can boondock in a Class A motorhome, as long as you are prepared for camping in total autonomy. If water conservation is essential in autonomous camping, so is energy conservation.
Before you go, check your batteries, consider getting a generator if you don’t have one, and consider if solar panels may be right for you. If an evening by candlelight can be romantic, several meals from cold cans, because they could not be reheated, are less so.
Here is a list of all the things you need to prepare for successful boondocking in a Class A RV:
- Check the level of the freshwater, grey water and black water tanks, to be able to stand without a dump station for a few days.
- Beforehand, get an idea of where it is possible to spend the night by looking at the interactive maps on the applications.
- Get a feel for the energy you are using so you don’t run out. For our part, we have 200 watts of solar panels as well as a currency converter of 1500 watts in pure current.
- Use LEDs, as these lights require very little energy to operate.
- As far as water is concerned, you will be able to be self-sufficient in 3-4 days if you are careful with the use. So we take quick showers and wash the dishes completely once a day if possible. For more autonomy, you can always add additional tanks.
- Always keep canned foods, dry foods like rice, nuts, and frozen vegetables. This way if the fresh food is finished we will always have something to cook for a few days.
- It’s always better to know ahead of time which roads you will be taking because if you’re riding off the beaten track, it’s better to know what is around the next bend. Informing the locals (the inhabitants of the place) can also enlighten you on the best places to camp independently.
And sometimes, a night at a campsite can be a good home base for combing an area before setting off on an adventure.
- We can do without electricity, but no water! When you go camping on your own, make sure you have the necessary amount of water that you expect to need. You can bring a few extra bottles of water just in case, use wipes to clean yourself up, and eat from paper plates to avoid washing dishes.
You can also install an outdoor shower where you will collect water to flush the toilet afterwards … In short, a little forethought will make your life more pleasant … and save your water.
- Just because you feel free from all obstacles, doesn’t mean you can encroach on your neighbour’s peace of mind. If you are camping near other stand-alone campers, be careful not to listen to your music until the wee hours of the morning or run your generator at full capacity.
And when you exit, leave the location as you found it. Now is not the time to dump grey (or worse, black!) Water and leave your trash lying around. In short, it is a matter of common sense.
Some basic rules for boondocking
- Respect nature, choose a suitable place
- Leave the site in the same state you found it in
- Take your waste
- Only do your business in the wilderness in cases of absolute urgency. Faecal germs can indeed be harmful to animals. If you have no other solution: bury your faeces. A wild camper always has a small shovel with him
- Do not leave toilet paper in nature, put it in a garbage bag and take it with you
- Do not make fires, it is dangerous and it disturbs the wildlife
- Watch out for wild animals, avoid making noise
Regulations concerning boondocking
- Arrive late and leave early: Better to avoid being too intrusive by staying only one night in one place.
- Respect the living space or the natural space in which you have settled.
- Minimize your installation by using light and space-saving tents.
Ready to go to bed? Do not leave anything lying around outside your shelter (empty bottles, garbage, chairs …), so that your camp does not look like a squat in the eyes of possible passers-by (and the authorities!)
- Choose your location carefully, avoid sleeping in large open spaces (large beaches, etc.)
When it comes to boondocking on private fields or land, ask potential farmers and/or owners if you can. Finally, when the time to leave comes, erase all traces of your passage … leave the place cleaner than when you arrived, it is essential!
The advantages of Boondocking in a Class A motorhome
– Your stay will be completely free. Difficult to compete with this right?
– It does not require you to make any reservations. You come in and you get the best place that is available.
– Regardless of the season of the year, availability will never be a problem.
– You will be surrounded by nature, rivers, lakes, mountains, deserts, beaches, etc.
– You will have the option to camp near or far from other RVers.
– Most of the lands designated for boondocking or dispersed camping (dispersed camping) are quiet and safe, but it is important that you be aware of the wildlife of the place.
The disadvantages of Boondocking in a Class A motorhome
– In some areas of the United States it is difficult to find land for boondocking or dry camping. This fact can greatly limit your trip and experience.
– Access can be difficult. We are talking about dirt and gravel roads. If it rains or snow falls it can be complicated.
– You will have to be in survival mode in terms of basic resources such as energy, water and waste. Your motorhome or motorhome must have complete autonomy.
You will need to invest in extra equipment, at least a portable solar panel to keep the batteries in your mobile home or travel trailer charged. A generator also becomes essential.
– Although boondocking or dispersed camping (dispersed camping) is free, you will notice a notable increase in the cost of gasoline (for the use of the generator) and propane gas (for the use of the refrigerator, hot water tank, stove, etc.). You no longer have electricity and that when you are in an RV Park this service is free.
(This will vary according to your activities and responsibilities. In our case, the fact of having to keep the computer batteries charged to be able to work, study and document the trip, implies a significant use of the generator, resulting in a significant expense and consumption of gasoline)
– You will be obliged to change zones every 14 days unless you want to risk being fined. Violating National Forest camping restrictions is a class B misdemeanour, with fines of up to $ 5,000, six months in prison, or both. Each zone has its rules and restrictions, it is very important that you know them. (Check the links in the previous post for information and details)
– You will have to be much more aware of the weather. Especially avoid areas of extreme heat.
– It is likely that you do not have a good internet signal, which can greatly complicate your work or study.
– If in the area you see broken glass, remains of items used for drug consumption, garbage, etc. the best thing is that you look for another place. (Using the apps we recommend in episode 58 can be very helpful)
– If you are in very remote areas, you may struggle with feelings of fear or anxiety.
The impact of boondocking in a Class A motorhome
The arrival of new boondocking enthusiasts has caused problems. Indeed, few know the rules to follow and many of them behave in the same way as in serviced campsites:
- installation of chairs, tables and accessories outside the vehicle
- items scattered around the vehicle: barbecue, dog blanket, deckchairs, etc.
- emptying the sewage tank in nature
- waste disposal
- loud music
- defecate in nature
- indiscriminate crossing of meadows and natural spaces.
These behaviours are not appropriate when boondocking. Often, while boondocking is tolerated, it is not explicitly allowed. Many enthusiasts forget about it and hang out in nature, as they are used to on their usual campsite.
These behaviours lead to conflict and discontent. In addition, they disturb the flora and fauna as well as the inhabitants of these regions.
A respectful boondocking in a Class A motorhome
So that you can continue camping with the whole family in the great outdoors, you must follow a few rules:
- no boondocking in nature reserves, national parks, hunting areas and wildlife quiet areas
- take into account no camping signs
- in case of high traffic at a given location, go further and look for another location
- do not cross meadows without permission
- exercise discretion: do not leave chairs, tables or canopies
- chat with residents and passers-by and ask them about boondocking areas.
Do your research! Several parking lots in marinas, small airports, churches, Caisses Populaires, tourist centres, etc. allow camping for a few days if campers use discretion and courtesy. It is still better to ask if camping is allowed before settling in.
In the United States, national park rangers are a great resource for finding good locations. In Europe, you can camp with locals for little or no cost. To find out who receives caravanners on their land, you have to check with tourist centres.
FAQ on Can you Boondock in a Class A motorhome?
What does Boondocking mean?
Simply explained, boondocking it’s about caravanning in total autonomy. Some people do it out of necessity; for example on a long trip, they will make overnight stops (called a “transit stop”) at Walmart or rest areas because the purpose of their trip is the destination. Others, on the other hand, do it out of a taste for adventure; they then settle where they stop, as they wish.
Is Boondocking safe?
Boondocking is safe if you follow basic rules and take some safety precautions. Anyway, try not to cut off all forms of communication with the outside world; let your loved ones know where you plan to camp so that help can be directed to you if something goes wrong.
What is the best RV for Boondocking?
The best RV for boondocking is Class B RVs and vans, as they are smaller vehicles and better to maneuver off-road.