What Is Dry Camping? (7 Tips & Tricks)

people walking on green grass field during daytime

Dry camping, also commonly known as boondocking, is the concept of camping in an RV, motorhome, or van with no hookups beyond traditional camping grounds, generally using solar power.

Dry campers can set up their camps on private or public lands and enjoy free camping.

Private Dry Camping

There are also numerous private RV resorts or national parks that offer dry-camping only sites at a daily or weekly rate and this can be a viable alternative to boondocking (parking overnight on remote areas of federal, state, city parklands).

These resorts do not require registration and will often provide on-site support such as fresh water or electrical hookups, as opposed to just solar power.

The Basics of Dry Camping

man in black jacket sitting on brown wooden chair

Dry camping can be really exciting. But it is important you know the basics before your step out.

Here you can find a list of six necessary things to be kept in mind while dry camping:

RV or Van

The first thing you should know before going dry camping is the type of vehicle you need.

You can try dry camping in a tent but it will be difficult for you to get up and go when required.

The ideal option will be a recreational vehicle because they are self-sufficient and can use areas like an RV park.

Water

There is no way around it, dry camping means being without hookups or utilities for your RV.

This means no fresh water from the city supply and no water storage tank available for use.

In this case, you need to bring enough potable drinking fresh water in a gray water tank with you for cooking, cleaning up, and personal hydration.

Fuel

Fuel stations may not be near you when camping at remote locations and carrying extra fuel (at least two full gas cans) is a great idea if your vehicle does not have a large fuel storage capacity.

Sanitation

Believe it or not, dry camping means being without conveniences, even for basic personal hygiene.

This can be a difficult task in cold weather.

Make sure you bring enough disposable products to handle the situation comfortably and have a plan in place to dispose of garbage properly later.

Cooking

Of course, cooking can be done outdoors if you don’t mind getting dirty but carrying portable grills and other cooking equipment is usually inconvenient during travel so it’s easier to cook indoors while dry camping.

Cleaning up dishes after cooking becomes since there is no running water available.

Power

No electricity means no shore power to recharge batteries or run electrical gadgets like computers, laptops, cell phones, or RV appliances.

Even battery-operated appliances would not function without battery power so having spare batteries with you is necessary for dry camping.

Security

Living in an isolated area without any utilities means that darkness falls quickly and the sound of wildlife becomes the only noise at night.

Also, not all public areas are safe so it’s advisable to park your vehicle hidden from view where possible overnight when dry camping.

Remember to bring tools with you to reinforce doors and locks before leaving for a trip!

Advantages of Dry Camping for Campers

short-coated brown dog

The prime advantages of dry camping for campers are the following.

More Privacy

Dry camping means you get complete privacy because no one will interfere with your living conditions.

This is not possible in many other types of camping where facilities are shared by fellow campers.

Save Money

Another advantage is that it’s usually cheaper than all kinds of camping or RV resorts.

You can save money on food and travel costs if dry camping.

Also, there is no time limit on how long you can stay at remote locations, unlike many RV resorts where you would need to check in every day for some specified timeslots only.

Fewer Restrictions

Since there are no boundaries or time slots to follow, dry camping means you can do as much as you like.

You won’t be confined to the rules set by an RV resort so you can stay as long as possible and enjoy your free life!

Disadvantages of Dry Camping for Campers

brown horse drinking water from stainless steel bucket

Of course, RV dry camping comes with some small disadvantages that may not be much of a bother but we should consider them before we head out into the wilderness.

Uncomfortable Temperatures

It gets very cold and uncomfortable when dry camping during the autumn and winter seasons. The temperature keeps dropping at night and it is difficult to survive without heaters.

Compromised Hygiene

Another major disadvantage of dry camping, especially when living in a vehicle, is having no facilities around.

Campers need toilets, and an outdoor shower to maintain good hygiene so it could be uncomfortable if there are no such services nearby.

Little or No Facilities Nearby

Remote locations mean that you would have to drive for hours to get access to basic facilities like supermarkets and restaurants.

This can be expensive when all you really need is just a quick bite at a roadside stall after dark and you will probably end up paying twice as much compared to your usual home prices.

Carry More Cargo

To make dry camping more comfortable, it’s necessary to carry more cargo and equipment with you. This adds weight and bulk to your vehicle and reduces fuel economy.

Legally Inconvenient

Unless you are on public land, parking overnight in some private areas without the owner’s permission is usually illegal.

You may get away with it most of the time but you can still get into some legal issues while dry camping.

More Work

Without electricity, or fresh water you will need to do your chores like cooking and cleaning by hand or drive a long distance just to get a hot shower. All these add more work to your already stressed-out body!

How To Survive Dry Camping

people standing near white rv trailer during daytime

For beginners, dry camping may be a little uncomfortable but once you have the right attitude going into it, things could become fun and interesting.

Some Dry Camping Tips

So how can you survive dry camping successfully? Here are some tips for starters:

  1. Maintain A Positive Attitude
  2. Be Ready For The Worst Conditions
  3. Have A Game Plan
  4. Leave Your Comfort Zone
  5. Don’t Get Lost and Always Have a Good Navigation Facility
  6. Prepare for Cold Temperatures
  7. Have Fun!

Is Dry Camping Made Legal?

Dry camping is legal in the US and Europe as long as you park your vehicle on public lands for free.

However, there are restrictions depending on where you live and what activities you intend to participate in at dry camping sites overnight.

Check With The Authorities

Do check with local authorities first before taking advantage of dry camping opportunities if it’s allowed or not around your area. All is good as long as you follow the rules and you will be doing the right thing!

Experience the Joys

Dry camping is a great way to experience the joys of living in an RV. However, it’s not as comfortable as staying at luxury resorts so campers have to compromise on some facilities and services.

The advantages dry camping offers generally outweigh its disadvantages but do ask for advice from fellow campers or friends who have done dry camping before you travel into remote locations away from civilization.

Dry Camping Can Be Fun

Dispersed camping is not all about discomfort; it can also be fun if you know how to handle it! Remember these helpful tips and get ready to try something new this holiday!

About The Author

daniel and sarah on motorcycle

Hi, I’m Daniel and behind me (in the photo) is my wife Sarah.

We are both travel addicts who love Motorcycles, Rock-Climbing and Camping.We love to explore everything the world has to offer

We will continue to provide even more valuable content that keeps you riding safely! Keep the rubber side down :-)

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