Say what?! You're where??
The boondocks are areas in the country that are quiet, have few people living there, and are a long way away from a town or city. In RVing, boondocking means camping off the grid without hookups: no water, electricity, or sewer. This is usually in a remote area on public lands, such as Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land or National Forests.
There's a lot to consider before you boondock. For instance, how do you find a site? How much water can you carry? What's the capacity of your holding tanks? Where can you get more water? Where you can dump your tanks? And most importantly, what will you do for electricity? These are all important questions that we'll talk about in other blog posts, but in this post, we want to focus on something a lot of people, even those who boondock regularly, don't think about: boondocking etiquette.
One of the biggest groups for RVers is Escapees. One of their missions is to protect RVers rights and ensure that the RV lifestyle is not jeopardized or taken for granted. To that end, they have recently created an RVers Boondocking Policy outlining "Public Lands Parking Etiquette". Below we have broken out their 5 areas into an issue by issue list.
Observe posted signs.
Obtain permits when needed.
Follow usage limits regarding how long you can stay in one spot.
Camp only in designated areas and use pre-established campsites when present.
Camp on durable surfaces.
Don't damage surfaces or modify the terrain by digging, moving large rocks, picking or cutting plants, etc.
Stay on predesignated paths; don't widen them or create new ones.
Don't overcrowd; leave plenty of space between you and your closest neighbor.
Avoid blocking your neighbors’ view.
Set your RV up in a way that your generator isn’t pointed at your neighbor.
Respect quiet hours, usually between 10pm-8am (but rules vary, so be sure to check).
Keep your campsite clean.
Keep the noise down so everyone can have a peaceful experience.
Drive at a campground speed even though you aren't in an official campground.
Be aware of kids, wildlife, pets, and your dust trails.
Keep pets under control and clean up after them; yes, even in the wild.
Don’t tease, feed, or approach wildlife.
Limit use of pesticides. Better yet, don't use them.
Check for burn bans.
Follow firewood rules and don't carry wood from one site to another.
Make sure your fire is fully extinguished. If it's too hot to put your hand on, it's not fully extinguished. (Remember, exhaust pipes on vehicles and generators can trigger fires.)
Keep your holding tanks closed!
Get fresh water from approved sources.
Dispose of trash in public trash receptacles.
Lower your impact on the environment by using bio-degradable products.
Don't let the length of this list stop you! If you just remember that people who are boondocking are usually doing it to get away and enjoy nature in a quiet, secluded way, you'll do fine.
Let's get camping!