Here’s some great boondocking tips for campers! Camping has grown so much in popularity the past few years that finding a campsite in an actual campground is challenging. If you’re able to book six months in advance, great! If you’re not, you’ll have a hard time finding space. It’s a good thing we’re surrounded by so much public land here in Colorado because boondocking is not just an option but a necessity for many campers these days.
What is “Boondocking”?
Boondocking means camping without any hookups. There are no flush toilets, no electrical outlets, and most likely no filtered water options available. You’re on your own for all of those things and, in some cases, for your bathroom as well. You may find some boondocking sites near pit toilets or outhouses, but that and a fire ring are about the only ammenities you’ll find when boondocking.
Factors involved in Boondocking
There are several factors that can hinder your boondocking options, at least after 2 or 3 days. These include:
time allowed at sites (most BLM land says 14 days)
holding tank capacity for your gray and black tanks
the amount of fresh water you have available
Most boondockers aren’t going to camp for more than the allotted 14 days on BLM land. If you want to continue camping after that in the same general area, you can, but you’ll have to move to a different site.
Holding Tanks: Boondocking Tips
For black tanks, bringing along a “honey pot” or black tank caddy is a great idea. Most will allow you to empty about 12-14 gallons of black tank water into them. This gives you quite a few more days, if you’re strategic, with your black tank capacity. One bonus tip is, if possible, to use the indoor potty for only absolutely necessary trips (read: pee outside) or use the “if it’s yellow let it mellow” philosophy.
In Colorado it is legal to dump your gray water. It’s best to empty part of your gray water tank into a vessel like a 5-gallon bucket and then dispose of it away from your campsite. Even gray water has bits of food from the sink in it that can attract small animals. It’s best to get rid of the water at least 100 yards from your site or any other sites.
Fresh Water & Cooking
Take as much extra fresh water with you as you can. This may mean filling a few 7-gallon water jugs or using a water storage bag. Also, if you’ll be heading into a town during your trip, check to see if a nearby dump station has potable water. You can empty your black tank caddy and fill your water jugs in the same trip.
To cut down on water usage at camp: wash all produce, etc at home. Try for one-pot meals, just reheating meals you’ve brought from home, and using foil packets over the fire to cut down on dishes. For showers be sure to only run the water to get wet and then rinse off. Turn the water off while soaping up. Keep a bowl or bucket in the shower to catch the water as it’s heating up. You can use this later for other things like washing dishes.
Electricity and Power
Finally, be intentional with your power usage. On super sunny days when your batteries are fully charged, be sure to charge all your small items like laptops, cell phones, etc. This is even a good time to use your inverter, assuming that there’s enough sunny time left in the day for the solar panels to recharge everything.
If you can run your hot water heater on propane that is a good option as well. It will definitely cut down on the amount of electricity you need to use.
Cook outside to keep your camper from getting too hot and be sure to open all your windows for a cross-wind. This will help keep your camper cool while you’re “off the grid.”
Have questions? Contact us! We’d love to help! We hope these boondocking tips for campers will help you to have a great summer of camping and relaxing!