What is Dry Camping?
Dry camping, also known as boondocking, involves camping in an RV, van or motorcycle with no hookups outside of a traditional campground. Dry campers set up camp on public lands as well as private places, usually for free. In the national parks and forests, this activity may be referred to as “dispersed camping.”
Boondocking is also closely associated with camping on private lands, and it often involves setting up camp in the parking lots of big box stores — Walmart and Cabela's parking lots are among the most popular — but many dry campers prefer this style of camping because it allows them to get deeper into natural landscapes and further from civilization. In short, it can be both a necessity and a choice.
Mainstream campers may not understand why anyone would want to camp this way. At standard campgrounds, you get access to great amenities like flush toilets, showers, picnic tables, a camp store and maybe even Wi-Fi. Off the grid, you're left to figure it out on your own. But there are two sides to every coin. Here is some information about dry camping:
  • Advantages
It's free. Standard RV camping costs between $25 and $80 a night on average, with private and more popular campgrounds ringing up for more.
It's less restricted. There are no designated campsites, so you can, in theory, park wherever you can get the best access to water or the best view. Bonus: There are no reservations or lottery tickets to enter. You always have a site..
It's more private. If your dream camping trip involves just you and your camping companions in a pristine natural landscape, this may be the way to go..
  • Disadvantages

It can be legally murky. Unfortunately, you can't just park and camp wherever you wish. You must know all the laws before choosing a spot..
It's more work. With no running water or electricity, you're limited to campfires, propane generators, solar power, etc. for your basic needs..
You have to carry more cargo. You'll need everything from a large supply of water to an emergency kit to off-grid power, all of which can weigh you down..

  • Is Dry Camping Legal?
Dry camping is legal as long as you have permission from whoever owns or manages the land. In public spaces, that often means getting permission from the national or state parks service. We probably don’t have to say it, but always make sure to follow all the rules and leave no trace when camping off the grid!
  • The Basics of Dry Camping
Want to give it a go? You should know a few of the basics before you head off the road and put her in a park somewhere deep in the woods. Here are the things you need to head out:
An RV or van. Your vehicle is everything when you're dry camping. It serves as your transportation and shelter, so it needs to be in good working order.
Food. Keeping food cold off the grid is easier than ever since the latest and greatest hard coolers can keep food cold for up to 10 days. Learn how to pack a cooler for maximum efficiency and stock up on compact dry goods for backup.
Water. You need to have multiple redundancies in place for your water source. In addition to fresh water by the jug, off-gridders always need to keep on hand a water filtration pump or straw as well as water purification tablets.
Power. From solar-powered phone chargers and radios to full-scale onboard generators, there are a number of ways you can get power to your RV off-grid.
Emergency supplies. Never attempt to camp far from civilization without basic emergency supplies, including a durable tactical flashlight, backup batteries, matches, fire-starter, an emergency radio and a first-aid kit.