Get Off-Grid: 7 Tips For ‘Boondocking’ Your Camper
To truly appreciate your RV or camping trailer, you’ve got to take it off the grid once in a while. Here are seven keys to ensure you’re ready for a rustic adventure.
As Gear Junkie’s Mobile Office, we have to be ready to go anywhere. This means being prepared to go off grid without hookups to water, power, or the sewer system for several days.
To do this, we live and work full time out of our 17-foot Casita Travel Trailer. The trailer is set up so we can stay at established campsites with hookups, or go off grid—a.k.a. “boondocking”—without hookups for a week at a time.
Going off grid is awesome! It gives us the freedom to get out into the boonies and away from packed campsites.
Whether you have a travel trailer or want to get away from it all for a few days, here are seven things to prepare before you go off grid.
A 7-gallon tank is great for filling up drinking water
Before we leave, we fill up two containers: our 25-gallon fresh water tank in the camper and our extra 7-gallon container.
We use the 25-gallon fresh water tank for washing our hands, brushing teeth, doing dishes, and showers.
The seven-gallon tank is used for filling up our water bottles and for extra water just in case the 25-gallon runs out.
For power, we have two sources: our 12-volt deep cycle battery in the travel trailer and our solar powered battery banks.
The battery in the travel trailer gives us power to turn on the lights at night while we’re camping.
We use our Enerplex solar gear to power all of our devices: computers, phones, tablets, and cameras. The Enerplex Generatr 1200 is charged by the Commandr 45 solar panel and smaller battery banks are powered by the Kickr IV solar panels.
Enerplex Kickr IV solar panels
We use propane to do all of our cooking, mostly on a two-burner stove inside the camper.
If we want to cook outside, we use our Coleman grill and propane bottles. Propane also powers our camper’s refrigerator.
Even though we’re out in the boonies, we have to stay connected to send in our stories and upload pictures.
Lindsey Nubern working remotely with ‘boondocked’ wifi
Two methods keep us connected depending on which service provider has better coverage.
Our AT&T phones provide a hotspot so we can use the internet on our computers. A Verizon MiFi hotspot serves as backup if we don’t have AT&T service.
After work we explore and hit the trails.
We have two methods to stay clean. One, we take “navy showers” using our fresh water tank to decrease our water consumption. To take navy showers you first rinse off your hair and body. Turn the water off. Then soap everything up. Then turn the water back on and rinse off. It’s quick, easy, and efficient.
Second, we keep moist wipes on hand. For quick cleans we use Action Wipes the size of baby wipes. For deep cleans after a day in the mud we use Epic Wipes the size of a bath towel.
As for our clothes, we make a trip to the closest Laundromat when needed.
We’ve camped in snow before and it’s a memorable experience, but not something we choose to do long-term. To stay warm during the colder nights, we have a Mr. Buddy space heater powered by propane cans.
An item on our wish list is a rubber hot water bottle. This is a great makeshift bed warmer for cool nights before we jump in.
In the past, we’ve made sure to boondock where we had access to a toilet.
However, one of the reasons we purchased a camper was to have access to our own personal bathroom. We were tired of being dependent on campsite drop toilets.
In the camper we have a marine toilet with a black water tank that holds 16 gallons of waste. As a couple, we can go a few weeks before the need to dump the tank.
Without a bathroom, you can get a 5 gallon bucket with a seat on top.
Boondocking gives you the freedom to explore awesome areas without being tethered to hookups.
It’ll be fun as long as you’re prepared.
Happy trails out there!
–This article is sponsored by EnerPlex. See the company’s line of solar and power products here.
–Lindsey Nubern is a travel writer currently exploring the USA by campervan with her husband Adam. Follow their journey at www.nuventuretravels.com