RV Boondocking Making You Nervous? Try This!

TheRVgeeks Trip Tips, Water & Sewer 14 Comments

Have you thought about RV Boondocking, but haven’t been able to “Cut The Cord” yet? Worried that you’re going to run out of water, or fill your black/gray tanks up before you’ve decided it’s time to pack up and leave? Well, you’re not alone… that exact fear keeps LOTS of people from getting away from it all and camping off the grid. But this simple tip will make your first RV trip to the boondocks less stressful!

As you probably know, we’re big fans of camping out in the middle of nowhere… where it’s quiet, and peaceful, and beautiful. But we know that a lot of people are afraid to even try it. They’re worried that they will fill up their tanks and end up showering in a puddle because their gray tank is overflowing.


To see how Anthony, Lisa & Matt made out, watch The RVers this Saturday Morning on Discovery! Season 2, Episode 2 of The RVers shares their experience heading out on their first boondocking trip. The episode airs on The Discovery Channel (in the U.S.) on Saturday, 5/23/20 at 8 AM Eastern & Pacific, 7 AM Central, and 9 AM Mountain time. Set your alarm… or your DVR!

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Comments 14

  1. What resource do you guys use to identify boondocking spots that can accommodate a rig your size? We use many of the BLM and RV camping apps (we have a 40 foot Dutch Star), but haven’t found a good resource to help identify boondocking spots that allow access to 40+ foot rigs easily. Thanks!

    1. Post

      Hi Mark! Our two favourite resources are Campendium.com and the Ultimate Campground App. Campendium is generally the best for finding out if a spot is big-rig friendly, as people are good about posting that info in the comments. They also often mention a lot about cellular availability too, including which carriers work and which don’t.

      1. Thanks, I really appreciated the information!
        You guys have a great site. The content you post adds so much value to the community. Please let us know the best way to support the site.

  2. Please make more videos about fixing things on the motorhome. I really appreciate watching those and they are very helpful I have liked all of your videos showing how to fix simple things. Not all of us are gurus in our motorhomes yet and need instructions.

  3. We’ve been Boondockers for 36 years! We started with a motorcycle and a tent 50 years ago. It seems surreal that people are afraid to stray from hookups, after all, this used to be called “camping” and gets its origins when our ancestors upgraded fro bedroll to covered wagons.

    Our move to a small, old motorhome was the lap of luxury, even though the batteries in that first one would not keep the furnace going all night in the winter. The key is to keep it simple. Most older people don’t need to shower every day. You can conserve gray water by using paper plates and hand wipes. In wilderness areas conserve black water by going #1 outside. In cold weather, leave your plumbing winterized, flushing with milk jugs of water from home and drinking bottled water. In fact, we drink bottled water year-round since it is safer than what’s in the tank. When electricity is scarce, a book beats TV all day long. On a typical four-week trip we might stay in full hookup campgrounds 2-4 days. The rest of the time we are at friends, Walmarts, state or national no-hookup campsites and other free or low cost spots. Dump stations can be found at some truck stops and many RV dealers. Moving frequently keeps the batteries charged. Get creative; it’s not that hard!

    1. Post
  4. It is always a good idea to do a dry camping test to gauge your needs and improve your practices. For us the gray tank is the limiting factor. When we dry camp on our northern Calif property, I drain the gray tank weekly into a rock collection pit. There are ample nearby sources for fresh water that I transport to our rig in a 50 gallon water bladder. FYI, that is 400 lbs of water, so one needs to know their toad weight carrying limits. For camping elsewhere, I carry old 5 gallon cat litter jugs from Costco to drain off gray water for disposal.

    1. Post

      With 105 fresh, 65 gray and 45 black, gray water is our limiting factor as well. We’ve been considering a composting toilet for years, but haven’t found one we really like It’s not the the functionality or an odor issue…. we used one on the Wynn’s catamaran for a week in Panama, and no problem… it’s a shape, size and comfort issue. That would be a game changer by combining black & gray with a blade valve to now have 110 gray and zero black. Add that to the savings of not using about 25-30 gallons of our 105 fresh water to flush the toilet over two weeks, and we’re talking a comfortable 3-4 weeks instead of our current 2 weeks.

      1. While I like the concept of the composting toilet, which I know nothing about, I like Tom M’s idea of using the great outdoors. This is why I carry a shovel. Saves lots of water and is a shortcut to composting, I think?..But, I really should investigate a composting unit.

        1. Post

          LOL! The “great outdoors” certainly does take the pressure off the black tank (or composting toilet)! We’ve done a fair amount of investigation into the IDEA of a composting toilet (which we really do like the IDEA of… not having a black tank would mean we could combine our black & gray into one large tank AND would save all that flush water… and we’ve used a composting toilet and have no objection to the composting aspect, it’s truly quite benign), we just haven’t found one that we like the design of. Small bowls. Cheap-seeming plastic construction. Just doesn’t say “throne” to us! 👑😂🤣

  5. Thanks so much for the quick response! I look forward to seeing how the experiment went. My husband and I are just in the exploratory stages and considering an RV when he retires in a few years. We’ve been learning as much as we can. But of course there’s no substitute for actual experience. Went to the Tampa Supershow in January. That was a lot of fun. We’re considering Hershey in September-if it doesn’t get cancelled. We enjoy your channel content very much and appreciate all the good information and valuable tips you present. Aloha, Guy. (We live in Honolulu-but will eventually move to the mainland to start the next chapter of our lives.)

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      Despite being full-timers, we’re loosely based in BC, and don’t go very far East that often, so how serendipitous that we were all at the Tampa show together this year. Happy RV shopping. We hope your experience is everything you’re hoping for. We expected to be out here for 2-3 years, and just celebrated 17! So there must be something to this. 😄

  6. I’d be interested to know the tank capacities of all of your rigs. I’m assuming your Mountain Aire has much larger tanks than the Class C and Class B. Those smaller tank sizes would naturally limit the amount of time they could spend boondocking.

    1. Post

      Hi Guy! We definitely had the advantage in this scenario… our diesel pusher has significantly larger tanks than either of the other two RVs.

      Our tanks (we can comfortably go for 2 weeks):

      • Fresh: 105 gallons
      • Gray: 65 gallons
      • Black: 45 gallons

      At the other end of the spectrum is Anthony & Lisa’s Class B (they felt comfortably going about 4-5 days):

      • Fresh: 30 gallons
      • Gray: 23 gallons
      • Black: 4.6 gallons (YIKES! Darn cassette!)

      On Matt’s Travelaire… we never did find out the listed capacities of his tanks! LOL! Too old, he’s not the original owner, and he didn’t have any other documentation. But he clearly falls somewhere in between the other two, since he said he thought he might be able to go about 7-10 days before having to dump.

      Hope that helps!

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