Doing Rustic Camping Right


If you’re not an outdoors person, the idea of going camping may be appealing and scarry at the same time. However, it’s a refreshing activity that should be tried by everyone at least once in a lifetime. Spending time out in the nature and sleeping in a tent or an RV is sometimes the best way to relax and recharge your batteries after a stressful period at work. Especially if you’re new to the topic, asking yourself what is dry camping is common. We’ve put all the essential information together so that you have a better idea of what dry camping is and how to approach the whole idea of spending time outdoors without needing a hotel or other types of standard accommodation. Check out the benefits, challenges, and all the things you need to know for a successful camping trip.

What is Dry Camping and Where You Can Do It

There are many different names for dry camping. Some people call it boondocking, wild camping, or even independent parking if we’re talking about RVs. Basically, it refers to the process of going camping with your RV, van, car, or truck in a place where you have no electrical hookups or established camping sites. It’s preferred by campers that like going to isolated spots fully surrounded by nature to fully disconnect and relax.
However, if this is your first time trying out a dry camp, you could start by choosing one of the semi-permanent communities where people usually gather for these activities. One good spot is Slab City in California, just east of San Diego. Besides Slab City, there are numerous public lands open for dry camping. If you’re from the United States, the Forest Service usually publishes maps with camping spots so you can plan your itinerary and have an amazing trip. Make sure to keep your eyes open for signs that prohibit overnight staying as that may be the case sometime. Setting up a dry camp is also possible on private property as long as you get the owner’s permission. Trespassing is a serious offence and the consequences from it can be quite severe.

Things to Consider

When creating your itinerary for camping, keep in mind that a single overnight stay is most of the time manageable in an RV or car without needing electricity or water hookups. If you plan on staying longer in one location, plan ahead and make sure you have a water source nearby and a gas station or recharging unit to replenish the batteries on your RV or car.
No matter if you’re staying for one night or longer period, you’ll always need to collect the trash and find proper disposal places. When talking about toilets and hygiene, it’s all up to the way you set up your camping trip. While seasoned campers will tell you it’s ideal to know how to dig a cathole latrine, you can always opt for a disposable camping toilet as long as you find a proper place to empty it.
To make sure you cover all basis, always carry bungee cords and tarps with you so you can have shade and keep yourself dry in case it rains. Don’t forget your raincoat even if you’re camping with an RV as the weather can change quickly and you wouldn’t want to be caught by surprise by rain during a short trek. A frontal lamp or flashlight is also part of the mandatory equipment for any camping trip as you’ll want to be able to perform any activity when it gets dark while you camp dry.
Also, it’s mandatory to leave any dry campsite as clean as you found it (if not cleaner). You shouldn’t leave any trace so that the next campers enjoy the same amazing experience you had.

RV vs Truck or Car Dry Camping

rv camping

It goes without saying that RV dry camping has some advantages over taking your van or car. Since an RV is built to provide all the needed amenities like fresh water, toilets, and additional batteries, your comfort during the trip will be better. Also, even if you don’t go to a special camping site where there’s electrical hookup possibility, you can install solar panels on your RV to replenish the batteries during those sunny days. The only limitation that comes with going with an RV is that you need a lot more space compared to a car or a van and you’ll most probably have a harder time emptying the sewage tank regularly.
Finding a good camping spot for your car or van is usually easier if you’re willing to let go of the comfort an RV provides. There are lots of portable solutions for going to the toilet and you can always funnel water into a bucket or other recipients during rainstorms if you don’t want to carry vast quantities of water with you. Investing in a solar charger for your cell phone is a good idea and you should always bring a canister of fuel for the car in case you need to keep it running for heat.


Now that you know the basics for dry camping, all that’s left is choose the way you want to do it and start planning your trip. It’s important to take that first step and you’ll always find people willing to help and share from their experience once you get to a camp site. You’ll discover just how tight and helpful camping communities are and there’s a good chance you’ll be doing it on a regular basis!

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