Why boondocking will become more important to your RV Lifestyle

DCF 1.0In Chuck Woodbury’s editorial in a recent RV Travel newsletter he wrote, among other things, about the growing lack of enough campsites in America’s campgrounds to accommodate RVers, and often you must reserve months in advance. He wrote:

…with close to a half million new RVers on the road each year, there just might be a crisis in campsite availability? I just researched reserving a campsite next week for five nights at the popular Watchman Campground in Zion National Park. Of course, I was dreaming: there was nothing available for five months! The last time I visited (it was years ago), I showed up and easily found a space. Somehow, with 1,200 new RVs rolling off the assembly lines each and every DAY, the RV and camping industries must find a way to increase camping opportunities!

And just as more campsites are needed, KOA, the largest chain of campgrounds, is removing campsites to put in cabins. Why? It’s more profitable to rent a cabin than a campsite! Net result: fewer campsites for you and me. I don’t blame KOA franchise owners for doing this: It makes business sense. But it’s not helping you and me find campsites any easier.

And to get an idea of campsite availability. Consider that KOA, with 500 locations, has a total of only 70,000 campsites. And now consider that about 550,000 new RVs are projected to be sold in 2017. Where will they (and you and me) stay?”

A lot of RVers still do not boondock, citing reasons like not knowing how to do it, liking the convenience of hookups, not wanting to upgrade their systems to accommodate boondocking, ease of finding campgrounds vs. finding boondocking campsites, and worry about holding tank limitations and battery longevity.

Any boondocker will confirm that these are concerns, but they are not deal breakers for boondocking. All can be dealt with effectively with a few changes to your lifestyle and gaining confidence in actually doing it – which is no different than other skills that have to be learned and adapted to.

The campsite scarcity and learning how to boondock – and being comfortable with it, not just as an emergency Plan B – could not only open up new horizons to your RV Lifestyle, but also serve as that emergency Plan B when you are unable to find a campground with an available space.

Once you become comfortable with boondocking for a few days, and you discover all the possibilities awaiting you for camping on our vast public lands (National Forests, BLM land, Army Corps of Engineers properties, and others), you will not have to dread finding a campground or having to always plan your agenda months in advance. And when you start to realize the other advantages to boondocking, like no campground fees, no crowded campgrounds with neighbors within 10 feet, and a campsite with a view and surrounded by natural landscapes, you may wonder why it took you so long to start boondocking.

Read more of Bob Difley’s posts on the Good Sam Blog and on his Gizmos & Gadgets blog on the RV Travel network of blogs. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

You can find Bob Difley’s RVing ebooks on Amazon Kindle. Follow on BoondockBobblog.


8 thoughts on “Why boondocking will become more important to your RV Lifestyle

  1. For many years as a boy and as a young man we used to camp with a tent. Electricity came in the form of batteries, c, d, AA, AAA, and 9 volt. And cooking and camp site lighting came from liquid fuel and Coleman stoves and lanterns. We slept on the ground and later on added an air mattress.

    People have gotten soft, they want to have all the things they have back home. You name it, TVs, luxury showers, ovens, AC, house refrigerators, and now even dishwashers. How can we survive without watching the NFL, right?

    My main purpose to camp is to boondock. That is where it is at, not in some crowded RV park. Sure, I will use an RV park now and then when the need arises but nature should be lived in and not just driven through.


  2. The more people who take to boon docking, the same thing will happen as is now happing in commercial campgrounds, they will be full of rigs both big and small with generators going for hours upon hours thus spoiling for some the peace and tranquility of such places. And remember that not all who boon dock, leave sites clean for those who follow them. Hate to see beautiful places over run as there is no repairing any damage done by overuse in these areas. Would like to think there will still be awesome areas to look forward when I retire. Just my thoughts is all.


    • I also hope there will be awesome places to boondock when you retire. But you’re right about the noise of generators and of leaving sites clean. There will always be those that abuse the land and our rights to use it. But we who write about it need to keep hammering away at the personal responsibility of boondockers to leave their campsites cleaner than they found them. And let’s hope that those who boondock want to see their camping places clean and unspoiled and will act accordingly. If not, we may all use the right to boondock freely on public lands.


      • I agree with you. I intend to boondock but I am one of those people who like quiet and leaves only footprints. I am not worried that too many people will boondock because Americans have proven to be spoiled and those who need to live like they are in a house will always opt to the commercial camp grounds. Most would be better off staying in hotels, cheaper in the long run.


    • Has that been an issue or is this something you suspect will happen. Thing is Americans are soft, they have forgotten what CAMPING is all about. With the bigger and bigger rigs and all the comforts, and toys, of home requires more than you can supply boondocking. Most RVers want a nice RV resort with pools, golf courses, club houses, showers, organized activities, and much more. Going out in the woods is not their interpretation of “camping”. The woods are scary and too hard to live in.


      • It is an issue about possibly losing our rights to freely camp on public lands. The forest Service and BLM have already tightened restrictions on where on the public land they administer you can camp because of campers and off road vehicle drivers abusing the land and trashing camping areas.


      • Well, with the government trying to give the federal lands away might speed up that banning of Americans from their lands. But I understand what you mean. I guess we should encourage the creation of more RV “resorts” so the real camping can be done by real campers. Real boondockers leave the land cleaner that they found it. If everyone did that the federal lands will stay pristine for future generations or strip mining, whichever comes first.


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