This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.
Off grid camping is an amazing thing. It gives you the freedom to wander off the beaten path and really escape into nature. The best part? Off grid camping in an RV (AKA boondocking) allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of camping in the middle of nature without roughing it.
That said, you will need to do a bit of preparation in order to camp off grid in comfort. We talk in detail about this in our Boondocking 101 post. That said, some people have already got those basics figured out and just want to find ways to dry camp for longer periods of time. If this sounds like you, the tips below are sure to help!
Dealing with Water
First, let’s talk about water. Conserving water and finding ways to put as little water as possible down your gray tanks will ensure you can continue off grid camping for quite some time.
Just Use a Trickle
Just barely turning the faucet when washing dishes or washing hands will ensure you don’t run any more water than what you actually need. We recommend making this a habit even when you aren’t camping off grid, so it becomes second nature for the whole family.
Reduce Dish Usage
Obviously, the fewer dishes you have to wash, the less water you’ll have to use on dishwashing. For this reason, it’s a great idea to pick one-pot meals and/or grill out whenever possible. Many families also choose to eat off of paper plates when boondocking.
Wipe Out Dishes
When you’re finished eating, be sure to wipe out the dishes with paper towels or wet wipes right away. In some cases, this will be enough to make the dish usable again, but even when this isn’t the case, it makes washing dishes easier, leading to less water usage.
Use Dishwater to Flush
When you do have to use some of your precious water to wash dishes (or take a shower), catch it in a tub. You can then put that water in a jug near the toilet, switch off the water pump when flushing, and use the dishwater (or shower water) to flush.
If It’s Yellow, Let It Mellow
Speaking of flushing, you really don’t have to flush every time. Many boondockers abide by the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” rule, meaning they only use water to flush a few times a day.
Consider Other Toilet Options
If you’ll be boondocking regularly, it’s worth considering putting in a composting toilet instead of a traditional RV toilet. If you don’t mind making a big investment, an incinerating toilet is another interesting option. Another idea? Try to stick to dry camping spots that include vault toilets and use those whenever possible.
Switch Out the Shower Head
Showering can use a lot of water. One of the best ways to cut back on the amount of water you use while bathing is to install a low flow shower head that includes a switch so the water can easily be turned on and off throughout the shower. We recommend Oxygenics products for this.
Bathe in Natural Water Sources
If you’re parked near a stream or a decently clean lake, you could use that water to bathe. This is an enormous water saver, but you will want to make sure the water is safe for swimming and then ensure you use soap that is safe for the environment.
Stick to Navy Showers
If you do need to shower in your rig, make use of that showerhead switch we mentioned before and stick to navy showers. This involves turning the water on just long enough to get wet, turning it off to lather up, and turning it back on to rinse as quickly as possible.
Invest in Body Wipes and Dry Shampoo
If you want to go off grid camping for any length of time you won’t be able to shower every day. For this reason, we highly recommend investing in some Venture Wipes as well as a good quality dry shampoo to get you through in between showers.
Keeping the Power On
Having problems ensuring you have power for the entirety of your boondocking stints? Not sure how to do all you need to do with the power you do have? Here are our tips for off grid power usage.
Improve Your Power Setup
If you get out there and find that your battery just isn’t lasting long enough, you will want to make some kind of a change to increase the amount of time you can go off grid camping. You have some choices here, and you really can pick and choose just one of them if you like, so don’t feel as though you have to throw thousands of dollars down to do all of these things at once.
The best ways to increase the amount of time you get out of your RV battery include:
- Investing in solar panels. You can install these on the roof using easy-to-understand kits such as this one or even just use a portable solar suitcase. There’s no reason this has to be a super complicated add-on.
- Buying a generator. You could choose to buy a generator to keep your batteries charged. The generator you buy doesn’t have to be super huge or expensive to get the job done. We like this little generator for charging batteries back up.
- Expanding your battery bank. This is as easy as purchasing two (or more) of the same battery and running them side by side. While you won’t be able to charge the bank while off grid camping without a generator or solar panels, you will get more hours out of them.
Pick Up a Small Inverter
If you need to run something that is not a part of your DC power system (like the microwave or anything plugged into power outlets), you may be wondering how to go about that.
Many people invest in huge inverters that can run their entire rig off of battery power. That said, these are cost prohibitive and can be confusing to install. If you have the funds and know-how to install a large inverter, go for it (though we don’t recommend Sungold inverters). If you don’t though, you might consider buying a small inverter just to run the things you absolutely need.
Note: In many cases, people use small inverters to run their Starlink. If you are buying the inverter to run or charge electronics such as Starlink or a laptop, you will want a pure sine wave inverter in order to avoid damage.
Install a Power Panel
One frustrating thing about camping off grid is that RVs don’t usually come equipped with a way to charge your devices off of the RV battery. You could use a small inverter like we mentioned above, but we actually much prefer a small power panel that is wired into the DC system for this purpose.
Switch to LED Lights
The lights found in many older RVs can eat through power really quickly. If your RV is older, you will definitely want to switch over to LED lightbulbs. This is a super simple change that will ensure you get as much life as possible out of your RV batteries when boondocking.
Make Use of Propane Appliances
We also recommend avoiding your electric appliances when off grid camping. In some cases this will be forced on you anyway, but if you happen to have a hefty inverter, you might be tempted to pull out the air fryer or hair dryer. Don’t do this, as it eats through your battery power very quickly.
Instead, stick to the propane stove and oven for cooking, use the RV furnace or a Buddy Heater for heat, and make sure your fridge is on the gas setting.
Worried about staying connected to the outside world while off grid camping? If you need to work on the road, this can be a serious concern. Here’s how most working full timers handle this.
If you’re working with a mobile hotspot, your best bet is to check Campendium before heading to any camping spot. Most of the time, the reviews will mention whether the spot has cell reception, and they’ll even go so far as to tell you which carriers have reception and how many bars are available.
Invest in Starlink
Plan to do a lot of off grid camping? If so, we highly recommend investing in Starlink. This is an awesome satellite internet option that allows you to have high speed internet absolutely anywhere as long as you have a clear view of the north sky. Essentially it’s a boondocker’s dream come true.
Note: If you do decide to invest in Starlink for off grid camping, know that you will need a small pure sine wave inverter like the one listed above in order to run the hardware.
Related: Starlink RV Mount: 9 Great Options
There you have it, our top tips for going off grid camping and extending your stay for as long as possible. Ready for an adventure?
Join Fulltime Families
Fulltime Families Members get access to the best resources, community and discounts.
Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.