We’re already back in civilization, but before I leave our boondocking dreams behind I thought I’d do a quick little post on some of the most useful items we own for camping in the wilds.
A little history first though…we discovered boondocking in our very first year, but didn’t really do any of it in earnest until our 2nd year on the road. The more we do it, the more we get addicted to it. Who doesn’t want to camp with miles of gorgeous, open nature right outside the door? And of course the cost can’t be beat. Between public campgrounds, workamping and boondocking we’ve reduced our camping fees to ~$10/night this year, without any particular discounts. How’s that for a good RV budget?
Now there are many items use regularly for camping off-grid. Without a doubt adding 600 Watts of solar power was the very biggest (and most enjoyable) mod we did to the RV for boondocking, but that’s a pretty big ticket item. Here’s some of the smaller ones:
1/ Lynx Levelling Blocks
It’s a rare deal for us to find a totally level boondocking site. Often we’ll drive some bumpy roads to get out in the wilds and the sites will be just as rough. In these cases we rely on our handy dandy Lynx Levelling Blocks. I am always amazed that these cheap plastic blocks can handle our 33,000 lb beast, but it’s been 3 years and they’re still going strong! We have 3 sets and use them almost everytime we boondock. We also have 8 pieces of pressure-treated 4×6 wood blocks (cut from a longer piece) that we use under the jacks so they don’t sink. Cheap to make and super-easy to use. We don’t go anywhere without them.
Related Post -> Supporting And Levelling the RV
2/ Electric-Free Propane Heater
When it’s really chilly outside there’s no better way to cozy up than a nice heater in the rig. We’ll turn on the big RV furnace when it gets really cold, but it’s kind of noisy & does draw ~8-10 amps of battery power to run. For the majority of our hanging time we prefer the versatility of the Mr. Buddy Propane Heater (there is also this smaller size). We always crack 2 windows (for through air-flow) and only ever use it while we’re awake, but we just love it! We can move & place it anywhere in the RV, and if we run it on low setting we get ~8 hours of good heat from 2 small 1lb bottles. Some RVers prefer the fancier Wave 6 Catalytic Heaters (or, the larger Wave 8 size) and will mount them permanently inside the rig. Either way, an electric-free heater is an awesome addition for boondocking and we wouldn’t be without it.
Related Post -> Lessons in Cold-Weather Dry-Camping = Our Sierra Nevada Week-end
3/ Reflectix Insulation
During our very first cold-weather camping experience we very quickly discovered our windows were massive cold leak-points. Last year we installed MCD shades which have helped somewhat, but by far the cheapest and easiest mod we’ve ever done is buy a big old roll of double-thick Reflectix (for large RV windows I highly recommend the taller 48-inch size. For vans and smaller vehicles you can use the shorter 24-inch size) and cut-out internal covers for all our windows. What a difference! We use these babies both for heat & cold, and wouldn’t live without them. They take a bit of space to store, but they are totally worth it.
Related post: Sweeet Boondocking & Cool R-Values -> Handy Insulation for RVers
4/ LED Lights
Although LED lights are not exactly a necessity for boondocking, they cut down on power draw by a massive factor of around 10 which is a real bonus for battery-conservation. And besides, they are techie cool! I wrote a detailed post about LED lights a while back explaining what to look for in terms of lumens, color temps and such. A few of our original G4 LED’s have burnt out since we bought them, but the rest are still going strong, plus prices have come down considerably since we originally converted in 2011. Many RVers will buy “in bulk” from eBay (very cheap, quality can he hit or miss), but I prefer to buy from some of the local retailers listed in my LED post. Either way, if you live off your batteries alot, they’re a mod you won’t regret.
Related post: Boondocking Made Easy -> LED Lighting
5/ Portable Water Container
With tight conservation we can last up to 3 weeks on our 100 gallon water tank, but it’s nice to have the flexibility of getting external water on those days when we want to let loose a little (water-wise that is). For that purpose we have a cheap 5 gallon Coleman water jug which we keep in the car and fill up when we can. It’s light, it dispenses easily and if we use it for most of our drinking/tea water we save quite a bit on the main tanks.
Related Post -> Going “Water-Green” = Conserving Water on the Road
There are other fun boondocking mods we’ve done such as switching to a water-saving Oxygenics showerhead, adding more 12V outlets and converting to an LED TV, but the 5 items above are the “core” of our “beastly” boondocking items. That’s about it from me. Got any favorites of your own?
P.S. A few Amazon links in this post. If you love ‘em, feel free to use ‘em and we’ll get a few cents in gas. Share the love, baby