Tips & Guides

Your First Boondocking Trip: Out on the Road


The right choices to make when you’re on your first boondocking trip.

If you read our post on planning your first boondocking trip, you know that boondocking is camping in your RV without traditional power, water, and sewer hookups – typically way out in the “boondocks.” In this post, we’ll give you a primer on what to do when you’re out on the road. But this is just a start; download our full boondocking guide for lots more.

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Scout Your Spot

You’ve planned your boondocking location online via apps and the advice of fellow campers, and now you’re pulling up to the area where you’d like to camp. Stop right there and decide if you need a quick scouting trip. The closer you get to your intended camping spot, the more remote the area is likely to get, which often means fewer turnaround opportunities and more rugged conditions. If you’re towing a travel trailer, you’ll want to unhitch your trailer where there’s room and drive on to your intended spot with just your tow vehicle, keeping an eye out for turnaround areas and driving and parking conditions. That way, you’ll know where your self-imposed points of no return are and won’t get stuck in a situation you can’t easily get out of. And that knowledge will help you pick a spot that truly works.

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Conserve Your Resources

While you’re out camping, one of the most important things you can do is conserve your fresh water, power, and black/grey tank space. Our boondocking guide has plenty more tips on this subject, but we’ll start you off with the basics: 

  • Take short showers and turn off the water while you’re lathering (try it, you might be surprised at how easy it is)
  • Pre-lather and scrub your dishes and then rinse with just a drizzle of water
  • Park in the sunlight to charge your solar panels whenever you can (they’ll add to your battery power)
  • Take advantage of bathrooms at parks and attractions whenever you’re there (save space in your tanks)

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Leave it Beautiful™

Created as a social action initiative inspired by Wally Byam, Leave it Beautiful supports Airstreamers’ projects, goals, and dreams to create beauty and leave it for others to enjoy. You can get involved in your own way, from your first boondocking trip on. Our quick tips to do your part on every trip are:

  • Pack trash out wherever you go (even if it wasn’t your trash to begin with)
  • Don’t collect pieces of the landscape or alter the natural area where you’re camping
  • Practice fire safety and keep fires as small as possible (and always supervised)
  • Coexist safely with wildlife by keeping your distance, avoiding feeding or food access, and keeping pets leashed or indoors

This is just a sneak peek. Check out our full boondocking guide.

Airstream’s Guide to Boondocking is full of specific tips from real Airstream boondockers, including answers to boondocking FAQs, a whole section devoted to internet on the road, the pros and cons of all of your power source choices, and more. Download your copy now.

Download Guide