Boondocking in the desert in a camper van

Your Guide to Boondocking in a Camper Van

Are you tired of the usual crowded campsites and commercialized camping experience? At GoCamp, we believe one of the best ways to experience the beauty of nature is by renting your perfect camper van and enjoying the road less traveled. Boondock camping offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the great outdoors while enjoying the freedom of staying in secluded spots away from crowded campsites. Let’s dive into this amazing camping style and how you can make the most of your boondocking adventure.

boondock camping in California with a dog

What Is Boondocking?

Boondocking, also known as boondock camping or wild camping, is the art of camping off the grid, away from established campgrounds and RV parks. The word “boondocking” comes from the Tagalog word “bundók,” meaning mountain. The term was brought to the United States by American soldiers after the Philippine American War in 1902. The phrase “out in the boonies” stems from the same origin.

Now that you’re ready for trivia night, let’s get back to camping. Boondocking is all about finding those hidden gems in nature and setting up camp in more remote and secluded areas. Picture yourself waking up to the sound of birds chirping, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, and having the freedom to camp wherever your heart desires. That’s the allure of boondock camping. 

What is Dry Camping?

Dry camping is a general camping term for camping without access to hookups, meaning there’s no access to electricity, water or sewer connections. Dry camping can be done in urban areas, parking lots, or remote locations, whereas boondocking takes you deep into nature, away from the hustle and bustle.

The Benefits of Boondocking

Relaxing by the campfire during a serene boondocking experience

Boondocking has its charms, and it’s not just for hardcore adventurers. Let’s explore some of the fantastic benefits that draw people to this off-grid camping style.

Cost Effective

One of the major advantages of boondocking is that it’s incredibly cost effective. Traditional campsites or lodging options can be pricey, but when you boondock, you can enjoy beautiful camping spots without paying a hefty fee.


Are you the kind of person who craves solitude and wants to escape the crowds? Boondocking offers the ultimate privacy experience. It’s just you, your van, and the great outdoors. Say goodbye to noisy neighbors and hello to tranquil surroundings.

Explore Remote Areas

If you’re an adventurer at heart and yearn to explore off the beaten path destinations, boondocking is tailor made for you. You can venture deep into remote areas, immerse yourself in nature, and create unforgettable memories.

No Reservations Needed

Boondock camping gives you the freedom to be spontaneous and flexible with your travel plans. Forget about making reservations months in advance, with boondocking or wild camping, you can decide where to camp on the fly.

Fewer Crowds

Imagine waking up to the gentle sounds of nature instead of a crowded campground. Boondocking allows you to escape the hustle of popular tourist spots, giving you a more peaceful and enjoyable camping experience.

Great for Large Groups

Traveling with a big group of friends or family? Boondock camping can be an excellent solution, as it often provides ample space to accommodate multiple camper vans, ensuring everyone can join in the adventure.

What to Consider When Boondocking in a Van

A well-equipped camper van rental ready for a boondocking adventure

Boondocking is an incredible experience, but there are several factors you should consider before embarking on your off-grid adventure.

Van Capabilities

When boondocking, it’s crucial to know your van’s capabilities. Some camper vans are better suited for specific boondocking locations or terrains, so be aware of any limitations your van may have to ensure a smooth trip.

Water Supply

Before you set off on your wild camping journey, assess your water needs. Factors like the duration of your camping trip, the climate, and your cooking and cleaning habits will determine how much water you need. For guidance, check out this calculator for estimating water usage while backpacking. Keep in mind that you are in a van with plenty of space, so always opt to bring more water if you can. 

Power Supply

Power is essential when camping off the grid. Depending on your preferences, you might rely on a generator or choose a more rugged experience without power hookups. Whatever you decide, make sure you have all the necessary supplies to avoid any unexpected inconveniences.

Weather Conditions

The weather can play a significant role in your boondocking experience. Keep an eye on weather forecasts, plan accordingly, and be prepared for any changes in weather conditions.

Local Laws

Before you start setting up camp, ensure you’re aware of local laws and regulations. If you’re unsure about the legality of boondocking in a specific area, do some research or make a simple phone call to avoid any legal issues. 

Is Boondocking Legal?

In most places, boondocking is legal and embraced by outdoor enthusiasts. However, it’s always a good idea to do a little research to ensure you comply with any specific rules or restrictions in the area you plan to camp.

Is Boondocking Safe?

A happy camper enjoying the safety and serenity of boondock camping and reading a book

Remember that boondocking is also referred to as wild camping. And boondocking, like any camping experience, can be safe with proper preparation and mindfulness. To ensure a safe trip, park in secure locations, be aware of your surroundings, plan for weather changes, pack all necessary supplies, and let someone know your travel plans and expected return schedule. 

The Best Places to Boondock

California, Oregon, and Washington are known for their breathtaking boondock camping locations. From coastal spots to mountain vistas, these states offer a diverse range of camping experiences. For more ideas and inspiration, you can check out reliable sources like RVLifestyle and Campendium’s top boondocking destinations. If you are interested in taking a van to any of these locations, GoCamp offers a wide variety of camper van rentals on the West Coast and across the US. 

Beautiful camper van rental boondocking location in the midst of nature.

Choose GoCamp for Your Next Boondocking Adventure!

Ready to embark on an unforgettable boondocking adventure in a camper van? GoCamp has you covered! With a wide selection of camper van rentals, GoCamp provides the perfect set of wheels for your boondock camping journey. Get ready to explore, unwind, and reconnect with nature in the most extraordinary way possible.

Embrace the freedom, experience the beauty of nature, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Ready. Set. GoCamp