Have you been thinking about Boondocking (RVing without hookups – no water, electricity or sewer)?

It’s a great way to get out of the RV parks and into nature.

And let’s not forget that it’s a fantastic frugal RVing lifestyle.

Here’s the thing though – you have to be prepared!! Your RV is probably only setup for camping with hookups.

So how do you break free? How to do you start dry camping? First thing, is getting the supplies you need.

Here will be outlining the 11 things we think will help you get there.

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OK – Let’s get started!!

Would you rather watch? Here’s the video or keep scrolling to read and shop!


First, let’s tackle lack of electricity!!

If you are RVing, even when you are RV boondocking and frugal RVing, you are probably interested in some creature comforts, including electricity.

So, how do you get it?


Must Have #1 – Generator

With a RV ready generator, you add gas and plug in your RV. Instant POWER.

Okay, I simplified it a little, but you get the point. You don’t need a bunch of different wires or converters or inverters or whatever.

The right type will be an inverter generator.

There are various generators out there.

Frugal RVing

We chose one that runs on gasoline and propane. This can be helpful since we always have propane, but don’t always keep gasoline around.

We purchased one last year and have no regrets. It’s portable, reliable, quiet, and easy to use.

Find out more about it here: RV Generator – 3 Reasons We Bought the RV Ready Champion 3500 Watt Dual Fuel Inverter Generator

Must Have #2 – Gasoline

That generator is going to be a complete waste without fuel!! Generally speaking, that generator is going to be running off of gasoline.

So, make sure to fill up your portable gas cans before heading out!!

Must Have #3 – Solar

I think solar is a no-brainer for boondocking.

Of course, this is one of those must haves that we don’t have yet!!

Solar is a fantastic way to power little things – cellphones, computers, TVs, coffee grinders – and make your outlets usable!

And yes, I listed powering things that are not typically thought of as essential while boondocking, but if you are living this frugal RVing full time, you will eventually need to connect with world…at least virtually.

One of the easiest way to start with solar, is to get a starter kit! Make sure you research, research, research!!

Frugal RVing

Next up, let’s work on decreasing fresh water use!

Keep in mind, you will not have water hookups, so what you bring is what you have.

Here are some simple ways to keep that tank full for longer!

Must Have #4 – Press’n Seal

Yes, you read that right.

Credit for this one goes to fellow RV Nomads Movie Cast members Hebard’s Travels and Always on Liberty.

So here’s the trick:

You place the Press’n Seal onto your plates. This keeps you from dirtying your plates…

So no need to buy paper or styrofoam plates…

And no need to waste precious clean water on washing dishes…

Now, we haven’t tried this ourselves, but it sounds genius (and in line with frugal RVing) and we can’t wait to try it out!!

Must Have #5 – Full Fresh Water Tank

Remember, you are going somewhere that has no water hookups so you will need to bring your own water!!

On occasion, you will find yourself at dry camping location that does have a water spigot available for use, but it will not be directly located on your particular camping site and you will not be able to run a fresh water hose to it.

Your RV has a fresh water tank and water pump.

Fill up that tank and when you get to your RV camping location, turn on your water pump.

This will allow you to use your faucet(s), flush toilet(s), and shower.

Boondocking is a great way to get into nature and experience frugal RVing, but you need to be prepared! We share our boondocking must haves to help you make the transition. #rvcamping #happycampers #fulltimervliving

Must Have #6 – Extra Fresh Water

Even with a full fresh water tank, you may find yourself running out. You will be shocked to find out how to quickly this water runs out without water conservation efforts!!

Need some RV boondocking tips to keep you from using up all your fresh water? Check out our video all about it:

Your best bet, is to bring additional water with you.

The easiest way to do this is to purchase and keep collapsible water containers at all times. Fill them up when you fill up your fresh water tank.

Must Have #7 – Composting or Incinerator Toilet

Yes, your flush toilet will work when boondocking, but they use a lot of water and then that water goes straight to your limited capacity black tank!!

You can collect your grey water from your sinks by catching it in bowls and then using that to flush your toilet. We have done this. It works, but is cumbersome to say the least.

This is why we are interesting in adding either a composting or incinerator toilet to our RV – No water waste!

The compositing toilet seems like the better choice – simpler to use and less expensive

The incinerator toilet seems quite novel and effective, but uses quite a bit of electricity and is more expensive.

Another bonus to replacing your flush toilet – You can then combine your black and grey tanks!! This will greatly expand your water holding tank capacity and help you stay dry camping longer.

Must Have #8 – Epic Wipes

If you are boondocking for more than just one night, you may start feeling grimy and interested in getting clean.

So how do you take a shower while boondocking?

Well, you can take a super fast shower…even faster than the typical 5 minute RV shower.

Or, you can do what we do, skip the shower altogether.

We use Epic Wipes to keep us clean up. They are large, reusable, easy to use, and smell great.

Another great thing about this company:

For every 10-pack of Epic Wipes we sell, we donate one to a person who needs it: Deployed MilitaryDisaster Relief, the Homeless. You choose the cause at check-out, and we’ll take care of the rest!

frugal RVing

Must Have #9 – Dry Shampoo

Here’s another hygiene issue…keeping your hair clean while skipping showers.

My family and I have super thick hair, so we don’t wash it often anyway, but for those of you that need to wash your hair daily, you can use dry shampoo!

It’s easy to use (spray in wait a few minutes and brush) and takes ZERO water!!

Okay, you made it this far!!

Here are the last 2 items on our list.

Must Have #10 – Full Propane Tanks

In a RV, propane is your friend.

It normally runs your stove and oven, but when you don’t have electricity, you can also run your fridge and hot water heater with it.

Also, if you have a dual fuel generator, like us, you may find yourself using your propane to run it.

When we are dry camping, we use it for our usual cooking and running the fridge, but we have not used it for our hot water heater. Remember, we are the folks that don’t shower while we are boondocking…

While boondocking, you may find yourself going through propane much faster, so you will want to ensure that your tanks are full before you head out.

We have the two 20 lb propane tanks that came with the RV and keep a spare 20 lb tank.

Must Have #11 – Bialetti Coffee Pot

frugal RVing

Okay…this may not be a MUST HAVE for some of you, but it is for us!

This classic piece lets us make espresso coffee right on our stovetop. No electricity needed!

Not only is it fantastic for making our cappuccinos, but it keeps us out of the coffee shops and helps us make this frugal RVing a way of life.

Final Thoughts

Okay – you heard our must haves, what are yours?

Even if you disagree with this list, the main thing is to be as prepared as you can when you head out to boondock.

Happy Frugal RVing Explorers!!

I’m a blogging, YouTubing, RVing, roadschooling mama of two who is married to the fantastic Robert (the other half of Exploring the Local Life).

Jessica – who has written posts on Exploring the Local Life.

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