A Complete Guide Explaining What Is Dry Camping!

A Complete Guide Explaining What Is Dry Camping!

If you’ve ever heard of the term, you may be wondering what is dry camping! In this article, we answer this along with the pros and cons of dry camping!

Having an RV or camper van instead of a tent has several advantages, including the fact that you can go anywhere you want.

Self-contained camping units, these vehicles have many of the same features as a regular residence. There is a comfortable bed with a real mattress, a full-sized kitchen, and sometimes even a bathroom.

Having all of these amenities added into your home-on-wheels means you may not need the ones you’d find at a standard campground, and, consequently, your options for adventures are largely unrestricted. This, in essence, is what dry camping is all about.

In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about dry camping and why we think it is such an entertaining and exciting experience, especially if you’ve never been all that partial to normal camping, but still feel the urge to explore.

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The Definition Of Dry Camping – What Does Dry Camping Mean

Dry camping, or “boondocking”, as it’s often called, entails camping outside a conventional campground without hookups to electricity or water. 

Dry campers often set up camp free of charge on public land, but boondocking is also frequently associated with camping on private lands (ideally with the owner’s express permission).

It regularly involves setting up camp in the parking lots of big-box stores. Walmart and Cabela’s may be among the most popular, but that’s not to say there’s no nature involved with boondocking.

Many people prefer this style of camping because it actually allows them to experience nature more deeply due to the fact you’re never tied to specified camping grounds, but as magical as dry camping can be, it’s not always a choice.

During peak times of the year, camping grounds fill up fast, and if you don’t snag yourself a spot, boondocking may be the only way to keep that trip you’ve been planning alive.

The Positives And Negatives Of Dry Camping

What is dry camping - Pros and Cons

Camping off the grid is an amazing experience and dry camping in an RV can be a ton of fun. You have to be prepared to do everything yourself, but you’ll no doubt enjoy the freedom and solitude. 

However, there are obviously some downsides to a dry camp, like the absence of Wi-Fi and electricity. Let’s take a look at both the positives and negatives of this type of camping.


  • There is often no charge for it. Camping in an RV, on average, costs between $25 and $80 per night, with private campgrounds and those that are more popular charging more. 
  • There are fewer restrictions. Dry camping is not designated, which means you can, theoretically, camp anywhere you have the best access to water. Also, you don’t need to book in advance or enter a lottery. 
  • It’s a little secluded for your needs. This may be the way to go if you wish to go camping with just your closest friends in an untouched wilderness environment.


  • It is not always possible to simply park your RV anywhere and camp. It is important to understand all the laws before you dry camp. So, find out where you can and can’t park beforehand.
  • There is a greater amount of work involved. For the basic needs of your life, you are dependent on fire, gasoline, sunlight, etc. since there is no running water or electricity available. It is a hard experience if it is your first time. Especially if you’re dry camping in colder weather you’ll need to consider how to heat your caravan without electricity (or your RV or camper for that matter).
  • There is more cargo to carry. You’ll have to carry everything from first aid kits to off-grid power, all of which can be weighty. You need to be in a fit condition to be able to cope with the challenges of dry camping.

Is Dry Camping Legal?

Dry camping - is it legal

Providing you obtain approval from the property owner or manager, dry camping is legal. When it comes to public spaces, getting permission is usually a matter of getting it from one of the park’s services. 

Needless to say, you should always follow all rules when setting up camp and leave no trace of where you have been.

Getting Started With Dry Camping

Are you interested in giving it a try? Prior to driving off-road and parking your RV in the middle of the woods, you should learn a few basics. Before you head out, make sure you have these items:

  • A motorhome or a van can be a good choice. Dry camping requires a vehicle that you can trust. The vehicle serves as your transport and shelter, so you should keep it in excellent condition.
  • Food for thought. Today, it is easier than ever to keep food cold off the grid thanks to the latest hard coolers, which can keep food cool for 10 days. Make sure to pack your cooler for maximum efficiency and to keep dry goods on hand in case of an emergency.
  • A lot of water is needed. Make sure you have multiple water sources available. Water purification tablets as well as a water filtration pump or straw should always be kept on hand by off-gridders along with fresh water.
  • A power source. You can find everything from sun-powered mobile devices and radios all the way up to onboard generators that can provide you with power while off-grid, you can find several ways to get power for your RV and make it more convenient.
  • You will need emergency supplies. Camping far from civilization requires basic emergency supplies, including a touch light, backup batteries, matchsticks, fire starters, an emergency device, first-aid supplies, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Dry Camping?

Dry camping is camping away from the amenities of established campsites, usually in a van or RV.

What Is Boondocking?

Boondocking is just another term for dry camping. The etymological root of Boondocks is “bundók”, a Tagalog word that translates as “mountain”.

What Should I Take With Me When Dry Camping?

Bring along a backup generator or alternative power source in case you run out of electricity and can’t find a hook-up nearby, plenty of clothes and food, freshwater, a breakdown kit, and never set off without a well-stocked first-aid kit!

Final Thoughts – What Is Dry Camping

You will no doubt experience some amazing adventures when camping off the beaten path, adventures that you’d never get to go on sticking to family camping sites. 

However, this isn’t for everyone. Before advancing to this style of travel, it is suggested that those who are new to camping start at a standard campground. 

Ultimately, survival is the goal of dry camping, and if you’re to do it safely, you need to build up to the challenge it presents, but, we know you have it in ya!

Marco Santos

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