My husband and I became full-timers on September 9, 2017. He took a job in northern Arizona thinning the forest to keep down on forest fires. We’ve been living and moving around following his job and boondocking. We always dreamed of selling our home, downsizing, and hitting the road and living the dream. I found out it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.
Even though my husband researched for around 2 years on what camper to buy and how to do everything, we still had no idea what it was going to be like living in a camper trailer full time. We love the mountains and we love new scenery every couple of months, but leaving our children and grandchildren has taken it’s toll on us.
What is Boondocking?
When you hear someone talk about the freedom of the road and living the good life…well they are probably not boondocking. What is boondocking you may ask, well it’s living off the grid as some would say. I personally call it living somewhere for free but having a generator for electricity. Boondocking is also referred to as dry camping. I’m sure there are people who will argue what is boondocking..electricity or no electricity (batteries only or solar panels). The best part of boondocking is you can do it anyway you want. I personally need my generator and Dish tv.
Well let me tell you if you’ve never boondocked then you are in for a rude awakening. When we first arrived in Arizona up around Flagstaff (the mountains as they locals call it), we were not prepared for about the first 2 weeks. So we had no electricity but we did have lights because we had 2 batteries and I have a stove and oven to cook on because it’s propane. Life was very lonely.
What Is Needed For Boondocking?
The 2 major things needed to boondock is being able to get water dump your black tank. We did not want to have to load up our camper every week and go for water and dump so we ended up buying 10-5 gallon buckets from Home Depot and an 18 gallon dump wagon from Camping World. These 2 things made a wonderful difference for us. We found not only a free dump station in Flagstaff but this place also offered free potable (fresh clean) water.
We finally bought a champion generator (construction not inverter) so I now have electricity as long as I have gas to run it lol. Just a side note, because my generator is a construction generator that means it’s loud. I have noticed most people who boondock own loud generators because they are cheaper. That doesn’t bother me :-).
Is Boondocking For Everyone?
NO, it’s not for everyone. I enjoy the forest but winter is coming soon. We probably will find an rv park during the winter months so we can have electricity all the time. Our camper has an enclosed belly and heated tanks but we will still need to run the furnace some at night to keep water lines from freezing.
The National Forest only allows anyone to stay for 14 days and then they have to move. We don’t because of my husband’s work. We can stay until the job if finished. I’ve seen a lot of different people come by, mostly hunters and even family’s staying for a week at a time. Boondocking, if done right, can be a great way to enjoy nature.
So in conclusion, everyone should try boondocking at least once in their lifetime. Just remember if it’s not for you..just move on down the road to the nearest rv park.