Ready to Head Off-Grid with Your RV? Here’s What You Need to Know
Are you inspired to try boondocking (RV slang for not having a power or water connection, also known as “dry camping.”)? Maybe watching Nomadland made you curious; you’re trying to save money, or you want a chance to visit some out-of-the-way sites without the crowds and congestion of traditional RV parks. Whatever the reason, we know two things to be true: going off-grid takes a bit of planning and preparation, and practice makes perfect.
Planning & Preparation:
Three significant things you’ll need to plan for are no power hook up, no fresh water, and no sewage hook up. Surviving without these requires some additional equipment.
- Consider buying a generator, either gas or solar-powered, so you can charge your RV batteries and power various appliances.
- Solar panels are a great add-on. They can be installed on our RV roof and connected to a battery, generator, and inverter.
- Camp Stove or Portable Grill – smaller and larger options usually run off propane.
- Portable Water Storage – a backup water supply is essential since most people run through their RV tanks faster than anticipated. Extra tanks can be stored out of the way and used when needed, and then refilled as necessary.
- Portable sewage tank – enables you to clean out your RV, remove the tank, and drive it to a dump station.
- Portable heater – even in the summer, mornings in the mountains can start pretty cool. Running a heater can wear down your RV battery. A portable heater allows you to heat just the space(s) you need while conserving your RV’s battery/gas.
- A water filter assures that harmful chemicals and bacteria are removed from your water, whatever its source.
- A well-thought-out medical kit/pharmacy in a bag. One of the downsides of off-grid travel/living is the distance to a hospital or medical care.
- Tool/Repair Kit – things have a way of breaking or coming loose on an RV, but most things can be fixed with a few tools and some common sense. Include things like tape, caulk, and sealant.
Not essential, but nice to have equipment includes:
- Signal booster for cell phone – not every place you camp will offer good cell phone service. If you want the convenience of the internet and good cell coverage, consider adding a cell phone signal booster.
- Crockpot or Instant Pot – making a meal in one pot is efficient and saves space.
- Plus, the meal options are endless with just a few pantry ingredients. Campfire cooking is fun and flavorful, but one-pot meals sure are convenient when you’ve been hiking all day.
- Outdoor Rug – keeps your space clean, helps you track less dirt into your RV, and most can be cleaned with a hose.
- Advanced Soft Starter for RV Air Conditioners – even off-grid, sometimes the heat and humidity can be too much to handle. RV AC units require a substantial amount of power to get running. A soft starter allows you to power up your AC units even when you’re running on an inverter or generator without a power hookup. Check out these best-sellers from RVAC Solutions.
Learn from Others:
One of the best resources for off-grid RVing is others who have or are doing it. There are a ton of RV community forums as well as videos, blogs, vlogs, and other resources out there. Connect with others for more tips on making the most of your boondocking experience. iRV2 Forums is a great place to start.
Practice Makes Perfect:
Once you’ve done your research and your planning and preparation are complete, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Schedule a long weekend away without hooking up. This can be in a traditional campground or even your driveway; just don’t hook up. Live off your tanks and batteries to get a good sense of what it will be like and how long you can go before you need to refill your water tanks and recharge your batteries.