Wecome To RVs and OHVs

This blog is all about RVs (recreational vehicles) and OHVs (Off Highway Vehicles), camping, sailing, and survival
and how they work together to provide wholesome family fun and great learning opportunities.
Many posts are intended to familiarize novice campers and RVers with RV systems and basic camping and survival
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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Boondocking Myths

There are several fairly popular myths floating around about boondocking, many of which tend to deter campers from trying it and most of which are flat out FALSE!  Here are a few of the most common mis-undertandings.

Myth Number 1:  Boondocking means your are "out in the boonies".  Boondocking simply means the same as "dry camping" or camping without hookups.  While perhaps the best boondocking opportunities let you escape most of the hassles of modern urban living, you don't have to be hundreds of miles from nowhere to enjoy a boondocking experience.  Some people even consider stopping overnight in a  Walmart parking lot or freeway rest stop to be boondocking.  Obviously  you don't get the best camping experience in locations like that but there are many opportunities for dry camping in state, county, and local parks near many communities.  If you are new to boondocking, you should be able to find a spot that is still within, say, 10 miles of shopping should you  run out of some critical supplies.  That being said, boondocking opportunties are more accessible west of the Mississippi River and get fewer and further between the closer you get to the east coast.  Bureau of Land Management (BLM)  lands in the Western states are prime places for boondocking. Dispersed camping, as it is also called, is also available in many areas administered by the U.S. Forest Service.   While many people go boondocking to get away from towns and noise and traffic, you don't have to go WAY out into never-never land.  Did you know that most boondocking sites are within 30 minutes of a town?

Myth Number 2:  Boondocking is dangerous.  The truth is boondocking is no more dangerous than any other outdoor activity.  Some people are scared that they will be robbed or worse if they are out camping by themselves but statistics prove otherwise.   For one thing, there are usually a lot fewer people around to impose risks than there are in most urban or suburban environments.   In addition, if you are concerned about personal safety, they are things you can do to minimize the risk.   One is to camp near other RVers. There  is safety in numbers.  You might have to choose whether added safety or escaping civilization is your top priority.  If you are still worried, you might consider acquiring personal protection skills.  If you chose to arm yourself, be sure you understand the laws where ever you and learn the safe and proper use of any weapons you select.  We boondocked on BLM lands in the Mojave Desert for many years without any problems with theft or assault.  We were almost but not always, among a fairly large group of RVs.  After of day of dirt biking we often enjoyed a little skeet shooting, which in addition to being fun and offering a rare chance to practice marksmanship let any would-be intruders know they would be facing an armed camp!  Some people are afraid of being attacked by wild animals.  For the most part the animals are far more afraid of us that we are of them and usually don't present a problem.  We often enjoyed being serenaded by coyotes when camping the Mojave Desert and never had or heard of anyone having any problems with them.  That being said, it is prudent to avoid attracting wild animals by leaving food out and be prepared to take appropriate defensive measures if any animals do intrude into your camp site.

Myth Number 3:  There isn't anything to do!  Boy, is this one off the mark!   There are lots and lots of things to do when boondocking. Of course your view might be screwed by your personal idea of what consititues "something to do".  If you lean toward clubbing, you might find the options somewhat sparse.  However,  depending on where you go you will find numerous places to hike and explore.  Some state parks even offer guided tours that are educational and lot of fun.  An evening around the campfire is always a lot of fun.  Often getting away from urban areas gets you out of light pollution that ruins star gazing, so boondocking usually a wonderful chance to view the night skies.   Many urban  dwellers  have NEVER seen the Milky Way and will be astonished to see how many stars there are!  In addition,with modern RV facilities and even the electronics available to tent campers, you can enjoy almost all the electronic toys you play with at home.   Of course, if you are truly seeking an "off grid" experience you can choose a really remote destination where even cell coverage is scarce or non-existent, but there are many places to boondock that are well served if that is important to you.

Myth Number 4:  Boondocking is expensive.  Many places you can go boondocking are actually free, especially in the Western United States where you can camp free on BLM lands.  You are in total control of what you chose to invest in equipment and supplies.  I know people who go camping in the desert with just a small  tent, sleeping bags, and an ice chest.  It doesn't get much simpler than that.  But if you want more creature comforts, that is an option.   With fairly low cost, quiet, efficient and reliable generators, even tent campers can have electricity any where they go.  If you are camping  in an RV you can usually enjoy, quite literally, all the comforts of home.

Myth Number 5:  I might get attacked by wild animals.  While venturing out into more and more remote areas might increase your chances of encountering wildlife, being attacked by a wild animal while boondocking is unlikely.  You are likely to see smaller animals, like squirrels, chipmunks and even raccooons, but larger predators seldom approach camp sites.  For the most part, truly wild animals are more scared of you than you are of them.  Boondocking might actually minimize your chances of an unpleasant encounter since animals near developed campgrounds sometimes lose their fear and become bolder than their less domesticated relatives in the wild.  We almost always heard coyotes howling in the Mojave Desert at night but never saw any.

Myth Number 6:  There is no Internet when boondocking.  There might be some truth to this one, depending on where you go.  Basically, anyplace you have cell phone coverage you can get Internet access using the hot spot on your cell phone.  I have been pleasantly surprised by cell phone coverage out in the remote parts of the Mojave Desert.  I'm sure the flatness of the desert helps us to have wider cell phone coverage than you might found in mountainous regions.

For more details on Boondocking Myths, see the Youtube video by Driving and Vibing.  They go over 9 boondocking  myths in detail.   The video runs about 12 and a half minutes and is entertaining as well as educational.

Get away!