7 Tips to Renovate Your RV for Boondocking
Boondocking is more challenging than regular camping, but it’s not impossible. With a few upgrades, preparing your RV for an enjoyable off-grid stay is easy.
Generally, water and water management are ultimately the constraining resources when dry camping. Therefore, we shall focus our discussion on these two.
The three different aspects to keep in mind regarding the RV water tanks are:
- Gray water
Having a large supply of freshwater is crucial when boondocking. To extend your dry camping stay, you must be creative with the freshwater tanks.
There’re plenty of options to increase the capacity of your freshwater in an RV.
For example, if your RV allows, you could install an extra fresh tank on your RV’s underbelly. But remember, tanks mounted outside are likely to freeze during winter.
You could also add a secondary freshwater tank to your truck bed and use it to transport water to your boondocking location.
And if you prefer not to relocate or move your RV, you could just replenish your water. The big water jugs, gallon containers, and collapsible water bladders will help.
Disposing of gray water is probably the biggest water management challenge when boondocking and if you’re like most boondockers, chances are the gray tank is always the limiting factor to your stay.
Regulations for the dumping of gray water vary by state. Some will allow you to dump your gray water into raw land, while others don’t.
My philosophy, however, is you should never disrupt nature if you can help it. I’m usually disappointed to see much internet advice saying, “dump gray water on grass,” or “let it drip slowly like a leak,” and other errant advice.
I believe in LNT principles and would suggest you try to avoid dumping any waste into the ground.
Consider getting a portable tank. Empty laundry detergent bottles from the laundromat work for me. They hold my gray water and allow me to transfer the gray waste water to a separate tank for disposal while my rig stays stationary.
The black tank is one of the most difficult RV tanks to deal with when boondocking because there’s no option of dumping waste into the ground.
Fortunately, you could use some handy tricks to dump your blank tank.
One of my favorite methods is removing the blank tank altogether. The benefit of this is that it creates extra space for freshwater and gray-holding water tank.
When you remove the black tank, you need to replumb your RV system with a cassette or composting toilet. I’m a big fan of composting toilets with urine diversion.
The second option is doing a septic tank if you plan to stay in one location for a long. Before it gets full, you can call your septic tank service, and they suck it for you. For a fee, of course!
You could also get auxiliary tanks, which you can fill from the blank tank, and then empty and clean at a sanitation station.
I also know a friend who leases a Porta Potty on their boondocking trips. Representatives from the Porta Potty company then flush out weekly for a monthly fee. It’s not the greatest form of disposal, but an option I’ve seen done.
Most RV parks and truck spots also have dump stations and hookups for waste management. If you’re boondocking in a new location and are unsure whether there’re dump locations around, you could use sanidumps.com. It’s painful to look through the ads, but it provides a comprehensive list of all RV dump stations.
The trick to RV tank disposal boils down to proper water management. RV water efficiency is key.
Of course, water management may also depend on your limits. For example, we’ve no problem showering 2/3 times a week while off-grid. Not everyone is okay with doing that, and it’s understandable. But more showers mean more work hauling water and more water for disposal.
Dishes are the other thing you must control to some extent. While some RVers consider it an extravagance, having a dishwasher for boondocking is essential. Our dishwasher is water efficient and saves a ton of water while boondocking. It also makes boondocking more homely.
A trash grabber wand is crucial and will help you thoroughly clean up your immediate area.
Along with RV water tanks and water supply, the power is the other big item to address for boondocking.
The ideal power requirement depends on what amenities you need and how much you want to cut back on some extras.
I wouldn’t put a figure on your power requirements. It took us three seasons to find our sweet spot- 600ah of lithium batteries and 800w of solar.
My advice is to take your time and evaluate your needs before spending $$$$ on a huge power system. You might just be fine with two small batteries and a generator, or you may want more.
- 2, 200 peak watts/ 1, 800 Rated watts (gas) & 2, 000 peak watts/ 1, 600 Rated watts (LPG)
- 80cc, 3Hp, single cylinder, 4-stroke, OHV, air cooled Engine
- Inverter technology With parallel capability & super quiet operation (60Db)
- (2) 120V 15A AC outlets, (1) 5V integrated USB outlet, parallel sockets
- Stable sine WAVE to use with sensitive electronic equipment & dual fuel capability (gas or LPG)
- 5,250W Peak/ 4,250W Rated (Gasoline) & 4,750W Peak/3,800W Rated (LPG)
- The powerful 224cc, Single Cylinder, 4-Stroke, OHV, Air Cooled Engine is protected by a Heavy-Duty Powder Coated Steel Frame
- A 4 Gallon Fuel Tank gives you up to 11 Hours of Continuous Operation at half load when running on gasoline
- Dual Fuel Capability lets you choose between Gasoline or LPG fuel sources for running your generator
- Switch & Go Technology allows for seamless transitioning between LPG and Gasoline fuel sources while still in operation
- Solar charger uses strong professional ABS material, Chemical resistant, heat-resistant, and has super surface hardness, high elasticity and toughness. IP67 waterproof,drop-proof and dust-proof, so you no longer worry about damage caused by water/drop, it can work in extreme environments. With more than 1600+ charging life cycles, it is very reliable and durable.
- Solar charger is compatible with all USB devices such as smartphones and tablets. The product has 2 USB output ports, if the device is compatible, it can support the QC3.0 fast charge protocol.
- Solar charger has a large battery capacity of 42800mAh, and uses high-density batteries to load a larger capacity without changing the volume and weight. The super battery life allows you to get rid of the anxiety and worries about the depletion of the device power anytime and anywhere.
- Solar charger is equipped with a super bright LED flashlight with a long range, It can work continuously for up to 100 hours.
- Friendly reminder:When the solar panel is being cared for, it will generate current to charge the battery, and the indicator light will flash.Solar charging is affected by the instability of sunshine intensity and duration. The battery capacity of the product is very large, so the charging will be very slow and should be used as an emergency function. For daily charging, please use a charger with a power above 5V2A to charge the device.
- Power bank has 36800mAh large cell capacity. The use of high-density lithium polymer cells makes it more compact and has a larger capacity. A high-quality, high-density battery can support thousands of charge cycles.
- The Solar charger power bank is made of environmentally friendly silicone, high-strength ABS and PC materials, with a protective cover attached to the outside of the charging/discharging port, which is waterproof, dust-proof, and drop-proof, very durable. It also comes with a carabiner that you can attach to your backpack while hiking and charge this power bank with solar energy.
- Power bank is equipped with two super bright LED headlight flashlights. Long pressing the power button for 3-4 seconds,flashlight turn on, long pressing again, flashlight turn off. This is a very useful extra function whether you are experiencing a power outage or outdoors. In addition, the power bank also has a built-in compass, which has been precisely corrected before , so that you will no longer get lost in outdoor activities.
- Solar charger is mainly charged via USB, but can also be charged via the built-in solar panel. Solar charging is affected by the instability of sunshine intensity and duration. The battery capacity of the product is very large, so the charging will be very slow and should be Solar charging used as an emergency function . For daily charging, please use a charger with a power above 5V2A to charge the device.
- Solar power bank has two 5V3.1A high-speed fast charging USB output interfaces, which is 50% faster than the old 5V2A output interface. Able to fully charge your mobile device more efficiently. The built-in intelligent IC chip can automatically identify the charging product and convert it into the corresponding current and voltage. It is compatible most of electronic products and equipment on the market.
Other Boondocking Renovations
A good compressor is hardly discussed, yet it’s way up in must-haves for RV boondocking.
See, real boondocking involves plenty of off-road travel. Outside the major cities, there’re swaths of the area to boondock off beaten paths, many with fire roads.
The rutted-out paths can be hard on the RV and the occupants. One of the best things you can do to soften the ride and avoid bouncing and shaking apart the trailer is airing down the tires. Airing down the RV tires also keeps the tires from punctures and point lads.
The air down should be conservative to 70% of the pressure you normally use on gravel or concrete surfaces.
To air down, one has to air up, which is a reason to have a good compressor. You should clamp it on the battery post so it has sufficient performance to air up the RV tires reasonably.
- TOUGHULTRA TECHNOLOGY, ENHANCED DURABILITY: This tire inflator is manufactured with AstroAI’s unique ToughUltra technology, so all of its core parts, including its cylinder, motor gears, and connection rod, are built using a powder metallurgy integrated molding technique. This revolutionary manufacturing process greatly enhances the inflator’s durability and increases its service life by 30%.
- PROGRAMMABLE INFLATION: Use the "M" button to set your desired pressure unit, and then press the "+" and "-" buttons to set the desired pressure. The air compressor will automatically shut off when it reaches the pre-set pressure (Please make sure the pressure you set is higher than the current pressure of your tire).
- COMPACT SIZE & EASY TO STORE: Featuring a lightweight and compact design, this handy and portable tire inflator can easily fit into glove compartments, seats, trunks, and more. When it isn’t being used, it’s almost unnoticeable.
- SMART PRESET & AUTO OFF: The tire inflator’s digital screen provides accurate readouts and 4 pressure units to choose from while its independent buttons allow for intuitive control. You can easily preset the tire pressure and not worry about constantly monitoring it, this smart inflator will automatically shut off once it reaches the desired pressure.
- EASY NIGHTTIME USE: Equipped with a backlit screen and a flashlight, this tire inflator brings convenient use, even in dim environments. Its independent LED Button enables one-press flashlight operation. Christmas gifts for men and women.
- 【7800mAh Battery & Car Powered】 The cordless tire inflator is built into a 7800mAh battery, and what’s more, you can also connect it to the 12V DC cigarette lighter in the car to inflate your tires. Battery running out won’t affect your travel at all!
- 【2X Faster Inflation with Auto Off Function】 The car tire inflator provides a maximum pressure of 150 PSI and airflow of 38L/Min! Only need 5min to fully inflate the SUV flat tire (0-36PSI) 225/55/R17 or 1min to refill the SUV car tire (25-36PSI). This smart portable air compressor can be preset and monitor tire pressure, automatically shut off when desired pressure is reached, providing a safe and reliable use guarantee.
- 【Dual display & 4+N Smart Modes】High-definition large LCD dual display shows real-time and preset pressure value, which can also be used as a digital pressure gauge with 4 pressure unit options- PSI, KPA, BAR, KG/CM. 4 types of preset modes (bicycle, motorcycle, car, and ball) are convenient for beginners to use. The custom mode allows you to set the pressure value (3-150psi) according to the inflation object, and it is easy to operate and meet your various inflation needs.
- 【Storage Design & Carrying Case】 The package comes with a carrying bag, 10-feet 12V DC cable, which makes it easier for you to use and store it in daily life. Besides, it will surprise you when you open the bottom, finding the accessories all inside the pump body! Easy to store, large capacity, take it with you wherever you go!
- 【Wide Application, Meet Various Needs】 Featuring a durable and solid premium aluminum alloy shell, this portable air compressor has a longer life span. It can pump up not only balls, bicycles, e-bikes, motorcycles, cars, SUVs, off-road vehicles, but also for those with up to 26.3 inch tires, such as some RV, MPV, ATV and so on. (Note: if for exercise balls, inflatable toys, it may not auto off, and you need to turn off it after full inflation).
Heat and Fire Source
Propane is usually the go-to fuel source for most RVers, but eliminating it would be a good idea if you’re determined to stay off-grid.
There’re plenty of other dry camping-friendly fire sources, such as wood. However, eliminating propane may not be feasible if you plan to grill or cook with gas.
- 12 Propane Cylinders
- 16 oz per Cylinder
- This product is hazardous/flammable and not returnable
- Pre-filled propane cylinders with quality steel construction, a stable base and reliable valves provide safe and easy-to-use operation. Cylinders are a universal size and fit all standard portable propane appliances, tabletop grills and propane torches.
- High grade Steel welded propane cylinder
- Premium OPD valve assembly
- X-ray and hydrostatic tested
- Powder coated for long lasting exterior protection
- NOTE: The propane tank is empty and ready to be filled with gas
This comes from a practical angle.
An RV experience is the best way to determine what upgrades you need for boondocking. Remember, your boondocking needs are highly personal and may evolve.
I suggest you schedule a mock off-grid camp session and see if you can manage.
Start your trial dry-camping in friendly grounds such as campgrounds without amenities. Hang around, and this will inform you about which areas you should pay attention to and get clarity about things you don’t need.
Finally, you must remain flexible and adapt!