No matter where you’re camping, safety should always be one of your primary concerns. Boondocking is one type of camping that’s been gaining popularity in recent years as campers get tired of dealing with crowded campgrounds.
However, the remote nature of this camping style presents some safety concerns for many on the fence about giving it a try. So are there unsafe boondocking spots?
Today, we’re looking at the safety of boondocking and whether there are spots that might not be safe for camping. We’ll even share some tips for staying safe no matter where you choose to boondock. Let’s get started!
What Is Boondocking?
Boondocking is a type of RV camping style where RVers use public lands. These are typically lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (USFS). There are thousands of campsites across the country that are free or require an inexpensive camping permit.
This camping style requires campers to be incredibly self-sufficient for the duration of their adventures. Boondockers provide their own water and electricity and must dispose of all waste. Restrooms, shower houses, and other facilities are unavailable at these camping locations.
Are There Unsafe Boondocking Spots?
One of the greatest perks of boondocking is the massive amounts of privacy and open space that these remote locations provide. While many of these spots can be great places for relaxation and solitude, there’s also the potential for seedy activity. Those who are up to no good can also find these spots convenient for camping.
Like unsafe neighborhoods or hotels, boondocking spots are no different. Luckily, resources like Campendium and iOverlander can help you learn where to boondock. Users are great about leaving reviews, especially for unsafe or unclean locations.
No matter where you’re camping, you should leave immediately if you feel unsafe.
Is It Safe to Leave Your Camper While Boondocking?
You’re not going to spend every minute at your campsite when boondocking. You’ll likely need to grab some supplies or want to enjoy an adventure.
This will require you to leave your camper at the boondocking site. While this may be uncomfortable initially, the odds of someone messing with your stuff are very low. Very few boondockers experience any issues with theft or vandalism.
You should secure your RV and belongings you don’t want to disappear while you’re away. Despite extremely low risks, you never know who might stumble across your campsite.
The more experience you gain boondocking, the more comfortable you’ll be leaving your camper while boondocking.
What to Look Out for When Choosing a Boondocking Spot
Some boondocking spots are better than others, and finding the best sites can be tricky. However, you want to look for sites that are easy to get into and have plenty of options that will fit your rig. Because sites are first-come, first-served, there’s always a chance that there won’t be any sites available when you arrive.
One mistake many boondockers make is taking the first campsite available at a boondocking location. This typically means camping in a high-traffic area and dealing with other boondockers coming and going. If the roads are dirt or gravel, this can mean battling dust clouds during your stay.
If you have solar panels to keep your batteries charged, you will want to consider how much sun they’ll receive at a specific site. While a site tucked back in a grove of trees can provide tremendous shade and privacy, they’ll significantly hinder your solar capabilities. Getting the most out of your solar system means finding open spots with limited tree coverage.
How Do You Stay Safe While Boondocking?
There are several things you can do to improve your safety while boondocking. A well-rounded safety plan will help maximize your safety and avoid any potential issues.
Do Your Research
Picking a boondocking spot that’s safe requires doing some research. Using apps like Campendium and iOverlander can be helpful, but you can also join large Facebook groups. These resources can make it very easy to find great spots, and you’ll get useful tips for making the most of your time boondocking.
By doing your research, you can learn about wildlife activities, tips for navigating in or out of the spot, and helpful resources near the location. You can find yourself in a dangerous situation if you fail to do an adequate amount of research for a boondocking spot.
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When it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones, it’s a very personal decision. Some boondockers choose to carry firearms, mace, or other protective measures.
How you choose to protect yourself is entirely up to you. Failing to protect yourself can be extremely dangerous, especially if you are in a compromising situation.
You never know when someone or a wild animal will wander onto your campsite. Having and knowing how to use your choice of personal protection is essential to keeping yourself and your fellow campers safe.
Secure Your Stuff
In many instances of theft, victims admit that they didn’t lock up their stuff. Leaving storage compartments unlocked or expensive items easily accessible at your campsite is a great way to become a victim. If you’re not going to be at your campsite or able to keep an eye on your stuff, you need to secure it.
Locks and other safety measures are only effective if you use them. They deter thieves who aren’t willing to put in the effort or risk getting caught.
Some boondocking locations can be extremely remote, which means you can’t stay connected to friends and family. In these locations, you may be unable to call for help or communicate with others.
Make sure you share with friends or loved ones where you plan to camp and how long you plan to be there. This can be extremely helpful if something happens and rangers or other authorities need to come looking for you.
Leave When Necessary
You should leave anytime you feel a situation is no longer safe. Even the best boondocking sites aren’t worth risking your safety. If there’s seedy or illegal activity, it’s also a good idea to report the behavior to local authorities.
To avoid these situations, we recommend reporting the behavior as you leave the boondocking spot. Find a safer area to camp, and don’t let one bad experience ruin your future adventures.
Stay Safe While Enjoying Boondocking
Boondocking can be an excellent way to enjoy privacy and space while camping. These are two things that most campgrounds simply can’t offer. However, you should take safety seriously, especially when you’re camping in remote locations where help might not be able to arrive quickly.
Trust your gut if you get a bad vibe from a location, and continue searching for a spot where you can camp comfortably and safely. Make sure everyone you’re camping with knows your plan and is taking steps to maximize their safety while camping.
Have you ever had safety issues while boondocking?
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