OUTDOOR BASICS

What is Dry Camping? – A Travel Guide on How to Stay Safe and Comfortable Outdoors

What is Dry Camping
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Can you camp anywhere? Camping in a location where there is no usual comfort will always pose great challenges and safety concerns and you may want to go to designated camping areas to enjoy the blissfulness of nature or embark on a cross-country and backcountry expeditions, but could be caught up with the nighttime or other unpredictable situations.

You may decide to pull over in your car for a rest, however, your safety and convenience should be a priority, as you will look for ways to ensure an adequate protection from the elements and persons with criminal inclinations; then, you need to know the answer to this great question, ‘what is dry camping’?

Dry Camping

Dry camping is camping in a place where water, septic tank, and electrical installations are not accessible; that implies, sleeping outdoors in a parked car, van, truck, RV, and tent with no electrical connections, piped-in water, bathhouses, campground stores, and other basic amenities for human welfare. We are going to teach you the necessary accessories you need to have for your comfort: and how you can stay safe outdoors, in places that are not the official campsites where some amount of facilities could be provided.

Are you an outdoors enthusiast, but sometimes, you are afraid of the challenges of sleeping out in the cold and dreadful night where there are no forms of convenience and you are disconnected from the societal grid? This article will enlighten you on the necessary preparations, you should make, if you are going on holiday camping, backcountry trips, or your vehicle suddenly breakdown on the highway at night and you are stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Broken Camper

We have put together some great tips that can help you, if you are not sure what to do, or even, as an experienced camper; you need this information in order to be ready for unforeseen circumstances in the wild and outdoors situations.

Dry Camping Tips

As a camper or vacationist preparing for dry camping, here are the necessary guidelines that will help you embark on a successful trip to anywhere, away from your home and stay safe, warm, and comfortable with your friends and family.

  • Decide the right place and duration of your camping: a car, RVs, or official camping grounds.
  • If you are traveling at night, watch out for signs restricting overnight parking and steer clear off such areas.
  • Ensure to backpack all the necessary accessories that are relevant to your comfort.
  • Check your tent to be sure there are no holes in it if you find any, then, fix it before heading to the site.
  • Overnight camping can be done in your cars or RVs in private properties but with the consent of the owners; but longer stays need to be well-planned and should be in official locations.
  • If you decide to camp by a source of water like river, lake, or creek, look around for any notice of ‘high water area’ that may be written on trees or rocks beside the river and stay away from such places.
  • Make a good plan for waste disposals; especially, human wastes need to be properly channeled to the black tanks or dig a cathole latrine (a hole in the ground) that can be covered easily.
  • Moreover, you can go with a cassette toilet that has a detachable tank and can easily be removed using a door-like compartment at the rear.
  • You can as well provide a composting toilet that composts wastes as you use the system.
  • Add solar systems for back up electricity in your RVs, if you intend staying for a longer time, or purchase a high-quality lantern for light in your car at nights.
  • Remember that there is no piped-in water; therefore, create a space for storing additional water because you will surely run out of the water.
  • Purchase a UV water purifier to purify your drinking water.
  • Collect water with a tarp funnel during rainstorms.
  • You need to go with a 4G solar cell phone booster for good network service in your campsite.

Furthermore, for a successful camping experience, you need to backpack several items and materials in your car, van, and RV such as batteries, solar panels, and inverter, clothing accessories, footwear, tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, water accessories, and kitchen utensils.

Items and Equipment You Need

Preparation is the key to a successful camping experience, and this entails collecting all the necessary materials you will need during the hangout to avoid inconveniences.

Batteries, Solar Panels, and Inverter

Now that you are planning to detach from your home for a while, you need to pack some batteries, solar panels, and inverter for generating light in the campsite. There are various forms of panels suitable for your recreational vehicle (RV) like the giant rooftop solar kit that can provide 960 watts system; additionally, it can give you 6 different panels of 160 watts.

RV Solar Panels

Image credit: sprinter-rv.com

You can carry along a small solar panel; especially, if you do not want to put on your generator for electricity supply, because of the noise it will generate and most campers do not want that disturbance. This panel is available in various wattage like 40 watts, 80 watts, and 120 watts. You should be able to power and charge all your camping gears with these solar systems, especially the 120 watts model.

The recommended battery for the giant solar panel is 700AH Lithium Battery, if you have a big refrigerator in the campground, while the portable solar system needs 420ah or 464ah battery. Furthermore, a minimum of about 600 watts and a corresponding AGM battery of 600ah is all you need to keep your campsite lively and lighted.

If you want to get your solar system fully set up, you need a pure sine wave inverter that can supply all your equipment with adequate power. In addition, a Magnum 2000 watts PSW inverter is very reliable and durable and suitable for your camping needs.

Conclusively on this, get larger batteries that can give you light using the solar system already discussed and connect your recreational vehicle to the power supply available. For a continued power supply, ensure to switch off an electrical appliance that is not needed at any moment. We will recommend the usage of appliances powered by batteries alone, as this will limit much reliance on electric power supply.

Solar Oven

Cooking outdoors using the solar energy can be quite an interesting experience; you can try it and see the thrills. Your solar oven has the capacity to magnet the rays of the sun and converts them into cooking energy, as it directs them to the cooking part to cook your food.

Solar Cooker

Therefore, your tent or RV will have less heat, especially when the weather is very warm.

Clothing Accessories

Do you want to stay warm and comfortable during your stay away from home? Then, you need to backpack many clothing materials such as shirts, trousers, skirts, and footwear like shoes, sandals, slippers, and other accessories for your convenience.

Composting Toilet

Do you know that you can avoid the ‘stinky’ black tank? Yes, by installing a compost toilet in your campsite, you may extend your holiday camp for as long as you can because it uses no water and is environmentally friendly.

Compost Toilet

Image credit: kildwick.com

With this gear handy, you can combine your black water tank and grey water tank to increase your used water storage capacity, and it is a better option to sustain you off the grid; because it is designed to make human wastes compost as you use the toilet.

Automatic and Temperature Vent Fan

This is a highly sensitive automatic and temperature vent fan with two cool features and it is reliable even in the rainstorm because there is an inbuilt mechanism that makes it rainproof. Therefore, if the temperature in the RV or tent is warm, it starts automatically and blows out the air through the vent. This fan has the capability to regulate the temperature in the RV, although, you can set it by yourself.

Automatic and Temperature Vent Fan

Image credit: gonewiththewynns.com

It is a highly recommended gear for dry camping, as it will keep you cool and comfortable throughout your stay, as you hang out away from home. you can purchase the Maxxfan

Automatic Generator Start

One of the most common challenges of dry camping is the issue of electricity supply when you want to power your gadgets and meet a no response situation, you will be stranded and frustrated. Since you are disconnected from the power grid; you need to look for alternative ways to provide light and ensure other basic functions progressed uninterruptedly.

Automatic generator start is another source of power suitable for your camping needs, due to the necessity of keeping your refrigerator powered and useful always during your stay at the campground, the AGS comes in handy.

Whenever your inverter batteries run out of voltage, then, this generator will start up automatically; however, remember to always, set the inverter batteries at low voltage, this will enable them to function for longer hours.

Cell Phone Booster with 4G Cell

Are you afraid of zero network service for your cell phones and poor internet connectivity while hanging out in the wild? If you can remember to backpack this 4G cell phone booster, then, you do not have to worry because we assure you of at least about 95% network service most of the time, even when you are camping in the boonies. The network service quality will be able to access the internet and you can even make calls successfully.

Water Saving and Shower Head Aerators

Do you want to reduce your daily water consumption by more than 50%? This is possible if you can install the low-flow faucet aerator and Oxygenics shower head aerator in your recreational vehicle. You will be able to use water satisfactorily, showering regularly every day and even washing your dishes, and then you will enjoy your camp out.

Furthermore, we suggest that you buy the thread type showerhead which is the best among all.

Water Accessories

Another invaluable gear you need at the campground is the water tank; there should be about three different water tanks to avoid unnecessary inconveniences and for optimum utility. You need a grey tank for used water, black tank for toilet water, and fresh water tank for clean water.

Grey Water Tank

Do you know that you can re-use used water? Yes, it is ideal for you to re-use wastewater, especially on campsites due to a shortage of water. After washing the dishes, bathing, and engaging in other domestic chores, the water you have used could be re-channeled to water the garden, flush the toilet, and other exigent needs.

Moreover, if you want to dispose of this type of water, you can channel it anywhere provided the detergent is environmentally friendly and biodegradable.

Black Water Tank

Now, you may ask, what about the black tank, what is it used for? The water from your toilet waste is made for the black tank, and you know that it is not proper to allow it to flow anywhere. Therefore, it is advisable to locate a suitable place and dispose of the toilet wastes in a safer and cleaner environment.

Dumping RV Water Tanks

Image credit: rv-roadtrips.thefuntimesguide.com

In addition, human wastes from the toilets you provided for the expedition, even the cassette toilet are channeled to this tank. However, the compost toilet is a better option; but, if you cannot lay hands on that, then, go for the black tank, it is ideal and will help you too.

Fresh or Clean Water Tank

Water is one of the necessities of life, and you need to have a good storage of water in your home, and especially the campsite where the conditions may be more tense and unfriendly. Literally, a fresh water tank is the container where you store clean water that is good for cooking, drinking, and other domestic chores.

Fresh Water Tank

Image credit: coastresorts.com

Provide enough water that can last for a longer time during your camping period, we suggest that you carry a large quantity of water; however, this depends on the size of your RV, van, or car, and the period you intend to camp out.

Solar Lights and Flash Lights

The flashlight can be used as a security light at nights, you can also use it for self-defense, SOS beacon, and it is valuable for charging your phones too. This device can be used as a night scope because it is water resistant and can be displayed outdoors without any trouble. You can easily recharge it and one of the best brands to purchase is ZeroHour flashlight.

Zero Hour Flashlight

A good example of solar powered lights that you can take for camping is Solio solar lights; in addition, other garden lights and Christmas lights powered by the solar energy can be very valuable. These lights function automatically at nights to brighten the surroundings.

RV Led Lights

Do you know that you can reduce your light consumption by at least 90%? Yes, it is really, possible by using Led lights in your RV or tent. A quality bulb for your RV is M4 LED and it should be about 3000K having warm white color, you may also consider choosing the ones with natural white colors and they are about 4000K.

UV Water Purifier

Are you concerned about the quality of drinking water available for you in the wild, as you go camping? UV water purifier is a bottle that is rechargeable using a USB connection to your laptop, Solio solar flashlight, or ZeroHour flashlight.

It has the capacity to kill bacteria and other germs in the water but cannot filter dirt out; therefore, you need to remove dust particles by using a pre-filter added to the water in the bottle.

Other Types of Camping Often Associated with Dry Camping

You will come across some words and terminologies used to depict dry camping like boondocking, overnight parking, independent parking, and wild camping. Most of the time, these words are used interchangeably with dry camping but their meanings are relatively different. Check out their detailed meanings below:

Boondocking

Originally, the word boondocking is formed from ‘bundok’ meaning ‘mountain’ and is from a Philippine language spoken in the islands; in addition, you will find other expressions using the word as ‘a location that is far from civilization’.

However, boondocking implies the location where you intend to use for dry camping and not the actual exercise itself, since it is all about hanging out without access to the basic amenities in our normal campgrounds or the society, at large.

RV Camping

Now, you can see that when you embark on other types of camping, you are not actually boondocking but it is just one of the ways to enjoy your dry camping holidays, especially in the mountains. We have mountain holidays, which can be regarded as boondocking. Therefore, other forms of camping are expressed below.

Overnight Parking

Overnight parking simply means, the decision to sleep outdoors in your car, van, or recreational vehicle, especially during the night time because of unforeseen circumstances like when you are embarking on night journeys and decide to rest somewhere for the night, or a sudden vehicle breakdown that may warrant you sleeping outdoors.

Overnight Camping

However, you need to park in a secured place to avoid criminal intrusion into your vehicle.

Independent Parking

When you are ready to embark on dry camping and determined to use any facility available to you there, then, you can call it independent parking.

Wild Camping

Most persons use the term ‘wild camping’ to mean dry camping, however, this implies hanging out in a wild environment like wilderness, in the woods, or the mountains without hook-ups.

Are You Ready for an Adventure?

After reading this article, I am sure you are excited and ready to embark on a camping expedition with your family and friends. No matter the type of dry camping, you decide to experience like boondocking, overnight parking, independent parking, or wild camping; remember to backpack the necessary items you will need.

Dry Camping

Materials and items like clothing, sleeping pads, solar lights, batteries, sleeping bags, water accessories, tents, and sources of electricity supply, footwear, and camp kitchen utensils are necessary in order to have a blissful and an unforgettable holiday, away from home.

Moreover, being away from home is a great experience that you need to have during your lifetime, as it helps to save costs on expenditures.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.