11 Essential Items for Boondocking in an RV

In case you’re new around here and don’t already know, we love free boondocking or dry camping as some people call it. We much prefer it over staying in RV parks and over the last 2 1/2 years since we’ve been full-time, we’ve been boondocking as often as possible. Today, I want to share 11 of our favorite essential items for boondocking with you!

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Leveling related essential items for boondocking

1 – SnapPads

First up, if you don’t have SnapPads on your RV, you are missing out! We have had them on both of our 5th wheels and will never own an RV without them. They are permanent rubber leveling pads that snap onto the feet of your leveling jacks.

Putting them on your jacks is really easy. Simply line them up and lower the jacks onto them and they’ll snap in place! One of the best things about them is that they are permanent. Sure, you can take them off if you need/want to, but ours have been on our current rig for over a year now! No more lugging around extra blocks of wood!

SnapPads are made of rubber from 100% recycled tires and because of that, they don’t leave rust marks like your jack’s might! They also conform better to any situation and make it easier for you to get your rig level.

2 – X-Chock wheel stabilizers

Wheel chocks are an RV essential in general, but they give us extra peace of mind when we’re boondocking. The places we stay aren’t always super level and these give you more stability and keep your tires from shifting.

We like to use the X-Chocks and sometimes we use 4″x4″ blocks of wood in front of our tires for extra stability as well.

Our RV boondocking setup
Our RV with leveling blocks and SnapPads

3 – Heavy duty leveling blocks

We like to call these “lego blocks” because they snap together like Legos and are buildable. We don’t use these all the time, but we’ve found ourselves in several situations where they came in handy.

Most often, we use them when the angle of the ground makes it to where one side of our RV is higher than the other. We position them just right and drive the tires of the lower side up onto them. This evens things out and makes it easier to get our RV level. These are definitely an essential item for boondocking!

We have a 10 pack that comes in a handy carrying case and makes it easy to store in the “basement” of our rig.

Water related essential items for boondocking

4 – Water bladder

If you’ve never heard of a water bladder then that may sound a little crazy to you haha! A water bladder is a lightweight, portable water tank that inflates like a pillow when you fill it with water. We use one to transport water to our rig when we’re running low so we don’t have to move from our setup. It’s so much easier!

We have a 30-gallon water bladder and use it all. the. time! I’m not kidding…literally all the time! I would say that our water bladder is the main thing that allows us to stay boondocking for longer periods of time as we are more likely to run out of water before anything else.

Another alternative to a water bladder would be portable water jugs but we find the water bladder much easier to store and use than other water containers.

Filling our water bladder - one of our essential items for RVing
Using our water bandit and water bladder

5 – Water pump

Having a water pump is necessary to move the water from your water bladder into your RV. We use a SEAFLO industrial water pump which pumps about 3.3 gallons per minute.

We bought some connectors to be able to connect it to our water hose and added quick connects to everything as well. Our setup is water bladder to pump, pump to city water hose, city water hose to clear source, clear source to fresh-water hose and into the trailer.

Including setup time this process takes up roughly 10-15 minutes. Much faster than taking our rig somewhere to fill it up!

6 – Water bandit

A water bandit connects to the end of your hose and allows you to get water from spigots that your hose wouldn’t normally. A lot of state parks and national parks have odd water spigots or straight pipe spigots that make it difficult to get water from.

We keep a water bandit in our truck and use it with our water bladder when we need to. This eliminates us having to stand and hold the water hose and is a handy little tool to keep around.

7 – Clearsource water filtration system

A Clearsource water filtration system is a must for us! We have tried multiple different systems and Clearsource is our personal preference. We actually have two different systems for different situations.

Our Clearsource Ultra - One of our essential items for boondocking
Our Clearsource Ultra

Clearsource Ultra

The Clearsource Ultra is a triple canister water filtration system and is what we use the majority of the time. It uses three-stage filtering and makes questionable water safe for drinking and using. We use this system no matter where we are…boondocking, city hookups, RV parks, etc.

We replace our filters every 3-6 months and we highly recommend this system to anyone who has an RV!

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    Clearsource Nomad

    The Clearsource Nomad system was designed with boondockers in mind! It allows you to pull safe and clean water from any outdoor water system including lakes, rivers, streams, etc. It’s heavy-duty and built to last for sure.

    You simply drop the hose into the river or whatever water source you’re pulling from and the built-in pump brings the water up into the filter and your RV or water bladder if needed. It’s a genius design and perfect for avid boondockers!

    8 – Oxygenics Fury shower head

    Now, you might be thinking it’s weird to call a shower head a boondocking essential, but this one is. What’s so special about it? It increases water pressure while using less water at the same time!

    Using the least amount of water possible is always the goal when you’re boondocking and this shower head makes that possible. And bonus, with the added pressure it’s easier to get your hair rinsed out and faster!

    You can watch the YouTube video about how we installed our Oxygenics shower head here.

    9 – Collapsible sink/bucket

    If you don’t already have a collapsible sink/bucket, I highly recommend getting one! If you’re trying to save room in your kitchen grey tank, you can use one of these to do your dishes outside. When they’re collapsed they don’t take up much room in your RV…I like to keep mine under the kitchen sink.

    Power related essential items for boondocking

    10 – Generator

    A good generator is probably one of the most important essential items for boondocking. We have had multiple different generators over the last 2 1/2 years but have settled on a favorite.

    We started with two Honda EU2200i generators in parallel. This was before we got our solar setup and would run our refrigerator and sometimes one air conditioner as well.

    We now have a Honda EU3000IS generator that we use most often whenever we need extra power. Because of our solar setup, we don’t need it too often, but using it with our solar allows us to run both air conditioners and power the refrigerator and anything else we need.

    We also have a Cummins Onan RV QG 5500 LP generator installed from the factory in the front of our rig that we rarely use it but it’s nice to have the backup option in case we ever need it. We prefer not to use it since it runs off of a propane tank which is more expensive to fill and harder to come by.

    Our original solar panel setup on our RV
    Our initial solar panel setup

    11 – A good solar setup

    A good solar setup moved to the top of our wishlist after we realized how much we loved boondocking. We took our rig to Chris from Rocky Mountain Off-Grid in Denver, CO and he installed all of our solar panels as well as four Battle Born batteries.

    Read our detailed blog posts about our solar setup here. Now we can be off-grid for as long as we want to! Solar is definitely an investment, but it’s worth every penny if you boondock enough and it has become our main power source.

    Some people choose to use portable solar panels but all of ours are mounted on the roof of our RV.

    Notable mentions

    There’s a few other items worth mentioning that didn’t make our main list:

    • A Buddy Heater – A small propane heater great for keeping a room toasty in the winter while boondocking
    • A cell phone signal booster – Boondocking spots aren’t usually known for their fantastic cell service. If you need reliable service, you may consider checking into a booster. We don’t currently have one but we’ve heard good things about the King cell service boosters.
    • A box fan – This can be nice for bringing in outside air and getting air movement on warmer days without using the air conditioners.
    • A basic first aid kit – Sometimes when you’re boondocking, you are pretty far away from towns. Always have a good first aid kit on hand for minor emergencies!

    I hope you’ve found this list helpful. Are there any off-grid camping essentials that we missed? What are your must-haves for dry camping? Let us know in the comments below! Happy camping!

    Much Love, Janae xoxo
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      10 thoughts on “11 Essential Items for Boondocking in an RV”

      1. Great list of essentials, Janae! So excited to do more boondocking when we get on the road. I’m definitely saving this post!

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      2. We’ve only dry camped once and I would love to do more of it once we head west! Definitely will be referencing this when we’re ready πŸ˜†

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