We’ve all tried camping at least once in our lives. Whether it was in the comfort of a state park with all of the amenities or out in the backwoods, away from everything and everyone, we’ve all had at least one camping experience.
But what is dry camping, how is it different from other types of camping, and what do you need to know before you go?
From what RV camping essentials for beginners to pack to how to find the perfect spot, we’ve got you covered in this comprehensive guide.
What is dry camping?
What is dry camping? Dry camping, also known as boondocking, is a type of camping where you camp in an undeveloped, remote area without hookups for water, electricity, or sewer.
This means that you must be completely self-sufficient, as you will be relying on your own resources.
Dry camping can be a great way to get away from it all and enjoy some peace and quiet in nature. In fact, many people who enjoy dry camping say that it is the best way to experience all that nature has to offer.
It’s also a great way to save money, as you won’t have to pay for campsite fees. However, it is important to be prepared before you go.
What do you need to dry camp?
Before you go dry camping, there are a few things you should know and a few things you should bring with you. Here are some of camping essentials:
A vehicle that can handle off-road conditions:
Sure, you could take your sedan out to the desert and call it a day, but unless you’re planning on staying on the main roads, you’re going to want a vehicle that can handle some off-roading.
A four-wheel drive SUV or truck is ideal, as they can navigate rough terrain better than most cars. Plus, most dry camping spots are only accessible by dirt roads, so you’ll need a vehicle that can handle that.
If you don’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you can still dry camp, but you may have to choose your campsite more carefully and be prepared for a little more effort to get there.
2. A GPS system or map
Whether you’re using a handheld GPS system or an app on your phone, it’s important to have some sort of navigation with you when you go dry camping.
Since you’ll be in a remote area, there’s a good chance you won’t have cell service, so relying on Google Maps is not an option.
A paper map is also a good idea, as you can mark your campsite on it and use it as a backup if your electronic navigation system fails.
3. Plenty of food and water
When you’re dry camping, sometimes you won’t have access to potable water, so it’s important to bring enough with you for the entire trip.
A general rule of thumb is to bring one gallon of water per person daily. So, if you’re going on a three-day trip with two people, you should bring at least eighteen gallons of water.
As for food, it’s a good idea to bring non-perishable items that don’t require cooking, as you won’t have an easy way to cook food while dry camping. Canned goods, granola bars, and jerky are all good options.
It’s also a good idea to bring more food than you think you’ll need, just in case you end up staying longer than planned or get stuck somewhere.
4. Sleeping gear
In dry camping, there are no hotel rooms or RV hookups in dry camping, so you’ll have to bring your sleeping gear. Common sleeping gear in dry camping includes tents, sleeping bags, and air mattresses.
If you’re car camping, you may be able to get away with just an air mattress, but if you’re hiking into your campsite, you’ll probably want a lighter-weight option like a backpacking tent.
The benefits of dry camping
You can get away from it all:
One of the best things about dry camping is that it allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Dry camping is a great option if you want to disconnect from the world and clear your mind.
You appreciate the little things:
When you’re dry camping, you’re forced to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. Without electronics or other distractions, you can focus on your surroundings and enjoy the beauty of nature.
You save money:
Enjoying the great outdoors doesn’t have to be expensive. Dry camping can be a very affordable way to vacation. Since you’re not paying for campsite fees or hookups, you can save a lot of money.
You become more self-reliant:
When you’re dry camping, you have to be more self-reliant than when you’re camping with hookups. This can be a great opportunity to learn new skills and become more independent.
How to set up for dry camping
Now that you know what dry camping is and its benefits, you’re probably wondering how to set up your first dry camping trip.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Choose the right vehicle:
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll need a vehicle that can handle off-road conditions when you’re dry camping. Consider the ground clearance of your vehicle and the type of tires it has. If you don’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you can still dry camp, but you may have to choose your campsite more carefully and be prepared for a little more effort to get there.
2. Bring plenty of supplies:
Be sure to bring enough food, water, and sleeping gear for everyone in your group. It’s also a good idea to bring a camp stove and some basic cooking supplies, just in case you need them.
3. Choose the right campsite:
When you’re dry camping, pay attention to your surroundings and choose a campsite that’s level and free of obstacles. You should also be aware of the weather conditions and ensure your campsite is safe in case of severe weather.
Oftentimes, the best dry camping spots are ones that are already established, such as national forest campgrounds. This way, you know there will be a level spot for your tent, and you won’t have to worry about disturbing the natural environment.
4. Be prepared for emergencies:
Since you’ll be away from civilization when dry camping, be prepared for any emergencies. Bring a first-aid kit and know how to use it. It’s also a good idea to bring a satellite phone or two-way radio in case you need to contact someone for help.
What to do if you encounter an issue while dry camping
You never know what might happen when you’re dry camping, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. Here are a few tips for what to do if you encounter an issue while dry camping:
If you get lost, stay calm and don’t panic:
If you find yourself getting turned around, the best thing to do is stay calm and try to orient yourself.
If you have a map of the area, see if you can figure out where you are and what direction you need to go. If you don’t have a map, look for landmarks to help you get your bearings.
If you run into trouble, don’t be afraid to ask for help:
When you’re dry camping, you’re on your own in the wilderness. However, that doesn’t mean you’re completely alone.
If you run into trouble, don’t be afraid to ask for help from other campers or hikers. They’ll be more than happy to lend a helping hand.
But if you can’t find anyone to help, don’t hesitate to call for help. In an emergency, every minute counts, so don’t be afraid to use your satellite phone or two-way radio to call for help.
Dry camping can be a great way to save money and become more self-reliant. But it’s important to be prepared before you head out into the wilderness. By following the tips in this article, you’ll be sure to have a safe and enjoyable dry camping experience.