What is Dry Camping?


Quite simply, dry camping refers to camping (RV or otherwise) without any hookups. This typically means no power or water from outside sources.

Are you considering dry camping in the near future? I’ve discussed some important questions and distinctions below to help prepare prospective dry campers.

Dry Camping vs Traditional Camping: What’s the Difference?

While both forms of camping offer a unique connection with nature, the experiences they provide are quite different. Let’s dive into the key differences between dry camping and traditional camping.

Dry CampingTraditional Camping
Dry camping, also known as boondocking or wild camping, essentially means camping without access to amenities such as electricity, water, or sewer services. It’s all about self-sufficiency, and you’ll need to bring everything you need with you.Traditional camping usually involves setting up camp in a designated campsite, often within a campground. These sites typically offer a variety of amenities including running water, electricity, toilet facilities, and sometimes even showers and Wi-Fi.
The location of dry camping is typically remote, secluded areas. This can be anywhere from a mountainside to a desert.Traditional camping sites are often located in more populated areas, like state parks or commercial campgrounds, with clear access to roads and signage.
Preparation for dry camping involves careful planning to ensure you have enough resources. This includes water, food, power, and waste management.When planning for traditional camping, you can typically rely on the amenities provided at the campsite, so the preparation is often less intensive.

Tips for Finding the Perfect Dry Camping Spot

An ideal dry camping location is one that offers a balance of natural beauty, safety, and convenience.

  • Out of the Way but Accessible: Look for a spot that is away from busy roads and noisy areas, but still easily accessible. A location with a scenic view, such as a lake or mountain range, can enhance the camping experience.
  • Weather Considerations: Another factor to consider when choosing a dry camping location is the weather. Look for a spot that offers shade during hot summer days and protection from strong winds. It is also important to be aware of the potential for flash floods or other natural hazards in the area. Research the weather patterns and terrain of the location before setting up camp.
  • Legal Consideration: An ideal dry camping location should be legal and ethical. Make sure to obtain any necessary permits or permissions before camping on public or private land. If you are in a legal grey area, be prepared to move quickly if needed!

Dry Camping vs Boondocking Distinctions

Dry camping and boondocking are two terms that are often used interchangeably in the camping community, but there are some subtle differences between the two.

At its core, dry camping refers to camping without any hookups to water, electricity, or sewer. This means that you are essentially self-contained and must rely on your own resources to meet your needs.

Boondocking, on the other hand, typically refers to camping in remote or undeveloped areas, often on public lands, where there are no designated campsites or amenities.

While boondocking often involves dry camping, it can also include camping with limited amenities such as a pit toilet or fire ring.

Leave No Trace is Key for Dry Camping

As a camper (whether in an RV or not) without running water or electricity at hand, it make generally cleanup more difficult. This is where the concept of ‘Leave No Trace’ comes in.

Leave No Trace isn’t just a catchy slogan; it’s a philosophy and a call to action that every responsible camper should embrace. It is about preserving the beauty and integrity of our natural spaces, even as we enjoy them.

Now, you might be wondering: what does ‘Leave No Trace’ really mean in the context of dry camping? Well, let’s break it down.

Understanding ‘Leave No Trace’

In a nutshell, ‘Leave No Trace’ is about minimizing your impact on the environment. It’s about making sure that your camping activities don’t degrade the natural spaces you’re enjoying.

For dry campers, this means several things. Let’s take a closer look.

  1. Pack out what you pack in: This means that any trash or waste you generate during your camping trip should leave with you. It should not be left behind in the camping area.
  2. Respect wildlife: Avoid disturbing animals or their habitats. Remember, you’re a visitor in their home.
  3. Minimize campfire impact: If you must have a campfire, use established fire rings, keep fires small, and burn only small sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Better yet, consider using a camping stove for cooking.
  4. Respect other visitors: Keep noise down and respect the privacy and tranquility of other campers.

By following these principles, you’re not just being a responsible camper. You’re also ensuring that the beautiful natural spaces you enjoy today will be there for future generations to enjoy too.

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