25 Boondocking Must-Haves You Should Never Camp Without

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A headlamp is one of many boondocking must-haves and it cuts through the blackness of night as a camper kneels by his stove.

Boondocking is one of our favorite ways to camp, and having the right items can make or break the experience. We’ve compiled a list of 25 boondocking must-haves that we think you should never camp without.

No matter what style of camping you prefer, you will always have some supplies you need to get. Let’s get started and see what you need to add to your cart for your next boondocking adventure!

25 Boondocking Must-Haves You Should Never Camp Without

Having the proper gear can prepare you for whatever boondocking throws your way. You never know what to expect, so it’s better to have some items just in case. Let’s take a look!

1. Portable Waste Water Tote

Camco Rhino Heavy Duty 28 Gallon Portable RV Waste Holding Tank with Hose and Accessories - Durable Leak Free and Odorless Rv Tote Tank (39004)
  • Transports Waste from Your RV/Trailer: Allows you to transport waste from your RV or trailer to a dump station; Ideal...
  • Includes: (1) 28 gallon tote tank, (1) large, durable handle, (2) oversized wheels, (1) tank rinser, (1) ladder hook,...

One of the most challenging aspects of boondocking is managing your wastewater tanks. You might have found an epic boondocking site and need to empty your tanks. Because boondocking is often first-come, first-served, you risk losing your fantastic spot if you need to pack up camp to find a dump station. This is where a portable waste tote comes in handy.

With this item, you can empty your tanks into the tote and then take it to the nearest dump station and empty it. This tedious process may require multiple trips but is much more convenient and less risky than packing up your entire campsite.

2. Extra Fresh Water Storage

Water Storage Tank - Bladder - Bag - AQUATANK2 Stores Water For Your Emergency Water Supply - It Is a Light-Weight and Portable Water Container, Food-Grade Material, no BPAs (30 Gallon)
  • "THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD FOR THE RV OWNER" Sick and tired of stretching hoses while you're out boondocking?...
  • "DECEPTIVELY TOUGH!" Our AQUATANK-2 systems have state-of-the-art material that is thinner and lighter than any rubber...

You’ll develop the skill of managing your freshwater while boondocking. This means finding clever ways to conserve water to make it last. However, much like your waste tanks, you may not want to leave that fantastic boondocking to refill your tank. Adding water to your fresh tank means you can extend the time you can boondock

Having a water bladder lets you bring water to your RV instead of packing up your campsite to get your RV to the water source. You can use a water pump to siphon the water from the bladder to your tank.

3. Cell Phone Signal Booster

weBoost Drive Reach RV - Cell Phone Signal Booster kit | Boosts 4G LTE & 5G for All U.S. Carriers - Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile & more | Made in the U.S. | FCC Approved (model 470354)
  • POWERFUL RV BOOSTER — The weBoost Drive Reach RV powerfully boosts signal for fewer dropped calls, better voice...
  • CARRIER COMPATIBILITY — With multi-user functionality, every passenger can enjoy stronger cell signals from all U.S....

Some of the best boondocking spots will have minimal cell phone signals. Whether you need to stay connected for work, school, or to stay in contact with others, a cell phone booster can help strengthen a weak signal.

It’s important to remember that a cell booster will not create a signal; it only boosts the connection already there. You’ll still need a bar to boost for this to be an effective tool. This is a boondocking must-have if you need to call for emergency help.

A man in the mountains during a cloudy fall day holds out his cell phone in search of cell signal—one of many boondocking must-haves he forgot to consider.

4. Solar Power Setup and Inverter

Renogy 400 Watt 12 Volt Premium 4 Pcs 100W Panel+40A MPPT Charge Controller+ Bluetooth Module Fuse+ Mounting Z Brackets+Adaptor Kit +Tray Cables Set, 400W, Grid 12V Solar Power System
  • Designed for off-grid solar panel system, caravan, RV, boat, Green house solar panel system. Cell efficiency: Regular...
  • Sleek design and a durable frame, the Renogy Premium 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Panel provides you with the...

Powering your RV with a solar power setup may make boondocking more enjoyable. You’ll no longer have to listen to the loud humming from a generator, which means you can avoid annoying your neighbors and finally get a silent night of sleep. However, tossing a few solar panels on your roof and wiring them into your batteries is not enough to get the most from your RV while living off the grid.

A part of your RV’s solar power setup needs to include an inverter. An inverter changes the 12-Volt DC power to 120-Volt AC power. This is important because it allows you to use many of the electrical outlets in your RV and other important items like TVs, coffee makers, and charge laptops. Using more than just your 12-Volt system is a game-changer when it comes to boondocking.

5. Lithium Batteries

Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery - 100Ah 12v with Built-In BMS - 3000-5000 Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery - Perfect for RV/Camper, Marine, Overland/Van, and Off Grid Applications
  • BUILT-IN BMS: BMS stands for "Battery Management System" - the brain of our deep cycle lithium batteries. Our BMS...
  • LITHIUM ION TECHNOLOGY: Unlike Lead Acid batteries, Battle Born's deep cycle lithium ion batteries have unlimited...

RVs typically roll off the lot with a lead-acid battery. These can do the job for the basic functions of your RV for a short time but usually don’t last long. Most RVers don’t notice their ineffectiveness as they only use their RV when connected to a power pedestal. Upgrading to a lithium battery will improve your boondocking experience.

Lithium batteries weigh less and have more longevity. While they cost more than other options, the battery’s life makes it a much better deal when you do the math. Lithium batteries far outperform lead-acid batteries. If you have the funds to upgrade your battery bank, it’s a no-brainer to get the most out of your RV while boondocking.

6. A Generator

Briggs & Stratton Q6500 Quiet Power Series Inverter Generator | CO Guard, 6500 starting watts
  • QuietPower Series Inverter Technology - Inverter technology produces power that’s more than 60% quieter than standard...
  • 306cc Integrated Engine/Alternator - A highly-efficient integrated engine/alternator provides up to 14 hours of run...

A portable generator is a great way to recharge your RV’s battery bank and even run high-powered appliances like an air conditioner. These generators can produce massive amounts of power on demand. You can rely on many portable generators, and they serve as great options for powering your RV while boondocking.

Even if you have a solar power setup for your RV, you may still need access to a generator. You may find yourself boondocking in a shady spot or experience a few days without sun for your panels. You may find it convenient to fire up your generator and create power to charge your batteries quickly while boondocking.

7. Motion Sensor Security Lights

BAXIA TECHNOLOGY BX-SL-101 Solar Lights Outdoor 28 LED Wireless Waterproof Security Solar Motion Sensor Lights, (400LM,4 Packs)
  • [PIR Motion Lights and No Dim Mode]- Designed with No dim mode to increase product life span. When motion is detected...
  • [28 LED Ultra-Bright Solar Powered Lights]-There are 28 powerful LEDs and the motion angle is 120 degrees which can...

Safety tools are a boondocking must-have. Using motion sensing security lights can alert you to a person or wild animal walking by your RV. Shining a light on intruders can cause them to retreat immediately. 

Diffusing a situation before it arises can keep you and your fellow campers safe. It also gives you light when you need to step outside at night without grabbing a flashlight.

8. Replace Incandescent Bulbs with LED Lights

Antline 1156 1141 1003 7506 BA15S LED Bulbs White 20-Packs, Super Bright 3014 50-SMD LED Replacement for 12 Volt RV Camper Trailer Boat Trunk Interior Lights
  • 【GUARANTEE】Please buy with confidence, we offer "ONE YEAR" warranty on item(s) damaged during delivery or have a...
  • 【ADVANTAGE】(Set of 20 bulbs)50-pieces extremely bright 3014 LED chips per bulb. Unique 360 degree lighting design to...

Incandescent bulbs are inefficient and have a short lifespan. When you choose to replace your incandescent bulbs with LED lights, you get brighter lights that use less energy. 

This is especially useful when trying to conserve power and get the most out of your battery bank.

Outdoor LED lightbulbs strung along a camp awning next to a van with the sun streaming towards the camera.

9. Outdoor Solar Lights

Brightech Ambience Pro - Waterproof, Solar Powered Outdoor String Lights - 48 Ft Vintage Edison Bulbs Create Bistro Ambience On Your Patio - Commercial Grade, Shatterproof - 1W LED, Soft White Light
  • "Italian Cafe" Lights Use Vintage Edison Bulbs to Create Great Ambience on Your Patio: Install Brightech's solar powered...
  • Commercial Grade WeatherProof Bistro Lights with Shatterproof S14 Bulbs:Customer reviews say Brightech’s Ambience Pros...

You may love harnessing power from the sun to run appliances and other items while camping. Having outdoor solar lights can allow you to enjoy the outdoors at night without having to use precious power from your RV batteries.

Having a bright outdoor space means you don’t have to retreat indoors when it gets dark. You’ll have a bit of security knowing you can see around your RV and not have to worry about tripping over tree roots or other items at your campsite.

10. Water-Saving Showerhead

Oxygenics 92489 Fury RV Handheld Shower - Brushed Nickel
  • 5 spray settings are powered by cutting-edge technology to increase pressure
  • Rubber finger grips prevents any slippage or dropping

Because boondocking means finding creative ways to extend your water supply, finding a water-saving showerhead is a boondocking must-have. This item uses oxygen to maximize the flow of water but reduces the amount needed. This means you can get that high-pressure water, but use a fraction of the water you would have otherwise.

While you can find creative ways to extend the time between showers, you’ll still need to wash. Having a shower head that saves water is one more tool to help elongate the time you can go without refilling your tanks.

11. Composting Toilet

Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design
  • No one - and I mean no one - will beat my customer service and individual support
  • Easy to install by any reasonably handy person.

By changing from a standard RV toilet to a composting toilet, you can reduce your water usage and add several days to your trip. A composting toilet means you no longer have to hunt down a dump station to empty your tanks. 

These toilets can separate solids and liquids and break down the solids through a natural chemical process. It can turn waste into a fertilizer that you can spread at the base of trees or bushes. Liquids collect in a tank that you should dump into a nearby toilet or another proper and legal place.

12. Large Shower Wipes

Large Shower Wipes with Aloe, Vitamin E and Tea Tree Oil, Bathing Wipes for Adults, Backpacking Essentials, 25 Count Bag - Venture Wipes
  • Naturally Formulated - They’re all-natural bathing wipes. We infuse these travel wipes with natural ingredients like...
  • Easy-to-Use - Experience easy peasy cleaning with Venture Wipes. Our wet wipes are packed in single-use pouches for your...

While nothing can replace a hot shower with lots of water pressure, using large shower wipes to get you by is a good alternative. These wipes allow you to wash your entire body and stay fresh between showers. The wipes often include natural ingredients like aloe, vitamin E, and tea tree oil to leave your skin clean and in optimal condition.

13. Mr. Heater Buddy Heater

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater, Red-Black
  • 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 225 square feet. Approved for indoor/outdoor use; clean-burning;...
  • When operating the heater at altitudes over 7,000 FT above sea level the heater may shut off.

Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate, and you’ll find the temperature quickly dropping inside your RV. Depending on the size of your rig, a Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Propane Heater can keep you comfortable during cold weather camping. This incredibly efficient heater only uses 0.044 to 0.099 gallons per hour.

Having a heating source like the Mr. Heater Buddy Heater is helpful because the electric fireplace in your RV and other electric space heaters require a massive amount of power. Even if you have a large battery bank, you can quickly drain it by trying to heat your RV with an electric space heater while boondocking.

14. Outdoor Portable Solar Shower

VIGLT Portable Shower Bag Blue PVC Travel Wash Kit Camping Accessory Set 5 gallon/20L for Outdoor Travel Camping/Hiking (Black)
  • ★Strong& Durable: VIGLT outdoor shower bag is made by environmental friendly materials which are safe to human health....
  • ★Temperature Indicator :There is a temperature indicator (°C/°F) attached onto the bag. Be able to quickly know the...

Showering outdoors is another perk to boondocking away from others. You’ll need an outdoor portable solar shower to make it happen. Not dumping several gallons of water into your wastewater tank can extend the time between emptying your tanks.

Some of the best outdoor portable showers use solar power to heat the water in your shower bladder. Even though you shower outdoors, you can maximize the experience with hot water.

15. Camp Stove and Oven for Outdoor Cooking

Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven, Dimensions with handles: 15 in. L x 25 in. W x 18 in. H
  • Matchless Ignition - use 1lb propane tank - can be adapted to use 20lb tank
  • Stainless steel construction - 7,500 BTU's per burner, Oven 3,000 BTU's

Many RVers struggle to enjoy cooking indoors, especially while boondocking, because it raises the temperature inside the RV. 

Having a camp stove and oven that allows you to do your cooking and baking outside can reduce your RV’s temperature and allow the chef to enjoy the outdoors more. It may take some adjusting to the new cooking style, but we think food simply tastes better with great views and fresh air.

A camper kneels next to a propane camp stove to cook.

16. Flashlights and Headlamps

UV Flashlight Rechargeable - Vnina 3 in 1 LED Tactical Flash Light with Magnetic Base,Battery Include ,Sidelight, 500LM, 8 Models, Magnetic Flashlight Handle Pocket for Indoor & Outdoor Use, 2 Pack
  • [3 in 1 UV & White Light & Side Light with 8 Modes]: 3 in 1 white & UV flashlight with 5 light modes, included 3 white...
  • [Rechargeable & 18650 Battery Included]: Equipped with a 18650 overcharge protected rechargeable battery, making the...

While you may purchase flashlights and headlamps to hike early in the morning, late at night, or for that dark, scary walk around your campsite, you’ll find a ton of opportunities to use them. 

One of the worst times for things to go wrong is when it’s dark. Using flashlights can be great, but headlamps allow you to see and use your hands. This can help when working on projects under your RV or inside one of the under-storage compartments with restricted light.

17. RV Leveling Blocks

Tri-Lynx 00015 Lynx Levelers - 10 Pack , Orange
  • Lynx Recreational Vehicle Leveling Kit, 10/Pack
  • Modular designed levelers not only configure to fit any leveling function, but they also withstand tremendous weight

Leveling blocks are a boondocking must-have as many sites won’t be flat. These Lego-like blocks snap together and allow you to create a surface for the low-side tires to drive onto to level the RV.

These sturdy blocks don’t cost much. The solid plastic construction makes them strong and lightweight. Plus, their bright color makes them easy to spot, so you don’t leave them behind after you pack up.

18. First Aid Kit

EVERLIT 250 Pieces Survival First Aid Kit IFAK Molle System Compatible Outdoor Gear Emergency Kits Trauma Bag for Camping Boat Hunting Hiking Home Car Earthquake and Adventures (Tan)
  • ✅【Exclusive 250 PCS First Aid Survival Kit Contained a Military Molle EMT Pouch】Uniquely customized by U.S...
  • ✅【Comprehensive First Aid Treatment Exceeds OSHA Guidelines For Single Family】The kit contains more than enough...

Some boondocking locations will take you far from medical assistance. This can often mean that if you get injured while boondocking, you’ll need a quality first aid kit to address the issue yourself until you can get proper medical care.

You want to make sure you have the necessities on hand for cuts, splinters, blisters, and headaches. Many RVers experience these minor issues while boondocking. If you have a serious injury, a first aid kit can get you by until help arrives.

19. Camp Chairs

Zero Gravity Chairs Patio Chairs Set of 2 Reclining Beach Chair Adjustable Steel Mesh Zero Gravity Lounge Chair Recliners w/Pillows and Cup Holder Trays for Poolside, Backyard, Beach and Camping
  • 【High Quality Sturdy Frame】The chair uses a thickened steel tube with triangular structure support. High-quality...
  • 【Foldable Zero-gravity Chair】Our Zero gravity chair not need installation, easy to fold and can be used when opened....

Boondocking allows you to enjoy nature, so you likely don’t intend to spend your entire time indoors. Not having a comfortable outdoor chair may hinder your experience.

Whether you want a quality camping chair to start your day with coffee or end your day watching the sunset, camping chairs are a boondocking must-have. However, comfort isn’t the only thing to consider. You want a quality chair that will last to avoid having to buy new ones frequently.

Man and his boston terrier happily sit on orange camp chairs while relaxing in the woods.

20. Folding Table

Best Choice Products 4ft Plastic Folding Table, Indoor Outdoor Heavy Duty Portable w/Handle, Lock for Picnic, Party, Camping - White
  • HEAVY-DUTY TABLE TOP: Place food, drinks, and much more on the strong, easy-to-clean table top with high-quality plastic...
  • INDOOR/OUTDOOR USE: Versatile use makes it perfect as a dining or game table for outdoor cookouts or birthday parties,...

While a campsite in an established campground typically comes with a picnic table, you’ll need to bring your own when you boondock. With limited space in an RV, a folding table is a great option to consider. 

You can use a folding table to eat meals outdoors, to do school, or work. You’ll likely find having a folding table available can enhance your experience. This is a boondocking must-have you might overlook if you plan to use the space inside your RV.

21. Camp Rug

Reversible Mats 159123 Outdoor Patio / RV Camping Mat - Swirl (Blue/Black/Grey, 9-Feet x 12-Feet)
  • Breathable material won’t damage grass
  • UV coated to protect against fading and other sun damage

You don’t want to track dirt and other items in your RV. A camp rug can give you a place to take your shoes off before entering your RV and create a more home-like space.

You can shop through many designs to find a pattern to fit your style. These rugs are often very lightweight, easy to store, and can handle the changing weather conditions boondockers often encounter.

22. Portable Propane Fire Pit

Many areas of the country have fire bans during peak camping season. While many bans prohibit traditional wood campfires, they often allow propane fires. Having a portable propane fire pit will enable you to have a fire each night.

Plus, you may find propane fire pits more convenient than wood fires. Turning on your fire pit with the press of a button is much faster than building a wood one. You can even cook over these fires without any harm to the food.

A close up of marshmallows on a stick being roasted over a fire.

23. USB Rechargeable Fans

Camping Fan with LED Lantern, 7800mAh Rechargeable Portable Tent Fan with Remote Control, Power Bank, 180°Head Rotation, Perfect Quiet Battery Operated USB Fan for Picnic, Barbecue, Fishing
  • 【7800mAh Battery】- Unlike inferior fans that cannot be started normally on the market, our upgraded camping fan...
  • 【Remote Control & Timing Function】- The 2-in-1 portable fan has 3 levels of wind speed and 3 levels of LED...

Fans can waste a lot of power from your RV’s battery bank. However, if staying cool is necessary to help you sleep or keep you comfortable, a USB rechargeable fan can help get the job done.

A rechargeable fan means you can charge the battery each day, especially with a solar power system. These fans can create a lot of cool air and keep air flowing in your RV. 

24. Non-Perishable Groceries

You want to ensure you have an appropriate supply of non-perishable groceries while boondocking, so you won’t have to worry about food spoiling. These food types often have a long shelf life and don’t require refrigeration. You can keep them at room temperature without any worries.

25. Dry Shampoo

Using dry shampoo can absorb the oils in your hair and leave you with cleaner and fluffier-looking hair. Some RVers enjoy using this type of shampoo to reduce their water usage. If you want to keep your hair looking and feeling fresh while RVing, consider bringing some dry shampoo.

Ready to Go with These Boondocking Must-Haves

If you stock up on these boondocking must-haves, you’ll likely be ready to handle almost anything boondocking throws at you. We hope this list will help you give boondocking a try if you’ve never gone yet. If you have already tried boondocking, what are the must-have items you’d add to our list?

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  1. It’s a persistent, harmful myth that you can dump the contents of a composting toilet anywhere! It should be emptied unto a trash bag and disposed of like baby diapers or any household trash. It can take take a year to break down into safe compost. We’ve been turned away from Oregon coast campgrounds because previous campers dumped their “compost” on the beach and the campgrounds have now banned rigs with compost toilets. Same for the urine – empty it into a toilet. It will kill a bush if not diluted with 10 parts water.

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