Boondocking Must Haves and Essentials to Stay Comfortable Off Grid

Fifth wheel RV driving down a dirt road with the Grand Teton mountains in the background

When we first went boondocking, we had no idea what we were doing. We were extremely intimidated that we didn’t have all of the essentials for boondocking that most boondockers had. We thought boondocking must haves would be a long list of expensive items.

We’re talking solar panels, a huge battery bank, water bags, and everything else we’ve seen to keep you comfortable while off-grid. However, after our first trip out, we realized there are only a few boondocking must haves to ensure your trip is a success.

If you are also finding yourself intimidated to get out there and try boondocking, have no fear! Below are the simple boondocking must haves you’ll need. Also, we recommend to have you first boondocking experience somewhere with wide open spaces (the southwest is perfect for this) and only plan to stay a few nights. After all, your first trip is just to start building your confidience with boondocking!

Now, let’s get into it!

Boondocking Must Haves for Power

When it comes to powering your RV off-grid, you will need some sort of power source. That means solar panels, a battery bank, or a generator. Before our first trip we purchased a 3500 Predator generator since we only had one lead-acid battery in our rig.

We had the generator on pretty much anytime we were in the rig. However, we turned it off at night and when we left. We barely noticed it inside and we made sure to park far enough away from our neighbors so they couldn’t hear it either.

For your first boondocking trip, we recommend following suit with purchasing a generator for your first time out. It’s truly one of the most important essentials for boondocking. Why make the large investment for solar and batteries when you’re not even sure you’re going to like boondocking?

3500 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator
  • 212cc air-cooled OHV gas engine
  • 11 hour run-time @ 25% capacity

I thought having a generator would be complicated but it literally came with a 30 amp adapter and we just used our regular dogbone and power cord for the RV to plugin.

Our RV did not come with a factory installed inverter. An inverter converts DC power to AC power from the battery. So if you also don’t have an inverter, that means when the generator is off, you won’t have any power to your outlets.

To get around this you can either have a portable battery that you can use to power your coffee, charge your laptops, or anything else that requires an outlet. Another option is to install an inverter to your battery.

Travel trailer in the distance with sand and big bushes surrounding it. To get off grid you'll need some boondocking must haves.

Portable Power Station

Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station, 150Wh Small Generator Alternative with 12V, AC and USB Outputs
  • Innovators in portable power | For over a decade, Goal Zero has paved a new way forward in portable energy use at home,...
  • Empower human potential | We are driven by a vision for success defined by our impact on people and the planet. To date,...

3000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter with Starter Cables

GoWISE Power PS1004 3000W Continuous 6000W Surge Peak Power Pure Sine Wave Inverter with Starter Cables and 4 Output Sockets
  • GoWISE Power PURE SINE Power Inverter 3000W Continuous/6000W Surge, 12V DC to 120V AC w/ Black and Red Cables w/ Ring...
  • Ideal use in cars, vessels, and for power failure emergencies and s maximum efficiency with computers, sensitive...

In addition to your generator, you will need a few other boondocking must haves that are essentials for making you trip less stressful.

Lock

You will want to lock your generator to your RV. While we’ve never had a problem with left while boondocking, we also don’t want to give any opportunities for our generator to grow legs.

Master Lock - (1) Python Adjustable Cable Lock, 8413KACBL-20
  • TIEDOWN CONVENIENCE - cinches tight for improved security and no "flapping" within pickup bed or on trailer. Weather...

Gas Can

This is definitely a must have item to refill the fuel for your generator.

No-Spill 1450 5-Gallon Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant)
  • Thumb button control for precise pouring
  • 7/8-inch funnel spout fills even the smallest equipment

Oil

AmazonBasics Conventional Motor Oil - 5W-30 - 5 Quart
  • For best performance, follow the manufacturer's recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual.
  • Helps prevent build up that can cause rust and corrosion

Fuel Stabilizer

Boondocking Must Haves for Water

Your RV will have a freshwater tank, so be sure to fill that up with water before heading out. However, if you run out of water while you are still out there, you are going to need a few items to make refilling your freshwater a breeze.

Portable Water Bag

We highly recommend this bag. We love it because it holds 60 gallons of water when it’s full and is extremely compact when it’s empty, making it easy to store.

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 (60 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...

Portable Water Jugs

We normally drink out of our filtered faucet but we realized we could be more conservative with the tank water if we weren’t drinking it. So make sure to get some drinking water jugs to ensure your tank water lasts longer.

Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container, Blue, 11.3 Inch x 11.0 Inch x 15.3 Inch
  • Rigid, 7-gallon rectangular water container with molded contour grip
  • Space-saving design for easy storing and stacking when empty

Portable Water Jugs

You’ll want to pick up some paper plates to minimize the dishes you will be doing. We didn’t use them for every meal but even rotating meals helped not use so much water on dishes.

Earth's Natural Alternative Wheat Straw Fiber, Bagasse (Sugarcane) Tree Free, Party Pack, Hiking, Grab & Go Eco Picnic Pack, 114-piece
  • 114 piece set includes 16 9" compartments plates, 16 7" side plates, 16 12oz Cups, 16 forks, 16 knives, 32 dinner...
  • Disposable and compostable

Boondocking Must Haves for Your Waste Water Tanks

Once you start boondocking, you will learn how long your tanks can last for. We have a 50-gallon black tank and two 50-gallon grey tanks, so we can last over 14 days by being really conservative with water. Our shower grey tank is the weakest link because that one fills up the fastest.

Portable Waste Tote

If you need to empty any of your tanks, you’ll need something called a blue boy. I’m sure you’ve seen them around but it’s simply a portable waste tank with wheels that you can fill up from your RV sewer outlet and then take somewhere else to dump. It’s made our list of boondocking must haves for those of you who want to say out longer.

Camco (39006) Rhino Heavy Duty 36 Gallon Portable Waste Holding Hose and Accessories-Durable Leak Free and Odorless RV Tote Tank
  • Ready-to-use kit includes everything needed to transport waste from your RV or trailer to a dump station when you’re...
  • Large, heavy-duty, no-flat wheels with bearings make transporting the tow tank smooth and effortless. Removable steel...

Large Shower Wipes

We would also recommend picking up some body wipes/towels to freshen up between showers. These are made for actually cleansing your body and do a lot better than regular baby wipes. There are many brands on the market today because it’s truly one of the big essentials for boondocking.

Large Shower Wipes with Aloe, Vitamin E and Tea Tree Oil, Bathing Wipes for Adults, Backpacking Essentials, 10 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...

Additional Boondocking Must Haves

As you can tell, you don’t need much to get started on your very own boondocking trip when it comes to water, power, and sewer. There are a few other essentials that we would like to recommend though, just to make sure you’re comfortable and safe out there.

High Quality Flashlight

It is dark when you’re off-grid, so one of our simple boondocking must haves is a flashlight. A high-quality flashlight will help you see your surroundings at night.

Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC90 LED Flashlight, Pocket-Sized Torch with Super Bright 900 Lumens CREE LED, IPX5 Water-Resistant, Zoomable, 5 Light Modes, 18650 Battery Included
  • SUPER-BRIGHT: 900-lumen (max) Cree LED sweeps bright light over the length of about two football fields (660 ft / 200 m)...
  • LONG-LASTING: Up to 6 hours (Medium-beam mode) of powerful, non-diminishing brightness from the included premium...
Campfire at night with the silhouette of a man and a tree. A good flashlight to see in the dark is on our boondocking must haves list.

First-Aid Kit

You should have at least a basic first aid kit on hand. Better yet, read our blog about How To Create The Best RV Emergency Kit To Handle Any Disastrous Situation.

Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit, Portable Compact First Aid Set for Minor Cuts, Scrapes, Sprains & Burns, Ideal for Home, Car, Travel and Outdoor Emergencies, 140 Pieces
  • 140-piece Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose Portable and Compact Emergency First Aid Kit for use at home, in cars, outdoors,...
  • All-purpose, compact first aid kit includes essential first aid and wound care supplies like cleansing wipes, gauze...

Entertainment While Boondocking

Jason loves to play board games so we always have a few with us. They allowed us to kill the rumble of the generator for a while and relax. No electricity needed. Here are a few of our favorite games.

Exploding Kittens Card Game - Family-Friendly Party Games - Card Games for Adults, Teens & Kids
  • Exploding kittens is the perfect card game for adults, teens and kids who are into kittens and explosions and laser...
  • More than 9 million copies sold, breaking records in kids games, adult games and everything in-between
Hasbro Gaming The Game of Life Board Game Ages 8 & Up (Amazon Exclusive)
  • Great family game: Do you remember playing this classic Hasbro board game from your childhood,with instant setup and...
  • Life is full of adventures: This edition of the game of life game includes 115 cards offering exciting choices As...
Forbidden Island – The Cooperative Strategy Survival Island Board Game
  • 2010 Mensa Favorite Brainy Games Winner
  • Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this...
R & R Games Hanabi Card Game
  • For 2-5 players
  • 2013 Spiele des Jahres game of the year

Final Thoughts

That’s it! These boondocking must haves are all you need to get out there! Once you start to build your boondocking confidence, you can begin to stay out longer and begin investing in the higher-priced items. They’ll be worth it if you plan to boondock more often! Lastly, be sure to check out 40 RV Boondocking Tips To Make Your Off-Grid Camping Better.

Last update on 2021-04-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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3 comments
  1. Your rig doesn’t look that big, but you seem to have very large water and waste storage capacity. What brand and model is your 5th wheel?

  2. We have a Solitude 344 with residential refrigerator. Do you have a residential too? How did you keep everything cold and frozen with your restricted generator usage?
    We want to boondock but are reluctant due to our refrigerator and needing ac. Have you boondocks on the east coast? We are currently in Florida for family reasons and boondocking would be a huge benefit.

    Thanks again.
    Love reading your blog

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