How to Outfit an RV for Off Grid Boondocking

   03.02.22

How to Outfit an RV for Off Grid Boondocking

We lived off grid in our RV for two years with a family of four and two dogs. We absolutely loved it. We were stationary for a bit but before that, we would boondock. We pulled our Jeep behind our RV so we could explore in our downtime, as well as make quick runs into town as needed.

Boondocking is being able to park out in public lands without having to be connected to power or water. It was amazing being able to go wherever we wanted and even after all of the investments we made to make our RV off grid, I think it was still very much cheaper than always staying at a park.

Let’s dive right into the necessities of making your RV suitable for off grid boondocking:

Electricity

My husband purchased all the parts and installed our entire solar system himself. I think having at least a small solar setup, even if it’s a solar generator, is a good idea to provide some amount of power. We didn’t have enough solar power to run our AC, but we could run just about anything else. Especially because we changed out all the lights to LED. We conserved a little on cloudy days, but for the most part, we were able to power anything we wanted, even a microwave during peak energy hours.

Get the batteries, inverter, charge controller, and solar panels. Or invest in a solar generator with a couple of solar panels that can be set out when you’re stationary. Whatever is going to be easier for you.

Don’t forget any maintenance needs that may need to take place. My husband put the system together himself so he knew it inside and out. If you’re not familiar with your system, be aware of how you might be able to maintain or fix any problems that arise.

Toilet

Get rid of your black tank. Well, ok, don’t get rid of it, but don’t use it anymore! Get a compost toilet. I was really skeptical about using a compost toilet but after just the first use and seeing how it worked, I was sold. No more having to drain the black tank, we just had to empty the urine every night and emptied the poo about every 2-4 weeks. You can bury the poo or simply throw it away next time you go to town.

Compost toilets are definitely an investment but something we will absolutely be doing again with our next off grid RV for the simple fact of never having to deal with emptying a black tank.

Heat

If you’re thinking about heating options, most RVs run their furnace off of propane, so keep in mind to fill up on propane before heading out into the wilderness. Our propane also helped to run our fridge, so we needed propane regardless.

You may also want to consider a wood stove if you have enough room in your RV. We never had enough room for a wood stove in ours but definitely something to look into.

We also invested in reflectix that was placed on our windows. It helped a lot to keep the warm air in. But, regardless, RV walls are super thin, so you’ll want some solid ways to stay warm.

Water

Our RV held 80 gallons of water underneath the bed. We didn’t drive with the tank full. Instead, before we headed out to a spot, we filled the tank. We also stored some bottles of water. We used the tank for showering, dishes, and cooking, then used the bottled water for drinking. The water from the tank was perfectly suitable for drinking, but we just wanted to conserve whatever was coming out of the tank since we had to drive the entire RV out to fill it back up.

Whenever we were near bodies of water, we’d use the water for laundry, dishes, and sometimes bathing. If we felt it was good enough water to purify and drink, we did. We often used the resources of nature whenever we could.

Internet

We both worked remote jobs so we needed access to the internet. We used cellular internet which wasn’t exactly cheap, but as long as there was a cell tower within several miles, we had internet, and pretty good internet, too. We would raise antennas that pointed in the direction of the nearest cell tower to get even more powerful internet.

Many people also use hotspot devices or just their cell phone coverage.

We didn’t have cable, we used our internet service for Netflix, Hulu, etc. But if you are interested in TV, there are portable dishes.

Don’t want internet? That’s fine, too! No need to have it. Just giving options.

Safety

I have to mention safety because there were a few places we went that were a bit sketchy. Solar lights, battery-powered motion cameras, changing the locks on the outside storage, in addition to any personal safety protection that you’re comfortable with.

While nothing ever happened, it’s just good to be aware that you are in the middle of places that are highly trafficked by many other people. You just never know and want to remain vigilant and safe. Our two dogs were also very aware of noises outside, too, which was really nice.

Make it yours

RVs can be changed and remodeled just like a house to fit your exact needs. We ripped out two seats, the couch and added an outdoor storage unit so that we could make modifications that we needed in order to fit the lifestyle we wanted.

Did any of this affect the resale value? Nope. Nobody cared about the changes we made. Know why? They wanted to make their own changes!

Look for an RV with a solid motor and in fairly good condition, but remember that almost everything can be changed.

I hope you find the off grid RV of your dreams!



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