Dry camping is an adventurous way to camp, which allows you to fully experience the nature around you. Dry camping is similar to wild camping, where you don’t have any electrical hookups or forest service. You will have to plan and conserve power, water, and other amenities to pull it off but it’s worth the effort because it is a lot of fun. Dry camping is also much cheaper than camping in a campground where you have to pay for all the luxuries. It’s close to free camping because you don’t need to pay for the spot, electricity, and other services.
Is Dry Camping Better in an RV or a Car?
RV is definitely the way to go when thinking about dry camping. It offers much more space and it has a lot of utilities that you don’t have in your van or car. For example, you have water tanks and waste tanks that take a while to fill up and your car has none of those. Dry camping in your car is manageable but much harder and you can do it for a shorter period.
Dry Camping Tips
Preserve Your Water
When you are out on a dry camping trip, the most important thing you need is water. Knowing exactly how much your fresh water tank can hold will allow you to calculate how many days you can go camping without running out of drinking water. It’s also helpful for planning and rationing your water in case you want to dry camp for a longer period. Conserving water is a must when dry camping because there’s no guarantee that you will be able to find a place in the vicinity to refill your water tanks. You can save some water by keeping your showers as short as possible, stop the water when you are brushing your teeth, and wash dishes in a pot of water. You may also need to limit the amount of water you drink if your water tank falls too low and you have some more time left till the end of the trip. Be careful not to dehydrate yourself though. Cutting the trip short is better in case your water supply is running low.
Related: RV Water System Explained
Preserve Gray Water Tank Capacity
Although it’s not as important as preserving water, your gray water tank capacity needs to be preserved as well. This tank holds the wastewater that you use for showering, washing dishes, and brushing your teeth. Make sure you dump it fully before you leave on your trip and check the capacity of the tank occasionally. This tank is smaller than the freshwater tank so it may fill up much faster than you expect. Once your gray tank capacity is full you will need to dump your tanks to get rid of the waste. Usually, you can do this at many national parks, state parks, and RV parks for a fee. Make sure you monitor the amount of gray water in your tanks so you can adjust your water usage accordingly. If the tank is filling up quickly, cut back on using water so you can extend your stay.
Maintain Your Black Tank
The black tank is even smaller than the gray one. It fills up when the toilet is used. Because it is smaller, it fills up much faster. When it is at maximum capacity you have to dump it somewhere or your toilet will malfunction. Make sure you regularly clean your black tank as well especially before you go on a dry camping trip.
Manage Your Waste Disposal
Your garbage and waste can also become a problem when dry camping. You need to minimize the amount of trash you create because you are not in a campground where you have dump stations and dumpsters. To make sure garbage doesn’t pile up in your RV or around it, you can go to a local store and ask if it’s alright to get rid of a couple of bags in their dumpster. Usually, they will let you as long as it’s one or two bags.
Power is as important as water when you are dry camping, and finding a way to generate it is crucial for your trip. Many dry campers have gas-powered generators that can charge your batteries but they are extremely loud and consume fuel. Another way to go is to get a solar panel or a few of them and charge your batteries using solar power. They are a bit pricey and you need some electrical knowledge to install them but if you plan to dry camp often in national forests it’s worth it to invest in it.
Dry camping in an RV is different than camping in official campgrounds. It takes some time to get used to it and it has a learning curve. That’s why it’s better to start by dry camping for one night and slowly increase the days. The more experience you get the easier it will become to dry camp for several days at a time. Many experienced dry campers can go 2 weeks without having to refill their water tanks and get rid of the waste.
Dry camping can be very difficult and seem impossible at first but as your experience grows it will definitely become one of your favorite ways of camping because of the great spots you can camp at. There are many dispersed camping grounds that you can visit when you dry camp in your RV. There are many spots that have amazing views and beautiful nature around and these sites are what makes dry camping one of the best ways of camping.