Last Updated on 05/03/2024 by Glynn Willard

What Are The Best RVs For Boondocking?

 
There are several great options for boondocking RVs and one in particular that I would avoid.

We’ll discuss, what’s necessary in a boondocking RV as well as the best kinds below.

Why am I writing this article?

We were full time boondockers for two years and really got to know:
 

  • The terrain,
  •  

  • What RVs others were boondocking in and
  •  

  • How we managed with a medium-sized trailer (An Outdoors RV).

 
After all that time, we know what we wish we had had for an even better experience.

Keep in mind, we’re a family of four, so “perfect” was not an option due to space.

Please understand that great boondocking locations put real wear and tear on your RV, requiring a chassis built for moderate off-roading.

Let’s do our best to arm you with the right information so you can make the right decision without making an expensive mistake.
 



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What Do We Mean By Boondocking Sites?

 

 
Some of us want to do some dry camping outside of National Parks.

Others prefer to push further into remote areas in the great outdoors.
We like both.

But here’s what we learned about the terrain for 90% of our boondocking.

Much of it was rocky and not level. Even the dirt roads had their fair share of washboard.

On a side note, why do dirt roads with washboard seem like some cruel and unusual punishment?

Regardless, I’m not talking about hardcore overlanding that requires a heavily modified 4×4.

Yeah, that sounds amazing, but since you’ve landed on this article, it’s likely not what you’re looking for.

You want an RV that will safely get you in and out of remote areas on Bureau of Land Management land and National Forests.

Any RV can boondock in parking lots or an RV park that doesn’t supply sewer hookups or electrical hookups (for the most part).

That’s not your jam!
 

Important Considerations For A Boondocking RV

 
Most importantly, your RV needs to be equipped with everything you need to maintain your safety while boondocking.

The best camper will be the one that is equipped with the list in the next section and offers comfort to you and your family members.

If one person in your group is uncomfortable while you’re camping, it will quickly degrade everyone’s experience.

No doubt, you know what I mean!
 

What Does An RV Need For Boondocking?

 
Free Boondocking near Delta, CO
 
The best way is to find the right RV that already has all of the necessary standard features.

It can get expensive to modify an existing RV with additional features that will make boondocking easy.

What are these features?
 

  • A large freshwater tank.
  •  

  • A high-capacity gray and black tank (unless you use a composting toilet).
  •  

  • High ground clearance.
  •  

  • Good quality suspension. Independent suspension is nice, but not essential.
  •  

  • Solar panels and a battery bank. They don’t have to be lithium batteries, but lithium does pack a better punch for the weight.
  •  

  • If you don’t have enough solar power, you’ll need an inverter generator to charge batteries and run your AC appliances.
  •  

  • Lastly, a high cargo carrying capacity (the weight you can carry above the dry weight).
     
    You’ll need that capacity to make sure you have enough space to carry tools and supplies for your boondocking trip.

 
Consider yourself lucky if you can find a “fairly new” used RV that’s already been modified for RV boondocking and checks all your boxes.
 

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Where Are The Best Places To Boondock

 
I mentioned earlier that BLM and National Forest lands have some of the best boondocking.

Most of it is accessible with a capable RV and will offer you solitude and beautiful scenery.

Sadly, these locations barely exist along the East Coast.

If you only plan on boondocking along the East, ground clearance and suspension can be deprioritized.

Instead, focus more on tank capacity and a solid renewable power source.

But if you’ll be in the West, our favorite states for boondocking are:
 

  • Arizona
  •  

  • Utah
  •  

  • Idaho
  •  

  • Colorado

 
We also enjoy Nevada, California, New Mexico, and Wyoming, but they’re our “second” favorites.

You can find coordinates to some of our favorite locations under our Boondocking Locations category.
 

What Are The Best Types Of Boondocking RVs For Public Lands?

 

 
We’ve discussed the type of boondocking, what standard features are necessary, and where to boondock.

Now let’s look at which type of RV is the best option for off-grid camping on the open road.

This list is ordered beginning with worst, next is acceptable, and finally the best boondocking RV.
 

  1. Class A motorhome
  2.  
    I do not recommend buying a class A motorhome if you intend to boondock in remote locations.

    Yes, it has large tanks and plenty of real estate for renewable power sources, but it will not make it deep into the remote areas you’re craving.

    Besides, many of the appliances are power-hungry and will need a substantial generator or a lot of battery power to run off-grid.

    It’s not a good idea.

     

  3. Fifth-Wheel Trailer
  4.  
    Fifth wheels are amazing for families (especially if you need bunk beds) and have the added benefit of a separate vehicle for out-and-about trips.

    But they’re not great for going deep into BLM land.

    Generally, a fifth wheel is heavy and too large to navigate the more challenging terrain.

    However, if you intend to boondock “toward the front” of forest service roads and BLM entrances, you’ll be fine in a fifth wheel.

    In my opinion, it’s the best type of RV for staying long-term in RV parks.

     

  5. Class C Motorhome
  6.  
    When I mention class C, I’m picturing smaller RVs, not 30+ feet or Super C’s.

    Although there are some beefed-up Super C’s with good ground clearance, but they’re outside the average person’s financial means.

    There are a few Class C’s on the market specifically designed for boondocking. I’m still on the fence about those.

    Smaller class C’s have a shorter wheelbase and fewer obstructions below the axles.

    They can go a little further back on rough terrain.

    Dually’s are not great for off-roading, but again, you’re not taking a class C onto the worst of the terrain.

     

  7. Bumper Pull Travel Trailer or Toy Hauler
  8.  
    This is your best choice for a family of four or more. Or if you just want a “livable” amount of space.

    There are a few trailers on the market that are very well-equipped for boondocking with all of the criteria listed above.

    I wrote an article about the best boondocking travel trailers you may find helpful if you’re leaning toward a travel trailer.
     

    Best Features For Off-Grid Camper (Trailers): Boondocking

     
    The right small to medium-sized travel trailer paired with the right tow vehicle is the best solution for a family craving great boondocking adventures.

     

  9. 4X4 Campervan (Class B Motorhome)
  10.  
    Brands like Storyteller Overland and Modvans make some fantastic boondocking RVs.

    Especially if there are two or less of you.

    We travel as a family of four in a Roadtrek campervan and it’s tight.

    I don’t recommend more than two people for long term boondocking in a class B camper.

    Aside from that caveat, the right overland campervan can get you deep into remote locations.

    You’re limiting factor will be your fresh water capacity.

     

  11. Truck Camper
  12.  
    If there are two adults and a small child and your intention is overlanding to great remote locations, the right truck camper will be your best choice.

    Why? Truck campers designed for boondocking check all the boxes and can be paired with a 4×4 super-duty truck built for off-roading.

    You have the added benefit of removing the camper from the truck bed at your favorite remote camp sites to save the spot while you use the truck for exploring.

    Trucks also tend to be more comfortable to drive than some vans.

    Please make sure the truck you choose has the GVWR capacity for the camper and your gear without compromising your suspension.

    I realize that’s a tall order, but it can be done.

 

 

Wrapping Up Best RV For Boondocking

 

 
​As you can see, the best RV for boondocking is not cut and dry.

It depends on your circumstances, location, the number of people in your group, and your vision of boondocking.

To sum it up:
 

  • If you need space for a family, a bumper pull travel trailer equipped for boondocking is your best choice.
  •  

  • If there are one or two of you, a truck camper or an overlanding campervan are your best two options.

 
What’s your favorite RV to boondock in?
 
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