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How Safe Is Boondocking? 10 Expert Tips and Techniques

| Updated Nov 15, 2023

How safe is boondocking? Besides being a lot of fun, boondocking is very safe, It's time to clear the air of all the false rumors.

Some people seem to think all that solitude and lack of dozens of RVs in the area means you are more vulnerable to criminal elements, right?

I'm sure you have heard those worries. Maybe you even had them yourself and wondered how safe is boondocking?

The simple answer is that boondocking is safer than sleeping in your bed at home. Let’s look at why boondocking is safe, and how you can maximize your safety on every adventure.

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1. Rest Assured Boondocking IS Safe!

Thieves are looking to get the most value for the least amount of risk. Your RV is probably worth a bundle, but it doesn’t contain the trove of valuables found in a home, and it’s very hard to hide or fence a vehicle the size of a motorhome.

Boondocking is safe because RVs are not profitable targets for criminals. 

Boondocking actually increases your safety by isolating you from places where crimes take place. Even things like fighting and vandalism are more common in a heavily traveled RV park because criminals don’t like the risks associated with RVs in the middle of nowhere.

Nowhere isn’t worth the effort of getting there for most crooks, but it is worth the drive for campers.

So, really, when it comes to how safe is boondocking, encountering criminals nearby should be very low on your worry list.

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2. Boondocking Safely Vs. Dry Camping

It is important to draw a line between dry camping– camping without being connected to the grid– with boondocking.

You can dry camp at Walmart, but boondocking typically begins somewhere beyond the city limits. 

Both methods are relatively safe, but boondocking doesn’t have the random human element found in a parking lot, and the open spaces include a lot more freedom.

So in wondering how safe is boondocking, there is a difference between parking lot dry camping and wilderness boondocking. Neither pose great risks but of the two, wilderness boondocking is always the safetst.

You can read more about The Truth About Crime in Walmart Parking Lots.

3. Choosing a Campsite

how safe is boondocking

If this is your first boondocking adventure, you may not want to get too far out of touch. Save the trips into places where there isn’t any cell service for when you’ve built up your boondocking skills.

Either way, pay attention to the area around your desired campsite.

Is there a lot of traffic, or people wandering around poking into things? Is the area clean? If you have doubts about the safety of a campsite, the best advice is to find another one instead of taking chances.

4. How Safe Is Boondocking? Stay Alert

You will probably have more boondocking troubles with raccoons than you will with human beings. Either way, you can reduce the danger to yourself by putting your things away, closing the windows, and keeping your valuables hidden. Putting away your grill after cooking out reduces the risk of theft by opportunity, and a clean campsite promotes keeping the area available for years to come.

BONUS: Click Here to read about Free and CHEAP places where you can boondock

5. Be Prepared To Leave

How safe is boondocking? Besides the beauty, it is very safe.

Crime is rare, but bad things can happen to boondockers. If you feel nervous about a spot, the best thing to do to protect yourself is to move on.

A free campsite isn’t worth confrontation or fear, and driving away is always an option. This will not happen often, but the day may come when you must choose between spending the night in a questionable area or finding another place to go.

6. Know Your Neighbors

Boondockers are their own community watch program. When you first set up camp in an area, it is a good idea to introduce yourself to any neighbors you may have. This is more than a common courtesy among campers, though.

It is also a good way to give your closest neighbors a good look at you, and you a good look at them. You don’t have to be paranoid to keep an eye on things in your immediate area, and checking up on questionable people or unusual activity benefits everyone.

7. Alarms and Animals

How Safe Is Boondocking? 10 Expert Tips and Techniques 1

Security alarms can give you more peace of mind. Lights that are motion-activated, for example, make it safer if you need to go outside and helps deter the criminal element from getting too close to your stuff.

Traveling with a dog is another great way to be a bit more secure. Even a small dog can make loud noises when a stranger is around, and no one but you needs to know that your dog wouldn’t bite a flea.

If you don’t own a dog, posting a sign warning people that your dog might bite unwanted visitors is still an added protection as it keeps strangers wary and at a distance.

8. How Safe Is Boondocking? Secure the Cockpit Doors

When you get ready to sleep or plan to be away from your RV for a while, you can reduce the chance of someone breaking in by looping a lightweight chain through the door handles on either side of the vehicle cab.

Once the ends are locked together, this loop makes it impossible to open either door from the outside and reduces the number of entry points.

9. Cover the Windows

rv windows covered

Pulling the drapes across your RV windows makes breaking into it riskier. Crooks want to know what they have to gain before they get inside, and without a clear interior view, unsavory types are less likely to try to get inside.

It is still a good idea to keep your valuables locked away, but simply covering the windows adds an instant layer of protection.

10. Social Media

Your favorite social media account is likely to be the biggest vulnerability to boondocking. In today’s world of selfies and Go-Pros, people are setting themselves up as targets for criminals who use the platforms to find new targets.

No matter how great the image, resist the urge to post real-time images or updates. By keeping your location a secret until after you have left, you avoid the possibility of someone tracking your moves and plotting against you. 

In Summary

Is boondocking safe? For all practical purposes, camping in a remote area is safer than living in any metropolitan area. You have fewer neighbors, for example, and more opportunities to get to know the ones you have.

Compared to an RV park, boondocking is a safer, saner way to camp, especially if you prefer darker, quieter nights to parties and fraternizing with people you don’t know.

TWO Helpful EBOOKS in this RV Lifestyle Bundle!

How Safe Is Boondocking? 10 Expert Tips and Techniques 2

Beginners Guide to Boondocking (one of our most popular ebooks) and one of our newest ebooks, The Ultimate Guide to Free and Cheap RV Camping!

ebook #1: Beginners Guide to Boondocking

We created a 65+-page downloadable digital guide to help you understand the nuances that come with boondocking, the most common boondocking problems, and what you need to do to get your rig “boondocking-ready.”

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2021-05-10

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

9 Responses to “How Safe Is Boondocking? 10 Expert Tips and Techniques”

April 03, 2022at6:06 pm, Sue Tojos said:

Please send packing list and other information about boondocking/camping by trailer or just minivan.

April 03, 2022at8:52 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Hi Sue – If you are interested in Mike and Jen’s packing list, best to request that at:

May 15, 2021at1:40 pm, saly said:

The operative word here is “inside”. I almost missed it too. lol

May 15, 2021at7:56 am, said:

Thank you looking forward to hearing from you

May 15, 2021at7:55 am, said:

Thank you looking forward to the information.

May 10, 2021at12:09 pm, Beth Smith said:

I don’t understand the idea of attaching a chain to the door handles. Could you show a photo of how this works?

May 10, 2021at10:15 am, Marie Kluttz said:

I’m already on your list, but I would like to receive the packing list, please.

Thank you!
Marie Kluttz

May 10, 2021at8:33 am, Janet said:

Please send RV packing list.

May 11, 2021at9:42 am, Leon said:

Is it lawful to travel with a shotgun in your RV?

Comments are closed.

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