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RV Podcast #285: Best Practices for Boondocking

| Updated Jun 16, 2023

Boondocking has become hugely popular as more and more RVers discover the freedom of escaping the rules, costs and noise associated with staying in a campground. They're camping off the grid, without hookups and usually in scenic and uncrowded locations.

But with so many now enjoying boondocking have come problems. Some areas are being closed to boondockers because of inconsiderate RVers who, perhaps unwittingly, are causing major issues and harming the environment and wildlife.

Our guests this week are Kerensa Durr and Brandon Hatcher of the Escapees RV Club. The Escapees, and its Xcapers subgroup of RVers who work from the road, have recently put out a list of suggested best practices for RVers who like to boondock.

You'll meet them in our interview of the week. Also this week, RV News about the effect the Coronavirus is having on the RV industry, your RV Lifestyle questions, and a great off the beaten path report from Tom & Patti Burkett.


Show Notes for Episode #285 Best Practices for Boondocking of The RV Podcast:


  • RV Podcast #285: Best Practices for Boondocking 1We recap our Florida travels and meetups
  • Update our upcoming new 7 Day RV Adventure Guides …coming soon!
  • Talk about our plans to speak at the RV Entrepreneur’s Summit next week in Alabama
  • Share our thought on all the concerns about the Corona virus and our future meetups

This part of the podcast is brought to you by the Nimble Pet Monitor 4G, the surest way we know of to have peace of mind that the temperature for your pets back in the RV is not too high. More information and a discount for listeners ot the RV Podcast is available at


Coronavirus means all bets off in predicting RV sales for 2020
Everywhere we read about how the coronavirus is spreading, leaving seemingly no aspect of life untouched. So it was with interest we read a story from the epicenter of the RV industry, examining how the virus is expected to affect RV manufacturing and sales. The story highlighted how shipments were up 29 percent in January 2020 verses January 2019, and an excess inventory from previous years had worked itself out of the supply line. Then this virus hit. To see the South Bend Tribune article click here.

Campground reservations rise as Japanese head outdoors as schools, public gatherings close because of coronavirus
Speaking of coronavirus, Japan is a nation that has closed schools and canceled many public gatherings to reduce the virus' spread. And according to an article out last week, the way some in the island nation have handled this is by going camping. Apparently many campgrounds have experienced a rise in reservations, with many families deciding to experience the outdoors rather than stay in the city in their homes.

More than half a million sandhill cranes expected to pass through Nebraska in next couple weeks
The sandhill cranes are back in Nebraska, with some 600,000 expected to pass through a roughly 80 mile stretch of Nebraska within the next few weeks. The first of the birds were spotted last week on their annual migration north. Watching the cranes descend has become a tourism draw. The largest concentration of the birds can be found along the Platte River between the cities of Grand Island and Kearney. Mike and I have long talked about seeing these magnificent cranes but haven't made it there to spot the migration yet. We have, however, been to Kearney a few times (see one report here), and highly recommend it for those interested in the pioneer history.

Oil and gas exploration damaging Big Cypress National Preserve, Army Corps letter charges
Burnett Oil Co. is damaging the landscape of Big Cypress National Preserve as it searches for oil and gas reserves, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A letter by the Army Corps was publicized last weekend, showing how exploration was damaging the land, basically causing the equivalent of “mechanized land clearing, ditching, and channelization.” Oil and gas exploration was permitted in the area by the National Park Service in 2016. The preserve is home to the endangered Florida black panther and is an important water source. To read more, click here.

FBI asking anyone at Yellowstone National Park on Sept. 8 to share their video and photos as they search for missing children
If you were at Yellowstone National Park on Sept. 8, 2019, the FBI is asking for your help. The FBI is asking anyone there that day who took pictures or video to share those images with them as they search for missing kids. A 17-year-old girl was last seen on that date in the park, with her mother, uncle and 7-year-old brother. The 7-year-old went missing a bit later, the uncle died in December and the mom has been arrested.

RV News Shorts, Tips, and Reviews

 This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes, America's #1 e-bike brand, offering direct-to-consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  

Want to learn how to boondock?

We created a PRINT version of our most popular guide to help you with the most common boondocking problems. We get a ton of questions from our subscribers about how to get started boondocking that range from where to go and wild animals to water conservation to what equipment to use and more. 

RV Podcast #285: Best Practices for Boondocking 2

Throw off the shackles of traditional RV Parks and campgrounds, stop paying high fees every night that you spend in your RV, and experience the boundless amounts of nature while boondocking!

You’re done with the noisy RV parks, the 3.5 feet of room you have squished in between two other RVs, and other people’s kids running through your campsite?

You’ve ditched the hookups, the concrete blocks and have replaced them with self-leveling and Navy showers?

This is the book for you.


Dan from Georgetown TX has some great news about a sure sign of Spring in Texas….

Hey Mike and Jennifer this is Dan from over in Georgetown Texas.. met up with you all a couple of years ago when you were passing through up and Waco. Just wanted to give you a quick shout-out and let you know that the bluebonnets are out again just made a quick trip yesterday from Austin down to Houston and back and then down Route 71 between Bastrop and Columbus down off of I-10. They are starting to really pop with the bluebonnets and the Indian Paintbrush. So I know you're going to be heading west according to what you've been saying. Hey, come on down to Texas and you're going to see a blue blanket out there. Nothing down the road. So we'll catch you on down the road here in a little bit. Come on down. Catch you later.

Listener Kelly wants to know: I'm wondering if you can use the bed with the slide in on your Leisure Travel Vans Unity FX? the FX model, the slide must be out to bring down the Murphy Bed.

Do you have a question you’d like us to answer or a comment on the things we’re discussing? If so, we invite you to leave us that question or comment on the special voicemail number we have for the podcast – it’s 586-372-6990.  If you are driving and can’t write it down right now, just go to the RV Lifestyle travel blog at and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.

This part of the RV Podcast is brought to you by Battle Born Batteries, maker of quality, safe and reliable lithium batteries that can be installed in just about every RV. Get in touch with Battle Born to find out what lithium batteries and an upgraded energy management system can add to your RV Lifestyle. Check them out at


Boondocking has become hugely popular as more and more RVers discover the freedom of escaping the rules, costs and noise associated with staying in a campground by camping off the grid, without hookups and usually in scenic and uncrowded locations.

But with so many now enjoying boondocking have come problems. Some areas are being closed to boondockers because of inconsiderate RVers who, perhaps unwittingly, are causing major issues and harming the environment and wildlife..

Our guests this week are Kerensa Durr and Brandon Hatcher of the Escapees RV Club. The Escapees, and its Xcapers subgroup of RVers who work from the road, have recently put out a list of suggested best practices for RVers who like to boondock.

We met up with Kerensa and Brandon on a recent trip to Arizona and had a great discussion about these unofficial rules for Boondocking.

Here’s a video version of the interview:

Here’s the Escapees Guide to Boondocking best practices:

1. Respect the Rules of the Land. Observe posted signs, obtain permits when necessary, follow usage limits, and camp only in designated areas and pre-established campsites, which vary depending on agency and state regulations. Bear in mind, some of these lands fall under federal laws, not state laws.

2. Treasure the Terrain. Camp on durable surfaces. Avoid damaging surfaces or modifying terrain by digging, moving large rocks, cutting plants, etc. Stick to predesignated paths without widening them or creating new ones. Remember, there are native plants, organisms, and ecosystems that interplay here and can be easily damaged.

3. Respect Your Neighbors. Avoid overcrowding an area or blocking your neighbors’ view. Orient your RV so that your generator isn’t directed at them and respect quiet hours. Rules vary but are generally between 10pm-8am. Maintain a tidy campsite. Keep noise to a minimum so everyone has a peaceful experience. Drive at a campground speed and be aware of kids, wildlife, pets, and your dust trails.

4. Respect Nature and Wildlife. Keep pets under control and clean up after them, even in the wild. Don’t entice, feed, or approach wildlife. Limit and eliminate use of pesticides. Check for burn bans; be mindful of firewood rules and make sure your fire is fully extinguished. (Remember, exhaust pipes on vehicles and generators can trigger fires.) Consider a propane fire pit that you can carry with you and snub out easily.

5. Pack it In, Pack it Out. Keep your holding tanks closed! Secure fresh water from approved sources and dispose of trash respectfully in public trash receptacles. Lower your impact with bio-degradable products.

Always leave the area cleaner than you found it!

Take only memories, leave only footprints.

As RVers, we should be good stewards of the land to protect this privilege for future generations. Not following these practices can have serious consequences and could be detrimental to all RVers. Public lands can be closed to camping because of overcrowding, damage to the land, and guests overstaying the time limits. Following the best practices will help ensure that we all remain good neighbors to each other and the land. If you feel that someone is unaware of these practices, share these resources with them in a positive way.

Here's the Escapees Good Neighbor Policy about overnight parking at places like Walmart and Cracker Barrel:

The Good Neighbor Policy was created in the early 90s by Escapees RV Club. Since then, it has become the industry standard code of conduct for overnight parking. We hope that the Good Neighbor Policy serves as a reminder that RVers must be respectful of the communities they visit.

Some of the most respected RV consumer clubs have joined Escapees to support your privilege to park on private businesses’ property overnight under the following code of conduct:

Industry-sanctioned Code of Conduct

(RVers Good Neighbor Policy)

1. Stay one night only!

2. Obtain permission from a qualified individual.

3. Obey posted regulations.

4. No awnings, chairs or barbecue grills.

5. Do not use hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces (including asphalt).

6. Always leave an area cleaner than you found it.

7. Purchase gas, food or supplies as a form of thank you, when feasible.

8. Be safe! Always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel unsafe.

If your plans include touring the area, staying for more than one night, or necessitate conduct not within the code, please relocate to a local campground. It’s the right thing to do!

Most of the complaints lodged regarding RV parking on business parking lots have to do with aesthetics and perceived abuse of the privilege. There are a variety of competing interests that were balanced to arrive at this industry-sanctioned code of conduct. As you can see, the code of conduct is nothing more than an RVers “Good Neighbor” policy.

Not following the code has serious consequences and is detrimental to the rights of all RVers. Already, some municipalities have passed ordinances to prohibit parking on private business property overnight.

Please do not take offense to this; it is only provided as a reminder that RVers must be perceived as good neighbors or there will be more pressure to institute state, county and local ordinances to prohibit parking on private business property.

We wish you safe and happy travels,

Preserve the privilege of overnight parking.

Follow the code and encourage others to follow it, too!

More information on the Escapees RV Club can be found at  Jennifer and I are both members of Escapees.

To download your own copy, go to

Meanwhile, Jennifer and I have written a very detailed 65-page guide to Boondocking that can be instantly downloaded. More info for it at

The interview of the week is brought to you by, where every new  motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country



By Tom & Patti Burkett

If you’ve ever been to visit Assateague and Chincoteague Islands in Virginia, you’ve spent some time on US highway 13.  We were here in the early Spring to see the waterfowl migration, and it was spectacular.  Headed south toward Norfolk, we passed through Wachapreague and Nassawadox, and pulled in for lunch at the Great Machipongo Crab Shack.  Although I don’t think I’ll ever again eat a soft-shell crab, the hush puppies were outstanding, and we were advised to make a stop at the nearby Barrier Islands Cultural Center before leaving the area.

Barrier Islands stretch all along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and provide not only a buffer from the worst of the ocean’s storm fury, but also some of the most expensive and picturesque real estate imaginable.  Human settlement on these islands has been continuous for thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of years.  Fort George Island in Florida sports a shell ring that dates to the time of the construction of the pyramids in 3600 BC.  The focus of life on this edge of the sea has always been the harvesting of its bounty.

RV Podcast #285: Best Practices for Boondocking 3

It’s no surprise, then, that the Cultural Center’s displays and exhibits focus on maritime history.  From the seasonal settlements of Native Americans to the commercial shrimping and oystering industry, the museum chronicles the daily life of working people in this rich but harsh environment.  If you spend any time exploring the barrier islands, you’ll find out that the size and shape of them is constantly shifting.  Hurricanes may completely reconfigure the coastline, and even the regular action of waves and tides open and closes channels, moving sand from one island to another.

One of the things we enjoyed most was a documentary film called Our Island Home, first-person stories from the town of Broadwater on Hog Island.  Broadwater was a victim of the shifting landscape.  In the 1930s it was a center of oyster and clam harvesting, with a school and post office, churches, businesses, and a long commercial wharf.  Ten years later it was nothing more than a few houses, mostly collapsing, and several blocks of sidewalks fading into the dunes.  Many of the houses were floated across the water to the mainland and set up on blocks in small neighborhoods among the bays.  We took the time to visit one of these.

RV Podcast #285: Best Practices for Boondocking 4

The Virginia barrier islands were known, a century ago, for their fine hotels and hunt clubs.  At the museum you will learn about the sisters who argued over who would sit next to President Cleveland when he visited, the intrepid mariners who staffed the lifesaving stations, what life was like for lighthouse keepers on remote islands, and the descendants of slaves who became legendary oyster shuckers and watermen.  Also interesting, if you climb to the attic, is the brick chimney that was rotated ninety degrees to make it fit between the rafters of the building.

There are hands-on activities for kids and adults, a small gift shop with unique items, and lovely grounds for picnicking and enjoying the sun.  The whole complex is dog-friendly, including the museum.  Grab some lunch at the crab shack and spend some time exploring and relaxing at this free and intriguing museum.  Then you can mosey on South and see the breakwater made from derelict ships at Kiptopeke.  There’s always something more to see, out here off the beaten path.


Mike Wendland

Published on 2020-02-03

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.

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