Boondocking With Gear: How Steve Makes it Work

Whether you’re new to the RV scene, or an experienced RV pro, you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “boondocking” at least once or twice, but you may not know what it is. Sometimes called dry camping, boondocking is just camping in an RV, but without hookups. Sometimes, you camp in a rustic park, with more primitive accommodations, but often, you just cut the engine in a quiet, secluded spot, and enjoy the tranquility. (Sounds nice, doesn’t it?) Bookdocking is for RVers who truly want some peace, quiet, and solitude. It’s roughing it, but with the conveniences that an RV affords.

Steve McKenzie’s boondocking rig. (Mike Wendland)



Chances are, though, that if you are boondocking, you’ll want to tote more than just a few changes of clothes and some provisions. You want your kayak, your canoe, your mountain bike — all of your outdoor adventure gear! After all, you won’t be staying at campgrounds, that have these things available to guests. You’re on your own. But how do you take it all with you?

Both novice and experienced boondockers can take a lesson from dry camping aficionados, like Steve McKenzie of Madison, Wisconsin. He’s got an amazing boondocking system all figured out.

First: An Incredible Camping Van

Steve’s Sportsmobile van looks like an ordinary camping van on the outside, and while it’s relatively small, it’s enough for him and his wife. Open the door, however, and you quickly realize that the inside is completely decked out. Seriously, it’s like the Rolling Stones’ tour bus. (The one for the band, not the one for the roadies.) The top pops up, and there’s a loft with a bed up there. The couch opens up into a bed, too. There’s a small kitchen with a fridge, a sink, and a two-burner range. There’s even a solar panel to provide electricity to the interior. For handling the toughest roads, the RV has four wheel drive. As far as small boondocking RVs go, this is about as good as it gets.

Steve showing off his set up. (Mike Wendland)


Second: A Rugged Trailer

With his awesome RV, Steve trails an Xventure trailer. This is a consumer version of an Army trailer, made by Schutt Industries, and they’re built to withstand a lot. It weighs almost 1200 pounds when it’s unloaded, so it’s not light, but it’s practically built for bringing outdoor toys along. With this rugged trailer, Steve takes his canoes and his mountain bikes, on all of his boondocking adventures.

Who Needs Campgrounds?

When you’re all decked out for boondocking, like Steve McKenzie is, you don’t need anyone else. It’s a total self-sufficiency that would, we’re sure, make the Transcendentalists proud. Of course, the whole rig cost quite a lot of money. Steve estimates that he spent well in excess of $75,000 for his entire boondocking set up. However, it can be done, and now he and his wife are having all sorts of fun outdoor adventures.

What do you think?