You may have gotten into RVing as an upgrade from car- or tent-camping, and sure, it’s pretty enjoyable to be able to cozy up on the couch and turn on the TV after a long day of hiking or kayaking.
But every once in a while, totally unplugging can be a refreshing adventure. And just because you’re part of the RV life now doesn’t mean you have to be done with off-grid camping!
There are a few items, however, that you’ll want to have before you go striding off into the wilderness. A tent is pretty important, for starters, not to mention a sleeping bag and a headlamp. (It gets dark out there in the woods!)
Whether you haven’t slept under the stars in a while or are totally new to the idea, we’ve got some off-grid camping tips, tricks, and ideas that’ll make your foray into the forest a little bit easier and more comfortable.
But not too comfortable. This is primitive camping we’re talking about, after all — it’s supposed to be rugged!
Living off the Grid
First things first: what do we mean by off-grid camping?
Well, in your RV, you likely enjoy cushy benefits like indoor plumbing and electricity. It may be called “camping,” but in reality, it’s basically like traveling in a smaller version of your sticks-and-bricks home.
By the way, if you usually find yourself staying in resort-style campgrounds with full hookups and lots of amenities, we highly recommend you invest in a Passport America membership. It’s the only discount camping club that gets you 50% off your campsite accommodation fees at almost 1900 campgrounds across the country, including a few in Mexico and Canada. Plus, it costs less than $50 per year… which means it easily pays for itself in just a single weekend! Click here to learn more and sign up today.
When we say “off grid camping,” we mean traditional-style, backwoods camping with nothing but a tent for shelter. And trust us, if you’ve never done it before, it can be a lot more fun than you might imagine… if you have the right equipment, that is.
Off Grid Camping Equipment
Here are the off-grid camping essentials you don’t want to be without on your primitive camping adventure.
1. A high-quality tent.
Sleeping outside is wonderful… but unless you want to spend the whole night smacking away bugs (and possibly getting rained on), you want some sliver of protection between you and the elements.
A high-quality tent will keep you dry, warm, and safe for your evening under the stars. Just be sure you pick one that’s appropriately sized for your party — camping tents come in all different shapes and sizes!
2. A temperature-appropriate sleeping bag.
No one wants to spend the evening shivering or sweating. But without your rig’s handy-dandy thermostat, you’ll have to resort to more basic temperature control options.
That’s why it’s important to choose a sleeping bag that’s rated for your destination’s temperature, or a little bit warmer or cooler depending on your personal preferences. Not quite sure when or where you’re going? Try a three-season option, which can handle almost any temperature situation.
3. A headlamp or other light source.
You may feel silly wearing it, but trust us on this one: a headlamp is a great investment if you’re going off-grid camping. Hands-free light is a godsend when darkness falls and you need to see to do simple things like open and close your tent door.
4. A water purifier.
You doubtless already know it’s critical to have access to fresh, clean water, and maybe you’ve even already purchased a water bottle specifically for your trip.
But here’s the thing: water is heavy. And if you’re toting all your equipment on your back, every ounce counts.
Plus, you never know when you might encounter some sort of problem — you drop your bottle and it breaks, or maybe you accidentally zip through your whole supply after a particularly sweaty day of hiking. No matter what, it’s way better to be safe than sorry, which is why carrying an emergency water filtration straw or water filtration tablets is key if you’re going into the backcountry. (That said, it’s no replacement for carrying fresh drinking water with you. Never set out without an ample supply!)
5. A backpack big enough to carry it all.
Once you’ve got all your gear, you still need a way to bring it with you into the wild. A good backpack has ample storage capacity and fits you well, and is also water- and weather-resistant. (Look for one with an included rain fly!)
Off Grid RV Camping
Want to get away from it all, but not quite ready to give up the couch or bed?
Off-grid RV camping, or boondocking, is a great solution if you’re looking to get away from it all long term. It combines the freedom of disconnecting from the digital world with the convenience of having access to your favorite appliances, and even electric power — especially if you upgrade to RV solar panels.
Off Grid Power Solutions
From your tea kettle or coffee brewer to bigger appliances like your air conditioning unit, if you want to enjoy electricity off the grid, there are two options when you’re RV camping: using a fuel-based generator or creating your own power with RV solar panels. While a generator can produce more power more quickly (and may be necessary if you want to run temperature control), solar panels are more cost-effective in the long run, not to mention greener.
Don’t forget, there are lots of ways to get around needing electricity in the first place. From choosing destinations with temperate weather to making your coffee over the campfire instead, off-grid camping can be both challenging and relaxing. Give roughing it a try!
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