What is Dry RV Camping?

If you have heard the term dry RV camping before and wondered what exactly that meant, you have come to the right place. I will explain to you exactly what dry RV camping is.

So, what is dry RV camping? Dry RV camping is when you use your RV without the use of any hookups. Rather than many campsites, which have hookups giving you the use of electricity, your RV will go without electricity during dry RV camping.

If you are interested in finding out if dry RV camping is for you, then read on. I will also give you some tips on how to have an enjoyable experience while dry RV camping.

Dry RV Camping:

Most campsites that you go to will offer hookups for your RV. These hookups help to keep your RV running like a regular home.

However, with dry RV camping, you will not have any hookups. This most often happens by choice.

Reasons people decide to dry RV camp:

  • The nature and scenery. Often times, when you go dry RV camping, you can go out further than you would imagine with hookups.

In my opinion, campsites are wonderful. However, the most beautiful places are beyond where everyone is. These places are more private and gives you a completely different experience.

  • The cost. People often choose to dry RV camp because you do not have to pay for any fees. Especially in national parks, fees can be very high to camp. Dry camping gives you the camping experience without the fee.
  • Defiance. Some people choose to go dry RV camping in order to go against having to pay government fees.

Although there are other reasons people could decide to dry RV camp, these are the main reasons people are choosing to dry RV camp.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

RV Generators

Although it is very possible to go without the usual amenities of having an RV, you can still go dry RV camping and have them.

If you want to try dry RV camping, but still want the same functions that you would normally have, then a generator is the right thing for you.

The top RV generators available are:

  1. Yamaha EF2400iSHC
  2. Champion Power Equipment 100263
  3. Generac 7117 GP2200i
  4. Westinghouse iGen 1200
  5. Briggs and Stratton 30545 P300

These are the top generators for your RV. However, you will find that they are expensive. If you are looking into dry RV camping for the cost reason, this will only bring up your costs beyond a normal campsite stay.


It is important to note that often times, the most common places for people to go dry RV camping is in a Walmart parking lot, a rest stop, or any permittable parking lot.

Dry RV Camping is not for everyone. However, in my experience, it is not nearly as bad as it sounds. For this reason, I will give some tips to give you the most enjoyable experience possible.

Note: Dry RV camping is still a luxury compared to tent camping.

Tips for Dry RV Camping:

If you decide that you want to embark in the experience of dry RV camping, then you are in luck. I will give you some advice to make your new experience a good one.

1. Live Off of Your Tanks and Batteries Before Dry Camping

Before you head out on your dry RV camping trip, you just test your RV’s capabilites. Try it out in your backyard.

This will help you to understand the limitations of your RV and become aware of what you can and cannot do.

2. Choose to Camp Nearby a Civilization or Dump Station

You will likely regret it if you decide to go beyond where anything is available. If you run out of things like propane, you will be able to quickly find a spot to purchase more.

Also, camping nearby civilization is just a safety measure. When something goes wrong in a remote location, your chances of finding help are few.

3. Understand AC/ DC Power Concepts

This is an important concept to learn before you head out on your dry RV camping experience.

If you are trying to use all the things you would normally use electricity for, you will find that everything gets sucked up really fast. Think as a basic as you can.

4. Conserve Your Water.

This tip may seem a little obvious, however, I have seen many campers who do not understand the importance of conserving your water.

When you have hookups, your water supply is limitless. However, during dry RV camping you will find that you are very limited.

Try to save the water that you do have. So if you need water to brush your teeth, keep a cup by the sink for that purpose only.

Another helpful tip regarding your water supply is to pack it up. Fill up your water bottles and bring plastic water bottles on your trip.

5. Make the Most of Your Surroundings

When you have your regular RV capabilities, it is easy to just sit inside your RV during your camping trip.

However, with trying to conserve the usage, it is better to head outside to avoid using your RV too much.

Go for a swim, fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, set up a campfire, or check out the nearby town. There are so many great things you can do on your dry RV camping trip.

6. Empty out Your Black and Grey Tanks Before You Leave

If your tanks are emptied out before you leave, then you will be able to fill the tanks to their full capacity.

Also, if there is any public bathrooms or port-a-potties nearby, they would be a better option.

Once your tanks are filled, you will have to find a site to drop the tanks. Some sites will allow you to dump them right on the ground. Or, you can pay to dump your tanks at an RV park.

7. Use a Generator as Your Electricity

Living without electricity is not so great in your RV, especially during the night.

If you run a generator during the night, you can charge your RV batteries, phones, and run anything you need for that time.

8. Know Your Limits.

This may be the most important tip there is. Before you go out on your dry RV camping trip, know what your RV is capable of.

Note: Before you head out, empty out all tanks and fill up anything that needs filling to the tip.

This will help you to prepare. You should know each of your tank sizes and how long they will last.

“Equip yourself with knowledge about your rig and how it meshes with your individual habits and lifestyle. That way, you can keep your options open and jump on dry camping opportunities as they present themselves.”

Brittany Highland

Related Questions:

What is the difference between dry camping and Boondocking? The difference between dry camping and boondocking is very small. Dry camping is actually a term referring to boondocking. However, boondocking is camping without any hookups outside of a developed area. Dry camping uses no hookups, however, it can be within a developed area.

Is it bad to leave your RV plugged in all the time? It is not desirable to leave your RV plugged in all the time. By leaving it plugged in, you will deplete the electrolyte level in the battery cells. This means that your battery will have a smaller holding capacity for long amounts of time.

Should I leave my RV fridge on all of the time?You do not need to leave your RV fridge on all the time. This will not extend its lifespan. However, before you head out on a camping trip, you should turn you RV fridge on within 24 hours prior. This will allow for your fridge to cool down in time for your trip.

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