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(Photo - Boondocking off Plomosa Rd.)
Boondocking or dry camping can be a scary experience if you are new to it, but having the knowledge can make all the difference in the world.
Here are a few tips to make your experience the best it can be.
1. Choose a location that fits your needs - Like I said above there are options to be near town or further out. The options you have is BLM land and there is some State Land Trust too (this requires a permit which is $15-$20 per year that can be done online). A great resource to find these locations is Campendium, a website and app. They provide a lot of information included cell signal strength! A couple spots I have stayed and enjoy are on Plomosa Rd., about 7 miles South of Quartzsite, easy access to Quartzsite, a lot of space and decent cell coverage…and Desert Hills State Land Trust Land, on the north end of Lake Havasu. You can see the Walmart from the location! Not as much room as Plomosa Rd, but close to everything, safe and great cell coverage. Also do some research on the area you want to go…Most of the places I’ve seen most rigs and easily get to, but the last thing you need is to get stuck or can’t get out of an area. Again Campendium is a good resource, Google Earth too can provide some good intel.
2. Have what you need!! This is especially important when you are further away from a town. But be sure your black and gray tanks are empty and your fresh water is full. Fill up your propane and have gas for the generator if you need it. Have meals planned and bought and be sure to have enough drinking water!! Even though it's winter it still can get warm out there.
3. Have a power source - Need to be sure you can turn on your lights, use your appliances. People use solar, a generator or both. This might be a new thing if you stay at RV parks and are accustomed to being plugged in. If you do not have solar, keep your distance from others if you need to run a generator a lot, this is a quick way to upset the folks around you, and probably #1 rule for boondocking.
4. Be ready for an emergency - Maybe obvious, but things can happen out there. Know where the nearest hospital is (also goes for animal hospital if you have pets), and have a first aid kit. A friend recently was trying to move a rock, the rock broke into 3 pieces and one piece sliced his wrist. He was ok but if it was worse it was at least an hour from the nearest hospital.
5. (BONUS) Power in numbers - Boondocking with friends makes for more fun, plus it provide a layer of safety as well, Because of many factors I don’t see many rangers, police or sheriffs in those areas…..plus just having others around in case of you need a tool, help with a DIY project is nice too.
That will get you started….Be safe and have fun out there. Arizona in the winter can be great….there is hiking, exploring, off-roading, sand dunes and of course Mexico being right there!
(Photo - Sunset at KOFA National Wildlife Refuge, south of Quartzsite)