Boondocking & Wintering In Arizona

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Winter can be rough for RVers, there are not many places in the US to be in winter to stay warm and safe from all the winter elements. I have been told stories of wintering in Arizona for some time but this year is my first chance to experience it for myself. Winter and Arizona is the perfect setup for boondocking, its warm and there is free camping all over Arizona. Mixed with RV related actives its the place to be.

The Quartzsite area is a popular destination for RVers in the winter because of its many boondocking locations and for the big RV show thats at the end of January…there is also a rock and mineral show that attracts many people as well. So far I have spend most of my time travel North and South on Highway 95. This area is great because you can choose to be near a town or get further away and really experience off grid camping. Both have there advantages depending on your needs.

(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… 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)


Happy RVing

1 Comment

  • by SALLY L WEBER on

    Great information. Thank you, we will be boondocking in Arizona this winter for the first time. What site do you go to to get the permit for the state land trust land? Thank you in advance for the info.
    Tough Top Awnings replied:
    Hi Sally Happy the info came in handy….i think this is the link you need….i believe its $15 or 1 and $20 for family…happy RVing

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