What Is The Best Boondocking RV For 2021?
What is the best boondocking RV on the market? Well, the answer depends on the RVer you ask and what they consider “boondocking.”
Even RV manufacturers seem to vary on the essential features the best boondocking RV should be equipped with. One manufacturer offers a “boondock package” that includes a 5-piece ABS off-road kit, roof rack and spare, off-road wheels, diamond plate tongue box, Marmoleum flooring, solid gray cushions, cargo netting above the windows, and custom “boondock” decals.
While off-road travel is part of the boondocking equation for some, it is far from the most essential features one would expect in the best boondocking RV. I am not sure how cargo nets and a decal that says boondocking are going to be of much help camping off-the-grid without utilities?
For me, boondocking is dispersed camping on public land with no amenities that puts me close to the things I like to enjoy, which are typically in a remote area, where I will need to camp for a couple of days before moving on. So to determine what is the best boondocking RV, let’s start by looking at what features are the most essential.
What features will you need in a boondocking RV?
For my wife and I, along with many others, they are the following listed in relative order of importance:
- Large fresh water capacity: Fresh water is required to drink, cook, flush the toilet, and bathe. When the fresh water is depleted you will need to resupply by obtaining more via portable water containers (heavy and hard to transport), filters or breaking camp to go resupply. Click here for a list of fresh water hacks.
- Gray tank capacity: While there are ways to minimize gray water and legal ways to dispose of it, a large capacity gray tank is ideal to maximize your stay in the boondocks.
- Large battery bank: In most RVs, 12-volt power supplied by the house batteries is needed to operate most everything in the RV from ceiling lights to appliance circuits. Therefore, the ideal boondocking RV will have ample space for house batteries and be equipped with the highest reserve capacity batteries available. In my opinion, two batteries is the absolute minimum and more is better. The bigger the battery bank, the longer you can camp without needing to recharge them.
- Battery regeneration: Regardless of how large the battery bank is, sooner or later you will need to recharge them. Look for one or both of the following when shopping for the best boondocking RV: 1) A solar system capable of keeping the house batteries charged on a daily basis. 2) Either a built-in generator or a place to safely carry one on the RV. The size is dependent on the needs of the boondocker, but should be large enough to power the built-in converter/charger when the batteries are at a low state of discharge.
- Ground clearance: I left this for last as most boondocking locations are accessible by most any vehicle. However, the more ground clearance you have, the more options you have in selecting the best boondocking location. Quite often, extra ground clearance gets you to/from a good boondock site to a great boondock site.
On a final note, I am sure many of you are wondering, what about the black tank capacity and LP capacity? For my wife and I, running out of fresh water or filling our gray tank to capacity will happen long before our black tank needs dumping and longer yet before we exhaust our supply of propane.
Now, if you are a family of four that stays put for extended periods in the boondocks during cooler weather, your list of essential features may vary from mine, as this Youtube video from Exploring The Local Life demonstrates:
Best boondocking RVs
Using the essential features I have listed above, I set out to determine who offers the best US-built boondocking RV for 2021 and here is what I discovered.
While many RV manufacturers offer optional packages like lithium batteries, solar charging, large inverter chargers, etc. allowing you to customize their stock models into capable boondocking RVs, I only came across two units that I would consider purpose-built boondocking RVs.
Hands down the most capable boondocking RV is the EarthRoamer HD. This beastly RV features a very capable off-road chassis that will take you to the end of any road and beyond.
It over-delivers on the other four essentials with a 250-gallon fresh water tank, 125 gallons of gray water, and a 125-gallon black tank. The batteries feature 20,000 watt-hours of power with 2,100 watts of solar to keep them charged. Wow!
2021 Revolve EV-3 Travel Trailer by Palomino
While not as impressive as the EarthRoamer nor as expensive, the 2021 Revolve EV-3 Travel Trailer by Palomino caught my interest as it was obviously purposely designed with boondocking in mind, especially when it comes to appliances and power management.
Here is the introduction statement from the manufacturer’s website:
“The REVOLVE is 100% powered by solar and allows for more travel flexibility than any other product on the market. Whether your destination is a campground or the middle of nowhere, the REVOLVE provides a renewable energy source while you are on the road. With three ways to charge 1) solar 2) shore power or 3) tow vehicle, you will never worry about running out of power again.”
The power system consists of 4 lithium batteries and a 3,000-watt inverter, 400 watt solar on the roof, and an external connection for an additional 300 watts of portable solar. Other essential features are 44 gallons of fresh water, 38 gallons of black, and 30 gallons of gray, which for a shorter travel trailer likely only housing a couple or small family, isn’t too shabby.
The ground clearance isn’t bad either. The other item of interest, since everything is electrically powered (water heater, refrigerator, and furnace), is that there is no need for propane or propane tanks, so you never have to worry about running out. Check out the walk-through tour here:
What is the best boondocking RV for 2021? It’s the one that meets your needs whenever and wherever you choose to boondock based on your definition of boondocking, which might be camping for weeks off-grid in the desert or spending a night in the Walmart parking lot.
Hopefully, this article provides you with enough information to find the best boondocking RV for 2021. For more boondocking tips, check out RV LIFE’s Ultimate Guide To Boondocking Off-The-Grid.