People do not get dirty & smelly when boondocking any more than other campers. There is a stereotype that boondockers don’t shower nor change their clothes. But, this is something that varies from person to person. Otherwise, you can be clean and fresh while boondocking as much as you want.
Do People Get Dirty & Smelly When Boondocking?
There’s a belief that boondockers don’t shower for several days and they wear the same clothes for days at a time. Add to that the myth that boondockers trample through the mud, and stay out in the sun all day.
The fact is that most boondockers are not like this. In fact, we haven’t met anyone like that except for homeless living on the streets. Boondockers are not poor people, and most are financially comfortable.
The decision on how often to shower or when to change clothes varies from person to person. We know of boondockers who want a shower and fresh set of clothes everyday. But we also know of boondockers that do in fact go several days without a shower or fresh set of clothes.
Read more about why some boondockers prefer not to shower everyday.
Where Did This Myth Come From?
Boondockers are generally more passionate about camping. A lot of boondockers, perhaps the majority of them, have camped frequently since they were kids. They used to hike and tent camp, often for days at a time. As they got older, they decided to upgrade to a small trailer. Eventually, many progressed into full time boondockers.
Most people will naturally get sweaty and dusty just by hiking, collecting rocks, riding dirt bikes, and sitting around a campfire. Contrast that to people who stay in RV parks, within city limits, and use their tow vehicle or toad for transportation.
Boondockers just love being outdoors, and that’s really all it comes down to.
Boondocking to Conserve Water
Boondockers tend to be frugal. Having to pack up camp and drive to a dump station to dump and refill costs money in the form of fuel. Thus, the more they conserve water, and the longer they can make their sewage tanks last, the less fuel they have to spend.
This often results in taking fewer showers, or showering outside. The same with washing clothes. The longer you can wear the same clothes, the less laundry you have to do. But again, this is a personal choice.
Being Nomadic & Off Grid
Living off-grid is a passion for many people. But living off-grid AND living nomadic is a unique combination that boondockers love to get geeky about. They love to learn how homesteaders of the 1800s lived. They like reading how Depression-era families made the most of what they had. This is part of what inspires boondockers to live a similar life.
Being frugal, minimalist, and nomadic, often results in taking fewer showers and wearing the same clothes for days at a time.
If It’s Important to You to Stay Clean Everyday
You don’t have to forego showers just to boondock, and you don’t have to wear the same clothes on successive days. If staying just as clean everyday is important to you, then look for an RV that offers you larger water tanks and sewage tanks. Many manufacturers do make RVs with washer/dryers in them.
If you cannot afford an RV with increased amenities and electrical capacities, then boondock for shorter periods. Many boondockers prefer to stay on a few days and move on to next place. You don’t have to stay in the same place for two weeks or more.
Many boondockers will use wet wipes or a wet towel to wash themselves instead of standing in a shower.
Many other boondockers and nomads will get a gym membership (usually Planet Fitness or Anytime Fitness) and shower at their facility.