Boondocking Basics

Learn the core concepts of off-grid camping, boondocking, and overnight parking

Is Boondocking Safe?


Yes, boondocking is safe! It’s perhaps the most safest form of camping, more safe than staying at an RV park, campground, or pitching a tent. Exposure to danger has more to do with where you camp, particularly in places more frequented by other people.

is boondocking safe
Boondocking on BLM Land in Colorado

Is Boondocking Safe?

Boondocking is often considered to be safest form of camping. This is because you are camped away from populated areas and away from other campers. Moreover, you also have a vehicle that offers better protection from animals, and will also let you drive away if need be.

The biggest safety advantage of boondocking, however, is the distance from other criminals. People looking to steal something, hurt someone, or cause fear in people, are going focus their attention in more crowded areas. This is why RV parks and campgrounds have higher rates of attacks. Just do a Google News search for “RV park murder” or “RV park assault” or “RV park crime” and pour through the thousands of recent news.

Meanwhile, boondockers who camp far away from civilization rarely ever report being victimized of a crime. If there are any crimes associated with boondocking, it’s usually in populated areas where there are lots of locals living nearby. You’re more likely to become a victim of crime while staying overnight at a Walmart than you are camping in the middle of a forest or desert.

Read our other article, “Will My RV Get Broken Into While Boondocking?

Most People Boondock Because It’s Safer

One of the biggest reasons why many people prefer boondocking is because they feel safer. Keep in mind that most attacks are crimes of opportunity. That is, anyone looking to steal a pickup truck is not going to look for one along dirt road in the middle of a forest. Instead, they’re going to go to a parking lot, or a suburb, or even an RV park.

Is it Safe to Stay in RV Parks or Developed Campgrounds?

Statistics show that there are more thefts, burglaries, vandalism, fights, attacks, and murders occurring in RV Parks and developed campgrounds than in remote areas of the forest or desert. You’re more likely to become a victim of crime when staying at an RV Park or campground than boondocking.

Cheaper RV parks is where you’re going to find more loiterers, loud people, and kids looking for trouble. You’re also going to find more parolees and registered sex offenders in cheap RV parks. The more expensive RV parks is where you’re going to find break-ins, thefts, and vandalism.

Places close to high crime areas are going to be more susceptible. Places further away from high crime areas are going to be more safe.

Should I Keep a Gun When Boondocking?

Yes, but you should always keep a gun wherever you camp. Many RV Parks are notorious places for illegal activity. Selling drugs, gang activity, and prostitution are commonly associated with RV parks. At the same time, RV parks generally don’t like to get involved in protecting you from crime. And because police are becoming more slow in responding to calls, it’s up to you to protect yourself. Get a gun.

While boondocking is generally safer than staying in RV Parks, you can’t guarantee your safety anywhere.

Read our other article, “Do I Need a Gun to Protect Myself When Boondocking?

Will I Get Harassed by Cops While Boondocking?

Only if you’re doing something illegal, and only if it’s obvious. Otherwise, forest rangers, BLM officials, and other law enforcement personnel are less concerned about campers than they are about tree cutting, hunting, mining, OHV riding, and marijuana cultivation. Camping is usually the least of their problems.

Will I Get Attacked by Wild Animals When Boondocking?

Probably not. In our years of boondocking, we’ve never been attacked by any animal, with the exception of mice invading our camper or raccoons going through our trash. It’s very rare to have an animal attack your body while boondocking. If anything, you are more likely to be attacked by someone else’s dog.

That’s not, however, a guarantee you will not be attacked by a wild animal. Attacks do happen, whether provoked or unprovoked.

What About Bear Attacks When Boondocking?

Rarely do people get attacked by bears when boondocking. When a bear attack does occur, it gets sensationalized over news and social media. Television and movies portray an exaggerated picture of bears attacking campsites. Most bear attacks are the result of people feeding bears, provoking bears, or failing to secure food and trash. Officials from both the US Forest Service and the BLM do a pretty good job of posting bear warnings on kiosks. Read our other article, “Do I Have to Worry About Bears When Boondocking?

While I Get Bit by Snakes When Boondocking?

There’s enough chance of getting bit by a snake when boondocking that it’s worth educating yourself and your children. It’s always good to learn how to identify a venomous snake from a non-venomous snake. However, the chances of getting bit are still pretty low. We’ve never been bit by snakes, though we have seen them around. If you’re boondocking in the desert, keep in mind that snakes hibernate during the cold part of the year.

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