Boondocking my way through the States

By Navod

My name is Navod the Nomad, and I am a 28 year old vanlifer traveling the country in my self-converted 2018 Ford Transit Hi Roof.

I’ve been on the road now for a year and a half now on a nearly full time basis, with the goal of visiting all 50 states.

My first road trip was from Rocky Mount, North Carolina to Pensacola, Florida in 2020. My latest road trip was the experience of a lifetime: journeying from Rocky Mount, North Carolina to San Diego, California. During both of these trips, I boondocked the entire journey to my destination.

Benefits of Boondocking

Boondocking puts “life being your oyster” into perspective, as it opens up opportunities for you to move throughout the world more freely.

You have fewer rules (i.e. city ordinances) to follow and you don’t have to deal with the check-in or check-out process of campgrounds.

Pro Tip:

I prefer to travel early in the morning or mid-day when there is less traffic on the road. Boondocking makes this process easier, as I can just start the van and go.

(Minor) Drawbacks of Boondocking

The bulk of my van build runs on solar, so in the winter – when there is less direct sunlight – my batteries drain quicker.

I upgraded my build to include battery operated appliances to cut down on power consumption and shifted to doing higher power-consuming activities, like watching TV, during the day.

Running out of supplies is a possible drawback – but this is where being prepared with ample water and food on board comes in handy to circumvent potential issues.

Top Tips for Boondocking

  • Consider sharing your location with a few people you trust.
  • Have multiple power sources.
  • Have a roadside assistance plan to ease your anxiety while on the road – especially when traveling solo.
  • The phone application “Boondocking” in the Apple app store is a great resource for finding overnight parking.

Final Thoughts

Don’t box yourself into feeling that you must camp a certain way all of the time.

Boondocking provides a level of solitude that you can’t find in other styles of camping. However, weather constraints can arise, and in these cases, other camping methods, like staying at established campgrounds, just make sense. Stay safe out there!

Find Navod on Instagram @navodthenomad! All photos courtesy of Navod (@navodthenomad).

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