Since we have left the east coast and are making our way further west, we have had the opportunity to boondock more and we absolutely love it. We have more privacy, more space, the views are awesome, and it’s just so quiet and peaceful. And the best part, it’s free! But with boondocking comes a lot more to consider and take precautions with. Water, propane, your tanks, basically all of your resources need to be carefully conserved if you are out for more than a couple of days. After some trial and error, here are 5 ways we conserve our resources and make the process of cooking and eating easier while boondocking:
1. Prep ahead of time and plan out your meals. Boondocking spots are usually pretty far from modern conveniences like supermarkets so we always foodshop on the way in or beforehand and plan out what our meals are going to be. We also try to make some of the food ahead of time. We will roast or grill a bunch of veggies, make rice, chicken salad, marinate meat in ziploc bags (easy disposal) and prep ingredients for whatever we are making so we can save on washing dishes while we are out.
2. Salads, sandwiches, cold food and one pot meals are key. Keep in mind you wont really be able to use your microwave and depending where you are (our most recent beach trip was so windy that we couldn’t use the outdoor grill). So we try to keep it as simple as possible.
3. Cook during the day and make multiple portions. Use the daylight when you have it. It’s so much easier to cook during the afternoon when you can actually see what you are doing and you don’t have to waste turning on a bunch of lights. Cooking multiple portions also means you save yourself time and get a break some days when you don’t have to turn the grill or oven on. Another tip, RV ovens are small, about one sheet pan is all you can really fit so while the oven is hot bake/roast/cook several things in a row instead of starting from scratch every time.
4. Stock up on drinks. We typically drink a lot of water and so when you have to watch your water consumption you need other options. So before we head out, we brew two full pots of coffee for the mornings (Kev likes regular and I like my flavored), we make iced-tea, buy seltzer or soda and of course replenish our alcohol (have to drink something right?). We also have an extra 5 gallon water jug that we fill as well. If you don’t have one, I’d suggest picking up a couple extra gallons of water just in case.
5. Conserve water when you are washing dishes. This is a big one. It’s definitely been an adjustment first of all not having a dishwasher in the RV in general but when we don't have a water hookup, washing dishes is tricky. We try to let dishes pile up a bit before we do them so we are not wasting water on an individual cup or plate. Once we have a small pile we wipe any residue off with a paper towel, do a quick rinse, turn the water off, soap everything at once and then rinse it all. Same kind of idea as the army shower we have to take when boondocking, its a little annoying but it definitely helps. We also try to reuse cups and limit some of the dishes by using paper plates and bowls.
With a little prep and planning ahead of time, managing your meals is a pretty smooth process. While it may not be complex gourmet meals, its a trade off we happily make for a free ocean or mountain view.
By Ashley Quiambao