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Updated: Sep 10, 2023



The boonies, in other words. But for campers, boondocking is more than just setting up a tent and building a fire in a remote area. So, what exactly is boondocking? And why do some campers prefer boondocking over more traditional types of camping?

From phrases like ‘dry camping’ to ‘dispersed camping,’ there’s a lot of terminologies to contend with whether you’re a seasoned camper or just starting out. It is camping outside of a designated campground, on lands that are managed for this purpose. You’ll find a durable surface to park your rig or pitch your tent, but little else. While not being plugged in may feel like you’re roughing it, developed campgrounds often have some amenities that differ from boondocking. Camp hosts, vault toilets, and picnic tables are some of the tell-tale signs of a developed campground, along with the fee you’ll often pay for your stay. When you boondock, there are no connections to water, electricity, and sewer like you’d find in a developed campground. There aren’t any bathrooms, water spigots, or picnic tables. It’s just you, whatever your traveling in, and a piece of land to call your own for a night or two.

Boondocking is generally free, though sometimes a permit is required. For many campers, being outside, relaxing in nature, and finding peace in the beauty of the outdoors is a lifestyle. While some campers enjoy the outdoors at traditional RV parks with full hookups and free WiFi, others opt to rough it with boondocking. But knowing the basics of boondocking can be useful for any camper—it’s cheap, convenient, and gives you access to incredible views you otherwise might not see. Always practice Leave No Trace principles when out there.

How will you prepare meals while in the "boonies"?

Camping is a fun experience, but it can be intimidating when you are interested in trying new things and not sure of the best way to prepare food for you or your group. But being out there with nothing but what you will be bringing takes some thinking, planning, practice, trial and error. Don't discouraged. You do not have to eat hot dogs and oatmeal during your adventures. With the right gear and a little know how, you will filling the woods with the smells of a 5 star restaurant while

satisfying your taste buds.


Let start with the basics. You are going to need something to cook with. You are going to need a way to preserve or store food. And of course you will need food and water. A lot of this will depend on what kind of cooking fuel you will be using, how much space you have, and how long you are going to be out there.

Lets Start With Something To Cook With

Most camp kitchens usually consist of some kind of camp stove. Most commonly used in the U.S. are fueled by propane. There are other fuels such as butane and kerosine. There are lot of camp stoves and camp stove companies out there to choose from these days. Choose wisely! Do your research before purchasing. It would really suck if your stove has a malfunction out miles away from a replacement. For years now I have always carried a 24"x18" stainless steel grate tucked in my camping gear for a backup. I live in the Ozarks and do a lot of dispersed camping around the Mark Twain National Forests. Out here in the Ozarks there are plenty of rocks to build a quick fire pit to set the grate on. Then gather up some local wood and "presto!", cooking again! I actually use that stainless steel grate a lot for a primitive grilling, but we will discuss that later. I have never needed to use it for a back up stove, though. I have been using the same Ozark Trail stove for 10 years now and have cooked on it hundreds of time.

  • TWO INDEPENDENTLY ADJUSTABLE BURNERS: For precise temperature control; PerfectFlow and PerfectHeat technology to keep the heat steady with less fuel

  • MATCHLESS LIGHTING: Push-button Instastart ignition for automatic, matchless lighting

"I'm very inspired by nature - you could say Mother Nature. I look at things around me and get all kinds of inspiration daily", Martha Stewart


Stop using little green tanks forever.

Small Propane Tanks - 1lb- These are often small, green canisters which screw into a small grill, stove, or other small propane-using device. The standard 1lb propane tank will typically provide approximately 1 ½ - 2 hours of cooking time on high heat. So basically, you can use it to cook a couple of meals. I’d say this one is pretty ideal for an afternoon on the trails, but not very good for more than a day. One main downfalls of a 1lb tank are that majority of them are meant for one-time-use and are piling up in our landfills. They should be disposed of properly after use.

Medium Propane Tanks - 5lbs- 10lbs- Typically a 5lb-10lb propane tank will be perfect for a weekend getaway, or a fun filled family camping trip. A 5lb tank can last anywhere from 5-7 hours and refill for half the cost of have the same amount in green canisters. We believe that investing in a 5 to 10lb tank is just what everyone needs. These sized tank can usually last for a multiple- day over-landing excursion or 5-10 hours of constant high heat cooking. That’s meals for the entire family, all weekend long! Not to mention these tanks are fairly small in comparison to the large tanks, so they can easily be mounted in your vehicle and taken with you. We currently use a 5lb tank with 6 foot protected hose on the back of our old 4runner. Works great with our propane stove and propane grill. Also great for winter camping paired with a Mr. Heater Portable Buddy!

Just remember its about what kind of space you have. The beauty of the 5-10 pounders is that they can be mounted to carry on the outside of your vehicle. You can purchase one of those fancy laser cut propane growlers to carry it or attach it to luggage basket. But before you go down the highway with a full propane tank bungeed to your roof, you may want to to check with state highway patrol on the rules and regulations on that.

Refrigeration or Coolers?

Which works best for you?


Coolers are an insulated bin or box used with ice or freezer packs to keep food or beverages cold while picnicking or camping. Coolers have come a long way since grandpa's days. The ice tends to last longer and they are infinitely easier to clean now. Do I still use a cooler? Yes. To keep the contents of a cooler cold longer than a few days, you have to continuously fill it with ice. That sounds a little cumbersome, but it’s the only thing you need to worry about aside from keeping it clean. Then there is the the cost. The most obvious difference between the two devices is the prices. The most advanced camping coolers will cost a couple hundred dollars at most. On the other hand, portable refrigerators regularly approach the thousand-dollar range. And the price doesn’t stop there. But I have noticed some fridges on the market lately that are a little more reasonable in price. Ice doesn’t last forever – you have to continually add to the supply. But ice is significantly less expensive than an electrical system.


Portable refrigerators take the cake when it comes to temperature control. Dual-zone models can hold a freeze. All it takes is the press of a button or the twist of a knob to set your food to the perfect temperature. Some models even come with the ability to control temperature with your phone. Portable refrigerators need to be powered with solar panels, household AC power, or 12v DC power from your car. None of those methods come cheap. The most energy efficient refrigerators still draw 1.3Ah or more. That doesn’t sound like much, but it will easily consume a solar panel or two which quickly adds to the price tag. One nice thing about most fridge/ freezers is that they can run off 12v and 110v, so if we happen to be in a place with accessible power, we can run the fridge off shore power instead of drawing on the battery. Portable refrigerators come with a host of intricacies. Not only do you have to maintain the fridge, but you have to look after your power source as well.

The downsides of our fridge are that we have to stack our food in the main compartment, which makes it difficult to find things that migrate to the bottom on bumpy trails. Also cleaning can be a major chore. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had food leak from going over rough terrain and we’ve had to remove everything in the fridge to clean it up. But now that there are better, newer designs on the market that are making off road refrigeration the core of their research and development. Which means time to go shopping! Check out this awesome fridge.

SetPower RV45S Portable Fridge Freezer

No messy ice cubes anymore, just enjoy your road trip with the same comfortable feeling all the way at home! Always keep the passion for exploring nature with Setpower portable refrigerator.

With two wire baskets, you can organize and take out all your food more easily. The 12v refrigerator handles are sturdy and resilient for super load-bearing and space-saving.

The latch can highly improve the insulation of the portable refrigerator. LED light of the 12 volt refrigerator can help to organize and get food even in the dark.

The SetPower brand name was created in 2008 and was first used as a brand for providing our customers with high-quality but affordable portable refrigerators. It is a combination of the words, "Set" and "Power", has a meaning of bringing the power of the journey our company creates to the world.

"Having a well-sorted camp kitchen makes all the difference in the world. And for about the same price as a premium ice cooler, this SetPower refrigerator is truly a game changer! No more ice = no more soggy anything, and no more water getting into food that isn't closed all the way, or bags that have little holes in them."


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