What Is Dry Camping & Should You Try It?

Have you heard of the term “dry camping” but are not sure what it is? Read on, this article will answer all questions you have about dry camping.

What Is Dry Camping?

Dry camping is when someone stays in the wilderness without any amenities such as running water or electricity.

Dry camping is a term that may seem new to you, but it’s actually been around for quite some time now. It is usually when someone sets up camp in one area for an extended period of time, whether its days or weeks, instead of pitching their tent and moving on to a new site every day.

The term is also used less commonly in the military and means living off the land for an extended period of times (ie: no supplies are being dropped off).

It goes without saying that this means one must carry one’s own water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning up. It is also without saying that all this water must be transported to the camp site, and one must still find a way to dispose of waste.

Pros and Cons of Dry Camping

Benefits Of Dry Camping

There are many benefits to dry camping. I have listed a few of the ones that I find the most intriguing below:

  • A more intimate connection with nature.
  • A break from constant distractions such as phone, TV and computers.
  • A chance to experience something different from what most people experience every day.
  • Being in an area that might otherwise seem inaccessible.
  • The ability to carry and store a large amount of supplies for long trips, such as a several month long exploration of the Pacific Northwest Trail.
  • A chance to relax, take your time and enjoy the views

Disadvantages Of Dry Camping

Of course there are some disadvantages to dry camping. Perhaps one of the greatest disadvantages is that not all campgrounds allow dry camping.

For example, many national parks have rules that state you must pitch your tent and stay in one site during the designated season of camping, which can include one night a week in the most extreme cases.

Although not all campgrounds have this rule, dry camping is sometimes frowned upon. Therefore, if you choose to go on a dry camping trip, it’s important for you to be prepared for any possible issues that come with it.

Boondocking VS Dry Camping

Boondocking is basically camping without the use of an established campsite.

As an example: A boondocker may stay in one spot for three days, and camp next to a river. The river provides them with water they can drink with ease, and it also provides them with the perfect place to dispose of waste.

Essential Equipment For Dry Camping

While there is less equipment available for dry camping, there are still some very important pieces that you need to bring with you. This includes:

1. Tent

A big consideration when choosing a tent for dry camping is the size. A couple may need to go with a two-person tent, but someone alone or with one other person will probably be able to get by with a solo-sized tent.

Size and weight are major considerations when it comes to picking out a dry camp shelter, because it’s hard enough as it is carrying all those provisions!

It’s also important that the tent you select has full coverage overhead. This ensures that there is no rain going through the roof and onto your sleeping bag.

2. Sleeping bag

It’s important that you have a sleeping bag that is lightweight and small. This will be easier to travel with, and easier to store when it’s not in use.

Also be sure that your sleeping bag has a high quality insulation so that you don’t get cold at night. Be sure to test the sleeping bag before you buy it!

3. Cookware

When it comes to cooking while dry camping, you’re basically limited to just what you can cook over a campfire. There are a few other options, like making coffee by boiling water in the pot and then straining it through a coffee filter placed on top of your mug.

Cooking pots that are designed for stove use can be boiled directly on the fire which is faster and less energy-intensive than being boiled over an open flame. They can also be used as storage containers for food or liquids without having to build up a complicated set of cookware pieces on site.

4. Extra clothes

Extra clothes are a necessity when dry camping, and should be brought even if you have a tent. This is because it can be quite difficult to pack up wet gear in the morning and get it somewhere out of the way to dry.

5. Make sure to bring plastic bags to keep dirty clothes in too!

Matches, lighter fluid, or other fire starter

You will definitely want some kind of fire starter with you . But what about making the fire? First, find a flat place to build your fire. Dry sticks or logs that are dry and devoid of sap should be the main fuel source for this fire.

If you’re in an area with trees, find dry sticks under and around the tree’s base by looking for dead leaves.

You might also want to try hanging around a popular campsite not too far from your own location to see if anyone has left behind any wood they were going to burn but didn’t get around to using.

Once you have enough wood gathered, create the shape of a teepee with it on the ground and allow it to sit until it has dried properly in order for you to light them without being scared that they’ll just go out before they

6. Water

Water is the most important thing you need to bring with you when dry camping. If you are near a lake or stream, this will be easy because it provides any water that you would need for cooking and drinking.

If there is not a lake or stream in your area, it’s good to have at least 4 liters of water with you at all times. If possible, bring more so that if one gets contaminated with dirty animals or something else, then the other three would still be usable for cooking and drinking.

That’s a pretty small amount of water, and it’s easily replaced. Don’t go out and spend money on gallons of water when you can get a canteen and some tablets for fresh drinking water!

7. Personal toiletries

Even if there is no running water or shower facilities, there are still personal hygiene issues to be concerned about. In addition to brush your teeth with clean water often, you should also bring with you some personal toiletries in case the need arises for them.

How long can you dry camp?

The length of time you dry camp really depends on how much you plan ahead, what you bring with you, and your level of determination.

The more you plan ahead and the more provisions you bring with you, the longer you will be able to dry camp for, however—dry camping can only last for so long before having to leave in search of water or a nearby camping ground.

If dry camping is all that is really planned, then it should be no problem at all if set up right.

Important Tips For Dry Camping

  1. Always bring a water container that is large enough to hold plenty of water so that you will not need to find a running source of water while in the wilderness.
  2. Bring good shoes that will protect the feet from sharp objects in nature and also give stability when climbing into cars or onto rocks if necessary.
  3. Find level ground for your sleeping area, which will help sleep better and prevent possible back pain from uneven ground or rocks poking into your backside while sleeping at night.
  4. Check to make sure that whatever sleeping sacks are being used are dry and clean. If possible, use sleeping bags that have been freshly washed and dried before entering the wilderness to prevent potential illnesses from dirty or mildewed camping chair or blankets.
  5. Bring enough food so that you do not need to leave in search of food while camping, but also make sure that the food is lightweight so that it will not be a burden while hiking through rough terrain for a day or more.
  6. Make sure to bring a good tent and get it set up in advance so that it will be ready in the event that rain or other unexpected weather comes about. This also means dry camping for a while beforehand.
  7. Make sure to leave enough time so that you are not going into the wilderness with the sun setting already, and much too late into the month for recovering your tent before having to pack it up and leave again.
  8. Always have a fully charged lantern if possible, and have a spare battery on hand in case the first one runs out.
  9. If you plan to dry camp for more than a few days, bring enough food so that during the time you are dry camping, you will not need to leave in search of food as it is not necessarily nearby. Bring enough so that you will not go hungry until leaving again. Also, do not forget about extra water containers and lanterns, because these are also useful necessities while dry camping.

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