Dry camping is an awesome way to appreciate nature and make memories with family and friends. It’s a budget-friendly way to enjoy camping and be totally self-reliant.

This guide will give you the ins and outs of dry camping, so you can get the most out of your journey!

Benefits of Dry Camping

Dry camping offers a unique experience for both novices and experienced campers. It’s a great way to learn more about self-sufficiency and survival skills. It also teaches you to observe nature and rely on your instincts when in unfamiliar environments.

Plus, dry camping is cheaper than staying in a commercial campsite with power and water hookups. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to be self-reliant, this is the perfect solution.

Also, it grants you access to remote locations that aren’t accessible by RV due to rough terrain. You can discover places far away from the beaten path which are usually more peaceful.

What You Need to Know Before You Go

Dry camping is a great way to escape the daily grind and reconnect with nature. Before you go, there are few things you should know.

Amenities like running water, flushable toilets, or electricity are often not available at dry camping sites. So, pack food, cooking equipment, water, and comfort items like blankets and chairs.

  • Know the local regulations on fires,
  • find a safe camp site away from forests and water, and
  • have an emergency plan in case unexpected situations arise.

A first aid kit is also a must.

Familiarize yourself with the Leave No Trace principles. Respect the environment by packing out garbage and food scraps so the camp site looks cleaner than when you arrived.

Essential Gear

Dry camping is an economical way to camp, but there are some must-have items you must take with you for a successful trip. An RV, camping supplies, a generator, a torch and a camp stove are among them.

Let’s look at the essentials for dry camping:

  • An RV
  • Camping supplies
  • A generator
  • A torch
  • A camp stove


Camping gear is a must when dry camping. The most important being a tent. Pick one that is big enough. 8-person is ideal for comfort. When selecting, consider waterproofing, wind resistance, venting, material, and ease of set up. Plus, get a waterproof ground cloth cut to fit the tent shape. This will protect the sleeping area from water.

Do not skimp on poles and stakes! Tent poles need to be strong with tough materials that don’t bend. Same goes for tent pegs. Quality gear? You can handle whatever Mother Nature throws your way!

Sleeping Bag

No need to splurge on a hi-tech sleeping bag. It’s important to pick one that works for the climate you’re camping in and the conditions of your campsite. A lightweight synthetic bag is good for most dry camping trips, unless you’re going somewhere really cold. If this is the case, down insulation or a multiple-bag system (we suggest down) is a better option.

When selecting your sleeping bag, consider the temperature rating. Sleeping bags come in different shapes and sizes, from less than 20°F to more than 0°F. Choose a bag that fits with the temperatures you anticipate at night, especially if winter camping.

Ventilation and air circulation are also important. Look for a model with features like hoods and neck baffles that trap warm air inside your bag. This way, it easily fits into your pack without risking warmth loss. Choose something that fits comfortably around your body, too. And remember to take into account the thickness after filling – it adds bulk but keeps you warm all night!

Camping Stove

When camping, having a stove is vital. Good stoves are lightweight, reliable and safe to use. There are two types of camping stoves: liquid fuel and canister fuel.

  • Liquid fuel stoves use kerosene, white gas or butane. They are stronger than canister stoves, but need to be handled with care due to the flammable fuels. They take longer to heat things up, and need to be pre-burned before use. Also, they can be heavy when full of fuel.
  • Canister stoves connect to canisters of propane or isobutene. These mixtures make hot and clean flames. Pre-heating is not usually needed and large meals can be made quickly and safely on smaller stoves. But, be aware of disposal requirements and the risk of an exploding container or tank.

No matter what type you choose, understand safety procedures before camping with your stove!

Camping Chairs

Camping chairs are great for sitting around the campfire and adding comfort to camping. Lightweight and collapsible, most will fit in any car trunk. Options range from one-person folding chairs to luxury recliners with armrests and drink holders. Folding camping chairs, suspended zero gravity loungers, moon saucer style seats, and inflatable cushions are also available.

When dry camping, consider several factors when choosing a chair. It must be comfortable, durable enough to handle rough terrain and bad weather, and strong enough to hold your weight. It should also fold into minimal storage space and be easy to move around.

Be sure to read all product labels carefully to ensure your chosen chair meets safety requirements and campground rules.

Water Containers

Planning and preparing for dry camping requires knowing all your water needs. Jugs, bottles, and even 2-liter Coke bottles can be used as water containers. They must be able to handle the rigors of being moved around. Water is vulnerable to heat and cold, so proper packing is important. The best containers are made of stainless steel or food-grade plastic, with airtight seals to keep your water safe.

You can choose containers in different sizes, shapes, and durability. Make sure it fits snugly in your vehicle, with an accessible handle for easy transportation. Collapsible water jugs, hard plastic jugs, and metal canteens are all popular choices. Collapsible jugs are lightweight and collapse when empty. Hard plastic jugs have secure lids to prevent spills. Metal canteens come in various shapes and sizes and have insulated lids or shoulder straps for extra protection from extreme temperatures.

Choose a container based on its ability to store enough water safely, portability, and convenience. Quality and safety standards should not be sacrificed!

Setting Up Camp

Dry camping trips can be intimidating for newbies. But with the right items, you can make your camping experience enjoyable! Necessities include a sleeping bag, tent and camping stove. To keep safe and comfy, take a few extra precautions. Here’s the lowdown on how to set up camp for a dry camping trip:

  • Choose a level spot for your tent.
  • Clear away any rocks, sticks and other debris.
  • Lay down a ground tarp to protect the tent floor.
  • Stake down the corners of the tent.
  • Set up the camping stove and any other gear.
  • Enjoy your dry camping trip!

Choosing a Campsite

When searching for your ideal campsite, there are a few important factors to keep in mind:

  • Decide what type of terrain you would prefer – mountains, forests, or grasslands?
  • Look for sites with access to water and good air quality.
  • Protection from wind and rain is also ideal.

Do some research before setting up camp. Be aware of any regulations in the area, and check for signs of animal activity. Further, consider the availability of dry wood, an even surface, and accessibility for family and friends if multiple tents are needed. Last, don’t forget to distance yourself from noisy highways and truck pollution.

Follow these tips and you’ll find the perfect spot to enjoy nature!

Setting Up Your Tent

Setting up a tent isn’t always fun, but it’s a must-do for camping. To get it right, pick a spot that’s flat and drains water. Avoid trees, low branches, and rocks that could puncture the floor. Make sure nothing toxic is around. And watch out for animals like snakes and spiders.

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, assemble your tent according to the instructions. Start by spreading the ground cloth. Then add the poles and shell fabric. Secure any inner layers. Lastly, add stakes for stability. If you don’t have a stake kit, regular stakes will do.

Check all tie-downs and zippers before setting up your sleeping space. Then pause and savour the hot chocolate. Before you know it, you’ll be snuggled in reusable blankets, saying sweet dreams!

Setting Up Your Camp Stove

Once you’ve located a great spot for your campsite, it’s time to set up your camp stove! Cooking can make camping fun and give you delicious meals.

Look for flat, well-ventilated ground, such as a shelf or picnic table. Make sure the stove is at least 6 inches off the ground. Check all parts of the stove before lighting it. Follow manufacturer instructions. Fill the fuel containers with the right fuel type, like butane or propane. Never mix them!

Light the stove using matches or a lighter. Regulate the temperature with controls – never let flames touch walls or furniture. Check for wear-and-tear on hoses often and replace if needed. Now you can cook safely and enjoyably!

Gather Firewood

Gathering firewood is an important part of dry camping. It helps you cook, dry wet items, and keep warm. Select dead wood that has fallen from trees. Don’t take from living trees or limbs – it can damage the environment and is illegal. Gather 3x more than you think you need.

Look for logs 3-5 inches in diameter with bark. Break off any green foliage – this reduces heat and makes it smokier. Avoid logs covered in dirt, mud, or moss – they produce extra smoke.

Sort logs by size and stack larger pieces on one side and smaller pieces on the other. Check for pests like ants or termites. Leave some room around the kindling pile. This allows air to circulate and provides oxygen to keep your fire going.

Camping Activities

Dry camping is an awesome way to experience the outdoors and nature. A perfect way to go back to basics and escape the fast-paced world. One of the best parts of dry camping is there are a bunch of activities to do!

Here are some of the most fun camping activities to try while dry camping:


Before a nature hike, plan ahead! Research the trails near you. Learn about any rules and potential hazards. Bring a map or GPS, snacks, and water. Appreciate the sights and observe wildlife from afar. Do not disturb nests or shelters. Take pics or quick sketches without harming plants or animals. Before heading back to camp, check for ticks. Use tweezers to remove them, don’t crush them!


Fishing is a fun activity when camping in dry areas. Remember to bring your own tackle and bait. Ask local authorities for regulations before you begin. Different angling methods may be allowed. Know your rights under the applicable laws and any game laws that apply. Questions? Speak to local officials.

Fly rod or spin cast gear is great for small fish. Use lures or baits. For larger fish like bass or walleye, use a heavier rod and bigger tackle.

Ice-fishing? Extra gear like tip-ups or an auger is needed. Create access holes into frozen lakes or rivers safely.

Bird Watching

Bird watching is a great activity while camping. It introduces you to the diverse array of bird species in parks, campgrounds, and backcountry areas. You get to observe birds peacefully and marvel at their behavior in their natural habitats. Depending on where you camp, you may even spot certain bird species you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

When birdwatching, look for clues that birds are around. Check the forecast too, as windy days reduce visibility. Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them.

Once you’ve found some feathered friends, keep a respectful distance from them. In unfamiliar locations, beware of plants like poison ivy near shorelines or trails. Remember to stay quiet to not scare them away!


Stargazing is a great way to enjoy dry camping! If you’re in an area with other campers or nearby towns, bring a red-tinted flashlight to keep the sky visible. Look out for meteors or fireballs too – they can be a real treat! Binoculars are also great for looking at stars, galaxies, and planets.

It’s important to note that higher altitudes usually have better visibility due to thinner atmosphere. Research peak star viewing times so you can make the most of your stargazing adventure! Prep work and utilizing time during peak hours will make it truly magical.

Campfire Cooking

Are you dry camping? Then Campfire Cooking is the activity for you! Gather the fam, get some supplies, and make a meal over the fire. It’ll taste great, and be a memory you’ll cherish for years.

Here’s the basics of campfire cooking, plus some tasty recipes to try!

Types of Campfire Cooking

Campfire cooking is fun inside or outside. Different methods can suit your camping needs and tastes. Here are some popular ones:

  • Grill: A BBQ grill is great for cooking outdoors. Get one at a sporting goods store or online. Put it on a fire pit or tripod.
  • Dutch Ovens: These heavy pots go right over hot coals. simmer stews, casseroles, soups, chicken, and more!
  • Foil Wrapping: Wrap food in foil with butter, herbs, seasonings, and veggies. Cook over burning logs or hot ashes.
  • Skewers & Spit Roasting: Skewer meat onto rods and suspend over an open flame or hot coals.
  • Pan Fried Food & Stick Cooking: Use sticks as spits or tongs. Sizzle bacon or cook sausages in pans suspended above heated embers.

Safety Tips

When cooking over a campfire, it’s important to be safe. Here are some tips to help you get a delicious and safe meal:

  • Fire safety – Check local fire regulations before starting a fire and make sure the area is clear of flammable materials. Have a water bucket or hose nearby in case of sparks.
  • Distance – Place the tripod or grate close enough to generate heat, but far enough away from the flames. Keep food at least 12 inches away from intense heat.
  • Monitor cooking – Don’t leave food unattended when cooking over the flame. Use metal skewer sticks to check internal temperatures for large items.
  • Use quality cookwareDutch ovens and cast-iron pans help maintain proper temperatures and distribute heat evenly. Utensils should be made from stainless steel to avoid rust in humid environments.

Campfire Recipes

Before your camping journey, make sure to prepare! Finding the right campfire recipes is key. They should be easy to make and remember, while using minimal ingredients. Here are a few delicious, budget-friendly meals to try:

  • Hot Dogs and S’mores: Roast the hot dogs, then top with condiments. For dessert, make S’mores with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate!
  • Barbecued Bacon Sandwiches: Wrap each strip of bacon in foil, then cook for 15 minutes on the grate. Add to two slices of bread with ketchup or mustard.
  • Pesto Pasta: Cook together pasta and pesto sauce in a fire-proof skillet. Place in bowls with parmesan cheese or parsley.
  • Camping Quesadilla: Mix 2 cups of cheese and chilies in a bowl. Place in a hot cast iron skillet for 3 minutes, flipping once. Enjoy warm!

Don’t forget to enjoy these meals around the campfire when night falls!

Cleaning Up

Cleaning your campsite is a must for any dry camping tour. Especially for lengthy trips and sites not often visited. Remember to leave your campsite cleaner than it was when you arrived. This will help protect nature, and show respect for the land and its wild creatures.

Read on for the basics of cleaning up after camping:

Leave No Trace Principles

When outdoors, follow the Leave No Trace principles. This ethical framework educates and encourages people to reduce their impacts while recreating outdoors. Here are the seven principles:

  1. Plan Ahead & Prepare: Get ready before your camping trip, so you and your group can minimize any impacts.
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces: Hike and camp on trails, campgrounds, sandblanket sites, dry stream beds and rock outcroppings. Don’t go where there’s little or fragile vegetation.
  3. Dispose of Waste: Bring zip-top bags or an airtight container for packing food odor and trash. Store it in a bear-safe manner, and bag human waste for disposal off trail. At designated latrines, do it 200 feet from water sources.
  4. Leave What You Find: Don’t disturb the natural geological features. If you must dig a fire pit, don’t collect shells, rocks, plants or driftwood unless allowed by land management agency regulations. Never take a live animal home!
  5. Minimize Campfire Use: Cook with a propane stove if possible. Use wood only when there are existing fire rings. Keep fires small, and extinguish them with water. Never leave them unattended.
  6. Respect Wildlife: Interacting with wildlife should be limited. Never feed wild animals, even with unnatural foods. Make noise when moving around, and observe animals from far away.
  7. Be Considerate: Have low volume conversations near others, and keep reasonable distances. Protect non-motorized boating events. Take breaks at quieter spots, so other visitors have more space and serenity.

Disposing of Waste

Dry camping requires proper waste disposal. It’s essential to retain the natural beauty and steer clear of any health hazards due to contamination.

Planning for liquid and solid waste removal is smart before beginning your trip. Grey water (dishwater, shower and sink water) and black water (wastewater from toilets) receptacles are both necessary. Do not pour liquid waste into the ground or campfires.

When it comes to solid human waste, locate a spot away from streams or bodies of water and bury it, at least six to eight inches deep in a “cat hole”. Toilet paper should be placed in sealed bags and taken with you. Or, if available, put it in garbage cans onsite.

Garbage should not be buried either. When packing up, separate recyclables, burnable items like wood scraps, biodegradables such as food scraps, and non-burnables like plastic bags or foam packaging such as yogurt cups, tin cans and glass bottles. Place them in the designated trash receptacle at the drop-off area before you leave.

Packing Up Your Gear

Before you break camp and pack your vehicle, leave the campsite cleaner than when you arrived. Here are some steps:

  • Store all food in containers, away from wildlife.
  • Pack up trash and uneaten food, and dispose of it properly.
  • Fold supply items from fire pits when not in use.
  • Make sure fuel containers are in an appropriate container.
  • Check for items like can openers, lighters, utensils, etc. before you go.
  • Anything left behind will weather over time if not cared for properly.

Take a few minutes to clean up and maintain Mother Nature’s beauty!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is dry camping?
A: Dry camping is a type of camping that does not involve hooking up to any external water, electricity or sewer sources. Instead, campers rely on the supplies and resources they bring with them to the campsite.

Q: What supplies do I need for dry camping?
A: In order to successfully dry camp, you will need a few essential supplies. These include a water storage container, a camping stove, lanterns and flashlights, pots and pans, an ice chest, and any other camping equipment you may need.

Q: What are some tips for dry camping?
A: When dry camping, it is important to conserve your supplies. Make sure to bring enough food, water, and fuel, and practice water and energy conservation techniques. Additionally, it is important to plan ahead and be aware of the weather conditions and terrain of the area.

Dry Camping A Complete Guide for Beginners