Our top 5 Boondocking Essentials

Ashley Longnecker Ashley Longnecker / October 05, 2017
epic wipes

Hey friends! If you keep up with our Instagram account, @tinyshinyhome, then you would know that we’ve been boondocking SO MUCH this year. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s just camping without hookups! No water, no sewer, no electricity. Now, while we can go weeks without hookups, there are a few tips and tricks that have made our off grid life a bit easier! Luckily, I have a male model to show you some our top 5 essentials when living off grid for an extended period of time…in no particular order.


Water Bladder

water bladder

We bought this Aquatank2 Water Bladder a few months back and it has been such a life saver. Before we were just filling up our two 5 gallon water jugs which was great, but we have a 40 gallon fresh tank. So, either we would have to make several trips for water each week, (if we wanted to get showers), or we’d have to find somewhere to fill up before we made it out to our boondocking site which tends to usually be difficult.

Being able to just fill up this 30 gallon bladder in the bed of our truck (along with our two 5 gallon jugs) has been a game changer. When we’re not using it, it just gets folded up and put back into our box that has all of our fresh water gear in it! So easy, and super helpful.

Solar Panels & Generator

Solar On Roof

Obviously, we run mainly on solar power. As one of our main focuses on our remodel, we installed five 100 watt Renogy Solar Panels on our roof during the renovation. This is more than enough power 98% of the time. However, we have been so thankful that we hung onto our Honda Generator for the few times that we’ve had to pull it out as a backup.

Honda Generator

I wanted to get rid of it to make more room in the bed of the truck, but Jonathan was insistent that 'we might need it one day'...and he was right (as usual). Turns out, when you’re in the rainforest for a week under a thick canopy of trees and moss, your solar panels don’t help too much. Or when it rains for several days in a row with little sun, we are thankful we have an alternative to charge up our laptops and devices without having to go to a campground. I may just have to make him carry it like this from now on...hubba, hubba. I'm in trubba! 

Berkey Water Filter

Berkey

You may have heard in the news about all natural disasters happening lately…hurricanes, earthquakes, floods. Did you know that most of us aren’t prepared to make it a week in the case of an emergency such as that? I feel so much better knowing that whatever may happen, I can purify water for our family with this simple water filter. We opted for the Big Berkey (they have several size options) and it’s the perfect size for a larger family. You can literally fill it with water from a creek and it will purify it! It seems like a big upfront cost, and it is, but when you read about how long the filters last, its totally worth every penny. Even if down the road we end up in some form of a ‘house’, we will always have our Berkey Water Filter with us, and you should, too!

Composting Toilet

Nature's Head Compost Toilet

There’s no way we could boondock for weeks at a time if we had a black (sewage) tank, and our Nature's Head Composting Toilet is a life saver in that regard. We have been using it full time, with 6 people, for 6 months and I feel like we are just now getting the hang of the right amount of mixture to put in the compost bin. 

I love that we don’t have a black tank and we don’t have to worry about the dreaded poop pyramid (all you fulltimers with black tanks know what I'm talking about) but I don’t love how often we have to change it out and dump the pee bucket. I mean, there are six of us. It gets a lot of use. We can typically go 10-14 days before we need to change out the compost mixture which isn’t horrible, but it’s not pleasant either. The pee bucket gets dumped every day. If we had thought about it sooner, piping the pee bucket into the gray tank would have been the way to go! 

Honestly, I think that the only issue is that there is just so many of us using it all the time. I keep telling the kids to go outside and dig a hole but they won’t listen to me! I think that’s an important life skill that they should know, right? Plus it would make the compost mixture last longer in-between changes. :) I’ll have to come up with a way to make digging a hole fun for them. Nature’s Head Composting Toilet has been a vital part of us being able to be off grid for long periods of time.

Epic Wipes

epic wipes

You may know we love to hike. Now, just imagine six people going days and days (and days) without showers, living in roughly 200 square feet. Can you imagine the smell? Now, multiply it because we have some tweens… 

Guys, Epic Wipes have saved our sanity so many times. As soon as I open that package and smell those sweet essential oils I am instantly happy. And these wipes are HUGE!! I tear one in half for Jonathan and I to share, and I cut one into 4 pieces for the kids to each use because I’m stingy with them. I’m serious. I have only one pack left and I’ve hidden it because I don’t want to be without them again. They are the best wipes we have ever used. We smell good, we’re clean, and we didn’t have to waste water. All I do is win. 

If you ever want to buy us a gift...just send us a box of Epic Wipes because I can’t live without them.  Epic Wipes for Christmas! Epic Wipes for Birthdays. That’s all we need :)

What about you? Are there any essentials you can’t live without when you’re enjoying our life off grid?

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Ashley Longnecker

About the Author

Ashley Longnecker is the fiercely independent tattooed and dreaded half of Tiny Shiny Home. She's a woodworker, photographer and maker of delicious baked goods. She loathes schedules and makes every day an adventure.

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