What is a Landdocker?

Quite simply a landdocker is anyone who camps in a recreational vehicle, such as a motorhome, fifth-wheel, travel trailer or camper, on land he or she owns or rents from another person. Landdocking is RV camping, but instead of doing it at a privately owned campground, a state park or on federally owned land, you do it on your own land, usually for long-term, or fulltime stays.

Benefits of Landdocking

The United States has so much beautiful land to explore - from warm deserts, to crisp mountains to tropical beaches. One of the many joys of camping is the ability to travel and explore all of these different lands. Traditional ways of camping have become more frustrating as camping has become so much more popular recently. Commercial campgrounds have been raising their rates and are becoming more expensive. Public parks have become very crowded and need to be scheduled months and sometimes a year in advance. Boondocking can be enjoyable but doesn’t provide utility hook ups or other amenities. Now there’s another option to consider. Now there’s landdocking.

With landdocking you can:

  • arrow_right_altStay longer in one place
  • arrow_right_altSpend time in places you already know you like
  • arrow_right_altHave one or more home bases to kick off day trips
  • arrow_right_altPay yourself to camp by camping on land you already own
  • arrow_right_altRemove the worry of being without services and amenities most important to you

Types of Landdocking

There are two different kinds of land available for landdocking - land in an association and private land. Either way you have the options to buy or rent land already improved for RV use or build out your own property and customize it for your own personal camping experience.

Association Land

Association land is most closely related to what you encounter when you camp at a private campground. These are usually RV parks or RV resorts that have individual lots with full hookups and common amenities like a pool, laundry facilities, and recreational activities. Whereas traditional campgrounds are owned in whole by an owner who rents out each space by the night, week, or month, association parks sell each lot individually so you are camping in a space you own or rent from an individual owner. Many times these parks have a legal structure similar to a condominium association where owners own an individual lot and a fraction of the common space. Other times they are formed under a legal structure similar to a cooperative where a private corporation owns all of the property and each owner owns a share in the corporation. Functionally both structures usually work the same way. Owners or renters have exclusive use of a specific lot and share access to the community's common areas.

Benefits of Association Land

Some of the benefits of being in an association are:

  • arrow_right_alt You usually have all of the infrastructure available to you up front such as fresh water, sewer, electric and sometimes cable TV and internet
  • arrow_right_alt You have access to use common area services, activities and facilities such as on-site security, exercise classes, pools, laundry, club houses, etc.
  • arrow_right_alt Rules and regulations are in place to ensure upkeep of each owner’s lot
  • arrow_right_alt Community activities can be a good way to make friends and meet new people

Possible Downsides of Association Land

Depending on your perspective some of these might be considered downsides of being in an association:

  • arrow_right_alt Typically the sizes of the individual lots are about the same as you find in a commercial RV park
  • arrow_right_alt There are usually association dues to cover the cost of the utilities and maintenance of the common areas
  • arrow_right_alt There more more rules and restrictions and usually a board has to approve any changes you make to your lot
  • arrow_right_alt There is not always much space between neighboring lots

Private Land

Private RV land is land outside of an association that can take the form of raw land you purchase with the intent to develop and camp on or land you purchase or rent from an owner who has already developed the land for recreational vehicle camping. For those who are looking for more land that can be customized to your individual needs you may want to consider purchasing your own raw land to develop. This kind of landdocking usually requires a bit more work to get set up and maintain but gives you many more options to create a tailored camping experience and can be very rewarding when finished.

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Read more about the legalities of Camping on Private Land

Read more about Developing Private RV Property