Whats the appeal?

Toedtoes

Super Active Member
May 28, 2018
2,840
California
There are two types of permits that are commonly required out here:

Back country permits - these are for hikers and backpackers. They require a permit so the rangers know they are out there and where they intend to go. If something happens, the rangers want to have a general idea of where folks are so they can focus their attention to those areas and not waste time searching an unoccupied area.

Vehicle campers don't usually require this type of permit because they are only allowed to go so far off a road. They aren't going anywhere they can't be found just by driving the forest roads.

Fire permits - these are simply to allow you to have an open flame outside a designated campground firepit. Out here, you need this permit for any fire that doesn't have an instant off (charcoal requires a permit, propane doesn't). In fire season, you may be required to have a permit for any outdoor flame (even instant off types). And sometimes, they ban all outdoor flames completely.
 

LongHammer

Member
Aug 25, 2020
31
We booned to get closer to the trail, we needed to be working on. Driving is not getting any work done or any fun for that matter.. Nonetheless, paying $14 for well water and pit toilets is a steal for us. NFS sites are normally on a nice river or lake and that must be nature? Digging cat holes is not all that much fun either.

Cat holes are a thing of the past. It is 2021 more people are out in the woods than ever before. If you can pick it up you can pack it out. Leave nothin behind but your foot steps.
 

firepit

Super Active Member
Feb 26, 2020
2,786
I love to camp around folks and look at different set ups and meet people...but on ocassion
I enjoy a quiet peaceful weekend.
Mostly early spring and fall when i dont need air conditioning.
 

caverunner17

Member
Jul 22, 2022
12
Based upon my read of this thread most people boondock for 3 reasons: (1) sites are free and they are cheap, (2) you are out in nature and the only camper around and (3) better sites along rivers, creeks and beaches.
Availability and flexibility is another.

Most of the state parks around here are sold out on weekends months in advance. Forest service campgrounds are a hit-or-miss, depending on how far from Denver and what weekend.

Meanwhile, if I get up Friday after work, I can almost always snag a disbursed site and there's no issue if we don't pack up and leave at 3PM instead of 11AM-12 like most campground have. Same thing if I'm coming up on a Saturday, we can leave in the morning and have camp set up before lunch when campgrounds don't often have check-in until 2.
 

vagov

Super Active Member
Aug 13, 2012
5,218
Pittsburgh, Pa
That is a hard question to answer. There are so many choices and so many roads. Many of the more popular free sites are well documented by other campers who have been there. I make it a habit to write a review of most of the sites I visit. Here is a review I did on a site near me: https://freecampsites.net/#!145178&query=sitedetails

Sometimes I make a YouTube video of the site.
I always enjoy watching your videos!
 

z.saw

Member
Aug 23, 2022
71
I’m brand new to camping with a camper but the big appeal and why I want to get into Boondocking is my schedule varies a lot. I’ll often end up working weekends I wasn’t supposed to but have other time off through the week here and there where I could camp. Good campgrounds are booked 6+ months ahead of time around me, but there is a beautiful spot by a lake you can boondocks at only a 30 minute drive away, so it would be easy for me to scoot out there for a night or two last minute.
 

dbhost

Super Active Member
Sep 19, 2018
1,348
League City, Texas USA.
I'm not knocking it, I'm just curious to the appeal of boondocking? I enjoy the luxuries that my pup comes with that require electricity. Maybe if I understand it better I'd have the same interest.

You bring with you your own luxuries. You want to run electric stuff? Solar or a generator. Done.

Advantages? Well if that generator is quiet, then peace and quiet, no listening to the bathroom door slamming all day and night, no having to listen to a hundred different strangers yelling across the park at each other, and next to zero chance somebody in a Cummins Diesel Dodge / Ram truck (I pick on them as they are pretty much the loudest) rattling through looking to set up camp at 2:00 A.M.

If you hunt, or fish, where the quarry is will NOT be where established campgrounds are.

If you do much birding, you MAY or MAY not see what you want to see in established campgrounds.

Generally speaking I like to camp where 4 wheel drive is required, and traction assisting devices / self recovery devices are a good idea. Those are generally places where you are far enough away urban light pollution doesn't ruin your view of the stars.

ALTHOUGH, there are times and events I DO enjoy camping in established camp grounds.

And there is absolutely nothing funnier than laying in bed in your tent or camper, listening to the rain, and hearing someone slip and fall in squishy mud. I know I shouldn't enjoy it but it is a funny sound...

I can, and do provide my own power with a 300w solar setup, for everything but air conditioning. AC is a HUGE power suck. For that I have a small 5K BTU Window unit AC and I so far have been using a Sportsman 1000 Inverter generator. I haven't seen them on the market recently. A pity as they are pretty decent little generators for admittedly limited purposes. Great low fuel consumption which is why I bought mine...

The big thing is camping means different things to different people. Maybe you are going to a luxurious resort area and use your camper for a place to crash at night while you go do the pools and shops during the day. That's great. Or you use your camper to get you to hiking spots and historical areas you want to explore. That's great too... Just depends on what YOU want to do.
 

ThroughLiner

Member
Aug 30, 2022
12
Folks have pretty well said it all... space, stars, peace and quiet and/or the freedom to make as much noise as we wish, amazing views and hikes, etc.

We try our best to camp in areas with no cell service... and devices/TVs are strictly prohibited. The kids and the adults can unplug and use their eyes, ears, noses, and legs to enjoy the outdoors.

I've never understood the appeal of camping in a campground, honestly!

Sometimes we'll winter camp in the local National Park (Rocky Mountain) since we know we'll pretty much have the campground to ourselves. Years ago I camped there in the summer at the invitation of some neighbors... will never do that again! What a zoo...
 

BillyMc

Super Active Member
Mar 25, 2018
2,486
South Carolina
I've never understood the appeal of camping in a campground, honestly!
On the east coast you take what you can get. Not much public land that allows camping and most of that is hike in. If you put in the work and make connections you can find limited private land. There are some dry campgrounds that are usually quiet and inexpensive, but those are dwindling and the few left have recently caught the eyes of hammock campers. We use campgrounds as a base when vacationing because they have hookups. Don't really do hotels since bringing home some critters once and if we do I'm tearing that place apart before we bring anything in.
 

ThroughLiner

Member
Aug 30, 2022
12
On the east coast you take what you can get. Not much public land that allows camping and most of that is hike in.
Fair enough. I grew up in Michigan... which is pretty much all private land until you get up north.

I am definitely spoiled living in the West with lots of public land (and therefore boondocking opportunities).

Brings into focus the various threads about campground etiquette!
 

Canoe2fish

Active Member
Apr 14, 2014
375
Ontario, Canada
I’ve not done it but I’d like to try. What keeps me from doing it is the uncertainty of a few things;
1) Will I get a suitable spot by the time I get there or will I get a spot at all?
2) if we have to share with others, will they be party heads or be ripping around with dirt bikes & ATV’s? I fear that many boondockers go because they don’t want any rules.

In my area (near Toronto Canada) it’s a weekly exodus to cottage country 2-3 hours north or east of the city through farm country to get there. Boondocking trailer sites don’t exist unless you’re hoofing it another 2-3 hours to find (hopefully defunct) logging roads where Crown Land still exists. So slim, slim pickings.
 

ThroughLiner

Member
Aug 30, 2022
12
You are wise to be uncertain, given the options nearby you... and candidly out west as well.

On the first one: Will I get a suitable spot by the time I get there or will I get a spot at all?

I have had many a trip west of Colorado where I have that same fear.

We do a lot of Google Earth/Google Maps/OnX scouting ahead of time. But in a new area it is always hard to truly know the options until you have put tires on the ground. A few timers we've looked long after dark for a spot.

On the second one: if we have to share with others, will they be party heads or be ripping around with dirt bikes & ATV’s? I fear that many boondockers go because they don’t want any rules.

As noted above... we try to do a ton of research ahead of time about difficulty of access and/or activities are allowed in the area... but in my experience people who ride ATVs are facile at ignoring laws. We try our best to get WAY out there... but that's only possible where one's geography and laws allow it. And even out "back of beyond" we have been burned a few times by idiots.
 

Canoe2fish

Active Member
Apr 14, 2014
375
Ontario, Canada
You are wise to be uncertain, given the options nearby you... and candidly out west as well.

On the first one: Will I get a suitable spot by the time I get there or will I get a spot at all?

I have had many a trip west of Colorado where I have that same fear.

We do a lot of Google Earth/Google Maps/OnX scouting ahead of time. But in a new area it is always hard to truly know the options until you have put tires on the ground. A few timers we've looked long after dark for a spot.

On the second one: if we have to share with others, will they be party heads or be ripping around with dirt bikes & ATV’s? I fear that many boondockers go because they don’t want any rules.

As noted above... we try to do a ton of research ahead of time about difficulty of access and/or activities are allowed in the area... but in my experience people who ride ATVs are facile at ignoring laws. We try our best to get WAY out there... but that's only possible where one's geography and laws allow it. And even out "back of beyond" we have been burned a few times by idiots.
I’ve read stories where people have been threatened and run off because others wanted the spot or because they were trying to save it for friends yet to arrive. That’s not how I want to camp so I guess I will continue to book parks and camp with the masses except for the back country boat or canoe camping which offers far more site options. It’s just more work
 

Jimbow

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Nov 30, 2012
2,085
Solitude, views, dark night skies, sounds of nature not people.

As the old saying goes . . . location, location, location.
 

Jimbow

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Nov 30, 2012
2,085
I’ve read stories where people have been threatened and run off because others wanted the spot or because they were trying to save it for friends yet to arrive. That’s not how I want to camp so I guess I will continue to book parks and camp with the masses except for the back country boat or canoe camping which offers far more site options. It’s just more work

I've read stories of problems in campgrounds. Drunks entering the wrong RV. Stolen items. Arguments over music, odors, lights, dogs pooping in your site . . .
 

gladecreekwy

Super Active Member
Sep 25, 2016
1,789
Jackson Wyoming
We basically only boondock, no need for campgrounds around here. We do have to drive WAY out into the boonies during the very busy season but since we know the area intimately we haul ass directly to our spots. When we travel outside this area we do a lot of google earth research to have an idea where we are going. We also either get a hotel room or a KOA type campground for the first night. That way we can relax and get an early start finding a site. There’s really not a lot of regulations and we don’t need permits so if we are flexible we always find something
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,936
Albuquerque, NM
As with so much, boondocking or not is personal preference, assuming there is availability of it where you camp. As I commented earlier in the thread, we don't do it, for a number of reasons that make sense to us. (Not counting the fact that my husband backpacks, which is sort of ultimate boondocking. Even for that, in some places, such as national parks, permits are required.)
One thing to remember is that in some areas, the land is beng loved to death, and the powers that be, such as USFS, maybe BLM, have started to create and require use of designated boondocking sites, rather than people just camping hither and thither. There are such areas in both Colorado and Utah that I'm aware of, there may be more. I seem to remember an area in Atizona that has been closed to boondocking for the next few years, due to overuse. Therefore, it does behoove one to do research on the websites of the agencies responsible for an area, to see if such regs have been put in place.
 




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