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How To Find Free Camping Spots

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How to Find Free Spots to Camp

First, before we dive into how to find BLM land, we should mention this. Youre on your own with BLM land camping. No Rangers, no power, no bathrooms, and no help for emergencies. Also, generally no cell service either. You need to prepare and research where you are going. It will most likely be a wonderful trip, but its responsible for us to let you know that you should head out there with the items you need and not expect to get them once youre there.

If you dont know where to start, check out this article to help with some checklist items of the Essential Camping Gear. If you want some affordable ways to get cell phone service when off the grid, check out the Best Off-Grid Cell Phone Signal Boosters...and if your gonna be out adventuring your gonna poop. Check out our write-up on the Best Camping Toilet Option. Stop acting like you wont need it!

How Can I Go To The Bathroom While Camping In The Backcountry

When camping for free, youve got to get creative when nature calls.

For #1 , Leave No Trace principles recommend peeing directly into a large body of water. However, they dont recommend peeing in small bodies of water because it wont properly dilute.

If you are up in the mountains, try peeing on rocks to deter animals like mountain goats from digging up the area.

For #2 , its necessary to have a trowel to bury your business. No shovel? No problem. Use a nearby rock or push dirt back into place with your foot.

For all bathroom visits, make sure you are at least 200 feet from any water source.

Read REIs complete guide to going to the bathroom in the outdoors to learn how to leave as little of an impact as possible.

Want To Camp For Free Be Prepared To Get Off The Beaten Path

Over the past decade, outdoor activities have become much more popular. Just visits to national parks has increased by 55 million visitors since 2007. That adds up to over 330 million visitors per year!

While its awesome that more people are getting outdoors, this is resulting in nature getting loved to death.

Park fees and paid campgrounds exit as a way to minimize impact on the land. As much as I personally believe that nature should be open and accessible to all, those fees are a necessary evil. Imagine how many people would trample over Yosemite or the Grand Canyon if no permits were required?

If you want to camp in popular locations, be prepared to pay.

However, if you are willing to get off the beaten path , you can find all sorts of free camping spots.

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Best Free Camping Inmaine

By Nathan Swartz

One of the last places in the Eastern United States to still boast bountiful endless wilderness, Maine is a paradise for those interested in getting away from established campgrounds in favor of exploring the forest and mountain terrain the state holds in abundance.

Free camping in Maine can be found near Acadia National Park and directly on other public lands, close to bodies of water of all shapes and sizes, and immediately within quaint little towns as well. Whether you’re looking for the perfect hiking trail, a spot near the coast, somewhere to relax around the fire, or just a quick stop along your route, Campendium can help you discover the best spot for your particular camping style.

While most of the businesses that offer free spots are limited to RV camping, any of the campsites on public land are perfectly suitable for tent camping.

See a map of all free camping in Maine.

Ultimate Us Public Campgrounds App

Free Overnight Motorhome Parking &  Camping Spots In UK (Our Guide How ...

The Ultimate Campgrounds App is a comprehensive user-friendly phone app for finding low-cost or free campsites on the go. Ultimate Campgrounds has over 41,000 public campsites , and its very easy to distinguish between Forest Service, National Park, and other types of campsites on the app. For each campsite, the app share details about amenities, road conditions, price, and more. Ive been really surprised that this app even shows pull-offs on the side of the road, as well as isolated campsites on dirt roads, where it is legal to camp. This app does not include privately owned campgrounds or RV parks. This app costs $3.99.

Offline access works the same way it does for iOverlander youll be able to see your location and nearby campsites, but the map background wont display. This app doesnt have photos or reviews, so you dont really know what youre getting until you get there.

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Resource #: Rv Trip Wizard

RV Trip Wizard is now part of the RV LIFE Pro suite of tools! Now all subscribers have access to RV Trip Wizard + Premium features of RV LIFE RV Safe GPS App + Maintain My RV!

Planning an RV Trip has never been easier than with RV TripWizard. It is a comprehensive tool that Jennifer and I use whenever we are planning a trip. It works seamlessly with all our devices and gives us access to the info we need on where to stop, what camping is nearby, and what we should do in an area.

Best of all, you can try it for free to see how it will fit into your trip planning process.

See all the information youre looking for on your devices. The RV Trip Planner is set up so you can do everything from one screen. Your trip on the left panel, your map centered, and your research panel to the right to find campgrounds, points of interest, and potential hazards.

Use this link for a discount: d

What Can I Expect From Dispersed Campsites In National Forests

Dirt. Trees. Bugs. Views. What more can you ask for?

Free camping in National Forests, or dispersed camping, is about enjoying nature without all the fuss and clutter of amenities, like toilets, showers, and fire pits.

This means you need to arrive fully self-sufficient, and prepared to clean up after yourself thoroughly.

If youre in bear territory, remember that dispersed camping wont come with bear lockers. Bring odor-proof storage for your food, and store food away from your camp.

Since youre camping in a place that hasnt been altered for camping, it typically wont be as flat or clutter-free as traditional campsites. If youre pitching a tent, youll probably want a sleeping pad for added comfort.

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They Often Have Unmaintained Rough Roads

Because of the lack of visitors to remote parts of National Forests and public lands, many of the roads used for free camping are not regularly serviced.

This means you are very likely to find potholes, rocky roads, no guard rails, and sometimes roadblocks like fallen trees.

Depending on the weather your free campsite gets, the road could even be washed out by floods or seasonal streams.

If youre unsure of the current road conditions for your researched camping spots, give the local ranger station a call and ask. Its also advisable to pack a car emergency kit, in case you run into trouble on your route.

Now Get Out There And Find Some Free Camping Sites

How to Find FREE Boondocking Camping Spots | Full Time RV Living

We hope the free camping strategies and resources weve shared in this post will help you to not only save money, but travel farther and camp more often!

And PLEASE let us know in the comments section below if you have any other free camping tips or resources youd like to share – were always looking for ways to make our travel budget go further.

Wed also love for you to , and as always, thanks for reading!

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Finding Cheap Or Free Rv Camping Sites In National Forests Or Grasslands

In America, we have 154 National Forests and 20 National Grasslands. There are more than 4,000 campgrounds in our National Forests! Many of those allow free camping.

Camping in a National Forest is called dispersed camping. It is just another term for boondocking.

So how do you go about finding these free sites?

If you are spending a lot of time in one state, I recommend these maps. They are atlases that provide you with very useful information.

They provide detailed descriptions of public lands, with point-to-point mileages. They also show campgrounds, recreation attractions as well as wildlife areas.

Having a paper map is not a bad idea since cell service can be spotty at best when in the great outdoors.

In addition to a paper map, this app can be very useful.

Go into the app. Click on Camping & Cabins and a U.S. map will pop up. The numbers show you the number of available campgrounds located in a specific area.

You can see potential amenities, GPS coordinates, a description of the area, and whether the site requires a reservation. There will also be a link for more information located on the USFS website.

You can also click on the Trail or Road option for even more information.

Once you have a specific area or some sites that you are interested in, it is not a bad idea to cross-reference it with other websites .

Rules For Free Camping:

Pack in and Pack out. DO NOT leave trash behind. This means your camp spot should look the same or even better than before you got there. If there is trash then do the land a favor and clean it up whether you put it there or not.

  • Do not camp within 100 feet of any water source.
  • Only park in an existing spot.
  • Only make a campfire if there is an existing ring and there are not any current fire bans.

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Where Are The Nearest Amenities / Emergency Resources

Shit happens. You dont plan for it, and certainly dont ask for it. To be safe when backcountry camping, its important to know where the nearest hospital is, and where you can get cell service to call for help.

If youre going deeeeep into the wilderness, consider carrying a satellite communicator.Garmin created this one which includes a GPS tracker, navigation, satellite messaging, and SOS capabilities.

Its also smart to carry two-way radios for easy communication with your party. These ones from REI extend 26 miles and are very affordable.

Finally, let someone know where youre going, even if its a brief overview. The more information you share about your trip, the safer you can be.

Bureau Of Land Management

How to Find Free Camping in the US &  Canada

The Bureau of Land Management is a government agency that manages land primarily in the western United States, and generally in open, desert landscapes. The BLM manages land for a number of uses, including recreation, grazing, logging, and resource extraction. Free camping on BLM is usually capped at 30 days, but can be shorter or longer depending on the location.

BLM land is suitable for RVs, vans, and sometimes for tent campers. Because of the variety of uses on BLM land, you may wake up with a herd of cattle or a band of sheep in your campsite, so it pays to do a bit of research ahead of time to know what you might find.

How to Find Free BLM Camping on Campendium

  • Use a text search to zoom into the area youre interested in.
  • Select Category BLM.
  • Select Price Free.

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Overnight Parking In Cities

So I wouldnt exactly call this camping but rather when you are in a city and sleeping in your vehicle it is stealthing. There are some important things to remember when you need to sleep in your car overnight:

Some cities have banned sleeping in your car overnight. If you are caught you can be fined or jailed. Im not trying to scare you but rather inform you. We have only gotten one knock on our door and they were super nice and simply asked us to move to the Wal-Mart down the street.

Arrive late and leave early. Its proper etiquette in a city to try to make yourself as scarce as possible. You are visiting an area and it isnt a real campsite. Dont prop your camping chairs out start cooking outside. Typically if we know we are staying in a city we will cook somewhere like a park or with a view and then head to our spot for the night. We try not to make a spectacle out of ourselves and respect the area.

Blm Land Camping Rules Summary

The Bureau of Land Management manages over 240 MILLION acres of land in the USA. Fortunately for us, its here for us to use and enjoy! Many people have heard that using BLM land is possible, but because it isnt advertised like National Parks, many people dont know much when it comes to actually get the info needed to go explore this wonderful land or how to find BLM land.

The first and most obvious stop to make when gathering info on how to find BLM land is heading to www.blm.gov. There you will find more info than you know what to do with regarding rules, maps, activities, and missions related to the preservation and use of BLM managed lands.

On the right-hand side of the home screen is a link labeled Visit, clicking that link will take you to a search page within BLM that will allow you to search by state and filter by recreation activity type . Its a great resource that will get you started in the right direction when starting to plan out your next adventure.

Many people assume that BLM camping is all free, and while many areas of land are free to camp, some areas have a day-use fee area, they refer to these as Developed Camping Areas and in these areas, you can usually find vault style toilets, designated fire pits and sometimes a picnic bench. In these Developed Campgrounds, there is a pay station where you can place your fee in an envelope and tear off the receipt portion to leave fixed to your campsite so passing rangers will see you paid.

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Chargers For Your Devices

Sometimes, off-grid camping requires the use of electronics to make things run smoother.

Some of these items could include two-way radios, GPS navigators, lights for the evening, and possibly even rechargeable camera or video batteries.

To keep our toys juiced up during our camping trips, we like to bring our Goal Zero portable power station. Its got everything from a 12V plug-in to several USB adapters for our smaller electronics.

How Long Can I Go Camping For Free

How I Find My Free Camping Spots – Van life

In most free camping spots in the USA, the maximum stay in one location is 14 days.

After those initial two weeks, you will have to move your campsite 5-25 miles away from your previous spot. Some free campsites have slightly different rules, so make sure to determine how long you can stay in your specific area.

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Here’s A Huge List Of Free Or Cheap Rv Sites & Camping Locations

This has been a crazy year for RVers. With so many newbies turning to RVing and Camping, campgrounds have become overcrowded and overpriced.

Frankly, given the current state of things, if your style of camping and RVing is more than one or two weekends a month during the summer staying in traditional campgrounds can be a huge expense that, in all honesty, isnt necessary.

Traditional campgrounds can be crowded, noisy, smokey, and above all expensive. Most of the time, there are much cheaper and more scenic locations that you can camp as long as you plan ahead and know what youre looking for. If you can spend a night or two without the traditional comforts of hookups then a whole other world of RVing will open up to you.

There are TONS of places across the United States where you can find free RV sites and cheap camping but its easy to get stuck going to traditional campgrounds because it can be difficult and time-consuming to find these locations when youre researching and planning out an RV trip!

In this post, were going to cover a lot so this is your warning in advance to strap in because its a long one.

Were going to start with a general explanation of boondocking and the various forms that it can take as well as the cost advantages of boondocking.

  • Primitive camping
  • Dispersed camping

Personally, I think that boondocking just rolls off the tongue better but make no mistake, if you hear someone else using those terms were all talking about the same thing.

Best Free Camping Apps

The app shown in this photo, The Dyrt, shows BLM land in orange, U.S. Forest Service land in purple, and National Park land in green. It also has icons for campsites, and you can filter by price, amenities, ratings, etc. You can click on each icon to see a quick preview of the site , and you can click again to get a very detailed breakdown of what to expect.

Alright, now that you know what types of free campsites exist, lets talk about the easiest way to find em

Camping Apps!

There are a handful of apps out there that are community-sourced maps of free camping, meaning you can see where other people have camped for free.

Some of these apps will include photos and reviews as well so you know what to expect .

They are super helpful, especially when youre first getting started with the whole vanlife thang. And even now, we still use them all the time because we arent fans of spending hours trying to search for places to park. Wed rather have a destination in mind.

These apps are specific to the USA. Each country that is campervan/RV-friendly has its own network of apps and websites. In our experience, we havent found a great resource that is useful worldwide . The apps and websites mentioned in this article are geared towards the USA.

Were going to go through the best apps for finding free campsites and well explain what makes each unique.

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