If you want to camp in some of the most beautiful places in the world, boondock camping might be right for you. While some might see boondock camping as roughing it, others know it’s the best way to experience nature.
Before you become a boondock camper, you should understand what the term means. Let’s dive into what exactly boondock camping is.
- Boondock Camping Overview: Boondock camping is an immersive outdoor experience without the amenities of developed campgrounds, involving camping on undeveloped land without access to utilities.
- Types of Boondocking: Includes dispersed camping on public lands outside designated areas, often managed by agencies like the National Forest Service or BLM. Designated dispersed camping areas are evolving to address issues like overcrowding and littering.
- Preparation and Self-sufficiency: Essential for boondock camping, involving thorough preparation for limited access to stores and conveniences, water conservation, and efficient power usage.
- Environmental Responsibility: Adherence to Leave No Trace principles is crucial, involving responsible waste management, preserving natural landscapes, using existing roads, and respecting wildlife.
- Starting with Boondock Camping: Important for beginners to choose between dispersed or designated dispersed camping and understand Leave No Trace policies to enjoy nature responsibly.
What Is Boondock Camping?
Boondock camping is a way of life for avid campers who don’t want their experience to involve a developed campground. A boondock camper has no access to electricity, water, or sewer lines.
A camper chooses a piece of land to call their own for a few nights. Going camping this way is usually free, but a permit is sometimes required.
There are two types of camping when it comes to boondocking; dispersed camping and designated dispersed camping.
Boondocking refers to dispersed camping on public land outside of a designated campground. Here, you’ll find a durable surface to park your camper or pitch your tent.
Public land management agencies like The National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Department of Fish and Wildlife allow dispersed camping on some of the lands they manage.
Designated Dispersed Camping
The high interest in boondocking camping trips has caused some issues, such as:
- Irresponsible campsite creation
Land management agencies are transitioning areas to designated dispersed camping to keep these areas open for responsible campers. In areas like this, campsites are marked where you are allowed to spend the night.
Some areas limit the amount of time you can stay so that more people have an opportunity to camp.
Boondocking is very different from staying at a developed campground. If this is your first time as a boondock camper, you need to come prepared. You’ll be far away from stores and conveniences.
You need to conserve water because you’re unlikely to find a place to refill a freshwater tank (see How Much Water to Bring Camping). If you are relying on a generator throughout your trip, conserve power or bring extra camping equipment (see What Kind of Generator for Camping?).
Leave No Trace Policies
Going camping boondocking style means you must follow Leave No Trace policies. It’s your responsibility to take care of the wild and natural habitats you are camping in to keep the privilege of boondocking.
There are often “Leave No Trace” signs in these public lands, meaning you need to:
- Manage waste
- Don’t alter the landscape
- Stick to existing roads
- Use established spots
- Camp on durable surfaces
- Respect the wildlife
Check with the local authority if the posted signs are not clear enough. If you want to complete certain outdoor hobbies, a nearby ranger station can tell you what you are allowed to do.
Are You Ready to Be a Boondock Camper?
Becoming a boondock camper is a great way to experience nature in its purest form. Now that you know enough about boondock camping, you can find the perfect spot through a land management agency.
Choosing between dispersed camping and designated dispersed camping is the perfect place to start. Make sure to understand the Leave No Trace policy in the area you want to camp.
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What is Boondock Camping?
Boondock camping is an immersive outdoor experience away from developed campgrounds. It involves setting up camp in undesignated, often remote areas without access to amenities like electricity, water, or sewer lines. This form of camping appeals to those seeking a more natural and rugged outdoor experience.
What are the Types of Boondocking?
There are two main types of boondocking: dispersed camping and designated dispersed camping. Dispersed camping is setting up in undesignated areas on public lands, while designated dispersed camping occurs in specific areas set aside by land management agencies.
Where Can I Go Boondocking?
Boondocking is typically done on public lands managed by agencies such as the National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Department of Fish and Wildlife. These agencies permit dispersed camping on some of their lands.
What is Designated Dispersed Camping?
Designated dispersed camping is a controlled form of boondocking where camping is allowed in marked spots. These areas are managed to prevent issues like overcrowding and environmental impact, often with time limits on stays.
How Should I Prepare for Boondocking?
Preparation for boondocking involves planning for self-sufficiency. This includes bringing enough water and conserving it, as fresh water sources are scarce. If using a generator, power conservation is important. Being prepared also means planning for minimal access to stores and conveniences.
What are Leave No Trace Policies in Boondocking?
While boondocking, it’s essential to follow Leave No Trace principles. This means managing waste properly, not altering the landscape, sticking to existing roads, using established camping spots, camping on durable surfaces, and respecting wildlife. These practices ensure the preservation of natural areas.
How Do I Choose a Boondocking Spot?
Choosing a boondocking spot involves deciding between dispersed and designated dispersed camping based on your preference for remoteness and need for some level of management. Always check the Leave No Trace policy of the area and obtain any necessary permits.