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Old 07-30-2020, 09:22 PM   #1
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Boondocking in the East Coast in a Pop Up Camper Trailer

I posted my questions in another forum on this site a couple of days ago. I got some very helpful replies, including one to post on this forum.

See my other post and replies here:


I will have a Mini Mate camper trailer that motorcycle riders use for road travel. My thought was to travel across the US with a bike. I abandoned that plan and will tow the Mini Mate with my sedan.

I am wondering if you could give me input on boondocking in the east coast. I will start traveling in September most likely. Here are my questions:

1) What is the availability of boondocking in the east?

2) What apps have you found especially helpful for those with pop up camper trailers?

3) Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts told me a Mini Mate doesn't meet their requirements. Have you found other similar sites that do?

4) What are the differences I should consider when researching sites for boondocking compared to RV's and other camping cars that are not pop up trailers?

5) Have you found National Forests and BLM-like sites in the east coast that are doable for pop up trailers? What about state parks? What else? Right now I'm mostly focused on the east since that's where I'll start and that's the harder region for boon docking.

6) Have you parked at Walmarts and other retailers with a pop up camper? Do you find retailers treat pop up campers the same as they do enclosed RVs? Or do they not want pop ups parking? What concerns do you have for safety? I know Walmarts and other such sites will get all kinds of people all evening and night. Do you avoid lot parking with a pop up?

Lots of questions but essentially all along a simple line of thought: boon docking options and concerns in the east coast.

Thanks for your input and safe travels.

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Old 07-31-2020, 02:16 PM   #2
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"Days End" which is a splinter group of the "Escapees" can help. The download is a 900+ page document, updated continually by its members and published for downloading several times a year. It is organized by state. I believe it includes all the states except Hawaii. It also includes Maritimes, Canada and Alaska. First you have to join the Escapees then you join Days End. Last I checked it was around $50 for both. This is not a "Resort" group, nobody cares what rv you have.

I've been a member of both for 20 years, and I know it has saved me Thousands of dollars. I have used it in the East, West, Alaska, Newfoundland and Canada.

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Old 07-31-2020, 08:27 PM   #3
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If you are boondocking then Natíl Forests should be perfect. You will be closer to nature than any RV park or Walmart Parking lot. Just make sure you have reservations at www.recreation.gov.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:30 AM   #4
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Welcome to Wisconsin

I read and commented on your previous post. I have this to add to your new post.

"Boon docking" refers to camping without site hook up facilities like water, sewer, or electric. But, it also means camping in remote unimproved locations.

"Dry camping" refers to camping in campgrounds without using facilities. Reservations are frequently required, especially in pandemic conditions.

Some camping systems overlap these two definitions. For example, Big Bend National Park in south Texas has full hookups, dry camping, and boon dock campsites. However, all sites require reservations. Big Bend was also closed to camping due to the pandemic.

Walmart is between boon docking and dry camping. It is definitely not remote. It does have flush toilets.

Camping rules vary a lot in different regions. The only way to know at any one moment is to check websites or call ahead.

I welcome you to Wisconsin. Almost all state parks, state forests, and national forests are open. Many local county and city parks are as well. Masks in enclosed buildings are required at the moment.

There are campgrounds in most of these locations. Facilities in each vary. Some are open in winter. Some are not. True boon docking is available in some state and local forests. Some boon docking forest areas require permits which are often free. All registration and permits are only available on-line or by mail. Almost all have toilets and potable water. Some have hot showers and flush toilets.

This Wisconsin State website is for state parks and forests:

You can find current conditions, get permits, and make reservations. Rustic northern campgrounds usually charge much less. Popular southern parks charge more. Boon docking may require a free permit.

I highly recommend Wyalusing State Park and Copper Falls State Park.

This one is for National Parks:

This one is for National Forests:

National Forest campgrounds in Wisconsin range from paved sites with electric, to remote unimproved boon docking. Campgrounds require reservations. Boon docking often requires a free permit. Most National Park campgrounds in Wisconsin are closed in the winter.

Most Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, and other friendly business are available and safe for dry camping. Milwaukee and south to the Illinois state border are much busier and therefore less safe. Call and ask individual stores to be sure.

Some small northern Wisconsin cities have city parks with dry camping sites that may be temporarily free or for small fees.

This website is provided using input from viewers and is usually accurate. It is sometimes a bit slow, be patient:

Things change moment to moment this year. Calling or checking on-line for all locations is definitely recommended.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:14 PM   #5
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Check the MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map)maps for the National Forests you are traveling thru. They will identify any dispersed camping areas.
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