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Old 07-28-2022, 09:59 PM   #1
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Boondocking etiquette...

I am on a 5 month trip to Alaska. Been boondocking a lot with no issues...until a couple nights ago.
I find a wide area where I can make a u turn the next morning on side of a dirt road. It is well known as there is a fire ring and bench. My view is a lake across the road
Anyway...I disconnect my truck to take a drive and when I return I Park my truck beside my trailer.
At about 930 pm this huge class A with a tow vehicle pulls in front of my trailer view on the side of road blocking my ability to turn make a upturn in the morning. I tell him and he moves up a little. Ok. No biggie but I would have never squeezed another person out when boondocking.
Then at 10PM, these two hippie vans pull up, park in front of my trailer, blocking my ability to turn. They dont speak good English and i think were from central America. They immediately let out a pit bull off the chain, drop the bug screens over the van doors and start rolling dope. I tell them that I'm leaving in the morning and they will have to move in the morning. They start bitching that they won't be up early and they will move now for me to reposition my TT now so they won't have be disturbed in the morning. Remember...they were in a van that could park anywhere without any problems. They simply wanted to be jerks IMO.
I wanted to beat their ass soooo bad but I probably would have caught my own ass whipping since I'm old, had a stroke, and am recovering from a shoulder surgery.
I tell my wife I don't want to deal with this sort 20 ft from me all night. I mean...boondocking is about getting away from people...right?
OK...my question...if you approach a known boondocking spot and someone is there, what is the acceptable space you give someone before you decide its too tight and go find someone else. Me personally...I give people 30 yards at least. If I can't do that, then I go somewhere else.
What do you guys do?
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Old 07-28-2022, 11:29 PM   #2
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Move on, you were there first. I boondock because I want to be away from it all. Treat other boon dockers the way I would want to be treated. Remember today's world is lacking common sense, courtesy and respect. (Being polite)
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Old 07-29-2022, 12:27 AM   #3
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A couple things I can think of;

First, From the sounds of it, and no offense, but it sounds like you went to a well known boondocking spot that could fit multiple campers on it with the wanting of both the sights (a lake you can look at) and the space (In terms of being to turn around when you leave) and expecting others to accommodate both of those wants. The area seems like it was big enough to accommodate a few rigs, but because of you wanting to make a U-turn when you leave you needed/wanted extra space to do so. Unfortunately in a situation like that you can’t have both. (Having a view, plus having extra room to maneuver a U-turn in the morning). In my perspective one or the other had to give, either you position your truck and trailer in the beginning to where you are pulling straight out and leaving without doing a U-turn (but giving up a view from your trailer), or having the view but having to pull out straight and making your U-turn somewhere else.

And second; In Alaska, many areas are prime real-estate for multiple campers/rv’s converging in a “small” area because in many areas there might not be a lot of options for good spacious boondocking spots for multiple rigs to spread out. Once when I was exploring the Kenia Peninsula and the Chugach NF there was an area that appeared to be a well known boondocking spot, because there were quite a few smaller rigs, tents, and vehicles camping there. It was one of those “get in where you can fit in” spots because there wasn’t many other areas close by to boondock easily. And quite a few times I drove by a boondocking area and kept driving because I wanted to be courteous to the campers already there, thinking I’d find something soon and close by. I kept driving… and driving… and driving because they were few and far between.

As for space requirements, I would think it depends on the circumstances. You pull in a Friday afternoon hoping to camp all weekend, yeah give some extra space to other campers. You roll in to a site off the road at 10pm on a Tuesday just to get some rest and relaxation and you’ll be gone the next day… then they seem to get closer to each other.
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Old 07-29-2022, 10:08 AM   #4
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A couple things I can think of;

First, From the sounds of it, and no offense, but it sounds like you went to a well known boondocking spot that could fit multiple campers on it with the wanting of both the sights (a lake you can look at) and the space (In terms of being to turn around when you leave) and expecting others to accommodate both of those wants. The area seems like it was big enough to accommodate a few rigs, but because of you wanting to make a U-turn when you leave you needed/wanted extra space to do so. Unfortunately in a situation like that you can’t have both. (Having a view, plus having extra room to maneuver a U-turn in the morning). In my perspective one or the other had to give, either you position your truck and trailer in the beginning to where you are pulling straight out and leaving without doing a U-turn (but giving up a view from your trailer), or having the view but having to pull out straight and making your U-turn somewhere else.

And second; In Alaska, many areas are prime real-estate for multiple campers/rv’s converging in a “small” area because in many areas there might not be a lot of options for good spacious boondocking spots for multiple rigs to spread out. Once when I was exploring the Kenia Peninsula and the Chugach NF there was an area that appeared to be a well known boondocking spot, because there were quite a few smaller rigs, tents, and vehicles camping there. It was one of those “get in where you can fit in” spots because there wasn’t many other areas close by to boondock easily. And quite a few times I drove by a boondocking area and kept driving because I wanted to be courteous to the campers already there, thinking I’d find something soon and close by. I kept driving… and driving… and driving because they were few and far between.

As for space requirements, I would think it depends on the circumstances. You pull in a Friday afternoon hoping to camp all weekend, yeah give some extra space to other campers. You roll in to a site off the road at 10pm on a Tuesday just to get some rest and relaxation and you’ll be gone the next day… then they seem to get closer to each other.
That is one thing I learned...to position rig where I can pull out with minimum space required.
I guess what gets me is that the vans were simply...vans. they could park anywhere in the area with the same views. The lake was across the access road so anywhere would have worked. But they blocked me in facing away from the lake. Just being royal PIA.
Thanks for the future tip.
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Old 07-29-2022, 10:46 AM   #5
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The situation you describe doesn't sound like "boondocking". It's a description of drycamping along the side of a well-used road.

Boondocking is kindof out in the middle of nowhere where, by definition, not a lot of other campers would be, or would come, around you.

We've passed plenty of pull-off spots along roads and try not to use them for over-night camping in order to avoid situations and people just like you mentioned. However we've never been on a trip including Alaska, so perhaps pulling just off travel routes into over-night spots is difficult to avoid.
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Old 07-29-2022, 10:54 AM   #6
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You can’t cure stupid. But you can crack some heads.

In more frequented areas, you may think you have perfectly positioned your rig to leave yourself enough room to pull out. But you wake up in the morning and a burned out van has taken up residence within a few feet of the front grill of your tow vehicle.

This happened to us off FR525 Loy Butte Rd, which is now infamous for BLM closings and overcrowding in Sedona. Beat up panel van pulled in the middle of night and parked just inches from my front bumper. No room for us to back up. Deep ditches blocked any escape route. We were ready to leave at 9:00am, actually we were ready earlier, but wanted to give the van apes time to wake up and get out of the way. 10:00am, Started our engine, hoping that would give them a polite signal. No response. Tapped horn a few times. No response. Now I’m PO’d. I bang repeatedly on the van and yell at them. I yelled at them, “Do you want a butt whipping now, or do you want to wait for the Ranger to get here and cite you?” Five minutes later a long hair freak crawls into the driver seat, starts van and backs out flipping me the bird on the way. I may be a septuagenarian, of repaired heart, but ain’t nobody gonna treat law abiding peaceful campers like that without consequences. Never had issues with other boondockers being abusive or un-neighborly at other BLM campgrounds.
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Old 07-29-2022, 11:03 AM   #7
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revenge ....get up early let the truck idle , split fire wood, find something noisy to do, park your unhooked truck and block them in
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Old 07-29-2022, 11:06 AM   #8
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Sounds like everyone was following the rules. Gotta have thick skin if you want to camp at places like this. Not everyone is going to have the same thinking about space and courtesy. I like to give enough space so that no one is interfering with anyone else's stay. Other people just don't feel that way though. It's a bummer, but you just can't expect other people to watch out for you. More and more, people are out to get theirs and they don't care if they ruin your experience or not. Drop in people from other cultures and you get all manner of different perspectives on space and what being polite means.


I used to be Forest Service. The stories I could tell... My advice to anyone out boondocking alone is to stay away from others. Don't approach them, don't stay near them, don't signal your annoyance with them, and don't ask for anything. Park defensively, ready to escape. Don't depend on someone else's courtesy to get away. No exaggeration, you're lucky you didn't get killed for your trouble. Think safety first, inconvenience last.
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Old 07-29-2022, 11:21 AM   #9
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No exaggeration, you're lucky you didn't get killed for your trouble. Think safety first, inconvenience last.
We disagree here. Acting in fear of someone harming will get you stepped on in many cases. Asserting your rights legally might even influence idiots to use better judgement, or at least consider courtesy a pre-requisite to sharing public lands. If I am killed, well, I go down on the right side of the law, and that person goes to jail for murder. Shrink from no evil.
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Old 07-29-2022, 11:46 AM   #10
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Sounds like a Walmart parking lot, with a view. Sometimes ya rolls the dice and takes your chances. Sometimes ya lose.
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Old 07-29-2022, 12:41 PM   #11
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And I agree with dizcom. Self preservation.
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Old 07-29-2022, 04:57 PM   #12
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Homeby5, just out of curiosity, where were you at? I mean like the area or road?
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Old 07-30-2022, 11:57 AM   #13
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Homeby5, just out of curiosity, where were you at? I mean like the area or road?
It was at Snag Junction, Yukon. Just South of the Snag Junction Provincial Park, you turn down a dirt road and go about a quarter mile to a spot where you can pull off and turn around.
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Old 08-05-2022, 02:33 PM   #14
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My definition is if you can see or hear another rig you are not true boondocking.

However... there are some designated dispersed camping areas. Courtesy says (I don't call it 'common' courtesy because it is not all that common anymore)
leave space for others to maneuver and leave in the morning.
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